Review: True Blood 6.9 “Life Matters”


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When the history of True Blood is eventually written, Life Matters will be remembered as the best episode of season 6 and perhaps as one of the best episodes of the entire series.

For a show that has occasionally been a tad too complicated and a bit too dependent on easy snark as opposed to genuine sentiment, tonight’s episode was both focused and sincerely emotional.  If an episode of True Blood could ever make you cry while still making you laugh and occasionally jump, Life Matters is that episode.

Tonight, True Blood was all about death.  While the citizens of Bon Temps gathered to say a final goodbye to Terry, the vampires got their revenge on the humans at Vamp Camp.  The Rev. Newlin finally met his well-deserved demise at the hands of Eric and the sun while Jason came close to murdering Sarah Newlin before finally relenting.

At the end of last week’s episode, Bill and Sookie were standing over Warlow’s drained body.  Well, it turns out that Warlow is not dead.  He’s just weakened.  After Sookie allows him to feed on her, she leaves for Terry’s funeral while Bill heads to Vamp Camp.

The rest of the episode very skillfully cuts back and forth from the powerful emotion of Terry’s funeral and Bill and Eric’s bloody rampage at Vamp Camp.  While those at the funeral speak of the value of celebrating life, Bill, Eric, and the vampires are literally killing every human that they can find.  While Andy and Sam talk about (and we see flashbacks of) the first time they ever met Terry, Bill is killing a human scientist by stomping his face in.  While Sookie gives her eulogy and also outs herself as being a telepath, Eric is releasing all of the female vampires and announcing, “Go forth and kill all the humans!”

Sarah Newlin, realizing that she’s literally one of only two humans left alive at Vamp Camp, climbs up to the top of the roof of the sun room and turns a wheel that opens up the ceiling.  The sun shines down on the vampires below but all of the vampires have now fed on Bill’s blood and are now immune to the sun.

Every vampire except for the Rev. Newlin, of course.

Newlin begs to be allowed to feed on Bill’s blood but none of the other vampires are willing to allow Newlin to get near him.  Finally, Eric grabs Newlin by the throat and holds him in place as the sun shines down on him.  As Sarah watches from above, her ex-husband starts to burn and then explodes into a mess of red goo.  Newlin’s last words are to declare his love for Jason Stackhouse.

As for Jason, he catches Sarah as she tried to flee Vamp Camp and, in a rather uncomfortable scene, holds a gun to Sarah’s face while she begs for her life.  Jason finally allows her to escape, saying that he doesn’t want her blood on his hands.  As hateful a character as Sarah is, I’m glad that Jason didn’t kill her.  Jason may be many things but he’s not a cold-blooded murderer.  That’s one reason why we all love him.

Bill, weakened after having been drained, lies on the floor of the sun room and has a vision of Lillith’s sirens approaching him.  They tell him that it’s time for him to come with Lillith.  Bill says that he’s not ready to go.  Fortunately, Jessica and James find him and James feeds him.

Meanwhile, Terry’s funeral ends with Arlene accepting an American flag from the Marine honor guard and Big John singing “Life Matters.”  A random old lady wonders why there’s so many black people at Terry’s funeral.  That’s just life in Bon Temps.

As the episode ends, Bill and the other vampires are celebrating in the daylight.  However, Pam sees Eric standing some distance away.  Pam tells Eric that he better not leave her.  Eric responds by doing just that, shooting off into the sky and leaving Pam by herself.

Tonight’s episode of True Blood felt almost like a series finale.  As I watched it, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t watching the end of the show or even the end of the season.  Instead, I was watching the 9th episode of a 10-episode season.  There’s one more episode and at least one more season to go before True Blood concludes.

I just hope that Eric comes back.

Random Observations:

  • Considering just how marginal his character often seemed to be in the grand scheme of things, I was a bit surprised at how touching Terry’s funeral truly turned out to be.
  • Still, as a friend of mine pointed out on twitter, dead Terry got more screen time during tonight’s episode than he ever did while he was alive.
  • If an episode of True Blood ever deserved an Emmy for editing, this is the one.
  • How is Season 6 going to end?  Is there more to the Lillith story or will next week’s episode just be about setting things up for season 7?  Your guess is as good as mine.
  • I’m sure that those of you who got this review in your e-mail might be wondering if I really did accidentally type Big Brother instead of True Blood in my initial draft of this post.  Yes, I did.  Whoops.  I also write a daily blog over at the Big Brother Blog.  My mistake was the result of me trying to write reviews of two very different shows at the same time.
  • “I love you, Jason Stackhouse!”

