True Blood: Fresh Blood Review - Mania.com



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  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: Fresh Blood
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell, Nelsan Ellis, Chris Bauer, Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd, Deborah Ann Woll, Carrie Preston and William Sanderson
  • Written By: Nancy Oliver
  • Directed By: Daniel Minahan
  • Network: HBO
  • Series: True Blood

True Blood: Fresh Blood Review

Ending With a Fang

By Rob Vaux     August 30, 2010


True Blood Review
© HBO/Bob Trate

 

When True Blood hits its mark, it’s a thing of beauty. Case in point: the penultimate episode of the third season, which sets a glorious table for the big showstopper in two weeks. While some of the quieter subplots struggle for traction, the primary ones are pure gold: perhaps only the second or third time this year that the show fully reaches its potential.
 
Ironically, Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) form the episode’s weakest link, as Bill rescues his lady love from Eric’s (Alexander Skarsgard) dungeon and they attempt to make a getaway in her crappy little Honda. It’s modestly sweet, but we all know how much they love each other by now, and their desire for a “fresh start” feels anything but fresh.
 
Things improve several notches when Eric and Russell (Denis O’Hare) show up and drag them back to Fangtasia. With the secret of Sookie’s blood in their hands, they hope to develop an invincible weapon against their vampire foes: one drink from her and a bloodsucker can walk in the daylight. Russell sees in it a means to conquer the world; Eric’s motives are far more ambiguous, but they play out in a marvelous build-up during the course of the episode, topped by a cliffhanger finale which matches Russell’s on-air spinal surgery several weeks ago.
 
The thread hinges--again--on Skarsgard’s performance, inscrutable as always but marked by curious moments of tenderness which offset his apparent callousness beautifully. We also get an opportunity to view Pam’s (Kristin Bauer van Straten) devotion to him, perhaps the only genuine relationship either character shares with anyone. When coupled with Eric’s overall power play, it conjures a sense of tragedy and loss, even as we thrill to his terrific sneaky bastard tendencies.
 
Even more intriguing developments take place over at the Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll)/Hoyt (Jim Parrick) coupling. The two clearly adore each other, and Hoyt shows no hesitation in embracing their relationship, even after Jessica confesses the unfortunate dead trucker business to him. Her character arc remains a palpable pleasure, going from repressed, terrified teenager to power-mad baby vamp to a being who understands and accepts what she has become. Director Daniel Minahan further spices the pot with the revelation that Hoyt’s mother (Dale Raoul) has conspired to pull her son away from Jessica. Manipulating that poor little church girl into falling for Hoyt is bad enough, but Mrs. Fortenberry may be sufficiently crazy to try something really reckless… and in the process give Jessica’s subplot the boost it needs to really take us places.
 
The remainder of the episode consists largely of busywork: a mad effort to set up loose threads for some kind of resolution during the finale. Sam (Sam Trammell) decides he’s really a dick after all, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) experiences aftereffects from his V trip, and Arlene (Carrie Preston) tries to get rid of her supposedly evil baby. Then there’s Jason (Ryan Kwanten), who learns several secrets he probably shouldn’t and will likely do something really stupid as a result. Nothing new and nothing surprising, though the subplots keep us moderately entertained between “Fresh Blood’s” real raison d’etre.
 
Thankfully, said raison needs no embellishment to rank this episode among the season’s best. Minahan punctuates the tension with proper amounts of dark humor, while keeping the sex and violence to a surprising minimum. (The bloodshed we do see adopts an imaginative tone, such as Pam’s use of colloidal silver as vampire mace.) The show’s slow start has been forgotten, leaving a ripping good time in its wake. The only regret is that we’ll need to wait two weeks to see how it all comes out… which is at least 13 days too many.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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amjiva 8/30/2010 4:59:36 PM

Wow. Really? I thought this episode was one of the weaker ones.

fatpantz 8/30/2010 5:45:14 PM

I am the opposite, I thought this was one of the more higher energy, thrill-filled episodes....It hit on too many of my guilty pleasures and I enjoyed every second of it and cant wait to watch it a 2nd time. 

