With the whole vampire-werewolf craze now simmering down, a reasonably disappointing fourth season and now that thereâs practically no book-to-season correlation whatsoever, you could easily argue that True Blood has reached its sell-by-date.
But with a title as promising as âTurn! Turn! Turn!â? youâve got to expect some pretty big changes from the series. After all, this is the season: a time for love, a time for hate, a time for incestuous vampire sexâ¦
As it happens, the writers have made at least one change: in stark contrast to the last time out, here we finally see Sookieâs romantic life takes a backseat, giving Eric some time to branch off for a bit, which is great news.
He and Bill begin the premiere by being captured by the Vampire Authority and shipped off to face the death (and not just vampire death) for defying their orders about Marnie. However, Ericâs sister, Nora, is able to rescue them, and we learn a little more about the politics of the Authority.
Adding another character could have been disastrous (God knows there are already enough of them as it is), but Noraâs actually able to bring some much-needed excitement to the show, including some access all areas, brother on sister, vamp on vamp sex.
Donât worry, though. Itâs not as creepy as you think (kind of). Thatâs just how vampire siblings do things, weâre told. What we call incest, they call a really good time. So really itâs tomato tomahto, yeah?
It probably goes without saying, but the opener doesnât really manage to top the whole vampire incest thing, although it does at least tie off a few loose ends from the season four finale. For instance, we learn that Tara, who youâll remember was shot in the head by Debbie in a hectic climax, might not actually be gone just yet. There is, weâre told, one final chance to save her, if Sookie and Lafayette can convince Pam to turn her into a vampire.
The credibility of this irritating loophole is even challenged by Pam herself, who points out that she doesnât even like Tara. She hated vampires, she explains, so why burden her by turning her into something that she hates?
I canât help thinking that it would have been significantly more satisfying if there were real and immediate consequences. There could have been a genuinely sensitive moment between these characters. Yet, as it stands, it just comes across like the writers are trying to correct a mess that they got themselves into the season finale.
However, there are some redeeming scenes, including one in which Reverend Steve Newlin confesses his gay vampire love for Jason Stackhouse, whoâs consistently brilliant throughout the episode.
Thereâs also a ridiculous Guitar Hero scene that provided a few laughs. Jason and Jessica play the game at a college party, dueting on Jona Jettâs âCherry Bombâ?. But Jason ends up leaving with someone else when Jessica makes out with a frat boy and then nonchalantly hollers, âHow âbout some Foreigner? WOOO!â?
Itâs a decent return for this cult-show, although turning Tara into a vampire does seem like a cop out. One problem that Iâve observed is that the series keeps adding more and more major characters to make things interesting without ever taking them away. And while this can be fun (Nora certainly sounds intriguing), it getâs boring.
Nevertheless, now that the show is in its fifth season, this is a promising start, and it does suggest, at least, that this season could easily be significantly better than the last.