Tue
Aug 31 2010 1:49pm

True Blood episode review: “Fresh Blood”

On this week’s episode of True Blood, Sookie and Bill have another go at a fresh start which goes about as well—and as long—as expected, Sam tries to pretend that he’s not nice, and Jason meanders around town and plots to avoid his girlfriend. I think Crystal’s nagging is more of a dealbreaker than her being a were-panther, personally. Also, drugs are still bad and Arlene’s a big ol’ redheaded hypocrite.

The penultimate episode of the season had even more set-up, so I’m hoping the finale will be completely insane. Everything’s coming to a head, it seems. Except for a bunch of things that seem impossible to wrap up in the one hour we’ve got left. At least it seems like there will be a lot to look forward to in season four.

Hoyt and Jessica are officially an item again. Hooray! I don’t know why Jessica didn’t think of making Hoyt hers right away, when she knew she couldn’t live off of Tru Blood. But it’s good; they had some time apart to mature or something and now they can rekindle a more adult relationship that can go to some interesting dark places next year. It was also great to see Mama Fortenberry. And she’s been in cahoots with Summer all along! I’m not worried that anything they do will keep Hoyt from Jessica in any serious way, so it’s welcome comic relief.

However, I’m definitely nervous about what that V trip has done to Jesus and Lafayette. I think it awakened something dark in Jesus that the two of them shouldn’t be flirting with. They should just go back to flirting with each other. Their honeymoon didn’t last as long as I had hoped.

In situations coming to a head, Sam’s out-of-nowhere jerky behavior reached a fevered pitch when he yelled at Terry and called his waitresses bitches. Acting like a drunk asshole isn’t the best way to dispel that Nice Guy rep, but it’s sure effective in the short term. Of course, this will prove to be a bad move because Tommy’s never been a Nice Guy and proceeds to rob Sam like the entitled jerk he is. I hope Sam settles this Tommy mess once and for all next episode, because if there’s anyone I don’t want to become a recurring cast member, it’s Tommy. I miss the old, nice Sam who managed to save his town from Maryanne. This new attitude of his isn’t convincing. Tara’s got the biggest chip on her shoulder, by the way. But maybe it’s my extreme hate for Eggs. If it was a likable character she was still mourning at this point in the season, I’d want more justice. But really, what more can Andy and Jason do but apologize? Apologize publicly? Fair enough. But it won’t make Tara happy either and she knows it. Who saw her falling back into old habits and sleeping with Sam again? They’re terrible for each other.

Shut up, Crystal. Save your family, don’t save your family. No one cares. I don’t think Jason even cares. I think he’d rather expose Kitch’s V-juicing and keep his high school football legacy intact than prove himself as a fake cop by preventing some Waco-type situation in Redneckville. Crystal’s inbred were-panther problems would be low on my list of things to worry about, too, if my sister was being hunted by one of the most powerful vampires in America and was missing. I’m tempted to look up book spoilers just to see how different Crystal and her family are in the novels. I’ve heard it was a big difference. And I’d also like to know how long Alan Ball might drag out this boring love affair.

Another character I’m hating on this season is Arlene. So Holly’s Wiccan solution is a “decoction” to draw the evil out of Arlene’s baby? I have some big problems with this. First off, it’s completely ridiculous for Arlene to assume Rene’s baby would be evil and crazy like he was in the first place. Then she doesn’t believe in abortion, even though she doesn’t want the baby, but she’ll drink Holly’s special drink. Then, when Arlene starts bleeding, she’s totally okay when she thinks she’s miscarrying. How does that fit with her pro-life stance in any form?! And now Holly said a spirit would still be born if it was meant to be, and it seems that since Arlene is still pregnant after all, she’s carrying some evil Cajun spirit. Arlene totally deserves an Antichrist demon child for being such a hypocrite this season. Poor Terry though. He’ll still love his evil foster baby. What’s this setting up for next season?

I know there’s been a lot of complaining in this blog of late. It’s mostly because there’s just so much going on and the weight of all of the plots is off. There was a ton of Arlene this episode and only two scenes with Lafayette. Sam’s character change seems really abrupt after all of that buildup with the Mickens family. And the biggest focus of the show, Sookie, doesn’t seem to be getting enough attention for all that’s going on. But the few scenes we do get with her have been compelling and really well-done. I’ve loved all of the Sookie plot this season and especially this episode. It was incredibly poignant listening to her and Bill rattle off daydreams of normalcy as they drove away from Fangtasia. Bill as a third grade teacher? Fishing with Jason? Peace? The ill-timed interruption of Russell and Eric was like the universe’s answer to their questions about the future. And it’s sad. I also liked that Sookie admitted to some feelings for Eric, too.