Review: True Blood 6.6 “Don’t You Feel Me”


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Before I review tonight’s episode of True Blood, I have to apologize for not reviewing last week’s episode.  For the past six months, I have been basically working, writing, and dancing nonstop and last week, it finally caught up with me and I nearly collapsed from exhaustion.  I’m still in the process of recovering but hopefully, I’ll be more active this week than last week.

Going into tonight’s episode, I knew that there had been a lot of speculation online about the possibility of one or more major characters dying.  A lot of people though that it might be Lafayette, especially since he was in the process of trying to drown Sookie when last week’s episode ended.  Some people thought Alcide would kill Sam and still others insisted on breaking my heart by speculating that Eric might experience the true death.

Instead, it turned out to be Terry.  That’s right.  After spending all of last season dealing with that stupid Iraqi fire demon and then spending most of this season feeling guilty for having murdered his friend Patrick, Terry appeared to have finally found some peace tonight.  Arlene and Holly recruited a vampire to erase Terry’s memory (which is really what they should have done in the first place) and Terry was cheerfully taking out the trash when his friends kept their promise to him and shot him in the neck.  Arlene rushed outside and held Terry as he died, no longer aware of why he had asked to be killed in the first place.

To a certain extent, Terry’s death was not that surprising.  If there was any major character that True Blood could afford to lose, it was Terry.  And, hopefully, his death will mean we won’t ever have to hear about that Iraqi fire demon ever again.  However, even if it wasn’t totally unexpected, it was still a perfect example of how True Blood, at its best, can so gracefully walk across the thin line between heartfelt melodrama and over-the-top satire.  We all knew that Terry was doomed as soon as he told Arlene that he had never been happier but the scene worked because both Todd Lowe and Carrie Preston gave such heartfelt performances in the roles of Terry and Arlene.  Even if there was little left for the show to do with Terry as a character, I will still miss Todd Lowe’s likable presence.

However, Terry was not the only character to meet an abrupt end tonight.  After putting himself into a coma and having a typically cryptic meeting with Lilith, Bill drank a vial of Warlow’s blood.  Now even more powerful than before, Bill confronted Governor Burrell and demanded to know why he had been having visions of all of the vampires being burned to death in a white room.  When Burrell didn’t answer quickly enough, Bill responded by ripping the Governor’s head off of his body.  And while Burrell certainly deserved the punishment, I doubt that’s going to do much to help human/vampire relations.

Governor Burrell was played by Arliss Howard and, in just six episodes, Howard had transformed Burrell from simply being a standard evil politician to being one of the best villains in the history of True Blood.  While I knew that Burrell was too evil to eventually not suffer some sort of violent death, I was surprised that it occurred at the mid-point of this season as opposed to the end of it.  I have a feeling that Sarah Newlin will take his place as the main human villain and I’m sure that Anna Camp is more than up to the job but I’m still going to miss Arliss Howard’s brand of evil.

Meanwhile, Sookie continues to consistently make the worst choices in men.  After Warlow saved Sookie from being drowned by the possessed Lafayette, Sookie took Warlow to a fairy dimension where, after she tied him up to keep him from losing control, she proceeded to let him feed on her and then did the same to him.  As they made love, their respective lights glowed together and it would have been a beautiful image if not for the fact that we know that the only Sookie gave herself over to Warlow was because Bill’s found religion, Eric’s prison, and Alcide’s off searching for Sam.

As for Eric, after he and Pam refuses to fight to death gladiator-style, Gov. Burrell forced him to watch as Nora was injected with some sort of vampire virus known as Hep V.  Then, like a typical short-sighted villain, Burrell left before Nora actually died.  While Burrell was busy having his head ripped off, Eric was summoning Willa and getting her to free both him and Nora.  Disguised as a guard, Eric discovered that the all of the new Tru Blood is being spiked with Hep V.

Jessica is also in the prison.  Sarah Newlin attempted to force her to have sex with a new vampires named James.  I don’t know if we’ll ever see James again but I hope that we do because, seriously, he’s really hot and, as opposed to every other male character on this show, he actually seems to respect women.

Meanwhile, Jason has infiltrated the LAVPD.  I just loved Ryan Kwanten’s performance tonight as he attempted to out-fascist the fascists.

Finally, Sam and Nicole … wow.  Just typing the words “Sam and Nicole” makes me want to close my eyes and go to sleep.  Seriously, I love Sam and all but he doesn’t need to be running around with a new girlfriend when Luna hasn’t even been dead for more than a week.  Anyway, Sam ended up giving Emma back to Martha and Alcide allowed Sam and Nicole to leave town but told them that if they ever returned, they would be killed by the pack.

