Aug 25 2010 12:06pm

True Blood episode review: “I Smell a Rat”

On this Sunday’s episode of True Blood, a lot of people come clean about a lot of deep, dark secrets. Everyone’s so refreshingly honest, you can almost forgive that this episode was kind of filler-iffic. But to be fair, last week’s ending was pretty tough to follow.

First, let me say that I like Arlene again. She finally told Terry that her baby’s daddy is René. Did anyone expect Terry to react with anything less than understanding and love? Even so, I still got all full of “Aw” when he told her that together they would surround that fangbanger-killing spawn with as much love as possible. Yet I wonder why Arlene still went to Holly the “Wiccan” (um, still not convinced she’s any actual witch with supernatural powers, not some Neo-Pagan neophyte) to handle her unwanted pregnancy situation.

Another small, enjoyable confession was Jessica telling Hoyt that she still loved him. I’m glad the show didn’t keep these two apart for too long. Hoyt, like Terry, is a stand-up guy and I think he’d help Jessica deal with all of her vampire growing pains. She bit his Mama! If he can overlook that, I think he could overlook almost anything.

In much bigger news, Jason finally told Tara that he shot Eggs, because Jason shooting Franklin is naturally similar enough to shooting Eggs that it warrants a flashback moment of trauma to that old news and the staking of Eddie. The whole heartfelt conversation was made even better by the fact that Jason brought a still-shaken Tara breakfast. I kept wishing he’d say something Jason-like such as: “Here you go, Tara. I brought you some eggs. Speaking of eggs...well, um, you see....” Eggs will be just a little bump in the road that brings Tara and Jason together romantically.

Here’s to hoping Crystal becomes roadkill.

A were-panther? That’s even more “fucking lame” than Sookie being a fairy. There’s really nothing redeeming about Crystal as a character at all. When she picked Jason over her family, I should’ve been relieved, but it just feels so phony and forced upon us. Maybe I just don’t think True Blood needs another set of shapeshifters when there’s still so much more to explore with Sam and even Alcide and Debbie. (Where are the wolves? Can the wolves eat the panthers?)

Speaking of everyone’s favorite shifter, did anyone ever guess that Sam had anger issues in the past? He had mentioned being something of a thief in his troubled youth, but actually shooting a woman? Wow. I’m really surprised. It seems like three seasons into a TV show, you’d know most of the major events of a main character’s life. I kind of liked the idea of Sam being the most normal, least-troubled person in Bon Temps. Despite being a shapeshifter. I don’t think we needed character backstory to put his beating of Crystal’s dad into more context.

Much like Eggs, Crystal has the ability to draw other characters into her suck. If Jesus was so anti-drug dealer, why would he take V? If his grandfather was such a powerful black magician, why would Jesus want to play with fire? Isn’t Lafayette enough trouble without adding illicit substances into the mix? I still don’t get all of the rules of V use. It can do whatever the writers want it to do, like give super orgasms, powerful visions, and now unlock family secrets? Can Sookie drink more of Bill’s blood to learn about her own fairy past then?

And again, there was more questions about whether Bill is trustworthy. (He is, for the most part, I think.) Or if Eric is trustworthy. (I think he is, too, ultimately.) But it’s all just sort of lost in the shuffle of so many characters with so many separate storylines. I’m just glad Sookie knows what she is now. Even if it’s only a hazy understanding, at least her plot can move forward.

This episode was all about setting up the final two hours. It’s a problem with watching TV live and not marathoning a whole season on DVD. I know we needed this hour, but it’s harder to enjoy as the impatience for some action grows. Like, it’s nice Russell got to say goodbye to Talbot in a depressing and slutty way and that Eric filled out his will, but, I want to see what insane act of war these two vampires would make next. Eric chaining up Sookie in the basement of Fangtasia at least offers some promise that the next two parts of this finale will be a lot more fun.

Quotes of the week:

  • Sam: “It’s not respect when your employees think you’re a psychopath.” I beg to differ.
  • Lafayette talking about Crystal and her father: “Dem fuckers is a whole new dimension of trash.” Preach it, La-la.

Theresa DeLucci is horribly sad that summer and True Blood will be ending soon.ddwill beee  will be ending soon.

John Skotnik
1. ShooneSprings
Have we actually seen Debbie change yet?
I'm trying to remember if she changed in the episode where she busted into Sookie's house, but I don't think we have.
I'm curious, because in the books she is a Were-Fox, which makes it seem odd that she would hangout with Werewolves (a fox being a snack for a wolf).

If she is indeed a Were-Fox in the show, it could make things more intriguing since a fox would be harder to notice than a wolf, and Debbie could be all kinds of stalker-y.
2. Caitrin

Yes, in the episode where she breaks into Sookie's house they show her dive out the window and then you see a white wolf running off into the trees. I think they re-wrote her as a were-wolf.

