True Blood Turn! Turn! Turn! Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, June 11, 2012
Hey! True Blood is back! And it picks up the moment last season ended, except that moment happened almost a year ago, and in case you forgot- Quite a few people died, and that means quite a few dead bodies. See if you can follow me: Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) have to deal with the bodies of Debbie Pelt (Brit Morgan), who Sookie killed, and Tara (Rutina Wesley), who died saving Sookie. Lafayette has to deal with the grief of killing his boyfriend, Jesus (Kevin Alejandro), and the fact that his body is suddenly missing. Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) have to deal with the gooey remains of Nan Flanagan's (Jessica Tuck) body, and Sam (Sam Trammell) is forced to show the local werewolf pack where their former leader Marcus' (Daniel Buran) body lies. A body from two seasons ago, that of King Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare), is missing from the concrete tomb where it was left at the end of season 3. Oh, and reverend Newlin (Michael McMillian) wants Jason Stackhouse's (Ryan Kwanten) body... badly.
This episode treads the well worn "Picking up the pieces" formula- there's a lot left over, but not enough "new" to get what the feel of this new season will be. I may be in the minority here, but as someone who has read a good portion of the novels, I actually think the show is the superior of the two. The simple reason is the show fleshes out the supporting cast far more than the books do. The show will shift from character to character, storyline to storyline, weaving us a tapestry of guilty pleasures, whereas the books are firmly from Sookie's perspective.
There's some intriguing stuff afoot in Bon Temps, it will just take a few episodes for these threads to really start humming along. Terry's Army buddy, Patrick Devins (Scott Foley) brings tidings of mysterious fires plaguing other members of their Iraq platoon, which could be interesting. Bill and Eric get captured, escape, and get captured again, which isn't all that interesting in itself, but it will no doubt lead to the Christopher Meloni character, and seeing their reaction to the news Russell Edgington is loose definitely brings some excitement. Anything involving what the newly minted vamp, reverend Newlin, is up to is absolutely exciting, and dealing with the death of Tara is, well, a missed opportunity in my book.
One of the biggest complaints about True Blood is that it protects its core cast. Sure, plenty of people die on the show, but all the heavy hitters seem to make through to the other side. We thought that might change with Tara's self sacrifice in the path of a shotgun, but of course we should have known better. Sookie and Lafayette get Pam (Kristen Bauer van Straten) to try and turn Tara so she gets a second shot at life. Pam opens a vein, puts on her best Wal-Mart sweater, and gets herself six feet under with the cold, dead Tara. The next night, Sookie and Lafayette are waiting at the shallow grave, anticipating Tara's resurrection. Pam emerges, quick witted as ever, but not Tara. Sookie frantically digs until she finds the peaceful body of her best friend. The realization sets in that she's not coming back, and as a viewer it starts to get powerful. With all the supernatural hijinks this show pulls out of thin air, it was refreshing to see the harsh reality of a main character actually dying. It was a real moment, until Tara popped out of the dirt in full vamp mode.
Best moment: Pam saying "Super snatch"
Worst Moment: Pretty much anything involving Sam
So what do you think- Is True Blood getting long in the fang, or is it as good as it ever was?
Mania Grade: B-
Episode: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Alexander Skarsgård
Written By: Brian Buckner, Alan Ball (creator), Charlaine Harris (novels)
Directed By: Daniel Minahan