True Blood 5.07 "In The Beginning" REVIEW(opens in new tab)
Writer: Brian Buckner
Director: Michael Ruscio
THE ONE WHERE Russell and co reawaken Lilith.
VERDICT The True Blood renaissance continues. If you thought the show had used up its shock cache in “Hopeless” then the real shock was how many shocks there were still to come, climaxing in a cork-nippled, geometrically-bikini-lined Lilith rising from a pool of blood. (This may, admittedly, have been a shared fantasy… the vampires’, I mean, not the audience's, though you never know).
But it’s a gripping episode right from the start, with a brilliantly tense pre-credit teaser in which Edgington runs riot in the darkened Authority HQ before being captured. As it turns out, he probably let himself be captured – he was just having a bit of fun, and knew that Salome was going to spring him soon anyway.
(Yeah, it was Salome who dug him up – we should have stuck to our instincts and not changed our mind to geek girl last week…)
And there’s so much to enjoy in-between: Edgington back to his casually psychotic best, slicing the head off Sanctuary guy; Sookie finding out that her powers may run out, and then using them randomly in the hope she can become normal; Arlene’s bittersweet wedding video, which touchingly reminds her how much has happened to these characters in such a short space of time; The Authority (with Eric and Bill in tow) getting high on Lilith’s blood and painting the town red (literally); the extraordinary scene in which Terry threatens to blow his own head off rather than let the smoke monster mock him, and you truly believe he will do it. Thankfully “Sarge” delivers a gut-wrenching argument why he shouldn’t (basically – do you want your wife and kids to know this is the way you died, rather than going out fighting?) to talk him down.
As with last week, though, while the shocks and twists provide some great grandstanding moments, the episode also impresses in its quieter character moments. Sookie’s conversation with Sam about being normal gives Sam a chance to open up more than normal, while Andy’s visit to (the former) Sheriff Dearborne’s for some advice (“Do I suck at this?”) only to be told where to piss off by his old boss is a gem of a scene, funny and painful. The hug Tara gives Pam after the visit from her bible-bashing ma is a lovely moment too. We predicted way back in the review of this season’s premiere that Tara becoming a vampire was probably the best thing to happen to her (in terms of making her character more interesting) and that seems to be the case. Despite her offhand response to the hug, even Pam seems to be warming to Tara as something more than just a “slave”.
The werewolves revert to form this week, though; there’s only any real interest in their interminable in-fighting if you’re a fan of Joe Manganiello’s biceps. Where’s this fight between Alcide and JD we’ve been promised? It can’t come soon enough.
And despite Bill and Eric’s high-on-Lilith-blood antics being fun to watch, the plot justification for Salome wanting them along for the ride is highly suspect. In fact, is there one? The pair of them are such notoriously loose cannons, wouldn’t she have been better off just killing them? Instead she invites them along to blood-drinking ceremony apparently just to make up the numbers. A huge chunk of the quasi-religious spiel spouted at the ceremony is so much aural wallpaper as well; the vampire religion has been one of the most interesting new elements introduced this season, so it’s a shame to see it here reduced to white noise.
Overall, though, truly bloody and truly great.(opens in new tab)
BRINGING BACK THE BROMANCE Awwww! When Bill and Eric get drunk on Lilith’s blood, they’re like any pair of drunk guys – only one step away from declaring to each other, “I love you… you’re my beshtest mate EVER!”(opens in new tab)
FASHION DISASTER After Hoyt’s sartorial tribute to ’80s pop videos over the past couple of weeks, we now get Pam’s Bonnie Tyler memorial haircut. It’s not her best look.
Sheriff Dearborne: “I’m retired now, the wife’s out of town and the hot tub’s just right, and I’ve got an experimental male enhancement ointment I’m anxious to try out.”
True Blood season 5 will air in the UK on FX in the autumn
Read more True Blood season 5 reviews