If Alcide Herveaux – not Joe Manganiello, but Alcide Herveaux – knows what nihilism means, I’ll drink Lilith’s blood.
The problem with smart writers on a show about dumb people is that they sometimes can’t resist proving to the audience that they’re smart.
But that’s okay. It’s all okay. Because this is a television show. About vampires. And werewolves. And fairies. And were-panthers. And shape-shifters. Remember that.
It’s ridiculous. And it’s awesome.
Detractors, say what you will about the outlandish storylines. The inclusion of outlandish storylines has been a de facto part of the series since season two… or season one, depending on just how outlandish you consider vampires. But there is no show (that I’m watching) willing to go all the way to make it exciting the way this show is. There is no dipping your toe into the water with True Blood – there is only a face-first plant into the deep end. We might’ve been able to anticipate Russell’s demise by the end of the episode… but in the cold open? No way. That is why This. Show. Kicks. Ass.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m devastated to see Russell go, but I’m a sucker for storylines that make bold moves without pretense or excess build-up, so farewell Russell, you crazy German/Southern bastard. I guess now all we have to look forward to is the reaction of Gay Vampire-American Reverend Steve Newlin, who seems to be the only non-Bill member of the Authority remaining.
Yes, this finale was a bloodbath – in more ways than one. Sam causing the Texas chancellor to explode was certainly an inventive way to kill her off… and probably one of the more disgusting things I’ve ever seen.
This was an episode of extremes, come to think of it, which, I suppose, is what a season finale should be. Aside from that particularly graphic death, the entire fairy birth scene was sublimely bizarre, and Nora and Eric flying around the Authority chamber and hacking all the guards to death was just awful.
So aside from the future of Steve Newlin, we have a few other questions to ponder during the hiatus. Like, what’s the deal with Warlo? What’s going on with Jason’s visions of his parents? How is Sheriff Bellefleur going to handle his new brood? And will he have any help from Holly? Also, how much bleach do I have to drink and/or pour into my eyes to forget that the writers are forcing a Tara/Pam relationship on us? I can’t even speak of it; it’s so horrible.
Okay, maybe I can speak of it a little. I mean, what the hell does Rutina Wesley have on Alan Ball? Or is she just THAT wonderful a person that they can’t bear to let her go? Because it seems so transparent to me that they’re desperately trying to hold on to one of the show’s most despised characters by changing her role in the show completely and pairing her up with one of the shows most beloved characters. Horrible.
Okay, on to more pleasant topics, like the Pam love interest I DO approve of – how sweet was the small moment between her and Eric as Pam got onto the elevator? I loved it. There were also some really great individual scenes that were interesting as standalones regardless of how they moved the plot, and come to think of it, they both have to do with shifters. The first was when Bill addressed the troops about the shifter breach; it gave us really cool insight into Bill’s leadership and power and threat response. And of course, when Luna shifted into Gay Vampire-American Reverend Steve Newlin, that was just freaking hilarious. I like it when a show really goes all out to acknowledge and explore all of the potential applications of a gimmick – like shape-shifting. True Blood is not always great about it (e.g. Sookie’s mind reading), but these two scenes were a good example of showing how this particular gimmick could really be exploited in this particular universe.
So, let’s address the giant blood-dripping elephant in the room. Bill, to the surprise of no one, is officially a sociopath and double-crossed Salome, leading to pretty gnarly death. He then drank Lilith’s blood, died and was “reborn” as what the interwebs has termed “Bilith.”
It appears Bill may be our big bad next season, so we have another 12 episodes or so to figure out the form his eventual redemption will take. Or maybe he isn’t redeemed. After all, we got a pretty solid reason for him embracing Lilith’s teachings – he’s always felt alienated by the inherent “evil” of his existence, and Lilith’s dogma absolves him of that evil and calls it natural and right and even holy. So, perhaps this is the writers’ way of getting rid of Bill and recasting the main love interest with fan favorite Eric. I can’t think of a show that’s set up one couple only to successfully transitioned to another. Remember when Friends tried to make Joey and Rachel happen? In the end, though, it was back to Ross and Rachel. But hey, if any show can do it, True Blood can.
