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True Blood 5.06 "Hopeless" REVIEW

TV REVIEW Back to its bloody best

True Blood 5.06 "Hopeless" REVIEW

Episode 5.06
Writer Alan Ball
Director Daniel Attias

THE ONE WHERE Russell escapes execution and stakes Roman.

VERDICT Now this is more like it – a behemoth of an episode that shows True Blood at its swaggering, confident, shocking, engrossing and – at times – tender best. You have to wonder if this blistering return to former glories is because the episode’s written by showrunner and creator Alan Ball, and he can turn any episode into genius, or if he simply snagged the episode that he knew would contain some of the season’s best moments for himself.

To be fair, even if he did, the episode isn’t just about the grandstanding moments, though they clearly help make this such an awesome hour of entertainment. Ball manages to make even the small, intimate character scenes shine: the discussion between the waitresses at Merlotte’s about men’s failings, Jessica’s frustration at Hoyt for not taking “f*ck off!” as an answer, Lafayette’s chat with his mum ("Is you okay?" "I'll tell you who is not okay - Jesus." "I know. He dead.” "That ought to explain why he ain't working round here no more"), and even the Terry storyline – which has felt a bit like a fifth wheel at times this season. The shouted exchange between Terry and his old army mate as they run from the smoke monster is a peach: “That's enough private." "Go f*ck yourself sergeant." Suddenly, this plot feels like it belongs in the bizarre world of True Blood .

The balance between plot lines is perfect here, and the growing feeling of impending doom – because you’re never in any doubt that Russell has something up his sleeve – builds the tension to deliciously unbearable levels by the episode’s shocking end. Because, yes, even though you’re never in any doubt that Edgington will escape execution, the almost casual way he manages it and then stakes Roman still has a visceral punch. And the fact it’s all clearly been preplanned excuses one nagging doubt about this season: that Eric and Bill tracked him down too easily.

It’s a shame that Pam doesn’t have more to do, though she does have one great line, telling Tara after her spectacular cat- (bat-)fight with Jessica, “You did good out there. You made me proud. Proud the way a human is proud of a well-trained dog. Nothing more." And Alcide simply walking out on the werewolves after reclaiming his leadership of the pack seems oddly anti-climatic. But these are minor quibbles when there’s so much else to enjoy. Hell, even the fairies are redeemed – to some extent* – by one speech from Claude: “Relax. We do not believe in the harvest of humans. That's why we escaped to your world before the last portal closed. That and that c**t Marb's insistence that we dress like f*cking Disney characters.”

(*I’m not letting them get away with it that easily.)

It’s also an episode packed with memorable dialogue. Aside from the snippets quoted above and below, there’s nearly everything that comes out of Edgington’s mouth and, “You're way too pretty to not be stupid." "Yeah? What's you're excuse?"

Let’s hope the rest of the season can maintain this kind of quality.

SPECULATION Okay, until this episode it looked like Salome was being framed as the female traitor in the Authority. But since Edgington’s execution fails because his automatic staking device doesn’t work, it looks like the finger of suspicion now points squarely at tech-girl.

TRIVIA HBO has said that Claude will become a regular character in season six.

CAMEO OF THE WEEK Steve Newlin may not appear in person, but his newly-graffitied standee still makes an impression.

BEST LINE S
Russell Edgington: “I am the only honest one here. I wanna gorge on human blood not because some f*cking bible tells me to, but because I like it. It’s fun. It makes my dick hard.”

True Blood season 5 will air in the UK on FX in the autumn

Read more True Blood season 5 reviews

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