True Blood, “Hitting the Ground”

You know True Blood has too many characters when three kinda-sorta major died in “Hitting the Ground” and there was still too much going on that even more than that were completely absent from the episode. Yeah, three folks died this week!

I can’t say that I’ll miss Coot, Lorena or the Magister, and the latter two died in extremely gruesome ways. Poor Coot was simply shot in the head from point-blank range a few times; how tame.

Anyway, I have to say that this was something of a streamlined and perhaps efficient episode of True Blood that really tried to focus solely on the stories most people care about — Sookie’s powers, her relationship with Bill and the vamp politics — while leaving frivolous stories featuring Jessica, Arlene and Jason’s weird blonde lover on the sidelines. Unfortunately, we still had to watch Sam rescue his brother from the deadbeat parents at a dog fighting ring. I puked a little in my mouth just typing that. Let’s just (barely) acknowledge that story and move on to the better stuff, shall we?

Like I said, this episode had some real focus — and a shorter, 47-minute running time — that kept the pace quick and the mystery going very well and combined with last week’s episode, I’m starting to almost believe that this season might actually be going somewhere. Most importantly, this episode featured some intel on Sookie’s powers: She has no blood type, drinking lots of said blood allowed Bill to survive in the daylight and there’s some sort of wise woman in her subconscious trying to keep Sookie from losing her “light.”

The blood angles make sense with the world of True Blood, but I’m not totally sold on the journey to the pond of bright lights and naked people. This Claudine woman is exceptionally vague with the details of how Sookie got to this place, why her proverbial cup is empty and what the damn cup even means in the first place. This isn’t a series that’s great with subtle references or images, so I’m guessing that the clearer explanation coming will be something about how the light or “good” inside Sookie allows her to shoot light out of her hands and because she cares so much about people, she can also read their thoughts. The threats about Bill taking her light just mean that he’s bringing her life down. Sounds all very self-help book-y, but at least it’s development!

Sookie finds herself in naked pond subconscious world because after she, Alcide and Tara save him from Lorena and Coot, Bill wakes up in the back of a truck and bites the living hell out of Sookie, leaving her for dead. Mr. Compton doesn’t seem to remember what he did, but I can’t imagine why not. To me, it looks as if Bill’s time on the dark side with King Russell whet his appetite for human blood more than he thought it would and now he’s on a bit of a self-destructive bender. So Bill is going to be looking to take out some light just as Sookie needs to protect hers! Oh no!

One thing that drove me nuts about this episode and something that annoys me with the series in general is how worried Jason, Tara and Lafayette were with Sookie on her last leg. Now, I’m not saying that these three don’t care about her, but only Lafayette has consistently shown that he can back up those kind of mushy sentiments. If Tara isn’t making a bad speech about how good of friends she is with Sookie, she’s fighting with her. And Jason, bless his heart. He goes on and on about how Sookie is all he’s got — except for we have barely seen them in scenes together on a regular basis since season one. I know the story is compressed over like six weeks, but c’mon, who buys this?

On a brighter note, King Russell and his new pal Eric do more damage this week by prying information about Sookie from Queen Sophie-Anne, freeing Pam and killing the Magister just after he begrudgingly marries the king and queen. The marriage was a quick development and Russell’s main plans still elude us, but I have to say, watching him and Eric destroy some lives is a the kind of fun that reminds me I kind of like this series. Russell makes a big speech about the stupidity of believing in the vampire elders and attempting to share the world with humans, so it’s very, very possible that his anti-religion stance is part of a campaign to have the world’s special folks rise up and take what’s rightfully theirs in his mind. Now we have to wonder if he’s coming to cut off the vampire elders’ heads as well, right?

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