This is the first in a series of quick blogs I’ll be doing about a few different shows. I say quick blogs for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve recently come to the show and don’t have the self control to wait and write 1,000-word reviews between watching episodes. Second, I have a full time job and just don’t have the time to write six or seven reviews every week. I hope you’ll all forgive me.
First up on the chopping block: Rome.
Rome is a show often whispered in the same breath as Deadwood, although I hardly ever hear it mentioned very often when people are bandying about other high profile shows like The Wire, The Shield, The Sopranos, etc. It’s interesting to note that before David Milch pitched Deadwood, he pitched his own show set in Rome that dealt with a lot of the same themes.
But while Deadwood focused on how communities are formed on a grittier, ground level, Rome did the same thing, just from a bird’s-eye view. Rome pays more attention to actual history than Deadwood ever did, and there’s a LOT of history the show’s trying to cram inside itself. To make all of this a little easier to swallow, we’re introduced to two men: Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson). These two are the Everymen who get caught up in the battle between Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus at the birth of the Roman Empire.
The pilot episode does a good job weaving in and out of the macro of Caesar and Pompey’s political machinations against each other and the micro of Lucius and Pullo’s relationship. The two are thrown together against their will. Lucius, having been charged with finding Caesar’s standard after it’s stolen by BRIGANDS enlists the help of Pullo, who the day before was sentenced to death for striking Lucius during one of the Roman’s last battles with the Gauls. Lucius figures that Pullo’s dead already, and since they probably won’t find the standard and be disgraced anyway, why waste a perfectly good soldier. What strikes me most about the relationship between the two is how perfectly matched they are. There’s no big guy/little guy opposites attract business going on between the two. In a lot of ways they’re both the bad cop. But while Lucius keeps his temper in check and is ruled by his faith (in several things: the gods, the Republic), Pullo is much more boisterous. Pretty much anytime these two are on screen together is great (although, to be honest, Kevin McKidd in anything besides Grey’s Anatomy is great).
In the end, Lucius and Pullo find the standard, as well as rescue the son of an influential Roman (we’ll talk a lot about her later). We find out that the standard was stolen as part of a plot by Pompey to turn Ceasar’s men against him, and that that little bit of business is the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as their friendship was concerned. So, instead of watching some Gladiator-style drama about Rome in its heyday, the show is telling us the story of how Rome actually became Rome. I know it was canceled after its second season, but I also know the creators saw it coming, and so the whole thing ends on a better note than Deadwood. And that gives me hope.
Here’s my question – what is Lilith’s agenda, exactly? She already has the power to influence vampires, so what does the sanguinista movement do for her? Does it shore up her abilities? Bring her back to life? Is she using the Authority to secure some greater goal, like Antonia using Marnie to carry out her revenge? Or is Lilith just intent on creating chaos and destruction, a la Mary Ann? Or, is she a metaphor for religious zealotry?
I think it’s the latter, but if so, what’s the motivation behind manipulating her followers to turn against one another? In the opening scene, she comes to Bill, who, we find out throughout the episode, is not alone in his delusions of grandeur. But why doesn’t he drink the blood when instructed by Lilith? Some moral misgivings? A sense of obligation to the rest of the Authority? Or self-preservation? Does he secretly sense that something is amiss?
It certainly doesn’t seem like he’s having any doubts, if his conversation with Jessica is any indication. He called her bluff about turning Jason, and we find out exactly how deep Bill’s convictions go when, without a pause, he dismisses the idea of Sookie in danger and calls the citizens of Bon Temps “food… and nothing more.”
The writers are really testing the audience’s historical relationship with Bill. He was a total dick to Jessica. But they’ve also given him an out… we found out in this episode that the magical maguffin that’s causing such a dramatic personality transformation is “nesting.” So, presumably, once Bill is off the sauce and free from his fellow chancellors’ influence, he’ll begin his recovery and return to the southern gentleman we’ve come to know and love over five seasons.
Oh, and one more question…. if Russell has always been so feared, why was he just the King of Mississippi? Wouldn’t he have ascended to a higher political position? Was he not a member of the Authority because Roman was more powerful, and the two didn’t get along?
Anyway… I guess the writers needed to meet a sex quota for the season and were falling behind. Come to think of it, there has been a lot of nudity without any of the good stuff. So, Eric and Nora comforting each other was pretty hot, but what exactly was the purpose? Was it really necessary to let us know that Eric was faking and Nora’s finally woken up? Is sex just how, historically, these two characters have “communicated” best with one another?
