True Blood: Life Matters Review - Mania.com



True Blood Review

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Info:

  • Episode: Life Matters (Season 6, Episode 9)
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer Sam, Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis, Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd, Deborah Ann Woll, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Joe Manganiello, Rutger Hauer
  • Written By: Brian Buckner, Alan Ball (creator), Charlaine Harris ("Sookie Stackhouse" novels by
  • Directed By: Romeo Tirone
  • Network: HBO
  • Studio: Your Face Goes Here Entertainment, Home Box Office (HBO)
  • Series:

True Blood: Life Matters Review

Raging Bitch IPA

By Joel Rickenbach     August 13, 2013
Source: Mania.com

There was a time when True Blood was about the supernatural slowly seeping into a quiet, boggy Louisiana town. It was full of interesting denizens and their gossip, it was the type of town where everybody knew everybody, and secrets didn't stay that way for long. Through the seasons, the show has expanded to other towns and cities, and brought in bigger ideas like the vampire authority and government programs to eradicate all vampires, not to mention tossing in every supernatural creature the Monster Manual can bare. This episode does a wonderful job of juxtaposing what once was and what currently is, and could possibly signify a shift back to the simpler times of Bon Temps.

The framing device of the episode is a split of two concordant events- Terry's funeral and Eric's siege of the government vampire concentration camp. Let's start with the funeral- in a show with so much death, it's interesting to see how one loss of life can have so much meaning and weight. Terry's funeral is literally a reunion of the Bon Temps characters from season's past. We see Maxine Fortenberry, Jane Bodehouse and even Lettie Mae Thornton shows up with Reverend Daniels. It really brought back the vibe the show had in its early seasons. True Blood loves to go for the humorous, the odd or the outrageous when presenting the regular events of life through its twisted kaleidoscope, but on the whole, Terry's funeral is played straight and somber, and it was the right move (although Arlene does tell Big John his song was "the s**t.") The Eulogies delivered by some of our favorite characters are phenomenally written and acted, and each one is a piece of the larger story about how Terry turned his life around after the war, and became part of the Bon Temps community. It was touching to see the flashbacks of Terry with Andy, Sam and Lafayette etc. just being regular people, before Bon Temps became a mystical menagerie, and to see Sookie in a Merlotte's uniform, well that's as rare as it gets these days. Sookie admitting her telepathy to the entire town was a big step, and one that was a long time coming. The fact that she used her powers to help comfort Arlene was one of the few times we've seen her "curse" act like a "gift", who knows- maybe Sookie will truly come to terms with who she is.

The other side of the coin is Eric's assault on Sarah Newlin's vampire prison, and Bill perhaps fulfilling his Lillith-like destiny. It's not a pretty sight- there are castrations by hand and splattery head stomps (to the same person!), and the freed vamps are torturing their captors in all sorts of sadistic ways. Eric is a driven liberator, and judging by his actions at the end of the episode, he may have had enough of the regular world. Sarah Newlin is also driven, hiding amongst the dead, waiting for her chance to run to the top of the silo and open the sun roof. I have to say- I really liked how they solved the captured vamps meeting the sun- feeding off Bill like a blood pet. I'm not sure if all the Lillith-ness is out of him, but he seems to have been granted a reprieve from moving on to the vampire pearly gates. We'll see if the gore-covered fashion models show up in the finale. After all they've been through, the vampires deserve a few minutes of slow-mo Trublood smashing. It's catharsis with fangs.

Possibly the best thread of this episode belongs to Jason Stackhouse. First he drinks Eric's blood, which should lead to all sorts of future homo-erotic dreams. Then comes the revelation from Steve Newlin- as he looks up to the sun and sees his ex-wife Sarah, his final words before immolating are "I love you, Jason Stackhouse!", and it's priceless. Despite that bit of fun, things almost go pitch black for a few moments. Jason putting a gun to Sarah's head while Big John's funeral hymn plays over the desperation is a really strong scene, but in the end it conforms to the theme of the episode, just like the catfish Terry caught- life matters.

This episode felt like a season finale, so what next week's actual finale will bring should be interesting. Like I mentioned at the outset- whatever the set-up is for season 7, I hope it' an even more scaled down story than this season, which I have to say has been wonderfully compact in its telling. I hope they bring back the Bon Temps to True Blood.

The Good: Lafayette's eulogy (and suit!)

The Bad: Has Warlow become useless?

The Ugly: The memory of Jane Bodehouse during season 2's orgies.

Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
fatpantz 8/13/2013 12:26:33 AM

I found the funeral flashbacks very boring and distracting from the main storyline.

mlaforce 8/13/2013 2:22:14 AM

The good: The gore and blood done from Eric...

The bad: Anna's acting, in just about every episode from evey season so far, except for when she takes her clothes off, then she turns into a brilliant actress...

