TRUE BLOOD: I Will Rise Up Review -

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  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: I Will Rise Up
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell, Nelsan Ellis, Chris Bauer, Michelle Forbes, Alexander Skarsgård, Deborah Ann Woll, Carrie Preston and William Sanderson
  • Written By: Nancy Oliver
  • Directed By: Scott Winant
  • Network: HBO
  • Series: True Blood

TRUE BLOOD: I Will Rise Up Review

Sacrifices Upon a Deadly Dawn.

By Joe Oesterle     August 17, 2009

Mania Review of True Blood: I Will Rise Up(2009).
© HBO/Robert Trate


Well no one could ever accuse Fellowship of the Sun member, the late Luke McDonald, of not having the courage of his convictions. In an enormous explosion of fire and silver, Luke himself, a couple of other humans and a few vampires (chiefly that Billy Mays-looking neck biter, Stan) were sent to meet their original maker.
   That statement of course implies that God does exist, but questioning the existence of a supreme deity is apparently a spiritual query that can haunt a 2000 year-old vampire as much, if not more so, than it does many mortals with far less time spent on this earth.
   Eric Bueller’s Day Off
   Most times I really enjoy the lighter moments on this show. The comedy, both dark and light-hearted, is appreciated and often needed. Things can get pretty gruesome in Bon Temps and Dallas. Folks in them parts often get their hearts cut out, throats ripped open or find themselves chained and fed upon in frightening dungeons for weeks. So a little well placed levity is paramount, one would imagine to keeping one’s sanity.
   I know this sounds like a complaint, and that’s because it is; I think I’m willing to overlook it, but sometimes True Blood plays out as more cartoonish than real. I realize we’re dealing with creations of pure fiction, but if we’re buying in to their existence, I’d prefer not to see Eric smile like a vampiric Ferris Bueller while Sookie sucks his neck. It made me smirk, but it also took me out of the moment. The same note could have been hit, without breaking the fourth wall.
 Bill and Eric, the Undead Versions of Jack and Sawyer?
   After dumping Lorena again, a move Bill is going to pay for, Bill witnesses the blast and runs in at super fast vampire speed to makes sure Sookie’s alright. Of course she was, and Eric even shielded her from harm – but this doesn’t make Bill feel altogether at ease.
   He knows Eric just deceived Sookie into drinking his blood, which gives Eric the ability to know her whereabouts and feelings, but another side effect is it also makes her horny for the savage Aryan.
   Now I’m a huge fan of the ABC show LOST, but I’d rather not have Bill and Eric turn into the monster versions of Jack and Sawyer. To be honest by their height disproportions, they actually look more like a modern day gothic Hall and Oates.
   My point is I’m sure True Blood will handle the inevitable love triangle differently than their island-dwelling, time traveling counterparts, but I think it’s fair to wince at the possibility. Personally I’d rather be chained and fed upon than get involved in another great show where I have to put up with some fickle chick. But if that’s the sacrifice the gods of chaos and television demand of me, I’m willing to splay myself on their altar.
Goodnight Jessica. Goodnight Hoyt Boy
   Aside from the talk of intercourse with the undead, the scene with Jessica and Hoyt on the couch played out like an old Walton’s episode. It was tender and funny (in the real way.)
   I can’t say enough good things about Deborah Ann Woll. Her portrayal as former conflicted Bible-thumper turned awkward teenage vampire, Jessica, allows her to show off her considerable acting range. Jim Parrack as Hoyt shows he’s more than capable of keeping up, but Woll so far has managed to steal every scene she’s in.
Brother and Sister
   And speaking of tender moments, it was nice to see Jason and Sookie finally share one between themselves. Orphaned as children, they’ve known loss before, and now with Gran dead, it’s good to see they’re able to open up to each other, and promise each other they’ll be there for the other from now on.
   It couldn’t have been easy on young Jason Stackhouse to be the brother of the village freak – even if he was good looking, and had sex abilities. It had to be pretty hard on ol’ Sook too. To be the small town oddity, especially when seemingly everyone loved her big brother as much as they were put off by her peculiar gift.
   Again I was confused by the humor in last night’s episode. Right after a poignant heart-to-heart between siblings, we get the increasingly cartoony Reverend and Mrs. Newlin on some news program. Yes it was funny watching them bicker on camera, and maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t enjoy being joked out of the reality this program sets.
Mother and Son
   Granted Maxine Fortenberry has her faults; she’s nosey, she’s controlling and she not exactly open-minded, but she does love her baby boy. She may be wrong in her views towards Methodists, (she has her reasons) Catholics, (just the priests and nuns) African Americans (secretly) and a whole assorted slew of others who are different than her, but I don’t know how hard I can come down on Maxine for not feeling comfortable in letting her son date a vampire.