Tonight’s episode pretty much epitomized everything that I love about True Blood.  It was over-the-top and melodramatic but, if you weren’t touched by Arlene singing as Terry died, then you just don’t have a heart.  That was True Blood at its best.

Finally, the Emmy nominations were announced last Thursday and, not surprisingly, both the Walking Dead and True Blood were pretty much ignored.  (Instead, space was made to honor the predictable political blathering of House of Cards because I guess the Emmy voters love to feel smart without actually being challenged.)  The lack of respect for televised horror ultimately say nothing about the quality of shows like True Blood and everything about the lack of guts on the part of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

What’s important is that we, the viewers, know what the best shows on television truly are.

Random Thoughts and Observations:

  • Tonight’s unofficial scene count: 42
  • Before I watched True Blood, I had to sit through a  commercial for the Newsroom.  I was just like, “Oh yay!  A chance to relive Occupy Wall Street!”  BLEH!
  • Can Lafayette ever go for two episodes without getting possessed?
  • I want to do bad thing with you, Eric.
  • I love that Jason responds to his name by saying, “The one and only.”
  • That was a sweet scene between Andy and his last remaining faerie daughter.  I would have named her Bernadette, after the patron saint of asthma sufferers.  (I’ve been praying to Bernadette a lot this past week…)
  • Arliss Howard made a wonderfully hissable villain.
  • “I just think we have the type of friendship where we  can give each other keys!”
  • “I love you, brother.”  “I love you, sister.” *Sob*

Review: True Blood 6.4 “At Last”


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(BEWARE!  SPOILERS!)

I knew it!

Seriously, I suspected the truth from the minute that Ben (Ryan Kazinsky) conveniently first showed up.  And it was even more obvious when Niall (Rutger Hauer) just happened to find Ben hanging out in that field.

Even before I saw Ben open up his veins and allow his blood to drip into Jason’s open mouth at the beginning of tonight’s episode, I knew that Ben was Warlow.

Fortunately, for once, Sookie (Anna Paquin) figured things out ahead of time as well.  After inviting Ben to her house for dinner, Sookie ended up in her underwear, straddling Warlow on the couch, and holding a ball of deadly faerie light in her hand.

Of course, before all this happened, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) ended up drinking Warlow’s blood and then started having a dream where he helped Warlow shave. (Jason’s panicked reaction — and the way Kwanten played that panic — was a definite highlight of tonight’s episode.)

Niall (Rutger Hauer) also attempted to kill Warlow but, for all of his trouble, he ended up getting tossed into another dimension.  Hopefully, this won’t be the end of Niall because Rutger Hauer’s permanently disheveled appearance has been a highlight of the season so far.

As I said, I’m not surprised that Ben turned out to be Warlow.  His sudden appearance at Bon Temps was just too convenient.  I am, however, happy that Sookie figured everything out on her own for once.

While the revelation of Ben’s true identity was the main thing that happened last night, it was hardly the only thing.  It wouldn’t be True Blood if there weren’t a hundred little subplots running through every episode.

First off, in the storyline that I really don’t care about, Alcide and the werewolves continued to search for Emma while Sam and Nicole continued to bond.  I’m not a huge fan of Nicole’s self-righteous character, nor am I that happy about the idea of Sam getting a new love interest when it’s only been a few days since Luna died.  I also don’t care much for the one-dimensional way that Alcide’s been portrayed this season.

Far more interesting was what went on between Eric and Willa Burrell tonight.  Having escaped from the governor’s storm troopers, Willa asked Eric to turn her into a vampire.  Eric proceeded to do just that in a scene that proves — as if there was any doubt — that nobody makes blood sucking as sexy as Alexander Skarsgard.  If season 5 underused Eric, season 6 is definitely making up for it!

Once Willa was transformed into a vampire, Eric ordered her to go to her father and show him what she had become.  This angered the previously virginal Willa who, now that she had been transformed into a vampire, had discovered the joys of being decadent.  However, Eric pulled the “as your maker, I order you” card and Willa went to confront her father.

When Willa arrived at the governor’s mansion, she discovered Gov. Burrell (Arliss Howard) with his lover, Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp).  The governor was shocked by what had been done to his daughter and, for a few brief moments, it was obvious that the usually smooth Burrell had no idea what to do.  However, Sarah handled Burrell’s hesitation by grabbing a gun and shooting Willa with a silver bullet.

