True Blood: I Got a Right to Sing The Blues Review - Mania.com



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  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: I Got a Right to Sing The Blues
  • 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: Alan Ball
  • Directed By: Michael Lehman
  • Network: HBO
  • Series: True Blood

True Blood: I Got a Right to Sing The Blues Review

Run For Your Life

By Rob Vaux     July 26, 2010

 

The vague-but-not-yet-fatal letdown from True Blood this year stems from a single source: the decision to push the central notion into the background. In its first two seasons, True Blood distanced itself from the pack by positing a world in which vampires were public knowledge, emerging “out of the coffin” to become another minority in American culture. We still see that in bits and pieces this season, but it largely remains in the background. Instead, we’ve delved deeply into the vampires’ hidden society: their laws, their politics and the way they go about defeating their undead rivals. Creator Alan Ball ensures that the quality remains high, but without the “everyone knows” notions, the series loses a significant part of its sly humor.
 
“I Got a Right to Sing the Blues” exemplifies that difficulty perfectly, without ever once becoming less than watchable. The bulk of it focuses on the Gothic sturm und drang taking place at Russell’s (Denis O’Hare) mansion. Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Tara (Rutina Wesley) are kept prisoner, Bill (Stephen Moyer) faces gruesome execution and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) maneuvers to avenge his mortal father. It all sizzles appropriately, as the characters collide against each other in an effort to survive, but at the same time, it feels very… typical.
 
Director Michael Lehman cranks up the danger levels and lends the proceedings a great deal of suspense (as well as a heaping dose of premium cable bloodletting). Betrayals rise to the surface, actors face off in carefully managed pairs, and the episode ends on perhaps the biggest cliffhanger of the year so far. It’s very soapy and suitably Southern; those of us wrapped up in the characters and their fates may thrill at the potential developments.
 
Unfortunately, the results lose that spark of originality which helped make the show a hit. More importantly, Lehman and Ball (who pens the screenplay here) miss countless opportunities to explore a different side of such theatrics. For example, do Sookie and Tara have any recourse once they escape? They’ve been kidnapped after all; can they sic the police on Russell? How will he respond? Will it be a PR blow to the burgeoning vampire rights movement? Are there jails set up which can house the undead?
 
Questions like that helped the first two seasons of True Blood attain the ranks of real greatness, and could still make this season brilliant. They’ve arrived this year, but only in fits and starts, mostly thanks to the antics of “baby vampire” Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). Her obligatory scene this week entails a mild squabble with Arlene (Carrie Preston) at Merlotte’s, filled with the same dark whimsy which used to highlight every episode. It doesn’t last—and the show’s other mundane subplots surrounding Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Sam (Sam Trammell) add little to the equation—but it does constitute the high point for yet another week.
 
As for the remainder of the episode, it still offers its share of joys. The chicken-fried schemes hold plenty of charm and the interplay between Bill and his demonic sire (Mariana Klavino) drips (quite literally) with the sort of supernatural tragedy that keeps people coming back to the vampire genre. Right now, that’s the best we can hope for. The story is thoroughly agreeable and the new touches like Russell’s biker werewolf minions haven’t grown old yet. It still feels like a step down, however. Going from fantastic to pretty good is still a move in the wrong direction; “I Got a Right to Sing the Blues” is definitely pretty good, but you see flashes of fantastic in it. When those flashes fade, their absence can be felt all the more. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 28
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jymmymackiv 7/27/2010 12:28:52 AM

What I don't get about True Blood is how everyone thought that the second season was so good. Maryanne was terrible, and everyone sat through 6 episodes of Tara getting mad, then hypnotized, then mad, then hypnotized and everyone had sex, and nobody complained. Now that the plot is actually moving forward in unpredictable ways, everyone is complaining.

amjiva 7/27/2010 2:19:06 AM

This episode was easily an A. The best episode this season so far and one of the best of the entire series. I sort of agree with the poster above me. I was annoyed by Maryanne, but I still liked season 2. The highlight of season 2 was Godric and Eric.

fatpantz 7/27/2010 3:14:12 AM

I disagree with the reviews of this season.  I am enjoying the main story so far and wow does Eric really shine this week....this guy can act!  I would love to see him in a superhero or villain role someday.

The side stories are so far mundane....there is something different about Jason's little redneck girlfriend, but do I care?  Not really.  What is funny though is she reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry dates a girl that only looks attractive in certain light...anyone else notice how one second she looks cute, then the next camera angle she looks ugly as hell?  Also Sam's story this season is very annoying to me, but all of this is definitely made up for with the main plot.

Due to the amazing scene's with both Eric and the Queen, as well as Bill's torture scene, I would give this weeks episode an A (minus)

ponyboy76 7/27/2010 3:17:06 AM

This episode was defnitely an A. The scene with Bill and his maker was pretty powerful. The only subplot of the show I think they are screwing up is with Jason. This whole thing about him trying to be a cop and messing with the new HS quarterback is just boring. I am interested to see who  type of creature that girl is though, if any.

makabriel 7/27/2010 4:00:20 AM

 I think what I'm not liking about this season so far is the fact they're running 5 to 6 plots per episode.  It destroys the coherency of the episode.  Makes it harder to get invested in any one thing that's happening.  This episode was a lot better because it focused a lot more on what was happening in Mississippi.

 

Darkknight2280 7/27/2010 4:20:46 AM

Not sure why Rob is soo dissapointed with True Blood?!? its been great i think. Its all a build up for a big payoff and we are getting fed a little more each week, thats how you get people to keep watching. You cant blow ur load every week. Cant wait to see the fight between Eric and the King! You know hes going to whip his @ss! And i totally agree with ponyboy about the scenes with Bill and his maker, very powerful stuff i think. Ponyboy i think that girl that Jason is obsessed with is a werewolf. Remember when he said she was burning hot? Well thats what sookie said about the werewolf that is protecting her when they were about to be fed that V. They prolly get hot when they are excited, not to mentionshe was int he woods when he 1st saw her. Just my guess.

Dodgyb2001 7/27/2010 4:34:48 AM

And the were-girl's boyfriend had all those bruises on his face, so that looks like that's going to dovetail into the Merlot shifter dog fights. I'm enjoying it more than last season. Tara is much better when she's feisty, and the escape from the house feeds into that. I wonder how her would be lover is going to recover from having his head bashed in. He wasn't sane before... She should have gone with the axe! Only way to be sure for vamps if you don't have a pointy bit of wood handy. Eric's smiles are freaking me out! Jessica is fun, watching her figure out her place in this new world. Seeing Don Swayze in something is fun too, even if it does take me out of the programme for a couple of secs every time I see him.

jdiggitty 7/27/2010 6:36:11 AM

I'm tired of Jason's character altogether. Jessica's small parts are the highlight for me this season so far. Not sure what that says. Next episode looks to be exciting

Darkknight2280 7/27/2010 7:07:15 AM

Well the boyfriend had bruises on his face DODGY becasue he got his ass beat up by Layfeyette the night before. They live in that junk yeard where Layfeyette and Eric were at selling the V. I used to hate Tara, but after she caved in the crazy vampires head with the mace, she has my vote as cool! :)

Butchman 7/27/2010 7:17:47 AM

Other than Lafayette who has had some up and down moments this season I am enjoying this season so much more than last. The last two episodes were definitely A grades for me.

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