True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray Review)

tbA vampire civil war is brewing and an old vampire foe has returned to wreak havoc on the human race.  Meanwhile, the denizens of Bon Temps are approaching a new crisis with Russell Edgington, Bill and Eric are in deep with the Authority and new threats from unexpected sources loom.  Although I am a die hard “True Blood” fan, over the last four seasons I have had my share of complaints about the show.  For example, I would prefer less werewolves, fairies, and other supernatural creatures.  Often this vampire show needs more vampire action.  I’ve been waiting to see the vamps turn on the humans, and show their true nature.  Even more importantly, I’ve been waiting for the Authority to really show it’s teeth.  Season five is definitely the season of the Authority, but the whole story line was fairly disappointing.  Season four ended with an unexpected death that actually caught me off guard, and left me dying to see what happened next.  What happened next was underwhelming – however, the characters Eric, Alcide and Jason take off their clothes enough that it’s still enjoyable for me.



For those who have never seen the show, I don’t recommend starting anywhere but season one. Every season gets fairly complicated, and it’s best to refresh your memory by watching season four immediately before you start season five. You really need to watch all the episodes to grasp who the characters are and why they are doing the crazy things they do.

Fans of Alexander Skarsgård, and the character Eric Northman, will be very happy to know that Eric is prominently featured throughout this season. Personally I wouldn’t mind if the writers deleted Sookie Stackhouse all together at this point. There are some really good episodes mixed in with a lot of mediocre episodes. I still think that mediocre True Blood is better than most shows on television. With so much going on, briefly summarizing the season is near impossible. Avoiding spoilers is hard as well. If I had the time I’d write two reviews – one for people who haven’t watched it yet and one for those who have. Alas, I do not have the time and I have tried to avoid sharing any big spoilers during this review.

“True Blood” The Complete Fifth Season contains the following episodes:

  1. Turn! Turn! Turn! – After tragedy strikes the group, yet again Sookie and Lafayette have to clean up the mess and decide what to do for/about Tara.  The Vampire Authority has their sights set on Eric and Bill while the werewolves are after Sam.  A story arc for Terry and his family gets underway that will last the season. Alcide tells Sookie that Russell Edgington has returned.  The season ended with a bang but the season opener was less than I expected. One thing the writers need to realize is that it’s not shocking when people die on this show – even if they are “main” characters. This show is so out there that even if people die, there are multiple reasons you could see them again later in the series. 
  1. Authority Always Wins – Bill and Eric are introduced to Salome as they are taken by the authority.  Terry’s behavior is becoming increasingly unpredictable.  Sookie installs a vampire protection device, fearing for her safety knowing Russell Edgington has returned.  Alcide and factions of his werewolf pack are at odds as the last packmaster is gone.  Of all the things I didn’t care for this season, the werewolf story line is at the top of that list. I don’t care who is the packmaster, how you become one or why. I like Alcide and it’s always fun to see him at odds with various vamps – beyond that there is nothing more I need to know about werewolves. Alcide should talk less and take off his shirt more, if you ask me. 
  1. Whatever I Am, You Made Me – Russell Edgington has returned and the reverend becomes the spokesman for the vampires.  Andy’s (Chris Bauer) past comes back to haunt him and Jason revisits old times with his teacher, and former fling.  This was one of my least favorite episodes as I’m already sick of the authority and I am probably in the minority of people who wouldn’t care if Salome and Roman both met the true death.  I miss Nan – she was entertaining.
  1. We’ll Meet Again – Eric and Bill search for Russell Edgington while Roman and Salome interrogate the suspected Sanguanistas.  They are searching for the identity of a traitor on their council.  They lose me with all the vampire politics and the council.  They could have done a lot more with the idea that some vampires want to mainstream and others want to eat humans without making it into a vampire religion.  The writers could simplify a lot and have a greater impact on the story.
  1. Let’s Boot and Rally – Bill and Eric decide to use Sookie to find Russell Edgington.  Terry and his former superior officer Patrick (Scott Foley) are on the run from the creature that hunts them after they were cursed on the battle field.  I’ve never gotten into the story line about Arlene and Terry and it gets less interesting as Terry mentally unravels.  This series did not need another thing going bump in the night.
  1. Hopeless – Another Terry-heavy episode as he deals with the curse of fiery thing that threatens his life and his family. Pam intervenes during a vampire altercation at Fangtasia. And Alcide steps up to challenge a member of the pack.  There is always something interesting going on at Fangtasia, and I love Pam episodes.  She always has great attitude and even better dialogue.  Unfortunately the werewolf story arc isn’t holding my interest.
  1. In the Beginning – Sam investigates who shot the shifters.  Alcide prepares for the big wolf fight.  The council member in question is revealed.  The end of this episode made me wonder if I’ll break up with this show one day.  If I didn’t already love the previous seasons so much, I probably wouldn’t watch this at all.
  1. Somebody that I Used to Know – Sookie and Jason visit the place their parents died and start to learn that the accidental death was anything but accidental.  Eric sobers up while everyone else is high on Lilith.  Lafayette holds a fake séance to get rid of Terry’s curse and is shocked when the real culprit makes an appearance.  Luna shifts into Sam in an emotional moment.  Sookie and Jason learning more about their parents is one of the story lines I don’t mind. But at this point, I feel like taking notes on each episode so I can remember what the heck is going on with everyone and why I should care.
  1. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Sookie gets a clue that might help her solve the mystery surrounding her parent’s death.  Arlene finds herself in the middle of the issues between Patrick and Terry.  Andy and Jason are after the shifter killers.   Eric and Bill are the most interesting part of this episode as the tension mounts.  At this point I wonder if you need to see the whole season for all these details to make sense, because right now I just see way too many details.
  1. Gone, Gone, Gone – There’s a new sheriff in town and he orders Pam and her new progeny to create more vamps.  The vampire attacks are increasing and the authority wants to hide that while bumping up their numbers.  Sam and Luna are searching for her daughter Emma, who has been taken as the reverends pet.  I’m starting to think what this show needs is more Pam and Pam and Eric together would be a huge bonus.  This episode is redeeming the season a bit as I’m looking forward to the next episode.
  1. Sunset – Lilith further commands and confuses her followers.  A military official has the reverend snacking on co-eds on tape and threatens to release the damning footage.  Sookie’s fairy friends take her to see an elder to get answers.  Alcide and his father (Robert Patrick) spend some white trash wolf time together.  The fairies need to go.  Sookie is part fairy and that makes vamps want to eat her more than usual.  That’s as far as the fairy plot needs to go.
  1. Save Yourself – Andy’s light pact with a fairy comes back to haunt him in unexpected ways.  As the final episode, it comes with the expected “shocking” ending as Eric and Bill’s futures seem are very uncertain.  The cliffhanger is enough to make me wonder where the next season is going.  I hope to a much simpler place.  With so many big stories, the writers would do well to fully explore a few rather than dip into dozens.



