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TRUE BLOOD RECAP 5: LET'S BOOT AND RALLY

Press Play By Ian Grey | Press Play July 9, 2012 at 9:21AM

It always sucks to be Lafayette. And lately, Nelsan Ellis’s acting has been suffering as he tries to carry this impossible weight.
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So what’s wrong with this picture: Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Alcide (Joe Mangianello), Alcide the werewolf for god’s sakes, somehow manage to band together with Sookie (Anna Paquin), in the search for the psychotic Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare), ex-Vampire King of Mississippi.

True Blood recap artwork
And newbie vamp Tara (Rutina Wesley) not only owning a surrogate mom in her maker Pam but a new BFF in Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) courtesy an adorable scene—which you can watch above—where the latter waxes irresistable about sex, blood, morality, and how tough it is being a vamp, alone. Yes, there's a tiff over rights to Hoyt's neck, but for reals, these girls are made for each other: we just wonder how much . . .
 
And, after a visit to a fairy nightclub, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Captain Andy (Chris Bauer) bromance their journeys of personal growth. But Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis)? Bah! Lafayette turns into a demon, looks at the heavens, cries “I just need some fuckin’ help,” and is answered with a vision of his dead lover Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) with his lips sewn up. Which I guess is an improvement over last week, when his grief caused Jesus’ demon-head to cause Sookie’s car to ram into a tree.
 
In short, it sucks to be Lafayette. It always sucks to be Lafayette. And lately, Ellis’s acting has been suffering as he tries to carry this impossible weight. I think Alan Ball has been over-trying so much to atone for very early Lafayette sins that he’s been forcing poor Ellis into repeated hair shirt moments when all he has to do is one simple thing:  Grieve over the death of Jesus.
 

But Lafayette has been denied that, just like Lafayette always seems to be denied normal things, from the very dubious beginning, when he started the show as a literal slave to the very, very, very white Eric Northman, a black guy laboring in chains.

This was . . . what’s the phrase? Wait. Got it. This was fucked up. This was Black Snake Moan, but backwards. The idea, I think, was to push an envelope so far the envelope shredded. But instead I feel like maybe it messed Alan Ball up in some way he hasn’t quite worked out.

Whatever the deal, True Blood has had a very skittish way with black characters. Jesus? A Latino? No problem. But black people? It’s just weird. This is, after all, a show that gave Tara a black lover named Eggs who became possessed by a demonic white MILF. Then Tara had to get her brains blown out to become interesting.

Mind—I’m not yelling racist. I’m yelling confuse-ist. Or rather, there’s so much subtext bubbling under any given episode of True Blood that if you started talking about race in this show that takes place in the Deep South, it would just be too much. That the show would be about nothing but race.  And that would just be miserable, and life-like.

Anyway—back to Lafayette and Ellis and fantasy misery. Ellis is such a lovable presence, and the True Blood writing room so dependably comes up with ways for him to suffer so horribly, they could at least allow him some down time to suffer his true love’s death.

I mean, sure. Tonight Sam (Sam Trammell) not only had to deal with his two shifter friends’ mysterious death, he also had to watch impotently as a bunch of apparent Slipknot fans blew away Luna. But Sam has Merlotte’s and friends aplenty.

And sure, Hoyt (Jim Parrack) has taken to dressing like he’s in Love and Rockets and hanging at Fangtasia, but that’s so he can get bitten (make contact.)

But Lafayette? How is it that someone this adorable has not discovered Grindr, or the local gay bar? More to the point, why does he still live in a shit hole like Bon Temps?

This is the weird thing about the Law of Fives, or the concept that shows tend to work for about five seasons and then the internal gravity that makes them cohere starts to fall apart. Which is why I believe Ball is leaving the show before the deadly Season Six rears its woeful head.

Before Ball blows, I hope he does all right by the beleaguered Lafayette; on the flip side, I don’t know what the moral calculus is for Terry (Todd Lowe), because what we learned tonight was unforgivable.

We knew from a previous episode that Terry and Patrick dropped acid and boozed it up in Iraq and accidentally obliterated a couple of innocent Iraqi families. Well, tonight they found another guy from their unit who’s living in an underground room surrounded by paintings of a fire demon.

Reason: At Patrick’s urging, the unit killed a surviving woman who let loose a fire demon on them all, after which the three Marines burned all the innocents. Kee-rist.

So Terry’s a mass murderer who burns women and children. Totally fucks with his adorable goofy PTSD profile. It’ll be interesting seeing where this goes. And it’s fascinating that we’re OK with Eric and Bill and Pam and the rest killing like crazy, but that’s sexy supernatural (TM Maureen Ryan) stuff: this is real Iraq War murder.

Meanwhile, Eric, Bill, Sookie and Alcide are looking for Russell in an old building. This is like Waiting for Godot at this point.

But they do find him—along with a clutch of humans he’s mesmerized for future meals. He looks a bit under the weather, but he does have his skin back. There’s a commotion and they cut to a goth classic tune. Kind of a letdown ending, considering that Bill and Eric are wearing I-Stakes (electronic stakes that can kill them from afar.) All in all, the weakest episode this season, the kind that exists to fill in the holes that’ll make the next episode really, really good by comparison.

But even weak Blood can give us Captain Andy, asking with a straight face, “I fucked a fairy?” and Ryan Kwanten swinging his full buttocks for no reason whatsoever except that this is True Blood.  So a fail? Nah, not close. But please, Mr. Ball, cut Lafayette a break, ‘k? We’ll all feel better in the morning.

Ian Grey has written, co-written or been a contributor to books on cinema, fine art, fashion, identity politics, music and tragedy. Magazines and newspapers that have his articles include Detroit Metro Times, gothic.net, Icon Magazine, International Musician and Recording World, Lacanian Ink, MusicFilmWeb, New York Post, The Perfect Sound, Salon, Smart Money Magazine, Teeth of the Divine, Venuszine, and Time Out New York.

This article is related to: Ian Grey, True Blood, HBO , TV Reviews, Television, indieWIRE Video, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Nelsan Ellis


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