HBO Sunday Night Roundup: Murder, He Wrote

Our intrepid writer continues her quest through the murky swamps of HBO’s Sunday night programming with round-ups of True Blood and The Newsroom.



Now that all five of the Tru Blood manufacturing plants around the world have been burnt to the ground by a faction of bloodlusting vampires, Bon Temps has become a veritable ghost town at night.

A 50 per cent spike in vampire attacks is being reported, and Lilith and her disciples couldn’t be more pleased. Except Russell, that is — he’s decided to throw out his relatively newfound religious convictions after clashing with Salome over ideologies, namely that he wants to walk in the sun. He wants to drain fairies, whose blood provides temporary vampire-strength sunblock.  “This blood is like suckin’ on heaven!” he tells Salome, not long before yelling, “I will have the sun!” and racing out of the Authority’s compound, leaving the others in stunned silence.

With Russell gone, Bill’s got a shortage of Bible-thumping vampires at his disposal. And so he tries once more to convert Eric, an avowed atheist, by drugging him with Lilith’s blood. But instead of summoning a hallucination of Lilith, Godric appears to Eric and sister Nora instead. He implores them to continue fighting the murderous contingent of vampires — but then the Lilith hallucination totally rips out the Godric hallucination’s throat!

Eric’s not having any of it, though. It’s obvious the blood of Lilith no longer has the same hold over him as it first did. Bill, perhaps sensing this, sends for Jessica, giving her the religious spiel that’d do a Jehovah’s Witness proud once she lands at the compound.

Elsewhere, Sookie is attacked by a newly-turned vampire, but she promptly stakes him with her takeout set of chopsticks. Hoyt asks Jessica to glamour him on the eve of his move to Alaska, so that he may forget the pain she and Jason caused him — she obliges, and breaks Jason’s heart in the process. Tara decapitates the new Area 5 sheriff, Elijah, after fake-murdering a human to lure him to Fangtasia.

Now that the show is in the home stretch of its fifth season, its writers are narrowing down this season’s cataclysmic ending. The vampire civil war is still very much on the table, but Sookie’s in some deep trouble after finding out she’s been promised to the vampire who murdered her parents.

After finding a mysterious scroll in the floorboards under her bed, she has her fairy brethren decode it for her, revealing a pact made in 1702 between one of her Stackhouse ancestors and Warlow, otherwise known as the ghost that came to Sookie in last week’s episode, to let her know it’s coming to get her. There’s some online speculation that Walow and Roman, the former Guardian of the Authority, are one and the same.

Anyway, there are about 10 different plot lines to tie up before the season ends in two episodes. I always marvel at the lengths creator, writer and executive producer Alan Ball goes to to tie up every season in a neat little package, and with this season being his last as showrunner, the next two weeks are bound to be a big bloody mess.



Since The Newsroom began its inaugural season, its “ripped from the headlines” approach has been chugging along at full steam, covering the most poignant pieces of recent history but leaving months-long gaps between weekly episodes.

Perhaps Sorkin overestimated how many important things actually happened since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The show, in its eighth episode, has made it all the way to May 27, 2011 — right in the middle of the Casey Anthony trial.

The episode begins with Reese Lansing, president of the ACN network, informing Will, MacKenzie and Charlie that ratings have dropped significantly since they refused to cover the trial (because MacKenzie believes it’s entertainment, not news).

Throughout the episode, the News Night staff is faced with multiple tests of faith and commitment to the integrity of journalism. If they give coverage to Casey Anthony, what else do they have to put on the backburner? MacKenzie finds herself saying no to otherwise newsworthy — and arguably more important — stories to toe the party line.

Meanwhile, a whistleblower from the National Security Agency tells Charlie ACN has gone all News of the World by wiretapping and computer cracking. It also comes to light that ACN’s CEO Leona Lansing is using a tabloid she owns to report on Will’s misdeeds, so that his ratings will plummet and she can justifiably fire him.

These are actually interesting storylines! It’s just too bad no one who’s not a journalist will actually care.

But, if Sorkin’s track record on this show is to be trusted, they’ll never be truly fleshed out and will fizzle out by next Sunday night anyway. ■

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