While I will complain about the writing, I won’t complain about the 1080p AVC encoded video presentation.  There are slight issues with grain and shadows but the season looks good overall.  HBO always delivers a rich and colorful show with an amazing range of colors and textures simply dedicated to blood.



The DTS- HD Master Audio 5.1 track is certainly satisfying.  The dialogue is intelligible and consistent as the Bon Temps environment comes to life.  Directionality is noticed and you truly feel it each time a vampire is reduced to a squishy mess. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, Latin, Spanish, Brazilian, Portugese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.


Special Features   

HBO never fails to offer intricate and well thought out features, impressive in quantity and quality. The following features are exclusive to the Blu-ray:

  • True Blood Episode Six Autopsy – Cast and Crew dissect the episode Hopeless. This is my favorite feature and I wish they had done this with other episodes.
  • Authority Confessionals – Nora, SKibwe, Rosalyn, Salome, Steve and Russell are in character as they discuss their respective histories.
  • Enhanced Viewing – Every episode has the optional enhanced viewing mode with character bios, vampire histories, hints/fyis as well as flashbacks and flash forwards.
  • True Blood Lines – This interactive guide helps you navigate the various relationships – past and present.

The following features are found on both the DVD and Blu-ray:

  • Inside the Episodes – The backstories on each episode can be found in these featurettes with interviews with the show writers.
  • Audio Commentaries – Five audio commentaries for “We’ll Meet Again”, “Somebody That I Used to Know”, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, “Sunset” and “Save Yourself” featuring the cast and crew.
  • Previews and Recaps
  • A Digital Copy of this season is included as well

Final Thoughts   

For a season that disappointed me often, I’m still willing to give it rather high marks.  I liked past seasons where Eric and Bill fought over Sookie.  It’s weird to me that Bill is consumed with Lillith and the authority and rarely seems to care about Sookie.  Pam in her yellow Walmart sweatsuit make the season worth watching for me.  The melodrama needs to be kept in check and the writers would do well to simplify a lot of the stories.  I hope they get back to the basics in the next season and show us more of what it’s like to be a human in a world of hungry vamps.  This is not my favorite season but I liked it enough that I’m willing to continue watching the show.  If I were the writers I’d start next season by piling the useless/boring characters in a bus and staging a fiery crash.  Then I’d focus on the characters that made this show great.  It also helps that the audio and video quality and the exclusive special features were good enough to that they kept the overall rating fairly high.

 Order your copy today!

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3 Responses to “True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I tried watching this season twice. Got as far as episode 7 the second time around, but couldn’t make it. As a fan of this show, I found this season to be simply indigestible. And that’s sad considering how good it used to be before they brought in all this fairy garbage.

  2. Jami Ferguson

    Fairy garbage is my number one complaint, Brian. I’m sticking with it but this was an awesome show that’s now…not!

  3. Allie

    The fairy stuff annoys me to no end. I am also tired of the multitude of creatures. I’d love to see it get back to the Bill/Sookie/Eric story lines with more Pam thrown in. And Alcide shirtless.

    That said, I’m looking forward to putting my two True Blood cookbooks to good use on Sunday, when the next season premieres.