   I’d like to pride myself on my liberal leanings when it comes to accepting my fellow man, but vampires do have a history of killing and eating their sexual partners.
   The best part of that scene was when Hoyt finally railed against his mother, jumping from the table and screaming, “I’m not a baby, I’m a grown-ass man,” and punctuating his point by grabbing half the toasted cheese and potato chip sandwich his mama made him for lunch, and running out the back door.
Seer and Viking
   Was anyone else surprised and then instantly comfortable that the Sookie/Eric pillow talk scene wasn’t one of those two-second flash things, but went on and on for a while? I’m not exactly sure if Lorena is actually a part of this dream state or if it’s all in Sookie’s mind, but I thought those two had more chemistry than Bill and Sookie ever had, including season one.
   Maybe I’m alone in this criticism too (though I tend to think not) but lately Stephen Moyer’s portrayal of Bill Compton has been a bit wooden – which is particularly lethal when portraying a vampire.
Maenads and Minions
   So everyone’s favorite and least favorite maenad visits the jailhouse. Everyone seems thrilled to see Partygirl again. Everyone except of course Sam Merlotte. They’ve been dragging this out for longer than needed, so when do we finally get to find out why Maryann has it out for Sam. Surely it’s not just because he stole a few bucks.
   Luckily for Sam, housefly is in his repertoire, so escape just means flying through a vent and appearing naked later at Andy’s motel door. Naked bartenders don’t register as strange to most Louisiana cops. Add ritualistic sacrifices, nightlong sex orgies and vampire killings and that barely registers on the “strange meter” in the Creole State.
   So what the hell did Sam do to the Maryann, and how does she plan on exacting her vengeance? I fear for, and envy Sam Merlotte all at once.
 Lafayette. You’re Damn Right
   That Lafayette is one bad mother—(shut your mouth) But I’m talking ‘bout Lafayette. (Then we can dig it) Seriously, is that guy just as ass-kicking machine, or did he get enhanced after drinking Eric’s blood? Maryann was impressed. Maybe she sensed Lafayette’s innate hedonism, maybe she felt a supernatural surge in him, or maybe she’s into guys who wear mascara. Whatever it is, Lafayette wiped the sex stained floor with black-eyed zombie Eggs. That wasn’t even a contest. You go girl!
Fazzer, Broder, Zsoon.
   How ‘bout that rooftop scene huh? The color palette alone would have made this show a winner. Sookie finally did get to witness Eric’s compassion. He does have the capacity to feel, and as she surmised in her sexy dream state, he is deep.
   Godric and Eric had to say goodbye to each other after hundreds of years of the love of a father and brother and a son.
   I must say, Godric in dressed in white, Eric in black, both bathed in the blue light of a possible heaven makes me wonder if Eric is going to descend to even darker places now that his mentor has decided, after two millennia, to opt for early retirement.
   In the end it’s just Sookie the Plucky, and Godric the Formerly Terrible as the one-time immortal scourge of the living looks to a human for existential assistance.
   Sookie asserts that God does not punish; God forgives. In the end, Godric prefers that version of a supreme being than the one put out by the Fellowship of the Sun. Paying his final penance in a peaceful blue flame ascension he is gone far too soon for my tastes.
   I’d like to think Eric will grasp what took Godric dozens of centuries to comprehend, but it’s very likely Eric won’t “see the light” any time soon.
Misc. Bites
   Nan Flanagan, while showing herself to be a formidable opponent even within the ranks of fellow vampires, still doesn’t scare me half as much as her non-fictional, slightly colder, but far less believable real life counterpart, Ann Coulter.
   I mentioned earlier in this article that the lovely Deborah Ann Woll has stolen every scene she’s been in this season, but this week there was a tie. Dale Raoul gave Woll a run for her money during the dinner scene at Merlotte's. Nicely played ladies. I do think Hoyt is going to suffer loss eventually. I’m just not sure who’s gonna get it; Mama or Jess. (A scene where Hoyt has to stake Jessica before she kills his mother sounds plausible to me.)
   Sookie’s pluck is starting to wear thin. There’s courage, and then there’s stupidity. I don’t find Sookie to be a stupid character, but she’s a little too opinionated at times where it doesn’t seem prudent. I didn’t believe she’d stand up to Lorena like she did last week, she’s seen too much to think she’s invulnerable.
   Godric swore in this episode that he’d make amends, but all he did in essence was kill himself. Am I missing something here? Will HE Rise? Seems too good a character to never see again – but so far they all have been.
Au Revoir
   Alright then True Blood Believers. That’s all I’ve got. But stayed tuned for more unholy cable entertainment reviews next week. Same vamp time. Same vamp website.