Meanwhile, Bill (Stephen Moyer) has kidnapped Dr. Takahashi, imprisoned him in a laboratory and ordered him to synthesize a new form of blood.  Bill sent Jessica (Deboran Ann Woll) to kidnap Andy’s (Chris Bauer) four faerie daughters.  Andy’s daughters, of course, are aging at the rate of several years a day and, by the time Jessica tracked them down, they had magically transformed from being a group of mildly bratty 12 year-old to a bunch of wild teenagers.

(While I’ve been critical of this storyline in the past, tonight’s episode made perfect use of the faerie girls, as both a plot device and as a symbol of the parental fear of waking up to discover that your children have become strangers.  Add to that, there are four wild faerie girls and there are four Bowman sisters.  A coincidence, you say?  Well … yeah, probably…)

However, after getting the faeries to the mansion, Jessica lost control and ended up attacking all four of them.  As tonight’s episode  came to an end, Jessica and Bill were in the mansion, surrounded by four apparently dead faeries.  Meanwhile, Andy — having figured out where his daughters were taken — was outside, holding a silver-loaded shotgun and demanding that Bill come outside.

And that’s how things ended tonight.  Between Eric being all sexy and dangerous, Sookie seducing Warlow, and Jason acting like Jason, it was a pretty good episode.

But, seriously, here’s hoping that Rutger Hauer isn’t gone for good…

Random Thoughts and Observations:

  • Scene Count: 52
  • For those keeping count, the latest two vampires to be captured and arrested for breaking curfew are Nora and Pam.
  • Gerald Webb, one of my favorite actors and a veteran of several Asylum and SyFy films, had a small role in tonight’s episode!
  • Rutger Hauer kicks so much ass.  He needs a show next fall where he solves crimes.
  • I loved how hyper Jason was after he first woke up.
  • I related to Andy’s faerie daughters tonight.  Waking up and discovering that you apparently developed big boobs overnight?  I know what that’s like.
  • Sam made a regal horse, didn’t he?
  • “We might be thirty by the time we wake up!”
  • “Is it going to hurt?”  “Not the way I do it.”
  • “What happens next?  Are we going to fuck!?”

Review: True Blood 6.3 “You’re No Good”


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I just finished watching the latest episode of True Blood and I have to admit that I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, Bill’s acting evil again and I hate it when Bill acts evil.

On the other hand, Eric is being all dangerous and sexy and you know how much I love that.

So, as often happens when it comes to True Blood, I’m conflicted.

After spending most of the previous episode in a catatonic state, Bill spent most of this latest episode acting like a jerk.  First off, he decided to test his new powers by standing outside while the sun rose and ignoring Jessica as she pleaded with him to come back inside.  At first, it looked like Bill might actually be onto something but then the sun actually rose, Bill burst into flames, and barely managed to make it back inside the mansion.

Once Bill had healed, he sent Jessica to kidnap one of the men who first created true blood so that Bill could force the man to synthesize a new type of blood.  Not surprisingly, this involved Jessica dressing up all trampy (though I have to say that I own that same outfit and I’m thinking about being Jessica for Halloween this year, again) and flirting with the man until they were alone and she could grab him.

Bill’s plan also involved finding the perfect donor for this new blood and, as always, this led to him showing up at Sookie’s.  Even though Sookie refused to invite him in, Bill was able to enter her house and cause Jason to float in the air while he talked to Sookie.  Only after Sookie emphatically refused to be his donor did Bill leave the house.

However, Sookie isn’t the only faerie around.  As Bill walks back to his home, he runs into dumbass Andy.  While Andy explains to Bill that the governor’s curfew is in effect, he lets slip that he now has four half-faerie daughters.  A small smile comes to Bill’s lip as he congratulates Andy on his luck.

See what I mean?  Bill is acting totally evil!

Meanwhile, Eric has gained entry to the bedroom of Willa, the Governor’s daughter.  Despite initially saying that he’s going to kill her, Eric instead kidnaps her and, with the reluctant help of Pam and Tara, holds her prisoner.  Willa (who actually looks a lot like Eric’s “sister,” Nora) doesn’t really seem to mind the idea of being Eric’s prisoner and you know what?  I don’t blame her!  Seriously, for those of us who love True Blood when Eric is being all sexy and dangerous, tonight’s episode was for us!

Along with all of that, we also had Niall (played, perfectly, by Rutger Hauer) attempting to recruit a faerie army so that he could defeat Warlow.  However, it turned out that Warlow had already found most of the faeries before Niall did.  The only faerie that Niall was able to find and recruit was Ben, who — with Bill crazy and Eric kidnapping — appears to be destined to become Sookie’s love interest for the season.

