As I discuss about Lafayette later, Arlene especially proved to be better in the small roles (her and Lala commenting on the faery birth was hysterical) but alas, the writers put her into the spotlight again this season. Borrowing the schtick from the Faery elder, I will present my argument thusly:
For: the storyline with Patrick was one of the tightest scripted and paced storylines of the season with a very clear beginning, middle and end. It was also far better crafted than the ridiculous and trite plot of the season before with baby Mikey and Mavis.
Against: everything else. As much as I disliked their storyline from last season, I hated this even more. While the framework itself was solid – a routine mission going horribly awry – it needed and deserved a more serious vehicle to be handled properly (think Generation Kill) and it didn’t need a supernatural element. Terry’s PTSD issues have always been kind of danced around, and occasionally made fun of (c.f. Arlene’s “Did you take your meds?” comments) but never properly dealt with. It still hasn’t been. What could have been a great storyline was ultimately cheapened by the addition of Ifrit.
Worse, at times the plot gave Arlene the stupid pill. At the end of Season 4 Rene clearly warned against Patrick. When the ghost of your serial killer ex-fiancee makes it a point to visit you and tell you someone is bad news, you think you’d give him a little more credence instead of blindly trusting the guy.
All and all, the storyline was a miss.
Best moment: Terry and Arlene’s quiet side.
Although the wedding video scene went on too long, it was great seeing it (I think a better way to have handled it would have been to show less, but then include the whole thing separately either as an interactive feature or a bonus for the S5 box set). I also liked seeing Terry/Arlene together in “Sunset” when Andy was asking them for advice.
Terry and Arlene are at their best when they aren’t dealing with the supernatural, but just being human and dealing with the kind of problems that regular human couples have. Like Lafayette, a little bit of them can go a long way, but if you use properly, they really do round out the show in a good way.
Worst moment: “Suicide is for Muslims.”
It was a powerful, shocking line. But True Blood still not the right show for it.
I do want to point out to the writers that *this* is how you craft a shocking line. Last season there was much ado about Pam calling Sookie a “gash in a sundress.” It was an awful comment, but it was also coming from a character that during Season 4 the writers used to try and one-up each other with the next “shocking” one-liner. Because that was Pam’s purpose, as hateful as the line was, it wasn’t really shocking.
On the other hand, Patrick’s line came from a place of pure hatred and spite – it wasn’t just the words, it was the context and the emotion used to deliver them that gave them power.