True Blood 2.12 – If A Tree Falls In The Woods, It’s Still A Tree, Ain’t It?

Was it just me, or did the conclusion of tonight’s “True Blood” season finale feel somehow…anticlimactic? After spending the majority of the season waiting for the grand conclusion of the great and powerful Maryann’s storyline, only to have those matters wrapped up by the time the episode reached its halfway point, I felt a little cheated. Not that it necessarily needed to be dragged out any longer than it already had been, but, still, it felt like things ended not with a bang but a whisper, which is exactly what we haven’t come to expect from this series.

After Sookie was forced by Lafayette to slip into a bridesmaid dress but before all Hell broke loose, we found out from Maryann that Sookie is “beyond human,” though we didn’t make any particular headway in discovering what that actually means. Sookie did, however, finally break down and ask the question that the majority of the viewers had been wondering since last week: “Okay, what is with the egg? Did you lay it?” Nope, it’s an ostrich egg, and it represents fertility. Fair enough.

Jason and Andy once again scored a couple of classic comedic moments, with the best being Jason’s recitation of great movie quotes, concluding with, “I love the smell of nail polish in the morning.” I was surprised, however, to see both of them quickly slip over to the dark side. (I really thought that Andy was immune to Maryann’s powers, and that we were going to find out this week why he hadn’t ended up as one of her minions.)

As for Maryann’s marriage ceremony, I dug the off-kilter wedding march, but the nuptials themselves were a letdown. After Sam and Bill had their discussion at Merlotte’s, we knew that Bill wouldn’t just give Sam over to Maryann, so it was obvious that the two of them had concocted a plan of some sort. I admit to being surprised that Sam was actually stabbed…I didn’t know what their plan was, but I figured it would kick off before the knife hit flesh…but when the ox (I guess that’s what it was) turned up, my immediate thought was, “Okay, I’m not sure how, but that’s got to be Sam.” And it was, thanks to Bill having provided him with enough vamp blood to kickstart his healing process. I question the expediency of the healing, but, hey, Maryann and her mole claws (that’s what they looked like to me, anyway) got their just desserts, and the actual moment of impact, as it were, looked good and probably earned a few cheers from various viewers. Too bad it happened at the 27-minute mark of the episode, leaving us with way too much time to wrap up loose ends and throw out a few new threads to linger ’til Season 3 kicks off.

But, okay, fair enough, let’s talk about what happened in the post-Maryann portion of the episode.

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True Blood 2.11 – This love gushes from my heart, like a water from a spout

“Is this a bad time?”

You know, for as much as I’ve decried the lack of eroticism inherent in blood, Evan Rachel Wood is so damned sexy that you could almost…not quite, but almost…overlook the fact that her face was covered with the stuff when she made her first appearance this evening. Or maybe it was the other woman moaning in the background that helped make the scenario somehow more sexy than creepy. Whatever the case, it was clear from the get-go that Queen Sophie-Anne LeClerq, Vampire Queen of Louisiana, was not going to be a woman to be trifled with. She knows more than any other vampire we’ve seen, and although we didn’t necessarily see all that much of her power, all we really had to see was the way Bill acted around her to know that, man, she’s got to be off-the-charts powerful. Her comments throughout the episode ranged from funny (“I haven’t enjoyed sex with men since the Eisenhower administration”) to cynical (“Never underestimate the power of blind faith”) to a combination of the mystical and the mystifying (“Everything that exists imagined itself into existence”), but the most telling of her comments came from her complete dismissal of Maryann and her actions. In short, she can’t really be bothered by this creature…or much of anything outside of her own existence, really. Looks like the holier-than-thou manner of royalty remains consistent within both the human and the vampire worlds.

Poor Hoyt. He gets pissy with Jessica for her decision to bite his mother because of her insolent comments, only to have her offer disconcerting revelations about how she’s been longing to head over to Merlotte’s to find herself some manly company, then put the cherry on top of the conversation by destroying everything he ever knew about his father and his noble death.

Poor Tara. She was so chomping at the bit to save Eggs that she basically tried to alienate every single person in the house. My wife theorized that her angry words were due to the approaching mob, but, no, it appears that she was just being incredibly shitty. During her awful heart-to-heart chat with her mama, she did her very best to make her mother feel like complete and total shit…and, yet, Mama responds by playing the sucker and deciding that this is her only possible way to get her daughter back. I don’t blame her for her desperation, but, c’mon, this is Tara’s cousin and best friend. Given everything that had gone down in the previous few hours, did she really think that her daughter knew best?

I can’t imagine that anyone would deny that, if this episode belonged to anyone other than Queen Sophie-Anne, it was the tag-team dumb-ass duo of Jason and Detective Andy. Who would’ve thought that Andy would turn out to be the sensible one of the pair? There were laughs from Sam’s attempts to explain his shapeshifting abilities to them (eventually leading to the discussion later in the episode where Jason tried to work out the most sordid angles of Sam’s powers), from Jason’s dramatic comment about having read about the impending Armageddon in a book (just when you thought he was going to say it was the Bible, he revealed that it was Max Brooks’s “World War Z”), from trumpeting his awesomeness and then promptly running headlong into a tree, and…oh, hell, there were too many laughs to count, but the one that still resonates the most was surely this line.