Speaking of love interests, Nicole and those annoying activists showed up in tonight’s episode but the majority of them ended up getting killed by the werewolves.  A wounded Nicole was last spotted (by Sam, who was there to rescue Emma) stumbling into the woods.  Saying that Nicole needed their help, Sam followed after her.  As I said last week, I think Sam could do better.

And finally — Rev. Newlin’s back!  In case you were wondering what happened to everyone’s favorite spokesvamp, he’s currently being held prisoner and interrogated about Eric by the creepiest government doctor that I’ve ever seen.

As I said, I had mixed feelings about tonight’s episode.  On the one hand, I could tell that it was obviously laying the groundwork for something pretty spectacular.  On the other hand, Bill’s evil and I don’t want that.

So, as of this writing, I’m conflicted but hopefully, things will be a bit more clear after next week.

Random Thoughts and Observations:

  • Unofficial scene count: 58
  • Alexander Skarsgard is so freaking hot.  I know I point that out a lot but seriously…
  • Whenever I watch True Blood, I’m reminded of how happy I am that I don’t cry bloody tears.
  • Did anybody else instantly hate Nicole’s boyfriend?
  • Unlike Jessica, I was actually surprised when Bill burst into flames.
  • As far as fan service goes, I got Eric seducing the governor’s daughter and Arleigh got Jessica’s entrance at the lecture.
  • “The girl is sleeping with me because I don’t trust you not to kill her!”
  • “Fuckin’ science!”
  • “Do they have names?” “Right now, I’m just using numbers.  It seems to work.”
  • “You’re not God, Bill.  You’re just an asshole!”

Review: True Blood 6.2 “The Sun” (dir by Daniel Attias)


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After last week’s anemic season premiere, I have to admit that I was a bit worried about the direction of season 6 of True Blood.  I watched that episode and I thought to myself, “I don’t want to have to spend an entire season with Bill acting weird, Eric not having sex with Sookie, and Jason chasing around Rutger Hauer.”

What a difference a week can make!

Tonight’s episode was a return to form for True Blood.  Tonight’s episode reminded me of what made me fall in love with this show in the first place.  In short, tonight’s episode was True Blood the way I wanted it to be.

It helps that this episode featured a lot of Eric acting like Eric.  But I’ll get to that in a minute.

First off, tonight’s biggest revelation was that, despite what he said last week, Rutger Hauer is not Warlow.  Instead, he’s Sookie and Jason’s faerie grandfather and he’s specifically come to help Sookie defeat Warlow.

And I have to say that this is brilliant casting.  We, as viewers, have been so conditioned to automatically view Rutger Hauer as a villain that it’s actually surprisingly refreshing to see him playing a good guy and Hauer seems to be having a lot of fun with the role.

Anyway, Grandpa explains to Sookie and Jason that Warlow is obsessed with the Stackhouse family, specifically because the Stackhouses are actual royalty (making Sookie into a literal faerie princess).  However, Grandpa explains, Sookie can defeat Warlow by harnessing all of her light and literally going supernova.  The only side effect is that Sookie can only do this once and she’ll no longer be a faerie after doing so.  Sookie, who spent most of last season trying to deplete all of her power, immediately starts practicing harnessing her light.

And that’s probably a good idea because Warlow is already in Bon Temps.

Speaking of Sookie, before she meets her grandfather, she meets another faerie.  This one is named Ben (Rob Kazinsky) and when Sookie comes across him, he’s lying on the ground after being attacked by vampires.  Sookie nurses him back to health and it becomes obvious that the two of them are attracted to each other.  I have to admit that I groaned a little when Ben showed up.  It’s not that Rob Kazinsky isn’t cute, because he is.  And it’s not that he and Anna Paquin don’t have a lot of chemistry because they do.  However, Ben is not Eric.  For that matter, he’s not even Bill.

Speaking of Bill, he began tonight by going into a catatonic state and he remained that way for most of the episode, despite the best efforts of Jessica to wake him up.  At one point, Jessica even brought in a hilariously trashy prostitute named Veronica so that Bill could feed.  Even in his catatonic state, Bill still ended up graphically drawing out every drop of blood from her body.

While catatonic, Bill has a vision where he stands in the middle of sun-drenched field and talks to Lillith.  Lillith explains that Bill’s purpose is to save all the vampires from destruction.  The scenes between Bill and Lillith were perfectly filmed and acted, with an obvious emphasis being put on the fact that the bright sun was effecting Bill and Lillith not at all.  When Bill finally does wake up, he tells Jessica that he can now see the future.