I love, love, LOVED the scene with the chancellors and General Cavanaugh. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a character bring so much intensity to one scene; he really changed the dynamic of the episode and really, I thought, the entire season. It was awesome to see the US government “perspective” on the vampire Authority and to see a human in a position of power and influence over the vampires. Plus, this exchange:
“I would advise you to be… careful… about what words you choose next.”
“You psychotic bloodsuckers.”
It was a fantastic scene, and one thing that stood out in particular for me was the General’s statement that humans “own the day.” I wonder if that will wake the chancellors up to the vulnerability inherent in that truth and bring them around to Russell Edgington’s way of thinking about fairy blood.
I also really enjoyed the Jessica and Jason dream team, and I found her admission to him about spending eternity with someone to be particularly poignant. Deborah Ann Woll really is amazing, and as much as I hate to see her character dragged down by Tara, I thought it made sense for her to turn to Pam and use the only bargaining chip she had to try to secure safe harbor – the whereabouts of Eric.
But lest you think I was all hearts and flowers about this episode, there was an extraordinary amount of WTF-ery to balance out the good stuff. For example, the Tara-Pam as potential love interests storyline? I cannot get behind that. At all. No, writers. No. No. No. Just no. And did Eric and Nora… FLY!?!?!? What was that all about? And the fairy elder? Comical and cartoonish and ridiculous. Hated it… except when she told Sookie that she sluts her heart out to every cute boy with fangs. It’s funny ‘cuz it’s true.
Okay, back to the love… the scene at Fangtastia. Pam throws herself on the sword to protect Tara, and for only the second time ever, we’re seeing Pam scared and unsure. I’m really interested to see her eventual reunion with Eric, especially if she’s still in this rare emotionally vulnerable state. Then the Texas chancellor gave us one of the best-delivered lines in the history of True Blood: “Your daddy’s looking for you.” Props to the actress and the director who made that five seconds because it literally made my heart race.
As predicted, Mirella is about to eff with Sheriff Bellefleur’s world… and to a degree even I didn’t foresee. Not sure what all this “light vow” baloney is about, but I don’t like it. An act of war? Hmmm…
It looks like the season finale is shaping up to be a fairy vs. human vs. vampire vs. werewolf showdown extravaganza. All of the major players are gravitating toward a few hot spots – the fairy club (Sookie, Jason, Russell, Steve, fairies, and I’m guessing Alcide and the wolves are head this way) and the Authority headquarters (Pam, Sam, Luna, the chancellors, and I’m thinking this is where Eric and Nora will end up too).
The last scene with Russell in the field was pretty epic. Not quite on par with Russell’s temper tantrum a few episodes ago or with this episode’s scene with General Cavanaugh, but it was intense. I’m excited for next week and already a little sad that it’s almost over.
Tina MajoriNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! A Molly/Eric team-up would’ve been so freaking awesome. I feel robbed.
But I got over it almost immediately because Gay-Vampire-American Reverend Steve Newlin’s reaction shots are brilliant. His doe-eyed innocence and out-of-proportion enthusiasm are delightful, as was his double entendre-packed interview.
Overall, this episode was kind of downer… which I guess is to be expected at this point in the season. Things have to be darkest before the big climax… our characters have to be down and properly kicked before their triumph.
For Eric, that meant watching his beloved Godric ripped to pieces by Lilith and his apparent conversion to her coven of crazy.
For Hoyt, Jessica and Jason, it meant a clean wipe of their complicated personal histories in a series of scenes that I thought were particularly well-paced, well-written and well-acted, even by Ryan Kwanten, who is rarely as strong as he was in this episode.
For Pam and Tara, it meant possibly abandoning Fangtasia, which was only slightly less emotional than Jessica’s glamouring of Hoyt. And by the end of the episode, Tara has taken a page out of Pam’s book of badassery… I’m hating her less and less, especially for the awesome line “I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no baby vampires!”
I was overwhelmingly underwhelmed by most everything else in this episode… with one major exception I’ll get to in a minute. In general, it was a lot of exposition and stage-setting for the big showdown. We got just a little bit of progress on several fronts, but not much to comment on with the exception of a few standout scenes.