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hanso 8/17/2009 3:29:57 PM

Lafayette owns bitches!!

Looks like my questions about Godric from last episode got answered here.  Glad they kept his motives from the book intact.  Glad to see him go too, don't have time for all that peace talk.

Great ep as usual but I'm actually more excited about the upcoming episodes thanks to the previews.

JoeArtistWriter 8/17/2009 6:19:39 PM

Hanso, damn that Lafayette is a straight up warrior. I'm also glad to see HBO finally just whetted our appetitie for future episodes, and didn't spill too much info.

bennyhill 8/17/2009 7:11:35 PM

I agree that the Eric and Sookie bed scene was far more interesting than any Bill and Sookie pairing this season (I did like the Bill and Sookie chemistry in Season 1, but this year it's been flat).  I just hope we're not in for a multi-episode love triangle story arch ala LOST as Joe mentioned.  That would be LAME.

ripum853 8/17/2009 8:08:12 PM

Supposedly that's gradually what it will be, at least from what I heard about the books anyway.

Chopsaki 8/17/2009 8:22:02 PM

I agree that Godric was an interesting character its a shame he was killed off so early. The scene between Eric & Godric on the rooftop was very well done. Even with the lack of face time hats off to Alexander Skarsgård for making us care for what essentially was a throw away character.

As for the level of realism I do see alot of winks and nods to the audience but it dosn't stop me from enjoying the show overall. Considering the amount of characters and narratives this show juggles I can over look it.

Skroin 8/18/2009 3:35:21 AM

All I can say is that was yet another badass episode. Well, maybe that's not all I can say....

LaFayette! About damn time! I was wondering if I'd ever get to see LaFayette more like he was in season 1, and to me, this episode just raised the bar on him. I must agree with hanso, he owns.

I could deal with a little story arc on the Bill-Sookie-Eric love triangle. I just hope it's not a full dedicated season of it, that would wearn thin pretty fast, I believe.

I was also amazed with how well I enjoyed the scenes with Jason in them. I hope he does continue to improve and stray away from the "dumb redneck" stereotype.

I believe the "amends" Godric made was, in fact, killing himself. I think he felt that he must take his life as a price to pay for all the lives that were lost for all that he did. That's just my take on it, though.

But I must give mad props to the writers, and actors, for truly showing what a great show can be. Not many shows that I know of can get you attached to a character, yet I felt they delivered the goods with Godric. He was in what? 3 episodes? And I felt his exit of the show was awesome, but I like that they also left me wishing they wouldn't have killed him off so soon.