And what is that future?

Every vampire in Bon Temps being herded into a stark, white room where, once the roof opens up, they are all burned to death by the sun.

Meanwhile, Eric has also taken it upon himself to try to prevent the future that Bill has seen.  Eric sneaks into the Governor’s mansion, confronts the governor, and attempts to hypnotize him.  The Governor (and have I mentioned how much I love Arliss Howard’s villainous performance) responds by laughing.  It turns out that the Governor is wearing special contact lenses that make it impossible for him to be hypnotized.

After managing to escape the Governor’s armed guards, Eric tracks down the Governor’s daughter, Wilma.  In a nicely gothic touch, Wilma looks out her bedroom window and sees Eric floating outside her window.  Eric asks for permission to enter and she gives it.

And seriously, who wouldn’t?

I got so caught up with the vampires tonight that I nearly forgot that some pretty important things happened to Sam as well.  I always feel bad for Sam because he literally cannot catch a break and tonight was not any different.  First off, he found himself being harassed by Nicole, a political activist from L.A. who wants Sam to come out publicly as a shape shifter.  (I have to admit that I have a sinking feeling that, with Luna dead, Nicole is going to become Sam’s new love interest.  I’m not looking forward to this development because Nicole is kind of self-righteous and annoying.)  Then, Sam ended up getting beaten up by Alcide, who has taken it upon himself to make sure that Emma is raised among the werewolves.

Seriously — bad Alcide!

I loved tonight’s episode.  If last week’s premiere felt like True Blood fan fiction, The Sun felt like true True Blood.  Hopefully, the rest of Season 6 will follow its example.

Random Thoughts and Observations:

  • Unofficial Scene Count: 53
  • That precredits sequence with Warlow appearing on the bridge was pretty effective, I thought.
  • Rutger Hauer deserves an Emmy for his delivery of the line “I am your fucking faerie grandfather.”
  • Alexander Skargard is so hot and sexy!  Oh.  My.  God.
  • The sudden appearance of Patrick’s wife reminded me of how much I disliked last season’s Iraqi smoke monster subplot.
  • I’m sure that the writers of True Blood meant for the Governor to come across as some sort of right-wing boogeyman but, to be honest, he reminds me more of our current President.
  • I love the way Jason got so excited when he said, “That makes me a faerie prince!”
  • It’s interesting to note that both True Blood and the Walking Dead feature a villain called “The Governor.”
  • “They attacked the Chuck E. Cheese yesterday.”
  • “You’re not going to read me my rights?” “You don’t have no rights, vampire.” “Well, that’s not nice.”
  • The performers on True Blood never get enough credit.  Tonight’s standout was Deborah Ann Woll.  Jessica’s episode ending prayer is definitely the highlight of the season so far.

Review: True Blood S5E10 “Gone Gone Gone”


Before I talk about tonight’s episode of True Blood, I have to offer up an apology to you, my wonderful readers.  I’m running a bit behind on writing this review because, as a result of bad weather in my area of the world, I did not get to see tonight’s episode when it was first broadcast.  Instead, I had to wait for the second showing and now, I find myself rushing a bit as I attempt to write up my thoughts on “Gone Gone Gone”

My initial response to “Gone Gone Gone” was one of very genuine surprise.  As a character, Hoyt’s been pretty annoying as of late.  Over the course of this season, he’s managed to establish himself as such an irredeemable dumbass that even Andy has started to look better by comparison.  I mean, seriously — how much sympathy can you have for someone who nearly gets everyone killed just because he somehow managed to accidentally join up with a bunch of murderous rednecks?

And yet, the best moments of tonight’s episode all centered around Hoyt.  Having finally figured out that there’s nothing left for him in Bon Temps (which, incidentally, mirrors the fact that showrunner Alan Ball has probably figured out that there wasn’t really anything left to do with Hoyt as a character), Hoyt announced his intention to move to Alaska and get a job working with a drilling crew.  However, before he left, he had a final meeting with Jessica and Ryan and, in a scene that was surprisingly moving, Jessica erased Hoyt’s memory and finally granted him the peace that he’s spent this season so desperately searching for.

As powerful as that scene was, it was nothing compared to Hoyt’s final appearance in the episode (and, I assume, the series as a whole).  When Jason pulled the oblivious Hoyt over for speeding, Hoyt greeted him by asking if he was related to Sookie.  Despite the fact that Hoyt no longer remembered him or their friendship, Jason still got a chance to say goodbye to his former best friend before going back to his cruiser and sobbing as Hoyt drove off.  This scene was especially well-played by Ryan Kwanten, who has really come into his own as an actor this season.  More and more, it’s hard not to feel that Jason has become the show’s moral center and who would have guessed that when season 5 first started?

