Sunday night on HBO: Mad Dash to the Finish Line

Our intrepid correspondent analyzes the season’s second-last episodes of HBO’s trashiest offerings.

True Blood

After tonight, there is one episode left in season five of True Blood.

You can draw your own conclusions from what I’m about to tell you, but you should know there’s only one episode for the proverbial shit to hit the fan in true True Blood season finale fashion.

First, the Sanguinistas are about to get divided. Lilith appears to several of them individually, including Bill and Salome, telling them each, “Only one can lead us. I choose you.”

Awww, shit’s about to get crazy in Bon Temps! Are all the Sanguinistas going to kill each other in a desperate attempt to cinch the “leader” position? Is this some kind of crazy blood/sex cult? Is Lilith an anarcho-vampire, trying to cause global chaos for no reason other than that she felt like it? Is she even real?! Only 158 hours (give or take) to go to find out!

In other news, Jessica tells Bill she’ll turn Jason into a vampire in a desperate bid to get out of the Authority compound in order to save him. He sends two bodyguards along with her to ensure she gets the job done, but Jason shoots ‘em dead after Jessica fake-drains him. She tells him about Russell and Steve being on the loose.

Eric and Nora — who call each other brother and sister, but who ain’t in any kind of brother/sister relationship I’ve ever seen (but it is the South…) — get into some steamy and multitasking sexytimes during which they hatch a plan to escape the compound and get the word out to humans that they’re all about to be somebody’s meal. They successfully make it out of the compound after Eric stakes a pair of bodyguards.

At Fangtasia, Pam takes the fall for killing Elijah and gets arrested, and both her and Jessica, who’s been hiding out at Fangtasia after saving Jason, get brought to the compound.

As for Sookie, she hides out in fairyland, trying to mobilize the others to fight the vampires. After being asked by a loopy fairy elder to vote yes or no on Kesha and Boyz II Men (she says yes to the Boyz, BTW), Russell, Steve and Jason (who had been glamoured into telling the vampires where the fairy portal is) appear and go hog wild at the intoxicating fairy smell. When the loopy elder steps out of the portal to confront them, she gets devoured by Russell — who then is able to see the portal and the gaggle of fairies hiding out in it.

Also, P.S., fairies have one-week gestation periods. In related news, Andy Bellefleur’s about to be a daddy!

Best lines:
“Totally. Maybe later we can braid each other’s hair and talk about boys. Fucking baby vamps.” – Pam to Jessica, after Jessica thanks her for letting her hide out at Fangtasia.

“I’m a bitch, not a snitch” – Lafayette to Arlene, after she and Terry get into some G-rated PDA at Merlotte’s.


The Newsroom
As Part II to last week’s Part I, last night’s episode was understandably a continuation of more or less the same tripe as the previous episode: Casey Anthony, Anthony Weiner and the same old bucket o’clusterfucks.

Don gets flowers at the office from some girl he banged when he and Maggie were on the outs… but, *gasp*, Maggie didn’t know they were that kind of broken up! You know, the kind when you see other people? Yeah, but Jim knows — he signed for the flowers and obviously read the card. Of course.

Meanwhile, Jim’s still trying to woo Maggie’s friend Lisa. By the end of the episode, he and Maggie succeed in convincing Lisa to give Jim another chance — right before Don tells Maggie he’s been banging other chicks! What are you doing hooking Jim and Lisa up, Maggie? Just fuck him already! (There’s only one episode left to this season, and I don’t want the past however many Sundays I’ve been writing this HBO roundup to be for naught!)

Anyway, the episode begins with the power failure that closed the previous one — a glimmer of hope for MacKenzie, who thinks it’s a sign they shouldn’t do the stories she’s loath to do. But just as she’s getting the newsroom riled up over their recent mandate to do lame-o stories to generate ratings, the power comes back on and the show proceeds as normal.

Another holdover from the previous episode is the presence of Brian Brenner, aka the guy MacKenzie cheated on Will with, who just so happens to be a magazine journalist who Will knowingly invites into the newsroom to write a story about him. To punish MacKenzie, he later tells her, and maybe also to give her a little side-by-side comparison. Over three years after it all went down.

Seriously? Are these people 12? Yes, these people are exactly like drunk 12-year-olds.

What happens in the rest of the episode is inconsequential, because it’s all just filler for Sorkin to flex his writing muscles. Next week’s the season finale, guys!

Best lines:

“If I were a woman, I’d spend all day kissing other women. I don’t understand gay men or straight women” – Jim to Maggie, who replies with, “You know you’re talking out loud right now?” Context not important, since Sorkin’s context wouldn’t make sense anyway.

“Could somebody help Will put his pants on?” – MacKenzie to newsroom, as Will hops into the frame with both legs in one pant leg. No, I’m not kidding. ■

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