Sam and Luna are hot on the trail to retrieve Emma from Gay-Vampire-American Reverend Steve Newlin, which wasn’t much except for the intensely twisted scene where Newlin chastises Emma for returning to her human form.
Jason and Sookie enlist the help of the fairies to uncover the mysterious language from the scroll under the bed, and I got a relatively satisfactory answer to my question about how the fairy lineage gets passed along. But more importantly, did anyone else catch that the pregnant fairy is the same one Sheriff Bellefluer got freaky with in the field last season? That fact, combined with the “happy couple” scene between him and Holly is a great big not-so-subtle hint that the Sheriff’s world is about to be rocked…. And not by Holly.
Finally, Jessica is summoned to Bill’s side at the AVL and is now in a position to evaluate and ultimately question Bill’s new affiliation, and because he brought her to the AVL, I’m further convinced that he’s not pulling some kind of long con here, and that makes me nervous. Because he’s not glamoured… he’s not under a spell… he’s just converted. And how do we get our old Bill back after that? Or our old Eric, for that matter? There has to be some magical maguffin that transforms these two back into the characters we’ve known for almost five seasons, but I honestly don’t see how that can happen.
But I think Jessica’s strategic position inside the AVL will turn out to be key in this season’s ultimate confrontation, and even more significant will be the role Russell plays in that confrontation. Because wow. This was the exception scene I referenced earlier… his full-blown, wheels-off, German-accented, violent, megalomaniacal temper tantrum condemning the Authority’s sanctimonious conservative agenda in favor of the “fun” parts of being a vampire and the ultimate goal – day walking. Incredible.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a schism developed by Authority members taking sides on the fairy blood issue turns out to be the unraveling of the Authority’s… well, authority.
I suppose we were a bit naive, thinking Hollywood could tell the entire story of a government intent on murdering ALL of its secret agents in only three movies. When you look at the more than $700 million the first three Bourne movies made and add to that the fact that they’re genuinely good movies, well, why stop train now? And if Matt Damon doesn’t want to come back for Round 4 — whether the studio isn’t paying him enough money or *shudder* he’s worried the story just isn’t there — well then, they’ll recast him and make the damn thing anyway.
Enter The Bourne Legacy. The one where we find out that “Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg.” OF COURSE HE WAS. Well, like I said, those movies were pretty dang good, and I’d love to see more, so I’m perfectly willing to give this one a shot. Although I do have reservations. And I made a list.
1. Jeremy Renner. He was great in The Hurt Locker and The Town, but not much else. I thought he came off as contrived in Mission Impossible 4. And while he was competent in both Thor and The Avengers, I wouldn’t label him the breakout star of either film.
2. No Matt Damon. It is Matt Damon. Would you want to see an Ocean’s movie without George Clooney (or, for that matter, Matt Damon)? Don’t underestimate the je nais se quoi a star can take out of a franchise once he leaves. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I’ll eventually have to watch a new Batman movie without Christian Bale. The horror.
3. Can lightning strike four times? The Next Generation? Great. Deep Space Nine? Loved it. Voyager? Uuugghhhh… By the Enterprise rolled around, Star Trek had turned into that friend who stays another five hours after everyone else has gone home. Heaven forbid they keep churning these movies out after they’ve run out of steam.
So, a few concerns. But cautious optimism is still optimism. So I’m gonna go and do my best not to set my expectations too high. And how does the movie stack up, after the dust has settled and every perfectly choreographed punch has landed? I’m happy to report that your hard-earned shekles won’t have been wasted here. Is it as good as the first three? No, it isn’t. But it lays the groundwork for another series of films that I think can be every bit as good. A few points…
All’s clear on the Jeremy Renner front. As one of the first of a new, genetically-modified breed of super soldier, I felt like I knew his character better than I did Matt Damon’s after The Bourne Identity. This isn’t just a Jason Bourne retread. Aaron Cross is someone who’s not exactly sure why Outcome (the new Treadstone) does what it does, and has a habit of asking too many questions. His training helps him keep his composure, but you get the sense that he’s a bit of a smartass. And as much as it pains me to admit it, it brought a level of realism to the role that Matt Damon didn’t. Or maybe it’s just a level of personable-ness. Yeah, that’s it.
