True Blood, “Trouble” and “I Got a Right to Sing The Blues”

Again, thanks to my vacation, I didn’t have time to watch the last two episodes of True Blood, let alone recap the damn things. Alas, I’ve powered through them today and combined my thoughts into one post.

It was totally compelling to be at Comic-Con to see all the True Blood banners and love during the series’ panel. No panel that I attended was bigger, featured more screaming or random swooning than that one. The crowd was in such a tizzy and you’d think that this was such an amazing, quality series. Well…for me, there’s a disconnect, especially with this season. I’ve noted repeatedly how much of a ADD-infused mess with dozens of disconnected plotlines with no end in sight. The most recent two episodes didn’t do a whole lot to convince me that was going to change. At all.

However, “Trouble” and “I Got a Right to Sing The Blues” were at least entertaining, which is something I couldn’t say for a few episodes earlier this season. And interestingly, the episodes hinted at some sort of narrative coherence, but then realized, “Why in the hell would we do that when we can just throw a series of insane, gross images at people who don’t really connect!” The coherence stems from a change in season structure, actually. In the past two seasons, the series has worked with many dangling threads — though not as many or as badly executed ones as this year — that slowly come together in the final few episodes. However, “Trouble” and “I Got a Right to Sing The Blues” pushed the characters into closer proximity, making it seem like there was something of a mid-season climax occurring. Of course, the end of “Sing The Blues” pulled a number of the characters back apart and drawing us just as far away from the story as we were before.

The one thing that kept these episodes afloat amid the gross out moments  (Tara biting Franklin, subsequently bashing in his head) and boring stories (Sam and his brother, Arlene’s pregnancy, Jason and his secret lover lady) is that the political struggle between the vampires is becoming a little bit more solidified. King Russell plan to gain more power of the surrounding territories is to marry Queen Sophie-Ann, which he can now do because Eric has at least pretended to switch allegiances and the Queen is stuck with the selling V thing. That also means that Russell is done with the lying Bill Compton, since he now thinks he’s captured Sookie and Eric is arguably more powerful and useful. However, Eric has his own plans — revenge. Flashbacks show us that weres, led by a vampire I think, killed Eric’s family when he was just a human. Some artifacts in Russell’s home suggest to Eric that the King knows a little something about that event, and it looks as though Eric is willing to play along with Russell’s politicking — and even flirt a little bit — in hopes of finding his parents’ murderer AND avoid any punishment for selling V. Eric is a much better character when he’s scheming and out for blood, so it’s a welcome transition for the character out of the lovey dovey stuff with Sookie.

And really, that paragraph of plot carried these two episodes. Like I mentioned above, Sam, Arlene, Jessica and Jason are trapped in very goofy, if only sometimes smiling-inducing stories that could totally be cut and the series would seem much, much leaner and coherent. I like Jessica, but don’t care about her small-time struggles as a baby vamp, even though that story is being played fairly low-key. I don’t care that Arlene is stupidly keeping the pregnancy a secret, I really don’t care about Jason’s new, mysterious love interest (because that always goes well on this series) and I sure as hell DO NOT care about Sam and his horrible, horrible family. Ugh.

The rest of the stuff happening I can really take or leave. Tara and Franklin made nice, creepy and entertaining couple, and although I was certainly a little grossed out by her actions — drinking his blood, beating his head in — it was actually cool to see the Tara that doesn’t suck. You know, the one with the major chip on her shoulder and total survival instincts? That and her note to Sookie that going after Bill makes her a damn idiot was all great — even if Tara is also a damn idiot.

Sookie didn’t have a whole lot to do in either episode, but the moments she did have were big and (I guess?) monumental. She used her microwave finger power again, and now everyone’s really up in arms about what she is. Honestly, I don’t really care, but it was interesting to have her admit that her grandfather was like her because I don’t think that’s come to light on her end before(?). Sookie more than held her own against Russell and it’s expected that she’d go back to Bill despite his constant “Get away from me” chatter, so whatever.

Finally, gotta give props to the writers for bringing about Jesus and giving Lafayette a little bit of normalcy in his life. It was odd and heart-warming to see him blush and flirt for a few episodes. Heck, it was really nice to have Jesus around, because as of now, he appears to be a totally normal dude. Of course, things didn’t go as planned and now I’m sure that Jesus will probably end up being some sort of creature.

In any event, the season has turned the corner just a little bit, but for nearly half of these two episodes, I was still bored or insulted. And based on the sizzle reel I saw at Comic-Con, I’m guessing it’s not going to get any better.

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