“‘Sometimes you need to destroy something to save it.’ That’s in the Bible. Or the Constitution.”

God love you, Jason Stackhouse.

The whole sequence within the sheriff’s station was hilarious, though I thought it was a bit cheap to have Andy be wearing kevlar underneath his shirt when he got shot. Still, how can you go wrong with William Sanderson dancing his heart out in his boxers? Their intense discussion in the truck was pretty hilarious in its own right, particularly Jason’s assurance that “I watch a lot of porn to learn stuff,” but the sudden decision to turn this mystical invasion into something patriotic was somehow perfect for these two redneck yokels. The only thing that would’ve made it better would’ve been to have Jason and Andy start singing “God Bless The USA.”

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True Blood 2.10: New World in My View

All hell has broken loose in Bon Temps. Quite literally, from the looks of things. As Jason so eloquently put it, “This is fuckin’ fucked up!” Agreed.

It amazed me how nonchalantly Sookie and Bill walked into Sookie’s house (or what used to be her house) after seeing the sacrificial offering erected in her front yard. At the very least, wouldn’t Bill lead the way instead of letting Sookie walk in first? Sure enough, Maryann comes in shortly thereafter and, once pleasantries have been exchanged and Sookie pulls her patented Tough Chick act, Maryann slams her up against the wall. Bill to the rescue! In the split second before Bill sunk his teeth into Maryann’s neck, I wondered how her blood would affect him. Yeah, not good. Well, not good for Bill, anyway, but judging by Maryann’s cries of “yes, ravage me!” it looks like she enjoyed it plenty. She also enjoyed the little laser light show that shot out of Sookie’s hand. “What are you?” Maryann asked several times following that incident, a look of amazed curiosity on her face. Sam may be Maryann’s priority right now, but Maryann is so utterly fascinated by Sookie after their encounter that I’m guessing she will be Maryann’s primary target before the season is over. That’s not to say that Maryann will give up on Sam – she seems pretty intent on tracking him down, to say the least – but like Eric before her, Maryann has eyes for Sookie.

Speaking of eyes, just about everyone in town has those utterly creepy, dead, black eyes, including Miss Tara Mae. To quote last week’s post from esteemed blogger Will Harris, whose shoes I hope to be at least serviceably filling tonight: “While I’m sure there have been less successful interventions than the one by Lafayette and Tara’s mama, *I* haven’t seen one.” Well, Lafayette would seem to agree with Will when, after trying prayer, pleading and a vicious slap across the face, he uttered, “This has to be the worst motherfucking intervention in history.” A little later, Lafayette’s invitation to Bill provided another highlight in an episode full of great moments. Some of those moments were funny — Eggs cheerfully asking Maryann, “You want us to kill something, so it’s extra fresh?” — while some were of the more disturbing variety, like Tara promising, “He’s on his way and he’s going to kill us all.” I’m telling you, those eyes give me the willies!

So now that Bill and Sookie were able to team up and pull Tara out of her trance, I wonder just how easily she can fall back into it. Lord knows Lafayette will do everything in his power to keep Tara away from Maryann, but you just know she’ll try to go rescue Eggs at some point. Maryann didn’t seem overly concerned about Tara leaving last week when Lafayette and Tara’s mama rescued her from Sookie’s house, but maybe that’s because she knew Tara would be back soon enough. Hey, everyone digs Maryann’s parties!

In fact, when I say “everyone,” I mean damn near everyone, since just about the entire town is now in Maryann’s employ as she hunts Sam down. Has there ever been a more formidable duo than Sam Merlotte and Andy Bellefleur? Okay, don’t answer that, but at least Andy provided some good laughs tonight, most notably after Sam told him that Maryann probably wanted to cut out his heart in front of a bunch of naked people. “And people thought I was crazy for seein’ a pig.” Poor Andy, although he doesn’t look so crazy now. One wonders whether Andy or Jason came up with the idea to trick the townies into thinking that Jason was Dionysus (or whomever the hell they’re all waiting for), but it worked like a charm, thanks in no small part to Sam’s disappearing act. Andy’s and Jason’s reaction to that was perfect, and the bare-ass-apron shot was a great touch. It’s great to see Jason taking charge in the wake of his L.O.D.I. training, and it looks like he’ll be on the frontlines when this all comes to a head over the final two episodes.