I don't mind the were-panther stuff because I know (I hope) what is coming and it would be cool if they kept it in.
Andrew Belmont
3. rosetintdworld
I really liked the whole Sookie, Tara, Jason plot this episode, and thought the quiet moments between them made up for the lack of action. Tara insults Bill...and Sookie waits for Tara's explanation of what happened to her, puts her own relatively minor problems aside to support her friend, and gives Tara a big hug. I can't exactly explain why I found this moment so wonderful, except that I tend to assume that all writers on TV treat their characters like idiots for the sake of plot convenience, and I am usually shocked and giddy beyond belief when main characters act like mature, supportive adults toward one another. Yay for Sookie and Tara.

Pulling a complete 180: we also got to see Hoyt punch Tommy in the face, and then 30 seconds later, watch Jessica fling Tommy aside like a rag doll. YAY. I love Jessica. And hate Tommy, if you can't tell.

Unfortunately the rest of the episode dealt with Crystal and Sam (who was probably my favorite character in the first two seasons and makes me yawn every time he appears now...sad...) Well, and setting up a plot that I can only assume is a season away. (Witch doctors???)

So I tend to agree with you that this episode was a little frustrating.

Although, in fairness, you did forget the best part: "Blah blah vampire emergency blah blah." Oh Pam.
Ashe Armstrong
4. AsheSaoirse
Preach it La-la, indeed. Crystal needs to disappear fast. She's so fucking annoying. The rules of V are odd. I think it does whatever you want it to at the time, maybe. Which would explain the joint trip.

The only real thing I got from Sam's flashback was a call back to him saying something about shifters running hot. Tommy's obviously a "hot" little shit and Sam worked to put that part of him behind him. Tommy's here and pushing him around, he's being accused of being weak and he finally snapped and it's eating at him.

The only thing about this ep that I really enjoyed was Hoyt and Jessica. Bout freaking time. And that provided my favorite moment of the episode; Hoyt punching Tommy right in his big mouth. Second up is Jessica tossing dog-Tommy into the woods.

Also, Pam's vamp emergency line was gold.

And Holly...I groaned out loud when she said she's a wiccan and then thought to myself, "well that explains why she's so annoying."
Alex Brown
5. AlexBrown
All I know is that if Lafayette turns out to be some moustache-twirling evil sorcerer I'm gonna be pissed. And I disagree, I like Crystal (well, I like the character from the books so maybe I'm biased) and the were-panthers would be much better if they didn't have those fake-ass CGI eyes. But still.

Oh, and Arlene sucks. She really sucks. She's even worse in the books but here she just plain sucks. I think she and Tara should go off together to make a spinoff so I never ever ever have to hear or see them again.
6. sofrina
we've seen the reve-a-deux v-trip before: season one jason and that waitress were having them. they were in one when renee killed her.

this episode being all about stressed family ties, it was interesting. and frankly a welcome respite from some of the craziness. this whole season has covered about a week!

bill is downright shifty. at this point i think he's lying all the time. just not sure what about. why tell erik about the daylight aspect of sookie's blood without mentioning he nearly killed her in the process? it might at least make erik reluctant to pass that info along.

tara has taken the eggs thing far enough. their only real commonality was being used by maryanne and coerced into a relationship. not to mention, didn't he say he'd been in prison for armed robbery and assault before maryanne found him? that was quite a red flag to ignore.

jesus' curiosity about v is understandable. he just saw it do some miraculous, instantaneous work. i'm guessing he didn't know that his grandfather's plans were still inside him, possibly blocked by layers of white magic from his grandmother. i actually thought jesus would be the werepanther. looks like he'll regret having fallen in with lafayette in the end.

i just hope king russell and his vampire civil war last into next season. he is too good to off.
Theresa DeLucci
7. theresa_delucci
Yes, I totally forgot about how satisfying it was to see Jessica hurl Tommy across a parking lot! And Pam's vampire emergency line. (In my defense, these past few weeks I've either been away on business, had a houseguest, or been on vacation with limited net access, so I only got to watch these episodes once. I prefer at least two viewings before I post.)

Good point on Jesus & V. I really, really hope he doesn't regret falling in love with Lafayette. Maybe the two of them will be the Keith n' David of True Blood. (Yes, it all goes back to Six Feet Under for me. And those two guys had the most loving, balanced relationship. By HBO drama standards anyway.)

Also agreed on the hope that Russell sticks around for awhile. Good villains are hard to come by!

I think I'll read the books when the series is over. I keep hearing that Crystal and especially her dad are very different on the show. As in they're much more likable!

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