I was planning on reviewing every episode, but I really don’t want to do 1 post a week about True Blood until I actually am updating more frequently. Basically, I don’t want to suddenly change my blog to be solely about True Blood.
I have a problem with True Blood this season, and it’s basically the same problem that I have with the Star Trek movies. It seems at though the Even numbered episodes are really good, and the odd numbered episodes are incredibly, terribly bad. Last nights episode was number 7 – which necessitated suckitude, apparently. It’s crazy how a show with so many good points can have so many bad points as well. Here’s a quick run down of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Alexander Skarsgard’s Acting as Eric: Initially, I’d not given him too much credit, because in the past he’s paid the “tougher” bad guy sort of Eric. But seeing him slip into this new, kinder, gentler Eric is fascinating. His delivery of dialogue, his slightly stumped over posture, and the kind look in his eyes are all spot on. The interactions between him and Sookie are far more “genuine” than anything we ever saw between Sookie and Bill.
Sam: Although I really hated the concept of the “skinwalkers” because it just makes the whole shapeshifter thing a degree closer to cheesy than it needs to be, I have to admit that Sam Trammel played Tommy-Pretending-to-be-Sam incredibly well. He duplicated Tommy’s mannerisms and movements very well, and walked like a man that was uncomfortable in his skin. It’s also nice to see him with a girl, even though she’s a creepy skinwalker too.
Sookie: Normally, I really dislike Sookie. I think that one benefit of having a ton of other side plots, many of which are “more relevant” than her plot, has made her more tolerable. It’s nice to see her be happy again, and her interactions with Eric are adorable. It’s good that other characters are getting a chance to shine, and that she FINALLY has a clean house again.
Jessica: When they first introduced Jessica, I wasn’t very fond of her. She was an unnecessary addition to the cast. Now, I am beginning to find her a lot more interesting. She has genuinely grown as a character, and seems to be more and more comfortable as a vampire. Her scenes with Bill are some of the only ones in which we get a sense that “old Bill” is still around. Her relationship with Hoyt is disintegrating, and her struggle between her feelings for Hoyt, and her desires as a vampire have a very human feel to them.
Tara: I’ve never been a fan of her with her self-destructive behavior, and her constant crying. Even in the books she was frequently the “victim” type, but at least Charlaine Harris had the common decency to not have her be around very often. And at some point, she actually did settle into a somewhat normal life. Her character is too high drama to be in every episode. She either needs to be straightened out a bit, or she needs to appear less. She’s just annoying.
Tommy: He really has no redeeming traits, and having him around just adds bloat to the cast list. We have tons of people that we care about to follow around, some of these “extended” members of the ensemble cast just make the show confusing. it feels like the writers are forcing him into plots, and using him as a constant wrench in Sam’s life. I’m sure there are better ways to add drama for Sam.
The Fairies: Fortunately, they have gone silent for a bit. However, the perception that the fairies are really evil and draining human lives is completely from left field, and takes away some of Sookie’s genuinely good relationships from her. Sookie has no “real” family left outside of the fairies and Jason, and Jason isn’t really the sort of support she needs. Outside of the fairies and Jason, Sookie has her lovers, who frequently are the cause of her pain, and her “human” friends. With the type of human friends that Sookie attracts, she really doesn’t need enemies.
King Bill: I had dismissed the changes in his personality this season because of the fact that over a year has passed since we’ve last seen Bill, and you know what they say about power corrupting. But the Bill we’re seeing this season is very poorly written, and seems almost bipolar. Sometimes he has the aura of a man who has power and who loves it. At others, he is the “victim” oligarch – merely a puppet to the higher ups in Vampire society. He wields his power awkwardly, sometimes letting the rules be damned, other times strictly enforcing them even though “he doesn’t want to.” Unless they actually mean to explore this as a character trait – that he doesn’t really know how to handle the power that he now has – this is just terrible writing.
Lafayette: Formerly one of my favorite characters in the show, he’s being terribly mishandled. First off – while Bon Temps has always been a crossroads of supernatural activity, there were still characters that weren’t supernaturals around. This need to make everyone into something special is lame. Second, his relationship with Jesus started out cute, and is terrible now. They are bickering constantly, they have nearly no affection for one another… it’s nowhere near what it should be. Lafayette was a far more interesting character when he was single and overly flirty.
Creepy Baby: This goes back to the, “not everyone needs to be special” file. While I have to admit that the baby is the only genuinely “creepy” aspect of the storylines, it’s simply cheesy. The books added in new supernaturals like weres, shifters, fairies, and witches at a slow pace, and that helped lessen the collective cheesiness of all of them being together in one place. But the fact that it’s season 4, all of these have been established, and that the writers keep adding in other things like possessed babies and skinwalkers that are making it far less realistic.
The Witches: The witches were portrayed in the books in a far more realistic sense. The whole, “This witch can call all the dead to meet the sun” plotline is a bit hamhanded. It’s like they want to “amp up” the plots from the books, but they don’t realize that the books get larger plots as they progress. In a struggle to make the plots bigger and better than the book, they are becoming absurd. Also, where’s Amelia in all this? Again, she was another positive influence in Sookie’s life.
Overall, I really think that the show needs to have more “normal” characters in their plots. Sookie needs a bit of normalcy in her plot, and it is getting excessive that absolutely everyone is more than they seem to be. It’s pretty disappointing that Terry is one of the most normal characters that we see, when he was barely able to function in the books. I also think that whatever is different between the even and odd number episodes needs to be eliminated. It’s frustrating suffering through episodes that are absolute crap in order to get to the ones that are redeeming.