True Blood, Season 6: Episode 7 – “In the Evening”
Directed by Scott Winant
Written by Kate Barnow
Airs Sunday nights at 9 on HBO
When some reviewers – including myself – anticipated some of the stagnancy that might be felt by viewers in this current season of True Blood, one of the more likely sources of conflict was the cast of this show and just how immortal they seem to be (you know, despite that fact that some of the characters are immortal). It’s probably not accurate to say that True Blood has quelled that issue, but it took a huge stride in that direction when, last week, Terry bit the bullet. “In the Evening” brings another death – a true death – to one of True Blood‘s supporting characters: Nora. And this is where the “probably not accurate” comes into play, because Nora’s death is only meaningful to us in terms of how we experience it through Eric’s perspective. She wasn’t a particularly developed character, nor was she someone we have spent five or so years with.
This issue of how the main cast has been able to survive this long isn’t just an issue of believability. If that were a concern of ours, we’d have completely given up on True Blood a long time ago. The issue comes from death meaning something. When there’s so much meaningless death in a show like this, it makes it difficult to feel anything towards a death that should mean something, because we’ve been conditioned otherwise. Terry is a good exception to this. Within all the carnage of this season – and in an episode where another noteworthy character died – Terry’s death meant something to us partly because we saw its affect on Arlene and partly because we saw how it fit into some of the themes and tropes of True Blood. Nora’s death doesn’t have the benefit of the latter. All it does is make us feel bad for Eric. And this is where thinning out the main cast might reap better rewards for the show going into next season. There needs to be more to emotionally draw in this viewership that is mostly sticking around for the sake of it – not because their favorite vampire show is as good as it used to be.
That said, “In the Evening” still works just fine as an individual episode and continues an upwards trend in quality that the season has taken over the past few episodes. Finally, the Sam/Alcide conflict is being tied to something (Terry’s death means Sam isn’t going to ditch Bon Temps completely and forever). And just about everything else – from Jessica’s request to see the vampire that nobly refused to rape her for the human’s experiments down to Sarah going full-bat-shit-insane with her religious convictions – entertains in some way. Billith’s scene with Andy, in which they talk about the duties that come with being a father, is especially good viewing since it didn’t involve glamouring to settle a score that will probably be bubbling under Andy’s skin for the rest of his life.
As we reach the last stretch here – whether or not it leads us to the fulfillment of the vision of our favorite vampires being toasted – let’s continue having some Sunday night, summertime fun.