Definately look forward to next week's episode.

Oh! One last thing! Didn't Sam learn to change the animals he can shift into? Didn't that one chick he was accused of killing teach him? Can't remember.


goldeneyez 8/18/2009 6:45:09 AM

skroin, Sam said he could always change the animals he could shift into... he just said that dogs were the easiest for him.  Personally I think he should learn to shift into a polar bear, tiger, or elephant with all the supernaturals he has to contend with.

I liked Godric's character, but I think they had to kill him.  He was too powerful and already at a state of enlightenment.  There was no where for his character to grow, except as a regression back into evil.

Also is it me, or is Andy some kind of supernatural that we don't know about.  So far he's never been taken over by Maryann.  The only scene that's debatable is when she got him to dance, but I chaulk that up to him being drunk and free will.  His eyes never go black, and he seems to always have his wits.  Sam's girlfriend said that supernaturals had a natural defense to Maryann's powers, so I'm wondering if there's something special about Andy that he doesn't know.

Kerrith 8/18/2009 8:34:23 AM

I was disappointed in this week's episode, for the most part.  Too many of the intimate dialogue scenes seemed to be channeling a Tennesee Williams play. The dialogue struck me as strangely comical considering the subject matter.  Also, I am tired of the MarryAnne plot.


Godrick and Eric were perfect though.  That last scene made the entire episode. 


I find that the True Blood writers are able to take throw away characters that are barely more than a plot device in the books, like Godrick and Lafayette and turn them into the most interesting characters.  I believe the writing on the show is a great improvement over Charlane Harris' novels.  Looking forward to season three, lets bring in the Shreveport werewolf pack!

JoeArtistWriter 8/18/2009 2:04:49 PM

bennyhill, I'm hoping that True Blood will learn from LOST to not get to mucked down in a romantic triangle. I'm not against romance, and it's fine to let romance rule for a stray episode now and then, but I think most of us tune in for moments like the rooftop scene, the Fangtasia bar, or Lafayette going Bruce Lee on people's asses. I trust they'll get it right... it's just a concern worthy of mention.

ripum853, Yo Rip, what's up? I personally have stayed away from the books so I could enjoy the show fresh. I'm tempted to look now and then, but so far I've stayed away.

Chopsaki, Yeah, I enjoy the winks and nods, it's just sometimes it takes me out of the moment (enjoyable as those winks and nods are.) Like you, I'm able to overlook them, buut just wish sometimes they didn't go so cartoony.

Skroin, I guess it's possible that Godric killing himself (if that's the correct choice of words) is making amends, but to me, if he's been a flesh devouring monster for 95% of his 2000 years on the planet, just killing himself is making amends. The balance is still way out of whack. Making amends would be striving for harmony between vampires and humans. Killing himself because he finally saw what he was doing  was wrong is not making amends, it's just stopping bloodshed on his end.

goldeneyez, I've been asked that question about Andy before. He did dance, but you may be right... maybe he was just a drunk enough to spazz out of the dance floor. I've always thought Terry was a werewolf, but he's more than capable of going black-eyed zombie. Terry has to have an interesting back story, because he's been working too hard to hide it.

Kerrith, I love the Maryann character, but her story has been moving at a Sleestack's pace. They really better pay this thing off in a big way, or they wasted a very interesting character.

NotAFan 8/18/2009 4:38:05 PM

I think the Eric smiling to the camera was so there was absolutely no doubt for the audience that he was lying to Sookie! So does that mean that Lafayette is having sexy sexy dreams about Eric, Ah he probably would be anyway! Bill's mad at Eric but Bill made Sookie drink his blood, for all Bill knows that's the only reason they ended up together in the first place! Godric would have been a good addtion but there are so many characters already wouldn't have been much room for him. I like the Hoyt Jessica storyline as Hoyt had pretty much nothing to do last season! I agree that Maryann's motivations being revealed seems to taking forever or maybe they just revealed too much too early with her! Plus I was really hoping for a Minotaur, that would have been cool!

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