True Blood: Hitting The Ground Review - Mania.com



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  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: Hitting The Ground
  • 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: Brian Buckner
  • Directed By: John Dahl
  • Network: HBO
  • Series: True Blood

True Blood: Hitting The Ground Review

Resurrection

By Rob Vaux     August 03, 2010


True Blood Review
© HBO/Bob Trate

 

For this first time this season, True Blood really steps up to the plate and delivers. Granted, with two significant villains destroyed, it pays a very steep price, and HBO should be chided for its deceptive previews showing Bill (Stephen Moyer) wandering around in the sun. But no matter. The humor flows as readily as the blood and the inferred shake-up to which previous episodes had merely hinted finally bears fruit.
 
Ostensibly, the big showcase covers Sookie’s (Anna Paquin) escape from Russell’s (Denis O’Hare) mansion, accompanied by Tara (Rutina Wesley), aided by Alcide (Joe Manganiello) and eventually dragging Bill along for the ride. Complications arise, of course, mostly involving Bill’s creator Lorena (Mariana Kalveno) and some of Alcide’s werewolf rivals. Director John Dahl doesn’t skimp on overt audience gratification, as characters screaming for their comeuppance finally receive it in a suitably over-the-top fashion.
 
More importantly, the episode exhibits a spark of absurdity, coloring the histrionics with tongue-in-cheek witticisms that temper the theatrics. (The best example actually takes place after the credits, as another funny “postmortem” covers the relationship between Bill and Lorena.) Even as Sookie’s friends rally to her side and the emotional levels rise, the clever dialogue remains intact. That tempers the show’s more lurid tendencies, while still allowing us to feel for the characters. In the past, True Blood stuck that chord seemingly without effort. It hasn’t come as easily this season, which makes its presence here most welcome.
 
Sam’s (Sam Trammel) subplot sports less of a twinkle in his eye, but makes up for it by finally allowing the shapeshifting bartender to grow a pair. He arrives at an illegal dog-fighting compound to rescue Tommy (Marshall Allman) from their abusive parents; Dahl tinges his efforts with the right blend of intelligence and pathos before cutting him loose. It pushes the audiences’ buttons as gratuitously as Sookie’s thread, but given the gore-soaked proceedings elsewhere in the episode, this passage feels decidedly quieter. That allows Trammell to assert himself in a richly satisfying manner, finally elevating his thread into something worth paying attention to.
 
The remainder of the episode focuses solely on vampire interactions, with Russell formally declaring his ambitions and the remaining bloodsuckers scurrying to take sides. It evinces the same good-but-not-great atmosphere which has dogged True Blood since the beginning of Season Three. Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) are right in the middle of it to provide a nice jolt of energy, but the remainder consists of peripheral figures and newcomers engaging in fairly typical undead power plays. That prevents us from fully embracing the proceedings, since we’re not really invested in the primary players.
 
“Hitting the Ground” suffers further by rendering the villainous Magister (Zeljko Ivanek) strangely feckless, eliminating his earlier sense of menace and preventing the mayhem from reaching its full potential. On the other hand, O’Hare picks up the slack quite admirably, and while his confrontation with the vampiric authorities ends on a note of finality, it also paves the way for a larger, more spectacular conflict to come. And like the rest of the episode, it retains its cheeky humor, helping to restore the show’s best weapon against its competition.
 
“Hitting the Ground” adds a few dollops of the truly weird into the equation, notably an extended fever dream which may shed some light on Sookie’s telepathic powers. It never quite fits in with the rest of the episode, but its surreal atmosphere lends itself to some interesting questions. It also casts further doubt on Bill’s intentions, which have grown increasingly cloudy and which may constitute the season’s most fruitful mystery. We no longer know why exactly he seems so focused on Sookie, and while his heart appears noble, it may hide dark schemes centuries in the making. We’ll see where the notion takes us; for now “Hitting the Ground” has justified our faith in True Blood, and allows us to hope for better things in the second half of the season. It’s never been bad this year, but for once, we’re reminded of how great it’s supposed to be.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Darkknight2280 8/3/2010 4:17:00 AM

A great episode...its clear they arent twisting what Sookie really is as she was in the book. Also Bill was able to be in the sun for a period of time because he consumed soo much of sookies blood and that has to do with what she is. Im glad Lorena is dead, i was done with her. although i liked how Bill was beating on her! lol She was an Evil B!tch and deserved it. The hill billy werewolf may not be dead, we havent been told how the werewolves work in Trueblood.  Was that a silverbullet in that gun? Does a shot to the brain kill them? In all honesty i dont even think Franklin is dead. Tarar didnt steak him and didnt remove his head. She just caved it in with a mace; he may be able to heal. If he does then he is going to be one pissed off vampire and not you have a villian with vengence on his agenda! I have enjoyed trueblood all year soo far, i was just dissapointed with episodes run time!

