I was actually able to watch True Blood live tonight, but I’m not sure that made me feel any differently about the episode. “It Hurts Me, Too” was just as busy, just as ridiculous and sometimes just as boring as the first two efforts. I wish I felt better about the first three episodes, but with so many new characters and settings to introduce and old ones still to service, the narrative is totally incoherent.
The biggest problem right now is that there is no narrative drive or remote connection to all the stories happening. There are at least 10-12 different stories going on right now and like I mentioned last week, there’s a hope that the series will be able to pull them all together at some point. But right now, not only do I have no confidence in that actually coming to pass, but I’m either bored or frustrated by the individual stories that are hopefully leading to something bigger down the road. Last week I discussed world building within True Blood and while the series is still struggling with developing the new places, it’s also having trouble telling honest, emotionally resonant stories in the places we already know.
Last week brought us King Russell, his boytoy, the other, boot-wearing vampire, Lafayette’s mother, Jesus the orderly, a slew of werewolves and Sam’s family of three. And aside from Russell and boot-wearer (now known as Franklin), their introductions weren’t handled so well. But just in case you didn’t feel overwhelmed or exhausted with the slew of newbies, this week gave us the anticipated introduction of werewolf Alcide! He seems like an interesting enough character, but my lord do we seriously need a fourth potential love interest for Sookie? I know he has an ex-flame bringing him down, but I can only imagine how spending time with Sookie might make that all better.
Moreover, I have to admit that I’m so far not compelled by the werewolves and their scene. The bar that Alcide takes Sookie felt stereotypical and cliché, even for True Blood and by introducing so many different “weres” and various factions, it’s hard to feel any connection to what the hell any of this means. It seems like Alcide is the to the werewolf factions as Bill was to the vampires, but it’s too much, too soon.
Speaking of Bill, a good chunk — well as much of a chunk that can be delved into with 400 characters — of the hour was dedicated to his psyche and what it means to be a vampire that loves a human. That meant more flashbacks to his live right after being turned and more Lorena. I actually liked the flashbacks and they do go a long way in establishing the inevitable call Bill makes to Sookie telling her that they cannot be together anymore. It still rings a little false because we’ve been down this road before, but under his current circumstances, Bill doesn’t seem to have a choice in any matter (so much so that he has to have sex with Lorena even though he hates it). And again, the fact that we’re actually seeing some reasoning for a character’s motivation or emotional state gives us a little something to chew on.
It’s interesting that Russell mentioned Bill turning Sookie if he loved her so much. I assume Bill says that it’s impossible not because of Sookie’s gift, but because he wants to hold on to the last threads of his humanity, right? Please tell me that’s the answer because then it means that the flashbacks tonight and the said future break up were actually worth something. If not, well, shoot.
Those are the big topics, I’m going to deal with the rest in bullets. Shall we?
- Nice to have Eric tear up the werewolf who tried to take Sookie out because it reminds her — and us — that he’s not completely soft and cuddly. Not nice: bullet-time. Jesus.
- Tara was less annoying this week, but I think that’s just the cool buzz she’s getting from Franklin the vampire. Though their one night stand continues to annoyingly nail home that everyone in Bon Temp loves destroying their lives. Hold it together girl. However, I did like that Franklin is now using Tara for information on Bill. Who is he working for?
- Did I mention BULLET-TIME?
- Four frivolous storylines that are only mildly enjoyable because of the performers: Eric giving Lafayette a car with the assumption that he’ll sell more V, Jessica’s trauma with the missing dead guy, Arlene’s pregnancy (seriously, we need that much more drama that Rene is the father of the baby?) and Jason thinking of becoming a cop. YES, there is so much going on in this damn series that there are at least four frivolous stories.
- Follow-up: I hope Jason doesn’t totally give up on his newfound dream to be a cop, I’m so sold on that one.
- Lord, could someone please rescue Sam Trammell AND Sam Merlotte from the terrible story about his family. I thought it was a waste when he left so quickly, so imagine how much I sighed when they tracked him down. I don’t think I need to know anything else about Sam’s family or his gift. Especially if this is what they’re going to tell us.
- Sookie paying for Eggs’ funeral was a nice touch, but I don’t know when she was able to set it all up during all the screaming, yelling, shooting and panting over Bill.
- Glad they finally acknowledged the timeline through Arlene’s pregnancy. It’s even more ridiculous that everything in the series has unraveled in less than three months.
- Also, there were so many new things to deal with this week that we skipped out on more Eric/Godric flashbacks and Russell’s power-struggle with Sophie Ann.
Again, I’m all for insanity and incoherence if it’s A.) entertaining and B.) visibly leading to something. Three episodes in, and True Blood‘s third season is giving me neither or those.
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