This week’s True Blood brought some refreshingly awkward humor and entertaining twists. The episode proved that sometimes the key to the future lies in the past. Read on to find out what made “In the Beginning” relevant among the mix of sentimental comedy and heavy storylines.

The Players:

  • Director: Michael Ruscio
  • Writer: Brian Buckner
  • CastAlexander SkarsgardAnna PaquinStephen Moyer,  Denis O’Hare, Joe Manganiello, Scott Foley, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Kristen Bauer van Straten, Ryan  Kwanten, Chris Bauer, Lauren Bowles, Nelsan Ellis, Valentina Cervi

Episode Title: “In The Beginning”

Bill and Eric taste sacred blood, while Sookie wonders what her life would be like without faerie powers. Sam sniffs out several shifter shooters, and Hoyt finds a new group of friends. Alcide prepares for the worst in his face-off with J.D. by training with Rikki. Lafayette finds an unlikely ally searching for Jesus’ body in Mexico, and Lettie Mae pays Tara a visit. Terry and Arlene struggle with the introduction of the ifrit in their lives.

The Good:

  • All the Small Things: The beauty is in the details tonight, from the incredibly corny but clever one-liners to the camera angles that made us uncomfortable. Even the use of Russell cutting in on some girl’s rendition of “You Light Up My Life” is noticeably brilliant beyond just the surface appeal: “You Light Up My Life” was written as a love song, but garnered success and notoriety when Debby Boone suggested a new interpretation that it is God who lights up her life. “Born again” and drunk on the supposed blood of Lilith, we have no choice but to regard the crooner as the Antichrist, which can only suggest more lawlessness and mayhem in Bon Temps.
  • The Fine Line Between Love and Hate: When separate situations provide insight into one another, there’s a sort of magic in that union and its revelatory outcome. Hoyt’s casual induction in the shape-shifter hate group may be ridiculous, even laughable, but it’s no less credible than Peter’s assertion to Terry that “suicide is for Muslims,” and reminding him of their Marine Corps brotherhood. True Blood may have crossed the line here, but they make an excellent point in paralleling the two separate storylines–the group of rogue soldiers who murdered civilians are not so unlike the hate group Hoyt joins. Simultaneously, we get the foreshadowing of tragedy befalling the shifter hate group, just as the ifrit now haunts Terry and Patrick.
  • Past the Cheese: Was a line crossed with the Terry/Patrick scene and the Muslim comment? Maybe for some; it may have struck a nerve for others. But overall, it doesn’t. Why? Because all of the cheesiness we’ve been picking up on. All the outrageous fictional characters thrown in completely implausible situations and given cheesy lines works as a great buffer. We scoff at portions of racism thrown at us and consciously dismiss it due to the show’s tendency to be over-the-top, but not after giving our two cents on the matter.

The So-So:

  • Subplots: There are too many subplots to comment on, but at least we’re finally seeing some of them come together. As Hoyt and his new gang of friends slowly merge with the werewolves and Sam, who is sniffing out some revenge (literally!).
  • Blast from the Past: Russell, the villain we love for a personality as laid-back as his centuries-old southern drawl keeps everything lively. Now that he’s taken over the Authority, he’s put all the difficult-to-follow Roman ideas to rest. We see many characters in Arlene’s wedding tape, including a pre-beheaded Jesus. And if that wasn’t enough, Godric shows up. But why remind us of the pasts of all these characters? Although, it doesn’t take away from the storyline, it seems to add nothing either.

The Quotes:

  • Deputy Kevin: “TMI, Coronor Spencer.”
  • Hoyt: “I feel more love, I feel more acceptance in this hate group than I ever felt in church, or basketball, or anywhere.”
  • Joe: “Hate groups are about more than just hate.”
  • Jason: “I ain’t been to med school or fairy school or nothin’, so if you can put it in terms a late man could understand I’d appreciate it.”
  • Martha: “He swore on my son’s grave it wasn’t true.” Alcide: “Respectfully, Martha, your son doesn’t have a grave because ya’ll ate him.” Martha: “Don’t get literal on us, Rambo.”
  • Sookie: “I love you, too…and yes, you can eat my bacon.”
  • Jason: “You just drank from some dude you don’t even know.” Jessica: “And I suppose you know every cow you’ve eaten.” Jason: “I ain’t never fucked a cow!”  Jessica: “It’s a metaphor, idiot.”
  • Eric: “The view from up here is spectacular.”
  • Sam: “I’m picking up five men, maybe six. I’m smelling bad diets and hate and envy.” Kendra: “Is there something I need to know about you, Mr. Merlotte?”
  • Eric: “Bullshit! You can’t play the grieving widow and the leader of the coup at the same time.”

Overall:

“In the Beginning” is True Blood at its best, utilizing the cheesy fictional grounds they’ve set as a buffer to cover hard-hitting topics such as the psychology of hate groups, racism towards Muslims, and the religious allusions that pull characters from several different mythologies.

Rating: 10/10

True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Did “In the Beginning” cross the line in depicting racism and hate groups? Let us know in the comments!