HudsonTaco 8/3/2010 7:26:04 AM

Good review, I hope you don't dock points for the your problems with the preview from previous episode, that would be stupid. I don't watch them I like to be surprised.

Anyway finally all caught up after Sunday's episode, I am liking this season alot, the King of Mississippi is a great character and the highlight of this season. Being older than even Godirc means he is the most powerful Vamp on the show so far. I found it strange that the Magister had so much control I figured he had to be ancient but I guess the control he had was just some form of Vampire law and he had no real power at all. Gald to see Lorena finally dead I hated her so much, good actress to make me hate her so much.

Darkknight - IMO I think it has been established that the Werewolves are nothing more than dogs, or shifters that can only shift into one thing. They seem stronger and have hightend senses but I think that where it ends. Shoot one in the head it dies, rip it leg off and it will bleed out, throw a ball into traffic and watch them chase it down and get hit by a car, ect. Man are they dumb, I really have been liking how they actors are potraying the werewolves, like dumb dogs even when in human form. Not super impressed with the way they change form, it's a little to "Twilight" for my liking but I guess it saves time and money probably. I think that silver bullets and full moons won't be a part of the mythology in this show.

Darkknight2280 8/3/2010 7:35:07 AM

Yeah well its definatley more excusable that they transform like this on a tv and not a feature length movie with a budget over 10 million dollars...lol Twilight blows! Not to mention their werewolves grow to be massive huge dogs instead of a normal sized wolf. But yes i agree HUDSON about the fact that they are quite dumb in human form except Sookies protector, he seems to be fairly smart.

Skroin 8/3/2010 9:50:07 AM

This episode got an A?!

I've definately gotta see this.....especially since I've thought the episodes have been better than past reviews, this one must rock!

Unfortunately, the woman is making me wait to watch it with her this weekend since we missed it.

* POSSIBLE SPOILER *

Did it show Claudine at all? If I recall, after the previous episode the preview seemed to hint at showing us Claudine in this episode.

* /POSSBLE SPOILER *

amjiva 8/3/2010 1:54:47 PM

To answer Skroin's question: Yes.

Skroin 8/3/2010 3:30:37 PM

thanks for answering.

If it weren't for the fact that I fear the wrath of my woman, I'd try to sneak in a watch without her knowledge.

samson 8/3/2010 4:03:23 PM

I'm sorry. But so far this season seems to be more about shock value than good story telling. It's still a fun watch. However, it's nowhere near as good at character development or plotting as the first.

Samson

Butchman 8/3/2010 5:32:33 PM

I thought the this and the last two episodes have been awesome. So far I am enjoying this season more than last. Last season had way toomany avergae episodes. If this season keeps going like the last three then we are in for a great ride!

*** Spoiler ***

BTW Claudine was shown i believe. I don't read the books but I heard it  from someone who does.

makabriel 8/3/2010 6:05:56 PM

Being a fan of the Vampire, the Masqerade RPGs, I'm enjoying the vampire politics so far.  Very much a Camarilla vs Sabbat feel to it, heh..

 

zalder 8/3/2010 9:10:58 PM

Ah yes finally someone else made the connection with Vampire the Masqerade!  I had thought that myself but was to scared to bring it up...yes even here I am afraid to show how much a geek I am.  I was so sad when they ended the world and created the crappy new one they have now.  You don't happen to live in NC do you...haven't had a good Masqerade game for a long time....

Anyway, I love this episode and MAN do I want to know what sookie is.  GEEZ...I feel like I should have been able to figure it out from this season but haven't been able to yet.  I didn't recognize any of the stuff they showed from Greek mythology which is where I expect it comes from.  Much like anime they are muddying who is good and who is not which I like...something Western shows don't do often enough for my tastes.  

I expect Bill is trying to become human again and needs sookies "light" to do so, but this will of course kill sookie in the process..

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