Rachel Weisz, playing an Outcome scientist developing the medication that gives agents like Cross their physical and mental edge, is Cross’s love interest without actually being his love interest, which I found a welcome departure from the norm. My wife found her to be a bit too frantic, but her character is fundamentally different from Franka Potente or Julia Stiles, so I bought it.
Overall, I found Legacy’s plot to be more substantive than what came before it, even if it was a little more clumsily wielded. We learn more about what the government is doing with soldiers like Cross — genetic modification — and that makes it easier to understand why they’re so eager to slash and burn everything to the ground once Jason Bourne, completely off-camera but often referred to, shows up in and starts car-chasing his way through Manhattan. I think most people don’t find it a stretch to believe that the US has CIA kill squads out there, getting into all sorts of shenanigans, but genetically modified super soldiers? A bridge too far, I say!
The movie isn’t perfect. Some of the science talk gets a bit wonky and clumsily delivered. And again, how many government manhunts can we watch? I’m willing to buy that Treadstone was just one cog in a much larger machine, but I don’t want to follow twenty different agents, all on the run from the men who trained them. Eventually these films are going to have to find something else to do, and I felt Legacy took the first steps toward that. It’s not there yet, and I fully expect Edward Norton to show up whenever the next installment rolls around, trying to get his hands on Cross. But by the time we get to The Bourne Sanction (if we’re going by the book titles), Cross could be free — or sanctioned, if you will — to go after a target of his own. You know, if the movies do follow the book titles, the next one up will be The Bourne Betrayal! And if the titles are small hints at what the movies are doing, what could that mean? Douche chill!
I had to watch this episode a couple of times, because the first time around I just hated it. Well, most of it. I’ve mentioned before that Skyler is really putting me through the ringer this season, and that last week’s episode was a perfect storm of several things I hated about her and Marie. Well, this week the show notched it up to 11. And because Skyler and Marie alone aren’t enough, it threw this woman from Madrigal Electric into the mix.
There’s a never-ending debate raging on the internet about this or that show having weak female characters. This debate usually comes with charges of sexism thrown at whatever writer would dare to portray women in such a way. I think a lot of these arguments get overblown. Can we just be honest and say that there are weak women out there — the same as there are weak men — and that sometimes these weak people have a part to play in whatever story the writer’s trying to tell?** A woman on TV might not be able to stand up for herself or can’t say no to men, but Walt White’s a murderer! I think we may be losing perspective. Anyway.
(**Now, don’t take this as me writing off every argument against women in television who are portrayed as weak. Sometimes these arguments hold a lot of water. Right now I’d point you to The Newsroom, where just about every female character comes off as borderline schizophrenic.)
So if there’s a weak woman written into a show, you’re not going to get a lot of argument from me, so long as that weakness has grown organically from the story. If we’re talking about Skyler in this season of Breaking Bad, I don’t think that’s the case. Yes, she knows that it was Walt who took care of Gus. And she sees that it’s a terrible thing she’s done to Ted, but Skyler has never been a stupid person. And I just can’t believe that she knew her husband was in the meth business and at the same time had some fantasy in her head where he doesn’t work with dangerous people or ever get his hands dirty or bad people would never want to do to him what he did to Gus. So this thing she does where she looks around while her lip quivers and then jumps into a swimming pool just comes off totally unbelievable to me. And what makes it worse is that I always saw Skyler as a strong woman, and they’ve kind of turned her into a wreck.
That being said, Walt bringing the smackdown on whatever plan she had to get Junior and Holly out of the house I think may have put the two of them on equal footing. At least now Skyler can be upfront with Walt about her feelings, or her lack of feelings for him, whatever the case may be. It was a confrontation that needed to happen. Walt’s not going to move out of the house, so love him or hate him, he and Skyler are going to have to find some way to live with each other. Skyler chain smoking cigarettes is progress, and that’s something.
