Last week’s True Blood Season 6 premiere left off with a Billilith cliffhanger, teasing the fact that Bill (Stephen Moyer), while still very much present, is connected to the essence of Lilith in ways we are not yet aware of. And after this week’s episode, “The Sun”, written by former It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia executive producer Daniel Attias, we’re still not aware of Lilith’s intentions, or what they could mean for Bill.
Fortunately, Rutger Hauer returns and steals the show as the Stackhouse’s fairy great-grandfather (not Warlow). And that’s all that matters - no, really.
True Blood season 6 is still moving forward with its numerous, individual storylines, and each one makes some sort of progress in this week’s episode – though some more so than others. Here’s a brief roundup of the lesser stories: Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) attempts to return his fairy children to the invisible fairy bar; Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe) deals with Patrick’s (Scott Foley) widow, thus wrapping up that storyline from last season; Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) plays nurse to a catatonic Bill Compton; Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) holds strong as Emma’s babysitter; and Sam (Sam Trammell) and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) face-off over who Emma should live with. Oh, and one of Michelle Tanner’s best friends from Full House appears as some sort of supernatural peace activist.
After that, this episode is essentially left with two core tales - Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) & Co. and Sookie (Anna Paquin) & Co. – and it’s these storylines which help hold things together, at least for now. Eric, who is now ready to bring an end to all this violence, attempts to go to the Governor and “glamour” him into backing off of the pursuit of vampires, while Sookie – who isn’t really the focus of any storyline – gets to play the supporting character to what is, essentially, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Niall Brigant’s (Hauer) humorous and compelling duet.
Though there’s not much story revealed in this week’s episode – just plot introductions, which will hopefully payoff in the end – both Eric and Jason’s storyline include fascinating elementals which, surprisingly, evolves the seemingly simple seasonal storylines and, more importantly, gives fans hope that, with Hauer’s help, or with humanities evolved defenses against vampires, True Blood is ready to take on the fight to earn its season 7 renewal – which at this point it just might have to.
Hauer’s familiar cadence and intense delivery is, without a doubt, the best thing to happen to True Blood in quite some time. As Jason continues to foil the world, and as an endless number storylines and characters pass by, Hauer’s presence on screen demands that you pay attention and, what’s more, the manner in which he can steal a scene with his calculated delivery allows viewers to focus on what’s going on, to the story that’s being told; instead of continuously trying to play a mental game of “catch-up” and/or “remember the reference”. With Hauer’s exposition-filled revelations of Warlow, the true nature of this season’s villain is revealed, allowing the masked vampire/fairy to stay in the shadows, for at least a few more episodes. But really, it’s Eric and the rest of the vampires at Fangtasia who helped drive the heart of this episode.
At this point in the season, Eric and his ragtag group of vampires are the only ones who are actually invested in the tale at hand, and it’s through them that viewers are allowed to become emotionally invested in this season. As humanities aggression towards vampires escalates, essentially neutering these strong, formidable characters, they’re now forced to make emotionally-driven decisions in order to secure their survival. After so many chaotic plots, a bit of earnest emotion in this season is welcomed, and Eric, as well as Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and Tara (Rutina Wesley), don’t disappoint.
But still, at the end of the day, True Blood is attempting to tell a tale with too many parts. Sure, a few select storylines can help audiences get from one episode to the next, but it still appears as if True Blood is shying away from fixing the actual problem with the series. It’s true that the operatic nature that this series has grasped hold of allows for a few issues here and there, but it doesn’t change the fact that even the writers are having difficulties accommodating its vast characters in each episode, and its quick jump-cuts only help make this issue that more obvious.
True Blood has a lot of things going for it, and its fans have stood by it through some tough times. Hopefully now, as the season progresses, and as Brian Buckner soon gets to reveal his episodes as a showrunner, a change will be noticeable and True Blood’s future will become clear.
True Blood returns next Sunday with "You're No Good" @9pm on HBO. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below: