True Blood Mania TV Review - Mania.com



Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: I Wish I Was the Moon
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Nelsan Ellis, Rutina Wesley, Fiona Shaw
  • Written by: Raelle Tucker
  • Directed by: Jeremy Podeswa
  • Network: HBO

True Blood Mania TV Review

A case of the blahs.

By Rob Vaux     August 01, 2011


True Blood
© HBO/Robert Trate

 The doldrums settle back into True Blood as promised revelations failed to pan out and stunning developments turned chicken at the last minute. Jason’s (Ryan Kwanten) not a panther, Bill (Stephen Moyer) doesn’t kill Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), and the spirit inhabiting Marnie (Fiona Shaw) doesn’t smack down the local vampires like she’s apparently planning to. Yawn.

The entire episode felt like space-filler: getting inevitable plot developments out of the way so that something more interesting could come along in a future episode. In a series built on soap-opera twists and shocking revelations, test-pattern weeks like these are positively lethal. Of course, the real dishy moment is Sookie (Anna Paquin) doing the nasty with Eric at last. It possesses suitable steam – with Paquin providing a rare glimpse of boobage and the pair out in the woods beneath a full moon – but frankly, with Sookie and Bill being driven further and further apart, this was only a matter of time.

Other plot threads cast about for new details to help them limp along to the next episode. Jason, for example, makes an unexpected connection with Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), both to distract us from the fact that he is not, in fact, turning into a panther and to juice up her increasingly tenuous relationship with Hoyt (Jim Parrack). Despite the gimmickry, it actually produces the most touching moment of the hour, as Jessica expounds upon the wonders of vampirism and alludes to the limited human life she lived as the child of right-wing Christians. Be that as it may, the subplot still adheres to one of True Blood’s dirtier tricks: send a new character careening where she doesn’t belong and hope that some sparks will fly.

The remainder of the episode steps onto even slipperier slopes. Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) in Mexico? Who cares? Tara (Rutina Wesley) facing the music when her girlfriend shows up? Whatever. Even Bill’s “uneasy lies the head” routine feels stale: less a good man forced to do troubling things for power than a whiner without the fortitude to live with his decisions. The actors remain engaging, but they lack any substantive tasks beyond wringing their hands and rattling off the occasional one-liner.

It’s telling that “I Wish I Was the Moon” finds its best sequences when none of the principals are around. In another set of flashbacks, we see the spirit of the witch Antonia (Paola Turbay), fed upon by vampire priests in the Catholic Church shortly before her execution. She wreaks a terrible vengeance by compelling them to come out in the sunlight while she burns, which helps explain why the lone survivor of her attack is now happy to help a possessed Marnie bust out of Bill’s jail. The witches have officially become a serious threat, one of the few cases of the episode’s timidity that promises great things instead of just leaning on our goodwill.

Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) helps goose up the brewing Wiccan/bloodsucker conflict as well. Every time we catch a glimpse of her rotting face – and the increasingly desperate things she does to hide it – it cranks up the tension another notch. With Eric all touchy feely these days, she really is alone… and her terror points her right back at the ostensibly peaceful witches she blames for it all.

Sadly, we’re being asked to wait for that particular balloon to go up; in the meantime, we’re dining on leftovers. Every series delivers a few episodes like “I Wish I Was the Moon”: placeholders designed solely to keep us from wandering off before the real fireworks start. It’s often necessary – that plot ain’t gonna expose itself – but it doesn’t hide the sense of a letdown. Chalk it up to taking one for the team: hopefully, the remainder of the season will benefit from the sacrifice. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
axia777 8/1/2011 11:23:56 PM

The show has lost me. It has turned into a chick flick series now. The lesbian side story is lame. Nothing against lesbians of course. The haunted baby side story is lamer. I could give two huge shits about Sam's dumb ass white trash brother. He could die and I would not care. It was going to be cool with Jason being a Were panther, but I guess that is BS too. LAME.

Bill is sad about Sookie, Sookie is mooning after Eric, and the new Eric is whipped dork. Eric was the best thing about the show and now he is lame too.

The whole witch thing is also feeling lame. So she can control some Vampires. So what. Have some human guys with machine guns blow her brains all over the floor. Problem solved. So very very lame.

I think a big factor is that what with watching a show like Game of Thrones the whole level of quality bar has been raised universally for genre shows. True Blood is just losing it's steam and just does not measure up anymore. I predict that this entire season will blow a dead monkies choad.

I will say it again, chick flick series soap opera. How very disappointing. Oh well, at least we have The Walking Dead, Dexter, and the next season of Game of Thrones to look forward too.

isgrimner 8/2/2011 6:35:59 AM

The problem is they have at some point in the past featured the side/minor characters prominantly at one point or another and now it feels they are just giving them stuff to do to just to keep them around.   Tara, Sam's brother, Jesus, Alcide could all become worm food for all I care.  Or the show runners could sack up and just have them appear as extras or in the background unless the story calls for more from them.

The best part in this ep was win Bill walked in and caught Eric and Sookie in the act, and how easily Eric gained the upper hand.  They could have cut out all the filler and just let Eric wail on Bill for a half hour and it would have been more entertaining.

I'm not surprised Jason didn't turn into a Were Panther.  In the books someone who is turned the way he was is kind of a mix between human-panther when they turn so he would have been a mutant looking animal.  They don't completely change. 

halfbloodprincess 8/2/2011 9:07:37 AM

 I do not agree with the C rating I liked Sundays episode. I have like this whole season more then last years.

crimsonkingtph 8/2/2011 11:25:15 AM

 Well cry, cry, and cry some more, thats about all I see when I read the reviews on this site. Guess I should stop reading them, either way it doesn't change my feelings for the show. I am loving this season so far and I even like the story lines that don't evolve Eric and Sookie. Tommy shifting into Sam was one of my favorite parts, the actor Sam Trammell did an awesome job acting and even sounding like Tommy. I am kind of disappointed that Jason didn't turn into a were panther, though I was wondering how True Blood would handle it since in the books he is more a pantherman than a were panther. I'm hoping TB is just messing with us and Jason's change will happen later. Either way its still a great show, this wasn't my favorite episode this season but it was much better than a C.

ultrazilla2000 8/2/2011 2:23:30 PM

I agree with both Halfbloodprincess and Crimsonkingtph.....the rest of you (including Rob) are behaving like a bunch of trendy whiners, just hating for the sake of seeing your words in print.  The show lived up to it's usual quality with great acting and engaging story.  The show has ALWAYS been about relationships and the hardships they often face, this is nothing new.  It has not suddenly become a "chick flick".  I will continue ot watch because it's one of the best shows on these days, consistantly!

axia777 8/2/2011 5:34:25 PM

@crimsonkingtph and ultrazilla2000:

I just want the show to deliver more intense situations than it has in this season.  The show keeps teasing us with intense ideas and then leaves it all flat.  It is six episodes into the season.  Nothing of note has happened except Eric losing his memory and Pam losing her face.

Jason did not turn.  That would have been ruthless.  No one got an ass kicking.  It has just been flat for the most part.  How many more episodes do they have left in the season? Six?  Maybe seven?  Man, they had better get the excitment on up because it is not going to be good.  BORING.  That is the word.

The last couple of seasons were more intense.  The second season with Godic and Eric was intense.  The whole plot line with the maenad Maryann was intense.  The third season with the plot line of  Russell Edgington was also intense and exciting.

Nothing as exciting as the last couple of seasons has happned in season four.  That is LAME.

 

sarCCastro 8/6/2011 11:44:55 PM

 If you guys are sick of a show that goes nowhere and doesn't really have any forward momentum(and is inhabited by the dumbest characters on television), you should do yourself a favor and check out The Vampire Diaries.

Seriously, I know how that sounds, but it truly is running laps around True Blood in terms of storytelling, plot and character development. And it moves like a freaking freight train. The only shows with more tense, character-driven, plot momentum are Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad. I know the show has this image of being a Twilight ripoff and a silly vampire show for teenage girls...but Buffy had a bad rep, too, and it was the epitome of quality genre television. Just saying, go into it with an open mind and you'll be hooked in no time. It's just as good as, and last season surpassed, Supernatural.

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