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“Sorry man, I stopped listening about half way through.”

You and me both, Jason. You and me both. We are halfway through what should have been the best season of True Blood so far ““ the witch war and Sookie/Eric should have been plenty to propel the storyline ““ and I’m about ready to stop listening.  

True Blood MouthI wasn’t wild about season 3, which had some fantastic highlights tempered by a year-long assault on the female characters, but the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to season 4 is far worse. The problem with supernatural shows is that there’s a temptation to do whatever the heck you want for whatever reason you want because, hey, there’s some vampires over there, but in order for supernatural shows to be successful, there needs to be a more strident approach to plotting, characterization, and world building. Buffy wasn’t a success because it threw together teenagers, vampires, and superpowers; it was a success because it cared about those teenagers, vampires, and superpowers.

And I’m beginning to think that Ball just doesn’t care.

Jessica, of course, does not get burned up by Antonia’s spell. Jason tackles her back into the mansion, gets swatted around for his trouble, and then all their building tension of the last two or three days culminates in some kissing. Afterwards, Jason carries her back into the dungeon, where Jess is confronted with the body of the guard she’s just killed. A couple of hours ago (show time) she was ready to rip Marnie’s face off, and now she’s devastated by the reality of her murder. She knew his daughter. She knew him.

Jessica is by far the most complex and interesting character in this cast and she gets two more chances to prove it in this episode. First, we get the Jess fantasy-dream break up with Hoyt, which says so much about how she wants to see herself ““ powerful, sexy, in control, able to kill (break his heart) without so much of a backwards glance, and move on, like the monster she’s supposed to be. And then we get the real Jessica, who is just an 18-year-old girl who is unsure of where she is in the world and troubled by the dissolution of her relationship, desperate to find out who she is without hurting Hoyt. She wishes she could break up with (kill) him without suffering for it, leaping past the broken heart, and the icky feelings, and instead gets rounded on by Hoyt, who is no mincing flower. Their relationship is achingly real even in the ending of it. Who among you didn’t flinch when Hoyt spat out “I deserve someone who’s not going to be a fucking virgin for eternity!”

Jason has a decent showing this time around. Not only does he valiantly save Jessica from toastiness, he keeps Andy from eating a dead vampire off the ground, makes a star turn in Jessica’s dream, and then, in a surprising show of both loyalty and morals, refuses to take up with Jessica after she dumps Hoyt. Honestly, I didn’t think he had it in him.

Last week, after confessing mid-coitus that she believes Alcide is in love with Sookie, Debbie gets sort-of confirmation of the fact when Alcide deliberately defies the orders of his Alpha, getting involved with the witch war in order to save Sookie’s life. Confirmation in so much as having suspicions, and then jumping to conclusions. It’s all too bad for Debbie. She had made friends with some really nice bitches in her new pack and felt at home, and now the wild-eyed jealousy is gonna come raring up to ruin her life.

As I predicted, there was no reason for the show to point out that Lala is a medium and introduce Pretty Ghost Lady without it being important. So this week, Lala gets possessed by her spirit, despite a valiant attempt on his part to stay the hell away from her. Possessed Lala then meanders over to the Bellefleur mansion, breaks in, steals Andy’s gun, and kidnaps Baby Mikey. Could Possessed Lala somehow become important in the story of Possessed Marnie? Of course it will!

Sookie and Eric:

 

WHY ARE YOU RUINING THIS FOR ME, ALAN BALL? WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU?

Whatever.

 

The Witch War:

 Bill flies into damage control mode in the aftermath of Antonia’s attack. He has to go on tv and frame the one (1!) vampire immolation as a suicide, change his leather jacket, accept Sookie and Eric’s offer to fight by his side, and then arrange to meet a necromancer in a cemetery for a fight. Not a single person thought this was a bad idea? No one raised it as an issue? No? Ok then. It turns out ok though, since the necromancer thought the better use of her powers was obscuring a bunch of mortal followers armed with grandma’s silver service under shadow. No one in this town is particularly bright.

He promises that no one will harm Antonia ever again if they can just call a truce, which not a single person in the showdown really believes aside from Bill. The writers remember that Sookie has this whole mind reading thing that is occasionally relevant to her character so that she notices Antonia casting a spell and accidentally escalates the situation. There’s some more blah-blah-blah until Eric rushes forward and rips a witch’s throat out ““ the framing of this event is a bit off, since there was no apparent provocation. Did Antonia cause him to kill her follower or is Viking Eric just asserting himself? Who knows? The show doesn’t care for consistency!

Everything goes to balls after this.

 Antonia clouds the area with mist to hide her people, a vampire gets staked and a couple of witches get eaten, and everyone runs around willy-nilly. Pam corners Tara but gets stopped by Bill, who commands that she will never harm Tara, ever, because he owes her. And Tara gets to understand that maybe Bill isn’t such a bad guy (he is!) and also that extermination of an entire race is maybe morally questionable.

By the way, Pam is back to her face-rot free self, though she smells terrible. As long as you look good, right?

Sookie wanders around in the dark, blasts someone with her light fingers, and actually intelligently attempts to stay hidden and out of the fighting. And then she gets shot in the stomach. She passes out. Maybe she might die. It’s the most tensionless main character maiming ever, in the history of television. I have no worries that anything permanently bad will happen. Alcide will pick her up, carry her back to her house, everyone will have contorted and worried faces over her possibly dying, blah blah blah, she’s alive, possibly with fairy help since we haven’t heard from those guys in a while.

Now what is interesting? Antonia forcing Eric to his knees and taking control of his mind again. This I want to see the outcome of.

 

Bonus Content: Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Spellbound”

 

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