In other Jason news, he and Sookie discovered a parchment that was hidden under the floorboards in Sookie’s bedroom.  After several attempts to get the odd writing on the parchment translated, they took it to the faeries who informed them that the parchment was a contract that essentially promised the first-born Stackhouse of fairy origin to someone named Warlow (who, I’m assuming, is the same vampire who killed Sookie’s parents).

The rest of tonight’s episode was pretty much centered around the vampires.  Because of the “terrorist” bombings of the True Blood factories, vampires are starting to feed on human beings.  (Among the unfortunate human victims is the county coroner who, after he turns into a vampire, ends up attacking Sookie and, in a funny if implausible twist, gets staked by a pair of chopsticks.)  Elijah, the greasy-haired sheriff who showed up at the end of last week’s episode, made the mistake of attempting to bully both Tara and Pam.  Tara reacted by killing him and for that, I say, “Yay, Tara!” because Elijah was seriously not a character that I was looking forward to spending too much more time with.  

Meanwhile, Rev. Newlin and Russell are continuing their creepy little courtship and Newlin is still keeping wolf puppy Emma as his personal pet.  Fortunately, Sam and Luna shifted into two of the most adorable white mice that I’ve ever seen and, as tonight’s episode concluded, they had managed to infiltrate the Authority’s underground bunker.

Bill, meanwhile, appears to have truly gone over to the other side as, during tonight’s episode, he continued to drink Lillith’s blood and even “arranged” for Eric to have a vision of Lillith killing Godric, a vision that apparently convinced Eric to come over to the Authority’s side.  As I’ve stated before, I’m not a huge fan of born again Bill and I’m still holding on to my ever dwindling hope that all of this is just some elaborate scheme of his.  On the plus side, Eric didn’t seem all that sincere about his conversion.

If there is something that might keep Bill from totally going over to the “dark side,” it’s that Russell is obsessed with drinking faerie blood and being able to walk around in daylight.  Russell is so obsessed with this idea that he gets into a violent brawl with Salome when Salome says that it’s not Lillith’s plan for them to walk in the daylight.  Denis O’Hare has always been so wonderfully decadent and evil as Russell but tonight featured some of his best moments since the third season.

After a few episodes the bordered on almost being frantic with activity and intrigue, “Gone Gone Gone” was nice change of pace with scenes (and characters) being allowed to naturally develop and the show’s signature melodrama a bit muted to make room for reflection.  The result was a surprisingly moving episode that will be remembered as one of the best of season 5.

Random Thoughts and Observation:

  • Tonight’s unofficial scene count: 32
  • They killed off my favorite minor supporting character tonight.  Molly, the wonderfully sarcastic techie vampire, was staked and wow, didn’t Rev. Newlin just go so excited by it all?  I really hope somebody stakes Rev. Newlin before the end of this season.  He’s a putzhead.
  • How neat was it when Lafayette and Sam were both taking care of those rednecks in the bar?  I like it when Sam gets to be all manly and stuff.  Not as much as I like it when Alcide does it but, unfortunately, Alcide is apparently still hanging out in that trailer with his drunk dad.
  • There’s an art to acting confused and Ryan Kwanten has mastered it.  Seriously, his performance of Jason has been one of the season’s highlights.
  • Only two (count ’em) more episode left this season!

Review: True Blood S5E9 “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”


(SPOILERS)

Tonight’s episode of True Blood saw the apparent conclusion of two storylines.

First off, do you remember how, two weeks ago, I predicted that the Dragon would turn out to be Bud Dearborn (William Sanderson)? 

Well, I was kinda right.  The Dragon wasn’t Bud Dearborn.  Instead, the Dragon was Sweetie, the plump woman who Bud had taken up with since leaving his wife.  We really didn’t find out too much about the Dragon, beyond the fact that she’s a bit on the heavy-side and she enjoys square dancing and, quite frankly, I felt a little bit let down by the revelation that, after all the build up and mystery, the Dragon was just a broadly drawn stereotype.  It is true that, in the past, True Blood has effectively used stereotypical characters to make a bigger point but tonight, the revelation that Sweetie was the Dragon just fell flat.

