True Blood: Everything Is Broken Review - Mania.com



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  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: Everything Is Broken
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell, Nelsan Ellis, Chris Bauer, Alexander Skarsgård, Deborah Ann Woll, Carrie Preston and William Sanderson
  • Written By: Alexander Woo
  • Directed By: Scott Winant
  • Network: HBO
  • Series: True Blood

True Blood: Everything Is Broken Review

Spinal Tap

By Rob Vaux     August 17, 2010


True Blood Review
© HBO

 

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that True Blood wasn’t exploring its larger world often enough: eschewing the whole “what if everyone knew about vampires” notion for standard-issue Anne Rice skullduggery. “Everything Is Broken” gloriously redresses that shortcoming with a shocking, hysterical finale that stands as one of the series’ all-time highlights.
 
Granted, the previous fifty minutes set it up nicely, landing Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) in hot water with The Authority and threatening both he and Pam (Kristen Bauer Van Straten) with the final death. Nan Flanigan (Jessica Tuck)--the public advocate for vampire rights--shows up with a bevy of SWAT team members in tow, asking scary questions about Russell (Denis O’Hare) and the deceased Magister. Director Scott Winant allows for some touching moments between Pam and Eric in the process, and the site of the unflappable Sheriff having to talk his way out of a sticky situation is too delicious to miss.
 
The remainder of the episode focuses on typically soapy developments. Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) continue their reconciliation, complicated by more revelations about Sookie’s lineage and a return to that freaky dreamland where everyone flounces around in white dresses. Jason (Ryan Kwanten) proves once again that he makes bad choices with women, while Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) seems to be doing much better in the romance department. Sam’s (Sam Trammell) relatives are still white trash, the Bon Temps police department is still a mess, and those weird crystal meth dealers are still causing trouble for various regular cast members.
 
As is standard for True Blood, all of the balls stay in the air with a reasonable about of grace, though none of them constitute a game changer. The best of the lot concerns Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll)--again--as she haltingly mends fences with sort-of-ex-boyfriend Hoyt (Jim Parrack).
 
The actress retains her blend of sweetness and vulnerability, which stands in sharp contrast to the burgeoning predator which appeared last episode. Even more rewarding is Tara’s (Rutina Wesley’s) thread, which covers the fall-out from her abduction and the (brief) return of her vampire stalker Franklin (James Frain). Like Moll, Wesley has a chance to reveal her vulnerable side, as well as the wounds which remain open and bleeding for all to see. It also balances her fears with her ferocity, topped off by a glorious comeuppance courtesy of an unexpected savior.
The subplot holds a sense of puckishness without diminishing the character’s pain, a trick the show had seemingly lost track up until recently.
 
But at the end of the day, the episode belongs to Russell. He has just two short scenes, but they catapult “Everything Is Broken” into the ranks of True Blood’s very best. The first drips with a campiness the show needs a little more of, as he purrs consolingly to a giant goblet holding the remains of his former lover. The second… well, it’s simply a work of genius. While last season struggled with the larger political issues of vampirism--concerned mostly with crude swipes at the Christian right and more of Jason’s foolishness--this season has completely ignored them until now. But with Russell gearing up to take on The Authority and his outspoken contempt for making vampires public knowledge, an outburst was only a matter of time. “Everything Is Broken” elegantly brings Nan back into the equation in order to facilitate that. Ostensibly, she’s here to deal with Eric, and with her early presence masked by the pretense, we accept her unquestioningly. The big revelation takes place from her perspective, gliding through a limousine on the way to another political hot-spot. On a different show, she might be a standard-issue political lobbyist. But then Russell drops his bombshell and we’re reminded once again that this is a very different universe. Winant takes such glee in the delivery--and the overall effect combines the ghoulish and the satirical so artfully--that its perfection feels utterly effortless. We’ve waited most of the season for True Blood to hit its stride. Consider it hit, yanked out and mounted above the fireplace as a trophy.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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HudsonTaco 8/17/2010 5:59:49 AM

Hands down the best ending to an episode of True Blood ever,and quite frankly most TV episodes in general. I agree completely with this review, its gonna be hard to top this season IMO.

Rob you said it a few reviews ago that Russel was the highlight of this season. I wasn't in total agreement until last night episode. He had 3 scenes not 2 in this episode, there was the scene after the credits where he finds his lovers puddle of remains, also a very good scene. The ending though Wow just Wow, Sunday can't get here fast enough.