The ugly: Warlow's sh*t story line and yes, he has become useless up to this point...

It was a good episode but I have to agree with Fatpantz. the bouncing inbetween the funeral and the action got a bit tiring and slowed the episode down...

Correct me if I am wrong but is there suppose to be some kind of zombie apocolypse? That is what I read somewhere...I was hoping Terry was going to come crashing out of his coffin and ask Arlene while she is screaming her tits out of her bra for a big old sloppy kiss...That was the dream anyways and watching the finally preview it looks like that is not happening so I guess it's not true, the zombie apocolypse that is...F*ck it anyways...

Muenster 8/13/2013 6:57:58 AM

When did KC from the Sunshine band get cast on this show... Oh wait, it's just Anna Paquin.

TheSilentKiller 8/13/2013 7:17:02 AM

 I personally think there's another big bad than Warlow that will be introduced - I'm still having trouble reconciling Rob Zombie with Abercrombie and Fitch boy, and I think there's more to come.

TheSilentKiller 8/13/2013 7:17:56 AM

 Also - I liked your "Ugly"

 

ddiaz28 8/13/2013 7:22:58 AM

I'm with fatpantz as well.  As touching as the Terry stuff was, it just bored me, and I'm not easily bored.  I kept wanting to feel something, but as fun a character as Terry was, he never felt important enough to devote half an episode to his death.  If it was Jason, or another primary character I would have understood it more.  And the stuff at the camp was so fun and awesome, going back and forth so often was a bit jarring.  

But this definitely felt like a finale so I'm assuming the last episode is mostly setup for next season.  Will Sookie become a fae vampire?  That's going to be the big ending.  

Oh, and can someone tell me what the point of showing that scene from Honolulu was?  I'm assuming that was Tru Blood laced with Hep-V, but were they stealing it to drink it or destoy it?  And is Hep-V contagious.  If so they're going to have an outbreak of it.  And won't most of the vamps that escaped be infected?  Why didn't Eric think of that?  And what was up with him flying away.  That seemed to come out of the blue.  But I guess he's pretty distraught about Nora.  Hopefully we get some answers in the finale.

ddiaz28 8/13/2013 7:25:44 AM

TheSilentKiller ... I completely agree.  They seem like two completely different characters and it still confuses me.  There has to be more there.   If Warlow was so in love with Sookie and wanted to woo her, would he really scare the crap out of her in her bathroom like he did and scream "You are mine".  It doesn't make sense. 

blankczech 8/13/2013 9:53:33 AM

 TheSilentKiller...the Rob Zombie, Abercrombie & Fitch Boy metaphors were very good.  I was chalking that up to writers deciding to change directions midstream but maybe there's more to it.

joelr 8/14/2013 8:18:32 AM

I think the focus on Terry's death is the writers showing us how the passing of a "normal" differs from when one of the supernatural characters dies. I'll write more about in in the finale review.

redhairs99 8/15/2013 7:31:01 AM

TheSilentKiller, I've been of that mind set since the revealed Warlow to be the dude in Pacific Rim.  For all the build-up and previews of the scary Rob Zombie dude, I feel the writer's have been waiting to bring that back and that the Rob Zombie Vamp wasn't really Warlow.

As for this episode, I felt sort of...insulted by the editing of the show.  I actually liked Terry's funeral scene, but I feel like the producer's thought the audience would be bored by that for half a show and decided to cut back and forth between the funeral and the Vamp-Concentration camp scene.  I think it would've played better and left the viewer more emotionally invested if they let the funeral and flashbacks just play out and then go to the Vamp-concentration camp or vice versa.  It might've also worked if we got more than 3 minutes here and 3 minutes back.  It felt very ADD to me at least, but I see everyone else on here thought the funeral was boring.  I enjoyed it.  And I thought Sookie's story about Terry was well done and acted.

Not sure what the point of Big John's introduction was.  It seemed like a big introduction for some dude I never recall seeing before.  Was he some famous musician who I missed?

The stuff at the VC was just awesome, though I could've done without the slo-mo destroying the True Blood stuff.  I loved Jason's line when the therapist told Eric he screwed Pam.  "Oh No, you Did NOT just go there!"  Of course, I knew the moment Eric entered the room that the guy was going to tell Eric that he f'd his progeny and I knew Eric was going to be pissed.  Still a great moment.  

I do hate that they let Sarah Newlin go.  I knew Jason wouldn't kill her, but I thought Eric or at least one of the other Vamps would have intercepted her.

I was a bit confused by the sudden scene of the vamps feeding off Bill.  It seemed to come out of nowhere.  Did anyone else notice this?  I guess I also didn't think you could gain the sun protection powers by drinking someone's blood who has Faerie blood in their system, but I guess it makes about as much sense as anything else on this show.

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