True Blood 6.07 "In The Evening" TV REVIEW
Writer: Kate Barnow
Director: Scott Winant
THE ONE WHERE Eric and a dying Nora escape from the complex; Eric tells Bill he thinks he's a God and asks him to help save his sister. In return, Bill informs him that he had a vision of him dying. Jason helps out Jessica, who asks to see James, the vampire who was supposed to rape her (ironically, they then have sex). Arlene mourns Terry, while Bill and Andy strike up a tentative truce based on keeping their respective daughters alive. Bill asks Sookie to help him fight Burrell by giving him Warlow, but she declines (anyone else wondering why Bill didn't take one sniff of her and say, “Hey, you had wild sex with him, didn't you?”). Sarah Newlin concocts a plan to hide Burrell's death and take over. Sam and Nicole have sex, then she gets kidnapped by Alcide's pack. There's a flashback to the day in 1665 when Nora and Eric first met, followed by Nora's very bloody death.
VERDICT Two things really stand out this week: Carrie Preston's performance as the grieving Arlene, who weeps on Sookie's shoulder and mourns the life she could have had with Terry, and the final scene between Nora and Eric, which might be gory (this is True Blood , after all – nobody seems to die without at least three buckets of grue in the same room) but is affecting nevertheless. Most of this is down to Alexander Skarsgard's distraught Eric, who simply can't believe he's about to lose his sister (is it me, or does it always sound ridiculous when they address each other as “Brother” and “Sister”?). There's something incredibly disturbing about seeing the usually ice-cold Eric cry, and Nora's spectacular death really affects him.
The one thing that does ring a little forced is the flashback to plague-ridden London featuring him and Nora. Thankfully Eric's wig isn't too bad (which could have been a major falling-down point) but a sequence showing how these two first met seems unashamedly shoehorned in, as though the producers wanted to emphasise Eric's grief and couldn't rely on Skarsgard's performance to do it alone. Which is a shame, because he was more than capable, and a pointless sequence slowing down the episode's pacing was a mistake.
Another scene that brings the action almost to a halt is the one between Jessica and James, although it's beautifully acted and does provide some lovely insight into how Jessica is feeling. It's pretty thoughtless of her to have sex with James with Jason right outside the door , though – didn't it occur to her that he might be a bit put-out by that? Oh well, he doesn't find out, and the episode ends with them (presumably) still at it like rabbits.
Although we'll miss Arliss Howard as the brilliant Truman Burrell, we can rest assured that no good will come from Sarah Newlin taking charge in his stead. Her plan – to keep everybody in the dark, and to rule the Hepatitis V project herself – is genius, and given how she won't be compromised by her own child being turned, she's bound to be deadly. As always, Anna Camp is fabulous as the Bible-bashing vampire-hater, and there's a wonderful little twist when the ridiculous voice-coaching tape she's listening to in her car (“Elocution Lessons For Spreading The Gospel”) is used by her as she vows to carry on Burrell's work (“This is God's plan. And God. Is. GOOD!” – Brrr, she's scary.)
Sadly, two characters have continually been let down by True Blood this season: Sam and Alcide. The former presumably isn't earning any sympathy from the audience for bedding the crazy-young Nicole mere moments after Luna's death (well, it feels like moments, anyway); their utterly superfluous shower scene this week had the faint air of desperation about it, as though the writers are trying way too hard to show them bonding. But Nicole's only been around for a heartbeat, and when she's kidnapped it really is difficult to give a damn, particularly when it's just another excuse for Alcide to face off with his pack. Come on, big fella – forget them, come back to Bon Temps and hang out with people we give a damn about! Never have werewolves been so utterly unwatchable. Werewolves are, like, so 2009 by now, and argumentative, grumpy ones even more so.
BECAUSE SHE'S WORTH IT Pam's fabulousness knows no bounds; even while locked in jail with no access to makeup or hair products (we assume), she still manages to look amazing. We're not quite sure why she was doing yoga in her cell, though: surely vampires don't have to worry about exercising, as they're dead and can't change? Maybe it's habit.
GOOD POINT, WELL MADE “This is a first,” says Sookie, waking up wrapped around Warlow in their fairy graveyard, “wakin' up with a man in broad daylight.” Not only that, but they remind us very much of Adam and Eve as they lie there... although their positions are cleverly organised so that they show off just enough without having to be censored. It ends up looking a tiny bit uncomfortable, actually...
GRAVE HOBNOBBING Arlene weeps over Terry's grave before he's even buried in it. There seems to be no other point to this scene except to get Arlene within Sookie's hearing distance. Still, it's a great little reunion: for once, Sookie is actually there for a friend going through a crisis that doesn't involve a supernatural problem. And she's really rather wonderful, too.
OH, TERRY... Knowing he was about to be killed by his hitman friend, Terry took out a life insurance policy for his family. Three days later he was murdered. Seriously, Terry, did you really think an insurer wouldn't smell a rat? If Arlene gets that money we want to know the name of that gullible company.
HELLO THERE! When Andy's fairy daughter is introduced to Holly's sons – just the right age for her to fancy – it's as though a giant neon sign flashed above their heads saying “WE HERE ARE GONNA GET IN TROUBLE REAL SOON.” Place your bets, ladies and gentleman!
WAY TO RUIN A SAD MOMENT, SET DECORATORS! Nora's death is gruesome and touching, as she turns into goo while Eric hugs her desperately. But the final shot of him holding her steaming, bloody remains might have worked a little bit better if we hadn't been distracted by what looks like a giant nipple on the mantelpiece behind him...
DOUBLE-TAKE OF THE WEEK A drunk Arlene giggles hysterically when she sees Bill walking around in daylight, before suddenly realising that he's real. Her horror-filled expression is hilarious.
FILTHY DOUBLE-ENTENDRE OF THE WEEK Oh look, Burrell's giving Sarah head for a change!
Sookie: “Are you ready for this?”
Lafayette: “About as ready as Big Pharma can make a man...”
Pam, to her squirming, turned-on psychiatrist: “So you want inside [meaningful pause] ...my head?”
• Read our previous True Blood season six reviews
• True Blood season six will air in the UK later in the year on FOX