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True Blood, Ep. 6.03: “You’re No Good” is…no good

True Blood, Ep. 6.03: “You’re No Good” is…no good


True Blood, Season 6: Episode 3 – “You’re No Good”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Mark Hudis
Airs Sunday nights at 9 on HBO

I think when I tried to maintain some level of optimism about True Blood last week, I was probably coming to the beginning of this season hoping it wouldn’t be any less a mess than the last couple years – to hope that it can become pure fun again is too much of a stretch at this point. It’s not like these first few episodes of season six are noticeably worse than the material from last season; but they’re still bad, and maybe that’s where I had my expectations mixed up: with a show that used to be fun and has descended into nonsense, it’s not okay just to want it to be less nonsensical. If the writing used to be fun, then it’s necessary for us to expect it to get back to some kind of fun even without Alan Ball. “You’re No Good” is not fun. It’s not much of anything, really. It’s an hour-long time-sink that I suspect will define the True Blood episode leading up to the show’s conclusion. It’s a continuation of a story involving these characters who have become more familiar, but that continuation isn’t very necessary at this point. Sookie suggests to her fairy grandfather that she’s been surrounded by so much danger in her life than she withholds fear for situations that really require it. But that, for the audience, isn’t a good enough excuse for how unreal and disconnected True Blood is for the viewer. Not since shortly after the show premiered has it even come close to conveying the repercussions of the events that happen. These characters are too invincible (even the humans) and have overcome the same scenarios so much that we just expect them to do it again and again.

That’s probably not that high on the list of things that True Blood should be criticized for, though it’s still a legitimate gripe. While I feel like the stakes of the show have been elevated based on the nature of the stuff that’s working against Billith and Sookie right now, it has taken the narrative to a place in which characters don’t feel real anymore. I’m intrigued by the villains and the danger this season, but it has made the primary sub-plots feel like they’re more concerned with story than character and it has made the secondary sub-plots (the shifters versus werewolves) pretty much useless. Maybe that wouldn’t be a problem in its own right, but True Blood seasons are twelve hour-long episodes, and if all of that is focused on plot and the plot isn’t moving at a good enough pace or effectively in general, we don’t have the luxury of falling back on interesting characters to pick up the slack because the characters have become more hollow. As someone who really, really liked Lafayette before (especially with Jesus), it’s frustrating to get a caricature of that person on the screen (Community had a similar problem this season, where the writing felt more like fan fiction than original scripts). There are still interesting elements in play if just because of how little we know about them, such as Warlow, but if 99% of True Blood‘s fanbase gave up on it next week, I wouldn’t feel like I would have to come to its defense.