Other things. It seems as if this season is going to show us exactly how committed Walt is to being a drug kingpin. He talks a big game, but even he seems to be under some of the same delusions as Skyler if he really thinks he can keep his work life walled off from his family life 100% of the time. In any case, he’s going to have a big decision to make concerning Lydia from Madrigal, who we find out may be bullshitting about the tracking device on the barrel of methylamine Jesse had come to pick up. I understand that the reasons to feel sympathetic toward Walt and Jesse are dwindling faster than a Russian gymnasts’ hopes for a gold medal (TOPICAL!), but you can still make the case that these are two guys who are trying to live with one leg in and one leg out of the drug business. SOOOOO I get that maybe they don’t want to kill Lydia — and Jesse obviously doesn’t — but after watching so many movies and TV shows about drug dealers only doing business with people they know and vetting new customers, you kind of get it ingrained in your head that someone as neurotic as Lydia running around, freaking out, and more importantly knowing all of Mike’s dirty secrets is a huge loose end. I mean, aren’t we watching the beginning of the end here?
I wouldn’t say I curse like a sailor, but let’s just say I know my way around a four-letter word. So as a lover of language, and especially colorful language, I appreciate it when a show uses the right balance of bad words and uses them in the right places.
Now, I don’t think it’s necessarily true to the Southern setting (especially in small town Bon Temps) to have so many c-words and f-words and t-words and r-words flowing, but I DO think that it’s true to the characters. Case in point, Tina Majorino (yay!) telling Eric “we’re totally fucking fucked. ” It’s just one of a number of scenes where the bad language really does add something – whether it’s humor or intensity or, in this example, desperation.
Next scene – Lafayette in Sookie’s bathroom. I could go on and on about how entertaining the Lafayette character is when he’s feeling flippant, something that’s been sorely lacking in the last season or so. But I think there’s a more important point to make with this scene.
There are a few themes I revisit over and over again with True Blood. One is its self-awareness and the liberties it can take because of that self-awareness (more on that in a minute). Another is the acting. Because damn. In the scene between Lafayette and Sookie, the juxtaposition of Nelsan Ellis’ acting ability and Anna Paquin’s is astonishing. Now, for the record, I do believe Anna Paquin is a good actress, but go back and watch that scene again from when she says “put it on my tab…” Tell me it doesn’t sound like dress rehearsal at a Bon Temps High School’s drama club meeting. Not convinced? Check out the very beginning of the scene with former sheriff Bud Dearborne later in the episode. I don’t know if the character of Sookie (and Arlene… and Jason…) is someone who is overly deliberate in her actions and words, which comes off bad-actressy. This could be the case, because Paquin is more or less CONSISTENT in her portrayal of Sookie, but it could also be that Paquin just doesn’t fit quite right into this role, even after all these years.
Wherever you land, I think there are some instances where the very best of the True Blood actors (e.g. Nelsan Ellis, Deborah Ann Woll) are in scenes where either their acting ability or their characters’ natural charm clash so obviously with their scene partner (e.g. Rutina Wesley, Anna Paquin, Ryan Kwanten) on those same criteria, that it becomes distracting.
But I digress. So, Gran is happy that the fairies are looking after Sookie? That seems to be so antithetical to last season’s opener – are we ever going to fully understand what makes a good fairy and a bad fairy and what the fairy political and social agenda is?
So, remember when I said we’d get back to the self-awareness theme later. It’s later. During the scene with Lafayette and Sookie in her bedroom, I thought to myself how ridiculous it is that Sookie’s grandmother would speak in “riddles” about the answer to the supernatural hate group being under Sookie’s bed. I mean, if she can say “you’re sleeping on top of it,” why can’t she say, “Dearborne is the supernatural-hating sex puppet of a vengeful, square-dancing bitch?” Is being dead like Twitter? You only get so many characters?
Anyway, so that kind of irritated me, but I get that an outright answer doesn’t exactly lend itself to building additional dramatic tension. BUT no sooner had I written my bitchy little comment than the True Blood writers acknowledged that very issue when Lafayette asked why the dead must always speak in riddles. So, props to the writers for recognizing a plot hole and addressing it without letting themselves off the hook completely OR sacrificing good storytelling.
I’ve always been a fan of Alan Ball. American Beauty is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I think what’s kept True Blood tolerable (for the most part) despite being so over the top is that the writing staff is smart – the kind of folks who could be writing for a serious drama but choose to write for something a little more indulgent and fun.
Now, I haven’t seen Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire, but I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that the writers for those shows, while no less talented, don’t get to write dialogue like this:
“Just ‘cuz we drank a bitch together does not make us Oprah and Gayle. Get the fuck back to work.” “Suck me, Vampire Barbie!”