Skarsgard never ceases to amaze me with his acting....one moment uttering "prick" under my breath at him and then cheering for him the next second.  It was fun seeing Sam's dark side coming out as well and the reactions by his little brother, whose bark seems much worse than his bite when he is faced with an alpha male scenario (like he used to with his abusive father).  I say good jon True Blood and to me this episode was an A Plus

Chopsaki 8/30/2010 6:03:36 PM

I think I'm somewhere between you guys. Not really a week episode but not an A either. I'd give it a solid B, I did love Russell car jacking them and the ending was great.

dracor00 8/30/2010 7:02:34 PM

I'm just afraid that with all the plots that are running that they wont even be able to halfway wrap them up with just one more episode. I'm fine for leading stuff for the next season but there is a whole mess of shit unfinished

samson 8/30/2010 11:45:22 PM

To me this whole season was more about shock value rather than good writing. Last season dragged a bit, but I think the story telling was better.

It's still a good show. And, I'm always entertained by it. But, it's nowhere near as good as the first season.

Samson

Skroin 8/31/2010 1:33:36 AM

I really enjoyed the episode and I feel like 2 weeks is a long time to wait. :(

They've really veered off from the books on this episode and the last one. But even with that, I've really don't mind the changes and commend them for really making the show their own.

I was quite a bit shocked with the ending and I definately can't wait to see what Eric comes up with to live through the situation.

I'm afraid I have to slightly disagree with you samson. In my opinion, I feel that last season was more for the shock value than this season. I feel that way because last season basically had an orgy in almost every episode.

I believe I'm enjoying this season more than the last one. Mainly due to the fact that we're really getting to see the underworld of the vampire universe and how they operate.

But I will agree that this season is not as good as the first season.....but it's a very strong 2nd place to me.

Darkknight2280 8/31/2010 7:33:00 AM

True Blood has been great all season in my opinion! the character interactions have been great although i do miss the back and forths of Talbott and Russell i now very much enjoy Russells craziness! We all know Eric isnt going to die, he is younger then Russell and we all know from Godrics death the older you are the faster you burn. As soon as Russell is burnt up enough the handcuff will fall and Pam will run out to save Eric. Thats my opinion of what will happen or what SHOULD happen! :)

ddiaz28 8/31/2010 8:16:16 AM

I can't put this one up at the top either.  While it was a good episode, nothing got me truly excited until the end.  I really thought Eric was going to help Russell.  After the reveal of his duplicity, I couldn't believe I got duped so easily.  Points to Skarsgrad for his brilliant acting.  I'm thinking Pam or Bill will feed off Sookie, go outside, stake Russell, and save Eric.  Obviously he can't die.  I kinda don't want Russell to die either because having him get away and continue with his plan of world domination would be great for next season.  It will be dissapointing for Russell's big reveal to the world on television to come to nothing in the long run.  It should really prompt the other supernatural beings to "come out of the closet" as well and really change the dynamic of the entire world.  Guess we'll have to wait 2 weeks to find out.

Butchman 8/31/2010 10:27:50 AM

I thought this one was weak as well... True Blood has been rockin all season and I would put this one at the mediocre level.... well let's hope for a kick ass finale.

axia777 8/31/2010 5:55:33 PM

I thought this one started out great, got weak in the middle, and ended great.

And like we are really to believe that Eric is going to burn.  Huh, how stupid do we all look?  

Anyone remember when Godric burned?  Remember how he told Sookie that the older Vampires burn faster then the younger ones?

Eric KNOWS this.  He KNOWS that Russel will burn FASTER.  That was his plan.  Pam is going to run out there with a tarp or some sh*t and save his ass.  Eric is going to be brunt crispy but he will be fine.  In fact, Eric Northman is going to be hailed a national Vampire hero for killing the known Vampire terrorist Russell Edgington.  It is going to me hilarious is you ask me.

 

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