True Blood has been limping along all season, trying to convince us the plot is crazy like a fox instead of just plain crazy. Most of us have lost hope and if we're still watching it's because Alexander Skarsgard deserves our support and because "concerned Jason Stackhouse" is the best Jason Stackhouse, even when he's surrounded by nonsensical plots that flow together like a river of nuts and bolts clanking through a funnel. But with Sunday night's big death and the potential loss of a few other characters, could True Blood be cleaning up its hapless plot-spewing spree enough to return a few shreds of watchability to the once engrossing supernatural romp?
Let's do a little math to determine the outcome, shall we?
Character Loss: Terry's Bullet to the Neck
Terry Bellefleur has long been a miserable character. When he finally got a slice of happiness with Arlene, Scott Foley's Patrick came traipsing through Bon Temp, reminding Terry that an insatiable fire monster was bearing down on them. The plot was in a word: Horrendous. It sucked up precious minutes of plot time with no payoff, even for those of us temporarily thrilled at the chance to see Noel Crane back on television as a crazed ex-soldier. In the end, Terry shot Patrick and his guilt has been his entire story line throughout Season 8. And while it makes sense that Terry would feel that way, it's hard to emotionally connect to the results of a plot that basically drove us nuts for an entire season.
When Arlene's plan to have Terry glamored so he doesn't kill himself backfires (because, as you may recall, Terry has asked his friend to kill him at a moment when Terry's not expecting it) and Terry winds up lifeless on the dirt lot behind Merlott's, it's a bit sad. Terry was a good guy and he's been on the show forever, but the sick part is: it really clears up some much needed space in the plot. Now let's just hope Terry will not have died in vain.
Character Gain: Andy's Fae Daughter Now Has a Character Name
Just when you think things are getting cleaned up, a very minor character steps up and becomes something more. Damnit. Andy's only surviving fae daughter asks her pop for a name and he gives her four names that sound like a hacky parody of creative names in the deep South: Adeline-Braylynn-Sharlaine-Danica. Did I mention the actress is drop dead gorgeous and that she possesses a draw not unlike young Jess just before Bill was forced to make her a vampire way back when? All signs point to Adeline becoming a full-fledged character.
Character Loss: Emma and Her Grandma Hit The Road
After Nicole finds Emma crying in the bathroom, she decides to tell Sam that he shouldn't keep her because a life of running is terrible for a child. She's right, but there are two options right now: Sam the runaway or Alcide 2.0 and his ravenous pack of fornicating beasts. Fortunately for Emma, it seems we've underestimated Martha, who's willing to ditch her pack for the rest of her life in order to take Emma away from Sam (and, to a lesser extent, the Funyons that Sam apparently lets her shovel into her face). The duo hop in a car and ride away, and if we're lucky, their stories will never again grace an episode of True Blood. Both characters were accessories of other characters whose stories have dramatically changed. They're just clogging the plot; let them stay gone, alright?
Character Gain: Nicole, The Buzzkill, Is Sticking Around
We lost the cute, little girl who sometimes turns into a cute, little husky and instead we've got a Shifter activist who looks like she jumped out of a Levi's ad and into Sam's open arms. This would be more fun and far more acceptable if these two characters had any chemistry. I almost wish Alcide did the wrong thing when he found them. If he'd rip them to shreds, they'd no longer be taking up precious minutes with their non-plot and Alcide would finally have a decent storyline as he wrestled with his massive amounts of guilt. But we weren't so lucky.
Character Loss: Ding, Dong The Tyrant's Dead
Bill finally acts like the God he supposedly is (with the help of Warlow's blood) and walks in the sun to the Governor's house where he uses his sudden super powers to make the guards kill each other so he can kill the Gov (Lilith's "Tyrant rising"). Luckily, the man with the golden Col. Sanders impression is finally gone. We'll still have Sarah and the entire LAVTF, but that eliminating that man and his incredible penchant for whining is a respectable victory.
Character Gain: Willa's One of the Gang Now
As her father literally has his head ripped off, Willa becomes an official member of our favorite vampire gang. When Eric summons her from the General Population prison room, she pulls a series of fancy and totally impossible maneuvers (none of which we actually get to witness), frees Eric and Nora (who's dying from a vampire-killing virus injection), gets them LAVTF costumes, and helps them escape. Look, she's cute and it's nice that she likes vamps, but do we really need another new face in that over-stuffed vamp crowd? Especially when Sookie is seriously considering (and maybe even in the actual process of) letting Warlow turn her.
Character Loss: Sookie's Murderous Parents GTFO
Speaking of Sookie, she takes a big step and spiritually emancipates herself from her parents this week. Bill lets Warlow out so he can rescue Sookie and expel the murderous Mr. Stackhouse from Lafayette's abused shell - the man really needs his own storyline, stat. Sookie tells her father's ghost to "get the fuck out of my life" and she completes her father's worst nightmare by having light-emitting faerie sex with Warlow while he's tied to a gravestone with an angel on it. Buh-bye, Stackhouse parents.
Character Loss: Lilith to Bill: We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together.
Like, ever. Taylor Swift's got nothing on Lilith, who responds to Bill's accusation that she started this Human-Vampire war by leaving him on his own and demanding that he never contact her again. If Swift's revenge is like writing basic angry poetry, Lilith's is like throwing your ex's prized possessions into a lake... after you put them in his car, set it on fire, and pushed into a lake. Let's hope she and her naked, blood-drenched minions stay true to their word, or we may have to sing Swifty's catchy breakup tune to the HBO series itself.
Results: If all goes well, we're netting one character loss. This means the plot (which is still absolutely bananas) will be slightly cleaner or the writers were just making room for something else far more distracting and complicated. Of course, if that distracting and complicated thing happens to be giving Lafayette a decent, robust plot for the first time since his hunny Jesus died, that's an overabundance of story we just might be willing to accept.