What’s great about it is that the ridiculousness doesn’t preclude the writers from playing in the nuanced political arena either, and man can they have fun with it. I mean, truly, how ballsy is it for them to use Obama masks and (once again, directly address any rabble-rousing detractors) by saying outright, via the loveable goof Sheriff Andy Bellefleur, “No, the President of the United States is not actually in Renard Parish shooting and kidnapping people?”
I may be reading into the political imagery too much, because really, it has innumerable real-world interpretations. But there was something about this week’s categorization of the “Obamas” as backwards, hate-filled discriminators rallying against “perversion and conversion” that made me think that the political parallel being drawn is along the lines of human sexuality. I might be wrong. Like I said, there are a LOT of political undertones to this season’s storyline, which means it can be applied on either side of the aisle to any number of issues. But the “Obamas” sub-story is the one that, to me, has the most apparent and direct real-world reflection, and it was this episode that convinced me of that.
In any case, it’s how easily the True Blood writers move between the surreal and the “serious” that makes the show fun for me. Or maybe I’m just rationalizing.
Okay, two more quick notes on dialogue, then we’ll move on.
First, I thought that Eric’s statement “We’d better get back to slaughtering people in the name of God” was very, very telling because it’s only the last part that Eric really has a problem with. His recent exchanges with Bill are indicating a level of friendship and history that I’m not sure we’ve seen to date, and I think Eric feels more betrayed and bewildered by Bill’s sudden faith than by the actions manifested by that faith. I am curious to see what set of circumstances will eventually be the catalyst for the return of the old Bill and how his relationship with Eric (and Sookie, for that matter) will change at that point. There is a small part of me that wonders if Bill is pulling the long con, but I think that’s just wishful thinking.
Second, it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, and it’s not a traditional zippy one-liner, but I just loved Jason’s comment in the station that maybe the “Obamas” are wearing masks “’cuz they don’t want to get recognized.” I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but it’s so great when a show can strike a balance between pushing its characters into new situations that shape and change them and still having familiar callbacks to their original character profiles… in this case, Jason as the archetypal “dumb blonde.”
Credit where it’s due – I didn’t see the Bud Dearborne thing coming at all. It would be interesting to go back now and review his interactions with supernatural folks in the earlier episodes. I kind of doubt this twist has been planned for that long, but it would be fun to think so.
This episode actually surprised me a lot. I started writing out why I thought Scott Foley’s character (I’ve been so disengaged with this storyline I haven’t even bothered to learn his name) would be killed indirectly or accidentally by Terry in order to lift the curse because I didn’t think the writers would be willing to sacrifice Terry’s “innocence” by having him kill his former commanding officer outright. I even wrote this “…but it would be truly badass if Terry just did the balls-out thing and shot Scott Foley in the head.” And then he did! And it was awesome! And not only did I love the scene and still love Terry, but I was thrilled – THRILLED – that this dumbass storyline was finally concluded. Rest in peace, Felicity’s boyfriend.
Wrapping up… Emma is in the hands of Russell Edgington, which is somewhat terrifying, but again – just one more great indication of the lengths True Blood is willing to go to keep viewers engaged. No one is safe. Nothing is sacred. Anything. Can. Happen.
In the climactic showdown, naked pig-man Sam saves the day (did anyone else thing “Willow” or “Hannibal” during the pig scenes?). I know I’m beating this horse to death, but one last time – props to the writers for not trying to find a too-clever-by-half way to clothe Sam and Luna before they started with the day-saving. Shifters are naked when they shift, so when they shift back to humans and start kicking ass, well, they’re naked for that too. I know HBO doesn’t shy away from nudity (or bad language, for that matter), but I just really admire how both are incorporated into this show in a way that’s not overly deliberate or sensational – just as a matter-of-fact when it’s part of the natural flow of the story.
A lot of this season’s storylines were wrapped up with this episode, which I think is probably clearing the way for some pretty awesome drama in the final few episodes, most likely centered around an epic Authority showdown. Can’t wait.
Quick final thoughts
- How adorable was the scene where Sam and Luna admitted they love each other?
- Alcide aged well… Debbie apparently peaked at 14