What would Eric’s plan have been if Sookie’s blood wasn’t magical? Sookie’s disbelief that Bill would offer her delicious fairy blood to Russell was heartfelt. There’s really no way these two can recover from Bill’s behavior this season, is there? I think Eric’s betrayal is much more forgivable to her. She expects him to act evil and when she finds out the reason behind his revenge plan, she’ll get even more doe-eyed over him. Once she replenishes her blood supply. Eric told Russell that “there are consequences” for one’s evil deeds. So what will come back to haunt Eric? Offering Sookie to Russell or some other bad deed from his past. The entire last act with Eric and Russell walking outside into the sun was fantastic. My favorite part was Pam’s tear, the look on her face. It was pure, unadulterated joy.

So in two weeks we get to see how Eric gets himself out of the sun while leaving Russell to die. (Come on, does anyone think Eric’s really in danger of dying? He’s too hot to die!) I’m very excited for the season finale. This hasn’t been my favorite season—I still liked the first season best—but it’s been a lot of fun overall. Will Alcide return in the last act? Will he be back at all? Will Russell die? Will Crystal? Will we have to wait until next year to find out if Arlene’s demon spawn is a boy or a girl?

Some other bits I liked this week:

  • Even Pam’s mace is stylish. Liquid silver? Nice. Still not enough to avoid getting tied up and robbed by Miss Estonia, who it turns out is the world’s hottest cardiologist.
  • Eric’s “Ain’t We Got Fun” ringtone.
  • Summer telling Mama Hoyt that she showed Hoyt her best underwear.
  • An awkward Andy Bellefleur: “I used to drink hot sauce straight outta the bottle. That was a good time.” What is he doing with that drawer of V? If he can’t stomach onion rings, guess he’s not using it as ulcer medication after all.
  • HBO’s pre-episode “In Memoriam” short. Tina the Cat! Vikings! The Rattrays. Aw, good times.

Theresa DeLucci is looking for some fall genre TV suggestions. What can I get caught up on? All I’m planning to watch in September is Dexter and Community. This is clearly not enough television.

6 comments
terenewen
1. terenewen
I got the impression from what Holly was telling Arlene that the "decoction" would kill the baby, or cause a miscarriage. I know, that doesn't really make any more sense considering Arlene's feelings towards abortion, but I feel like in her world, abortion is more evil than maybe drinking something that just might happen to kill the baby. It's a degree less of responsibility for her.
That's why she was so chill when she woke up covered in blood. She knew something like that was going to happen.
Adam Miller
2. AdamM
A comment on Pam's tear and the look. I wouldn't have called than unadulterated joy. I think there was some wonder at the thought of being able to walk in the sun, but I think that it was still fear and sadness at the potential of losing Eric.
In response to the footer, I'd check out Modern Family. That was something we ended up catching up on over the summer, and definitely worth watching. Might have actually been funnier than Community, and we really enjoyed Community!
Stacy Hague-Hill
3. shh
I’m so confused by Sam’s tantrum, too—where did it seriously come from? If he’s having a meltdown, why did he keep stomping around working? To show us that he’s still at heart responsible old Sam, even when he’s on a shouty bender, and to huffily show the characters that he doesn’t need anybody? I kept thinking I was missing something in the set up? He’s been worn down all season by his crummy family, yeah, but that much? Maybe the flashbacks didn’t give us the whole picture? Do we need more picture? I don’t know. I am not yet picking up what you are putting down, Sammy.

He and Tara *are* totally terrible for each other, it's so true.

Bill as a teacher gives me the giggles. “Children! Ah would lahk you ta take owt your slates so thaht we may continue your ahrithmahtic lessons. If your neighbuh does naht possess ahdequate chalk, ah ask thaht you please show courtuhsey ahnd share your own.”

Pam and Eric, awkward Andy, Jessica—even Summer was awesome. It did feel like a lot of set up, but I still can’t wait to see where it goes.
Ashe Armstrong
4. AsheSaoirse
Main plot and Jessica are all I really care about at this point. Things are...well, you said it pretty well. One more to go and then we wait til June. At least I get Doctor Who in the spring.
terenewen
5. Amanda M.
Actually, Crystal is more of a bitch in the books, believe it or not.
Cathy Mullican
6. nolly
Other things to watch / catch up on: Castle! Can't wait for the new season. I've also found Chuck generally enjoyable.

TV vs. books: The drug-dealing in Hotshot isn't in the books, so far as I recall, and Calvin a lot nicer / more pleasant, though there's still a lot of inbreeding going on, related to the way were breeding works in the book world -- it's different in the TV world.

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