First thing I though was "Sub-Zero Wins!"

ddiaz28 8/17/2010 6:30:53 AM

The last two weeks Tru Blood has just hit it out of the park.  I was laughing with a mishievous glee at the end of the episode.  That was a great fatality HudsonTaco, haha.  That last line was delivered perfectly.  And the scene with the bowl of Talbot's viscera was priceless.  It's like Russell's teddy bear now.  The werewolves were a no-show this week but I'm sure they'll get back to that before the end.  Speaking of the end, how many more episodes are left?  I feel like after a slow start to the season, the show has finally hit its stride beautifully and I don't want it to end too soon.

mike10 8/17/2010 7:06:21 AM

This episode deserves a A just for the ending. "And now for the Weather, Tiffany?" Whoever writes this show better win some kind of Emmy award just for this episode. I'm glad I DVR the show, I had to watch the end 3 times. 

thirishar 8/17/2010 7:32:13 AM

i agree, this episode was the best of the season. my god seeing Russell crooning to the bowl of Talbolt goo was so funny! Though it does give us another example of how far off the deep end Russell really is. And I absolutely howled when he did the "And now for the weather, Tiffany?" part.

But anyways for a little analysis. I think Russell's temper tantrum could really have a sweeping effect on the universe of True Blood depending on how the writers wish to take it. **Potential Spoiler?** Though it would differ from the book, they could return to a setting where vampires are illegal or agressively hunted. Definately a game changer. **End Spoiler?** So i'm really curious to see how the public will react. Though doubtless now that The Authority and Co. will get involved.

Also, I'm loathe to bring up a weaker story line, but concerning Sam's own violent outburst, it's be postulated on other sites that Same just snapped because to stress and pressure brought on by Tommy, but I was wondering if maybe it has to do with shifters being in close proximity to each other, kinda like the vampires and thier nests. I only wonder because Sam really really lost control, seemingly more than if u were just stressed. Thoughts?

thirishar 8/17/2010 7:33:31 AM

Also, all the vampires really have a homosexual vibe going on. Do you think the writers are trying to make a point of something? or just add variety?

ddiaz28 8/17/2010 8:10:43 AM

Yeah, Sam's outburst was definitely out of character.  A couple more punches and that guy would be on his way to the morgue, not the hospital.  People have hinted that these meth dealers might be a different kind of shifter since Sam and Tommy could smell them.  Maybe they are a natural enemy to shifters or something and Sam was instinctively responding to that.  Something big and bad is going to happen with that situation soon now that Jason and Sam have both beat up on them.

You have a point about the homesexual vibe.   I guess if you live for hundreds or thousands of years you end up trying different things.  When you get bored of being with women you switch to men, when you are bored of men, you go back to women, when you are bored of humans altogether ... you go to werewolves, or shifters or something.  But it does seem like a majority of them switch hit.  Russell, Sophie Anne, Nan, and Eric (although I think he was just doing it to exact revenge) 

invisioner 8/17/2010 11:09:41 AM

 Well, having read the books, and knowing what the meth family is, I think that it is an instinctive response...especially considering what the Merlotte's animal of choice is to turn into...wink wink.

 

Truly, the best. ending. ever.

invisioner 8/17/2010 11:11:18 AM

 As far as the homosexualism goes, I don't think the vamps are really so much that, but that seeing humans as prey, and not equals, they have become simply omnisexual, 

fatpantz 8/17/2010 11:22:35 AM

Awesome episode...I am glad to see that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did...too many good scenes....Russell scooping Talbot's remains, later to be carrying them in a container haha...It was short lived, but the return of Franklin was awesome too....such a creepy twisted character....I really hope to see James Frain land a good role in a serial killer movie or something along those lines.

Can't wait for next week, and until then...bartender, make mine a True Blood!

OBIWANSAGE 8/17/2010 11:37:19 AM

This episode was off the hook!!! And Russell has basically revived the series. And the actor portraying Russell is making such a good job. It gives me goose bumps every time. The guy knows how to switch from angry to happy perfectly.
Anyhow many questions come to mind. Did the American vampire league just send Eric to die? Or can Eric really pull off killing Russell? I mean like Erick said Russell is 3 times his age, hence more powerful and faster.
How can suki be a trump card in a war?
We all know that ass-whopping Sam dished out was because he got tired of being called a wussy or was it because Sam is becoming the alpha male of the species?
 

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