Monday, 8 August 2011

True Blood season 4 review - Cold Grey Light of Dawn

It's Monday, which means it's the time of the week when I write a load of bullet points about my reactions to the latest episode of True Blood, as a book fanatic, and then sum up what I thought of the episode at the end.  If anyone was wonder, at the end of the season I do plan to do a full analysis of the season as a whole and write up proper episode guides.

Warning, this post contains episode spoilers and book spoilers from the entire series

Past the half way point all ready.
  • Previously on True Blood, all the shit that didn't make sense.
  • For fuck's sake, True Blood, I watch the show every week, I don't need a full minute and a half of recap to remind me of the stuff I already know.
  • Subtle Apple product placement, True Blood.
  • So, possessed Aunt Petunia is escaping and killing that random witch chick for no good reason.  Hang on, did she say her name was El Groinio?
  • Oh dear, weak opening, could we have just one stand out episode this season, please?  Maybe True Blood is the opposite of Star Trek, the even numbers are the bad ones.  
  • YAY Pam!  Please kill Tara, that would make me so happy.  GODDAMMIT, random tourists, why didn't you let Pam kill Tara?  
  • So Lafayette is a medium now is he?  Ok.  Why?  
  • Oh Alcide, your wolfy rituals are so strange, just go along with it, stop being a sour puss, you'll only get yourself into trouble.  
  • Oh god....  no...  no, no, no....  no....  Alcide, you idiot, don't be looking all jealous because Sookie is getting it on, you dumbass.
  • YAY, maybe the Spanish priest vampire is gonna kill Crap-King Bill!  Shoot hi again, shoot him again!  Boooooooo!  
  • Is anyone who I hate going to die in this episode?
  • Goddammit Tara, just leave already.  Oh Boohoo, Tara, you told her to leave, get over it.
  • Jason and Hoyt need to be on screen together more.
  • So why does Crap-King Bill need to give the info back story to Jessica?  To give them something to do?  Why isn't Sookie finding this out or why isn't Aunt Petunia dropping this to someone?  
  • So Crap-King Bill's plan is for everyone to silver themselves and not, you know, just try to kill Aun Petunia?  
  • Oh, that's more of Askars rear end than I ever needed to see, saying that this is a show with a large female fanbase, so enjoy ladies.
  • Ok, so after a sex scene where you basically see everything, we get a cuddle scene where the actors are covered with modesty sheets....  right....
  • "Will you still love me, if I'm the real me." Aw....  my little heart is breaking, they never had this conversation in the books.
  • Oooh yay, it's that little gremlin doctor lady, I like her and she's helping Pam, I like her more.
  • Aw, Tommy and Sam having a brotherly moment, more of this, please.
  • Eric....  in.... flannel....  must...  resist....  laughing....
  • Are Aunt Petunia and Tara going to team up to get themselves killed?  Let's hope so!  Well, less of the Aunt Petunia and more of the Tara.
  • It's nice when you get a Bill/Jessica father daughter moment, why do they not do more?
  • Poor Pam, I really like her pretty pink coffin.  
  • Seeing all the vamps silver themselves was a nice little montage.
  • No, Holly, don't listen to Tara, you're actually a good character.
  • Again a nice Jessica/Bill moment, but so far they've had more screen time in this episode than Sookie.
  • Tee hee hee, Tommy the troll is caught.  
  • Aw that cut little baby saddle for baby serial killer is cute.  Aw Andy brought Holly flowers, *facepalm* don't tell her they were on sale *facepalm*.
  • Andy you, dumbass.
  • Ok, did they made Lafayette a medium just to explain the ghost lady from the evil doll thing.
  • So why do we need a Debbie/Alcide sex scene?  Aw, poor Debbie, it's hard living in Sookie's shadow, don't try and kill Sookie now, please, it's nice that you're not crazy.
  • Aunt Petunia is kick ass as a crazy 400 year old Spanish ghost psycho witch person.  
  • Holly what are you doing?  Walk away, Holly, walk away!
  • Sam why are you being such a douche?  So Tommy took your body fir a ride, no need to go crazy about it.
  • Jason, don't be a dumbass, Crap-King Bill has plenty of bodyguards.  
  • Don't let Pam out, Ginger.  YAY Ginger screaming, the season would not be complete without Ginger screaming.
  • LMAO, poor Beulah.  
  • Ok, I accept I was wrong, Jessica did need some help.  
  • WHAT??!!!?!?!!!  CLIFFHANGER???!!?!?!!!

Is it bad when the parts of the episode you enjoyed the most where contributions from minor characters?  How much further can you reduce Sookie's role in a show centred around Sookie?  This is what happens when you fuck with the books, Alan Ball! 

The next episode will bring us two thirds of the way through the season and so far Sookie's screentime adds up to less than an hour, 7 episodes into an hour long show.  That's bad, that's really, really bad.  So far, the plot of this season is, something weird is happening with Arlene and Terry's baby involving a ghost lady and a spooky doll, Lafayette has found out he's a medium, Tara is back because....?  A group of witches pissed off the local vamps and now one is possessed by an ancient evil witch who's determined to kill all the vampires she can.  Pam's rotting and no one can reverse the spell.  Eric's been mindwiped and now he and Sookie are having a relationship after she discovers mind-wipe Eric is much easier to get along with.  Oh, and Andy's hooked on V and Jason being kidnapped by the HotShot werepanthers and killing one of them has had no consequences. 

When I lay it out it sounds like a lot, until you remember that it's been stretched over the course of 7 hours of my life.  Russell Edington was a great antagonist, he was powerful, seemingly unstoppable, determined and quite hilarious.  Don't get me wrong, I like Aunt Petunia, but aside from the general threat to vamps she's not presented as a genuine threat to Sookie because they got rid of the stuff about there were-witch-V addicts, hunting down Eric and Bill not being there to be able to help Sookie because he was in Peru.

You remove the vulnerability, you remove the tension, it never really feels like there's a direct threat to the main characters because you know they aren't going to kill them off.  Apparently we're losing a handful of minor characters at the end of the season, but really, who is there to lose who is a great character?  They aren't going to cut the great characters, they're going to trim the dead weight. 

Good stuff:

  • Cliffhanger ending, I loves me a cliffhanger ending which I actually care about the result.
  • Beulah, the unknown vamp neighbour of Maxine Fortenberry.  Rest in Peace.
  • Pam and Pam's satin pink coffin, so very, very, Pam.
  • Ginger screaming, it's just not True Blood without Ginger screaming.
  • Seeing Doctor Ludvig again, she's awesome, needs to be back more.
  • The father-daughter stuff between Bill and Jessica.
  • Andy's disastrous date with Holly, so amusing.
  • Debbie being made into a good character, still love this, no crazy please.
  • Aunt Petunia being crazy awesome again.
  • The montage of all the important vamps silvering themselves down for the night, it was a great scene.
Bad Stuff:
  • Tara.  I think I have made my stance clear on this character since the start of the season, but she's a bad, bad, character and I see no point in keeping her around on the show.
  • Lafayette being suddenly a medium.  Why?  Just for the ghost lady stuff?  This seems stupidly stupid to me.
  • Sam kicking Tommy out, again, how many times do we have to go through this crap?
  • The tourists who showed up to prevent Pam from killing Tara, Pam should have killed Tara, then killed all the tourists, then stolen their cameras, then fed them all to gators.  With marshmallows.  
  • The 'previously on True Blood' segments, really, really, not needed and getting very sick of them.
  • Holly going with the witches for no damn reason, made sense in the book, not a lick here. 

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