Admittedly, there is plenty that I’m missing here (Terry was awesome tonight as the commander of the townie brigade, as was Hoyt’s batshit crazy mom), but I’ll wrap it up with a comment about last week’s blog entry from fellow PH blogger John Paulsen: “One thing this show does better than just about any other I’ve seen is end each episode with a bang…usually some sort of revelation/cliffhanger that keeps the audience wanting more.” True to form, I sure as hell want to know who the Queen is and why she has a horde of Mr. Smiths surrounding her house. At first I thought Bill might be going to see Lorena, but that doesn’t make much sense. Either way, it’s looking like the Queen will be playing a pivotal role in the war that’s about to go down in Bon Temps. I’m just wondering who’s going to survive, and who won’t.

  

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True Blood 2.9 – Though I be a dead man, I said yes and amen

Well, you know what the Smiths said: if it’s not love, then it’s the bomb that will bring us together. And so it was at the beginning of this week’s “True Blood,” as we saw Sookie suck the silver shrapnel right out of Eric, God love her…and, by the way, the phrase “suck the silver shrapnel” clearly needs to be popularized as a double entendre post-haste. (On a related note, I also anticipate quoting Sookie’s exclamation, “You big lying A-hole,” enough to bring it into the pop culture lexicon pretty quickly.) Eric’s delivery of the phrase “she was superb” to Bill was genius…as, for that matter, was his chicanery to get hooked into Sookie’s emotions. The intimate discussion between Sookie and Bill no doubt thrilled fans of Charlaine Harris’s original novels, as it confirmed that they were finally going to get what they’ve been waiting for: a pairing-up between Sookie and Eric. And is it me, or was that the most erotically charge scene of the season to date? Maybe it’s just because there was no blood being smeared this time around.

Jason was clearly suffering from a little post-traumatic stress, given the way he looked when he saw Luke’s dismembered hand. As a result, the discussion between Sookie and Jason wasn’t terribly surprising, but it was sweet and heartfelt, a tone we’ve not seen between the two of them in quite some time. You can’t blame Jason for slipping into depression over their lack of family, but kudos to Sookie for giving him a kick in the pants about growing up. I doubt if it’ll take, given his history, but it’s a start, anyway. By the way, only a sister could get away with telling a guy that he’s lazy rather than dumb and to say that she sometimes wants to stick his head in a bucket and kick it around the yard. Did you notice that she gave him shit, but he opted to avoid any insults, even in jest? Maybe he’s smarter than I’ve given him credit for.

Could Jessica and Hoyt be any cuter a couple? I loved that comment from Hoyt when he was doing verbal battle with his mother, smacking her down for only bothering to bring up his father when she doesn’t like something he’s doing. But, then, I loved pretty much that entire scene, particularly when he was listing off the various types of people she doesn’t like. (As someone who was raised in the South, I dare say that I’ve heard her excuse about how why she doesn’t like vampires – “it was the way I was brought up” – more than a few times in a different context.) I think it was always a given that the meet-and-greet at Merlotte’s between Jessica, Hoyt, and his mama was already going to go poorly, but who knew it would result in Mama being around for Maryanne’s explosive entrance into the place later that evening?

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True Blood 2.8 – Having Her On My Brain’s Like Getting Hit By A Train

First off, my apologies for the delay in getting this week’s blog onto the site. If you’ve been following my various posts on Premium Hollywood over the course of the past two weeks, then you know that I’ve been out in Pasadena for the Television Critics Association press tour. The festivities wrapped up on Saturday night, and I spent the majority of Sunday traveling home to Virginia, and when I got there, I must admit that seeing my wife and daughter again took precedent over watching “True Blood,” and even after my daughter went to bed, any desire to watch this week’s episode with my wife was conquered by an undeniable need to sleep. I’m still feeling way off my game, thanks to the wonders of jetlag, but I’ve finally had a chance to watch last night’s episode. My apologies, however, if things aren’t in-depth this time around as usual.

This was a Godric-heavy episode, the first we’ve ever had, and it was nice to see this mysterious character we’ve heard so much about become more fleshed out. Despite everyone giving us the impression that he was this old-school bad-ass of a vampire, it turns out that he’s actually more thoughtful than any of the vamps we’ve seen to date, having become highly interested in the possibilities of a vampire / human alliance. I always seem to be let down whenever I have high hopes for characters on this show, but it would be nice to think that he’s shaping up to be the Martin Luther King of his people. Between his ending of the battle in the church, giving Hugo a reprieve, and giving Lorena that smackdown at the party, he just spent the episode getting more and more awesome.

Jason had a lot of good material in this week’s episode, from his stupidity (I had to pause the TiVo until after I stopped laughing about his response when Sarah told him he was worse than Judas: “Why, what’d he do to you?”) to his attempt to bluff his way through the lockdown (“”I’m a cadet with the Light of Day Institute, I’m strapped”) to his smackdown of Reverend Steve (“I reckon I’ve been to Heaven: I’ve been inside your wife”), but let us not forget that he was also responsible for doling out one of the most awkward hugs in recent TV history. Kudos to Bill for taking it in the spirit in which it was intended, even if he couldn’t muster much post-hug enthusiasm. It looks like the Jason / Erik relationship is also burgeoning, so I’ll be curious to see where that goes in future episodes.

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