I have mixed feelings about how the whole “Obamas” plotline was wrapped up during tonight’s episode.  At its best, the storyline managed to show how prejudice is often the product of people feeling as if they have no power over their lives, no hope for the future, and that they need a scapegoat to hold responsible for their own failures.  As well, I also appreciated that the show actually had them wearing Obama masks because, quite frankly, it’s the closest any show has come to poking fun at the President since the South Park election episode way back in 2008.  It has nothing to do with the Obama’s politics or my own beliefs.  I just happen to believe that all leaders, regardless of who they are or what they represent, should be frequently ridiculed. 

(Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom may get more critical acclaim but trust me — Aaron Sorkin will never have the guts to write an episode featuring a murderer in a Barack Obama mask.)

After a nice build up, however, it was hard not to be disappointed with how conventional and predictable the conclusion to the whole Obamas subplot eventually turned out to be.  Sookie, with the aid of helpful spirits that happened to be hanging out in her bedroom, figured out that Bud Dearborn might know who killed her parents.  She went to see him about it and ended up getting knocked out by a frying pan-weilding Sweetie.  

When she came to, Sookie discovered that she was tied up and trapped in a pig pin with Hoyt (and I have to say that I cringed a little at this because I grew up near enough farms that I have first hand experience with just how disgusting pigs really are).  Luckily, it turned out that Dearborn and Sweetie were the type of villains who can’t ever just kill anyone without delivering a lengthy monologue beforehand.  This, fortunately, gave Sam, Luna, Andy, and Jason time to show up at the barn and save the day.  It also gave Andy a chance to prove his worth as a lawman by gunning down Bud Dearborn.

Meanwhile, in this episode’s other major plotline, True Blood factories across the world are being bombed and both vampires and humans are in a panic.  Tara, at first, suggests to Pam that they should stock up on their supply of True Blood but Pam informs Tara that they will keep selling True Blood and, once they run out, they will discreetly feed on humans.  Meanwhile, the Rev. Newlin is condemning the bombings, despite the fact that the Authority is secretly responsible.

That’s right.  The new Salome-led Authority has figured out that the easiest way to provoke a war between humans and vampires is to cause a True Blood shortage.  When Eric asks Bill if he truly thinks this is a good idea, Bill replies that he’s not sure but that he does know that he saw Lillith  earlier.  When Eric and Molly, the cool techie vampire who is my favorite new character this season because she just seems so annoyed with everything in general, attempt to escape from Authority Headquarters, they are apparently betrayed by Bill.  So, is Bill now a true believer or does he have a plan of his own?  I’m betting on the latter.

Speaking of manipulative vampires, Russell and the Rev. Newlin paid a visit on the wolf pack where, after putting J.D. in his place, Russell proceeded to take Emma (in wolf puppy form) out of Martha’s hands and gave her to the Rev. Newlin.  While I’m always happy to see wolf puppy, this development made me go, “Agck!”  Seriously, Rev. Newlin’s perpetual smile is so creepy!

Along with the Obamas, another subplot concluded with tonight’s episode but it was a subplot that nobody ever really cared that much about so I’ll just say that Terry finally killed Patrick and the fire demon appeared to be satisfied.  So, good for Terry and Arlene.

Random Thoughts and Observations:

  • I have to admit that tonight’s episode was not one of my favorites.  Part of the show’s appeal has always been its willingness to go to extremes but tonight’s episode felt over the top even for True Blood.
  • I also felt a bit cheated that the scene that popped up in all the previews for this episode — Bill apparently biting Sookie — turned out to just be an elaborate hallucination on Bill’s part.  It’s hard not to feel that the show didn’t play fair as far as that was concerned.
  • Tonight’s unofficial scene count: 45.
  • Performance-wise, this episode really belonged to Chris Bauer.  Andy may not be the smartest character on the show but Bauer brought some much needed depth to the role on tonight’s show.
  • Though she only had about a minute of screen time, Dale Dickey continues to make a strong impression in the role of Martha.
  • I would have to go back and rewatch the previous seasons to know for sure but some people online are complaining that Bud Dearborn’s villainy seemed to come out of nowhere.  Simply going by my own faulty memory (and please remember, I do not claim to be a True Blood expert, merely a fan of the show), I can see their point.  The episode seemed to suggest that Sweetie was the one who brought out his evil side but still…
  • William Sanderson, incidentally, is one of my favorite character actors.  He has a special talent for creating Southern eccentrics (which may be because he apparently is a Southern eccentric himself) and I have to admit that I was a little sad to see his character so casually killed off tonight.
  • “I ain’t gmail for dead bitches!”
  • “I may be like a week old but I ain’t an idiot.”
  • Only 3 more episode left in the season!