True Blood Mania TV Review - Mania.com



Mania Grade: B-

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  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: Cold Grey Light of Dawn
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis and Fiona Shaw
  • Written by: Alexander Woo
  • Directed by: Michael Ruscio
  • Network: HBO
  • Series:

True Blood Mania TV Review

Smokin'!

By Rob Vaux     August 09, 2011


True Blood
© HBO/Robert Trate

 Show of hands: who thinks Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) is really dead?

The answer to that question is frankly irrelevant. Yes, Jessica is a very cool character and killing her off would be a tragedy. On the other hand, it also cements the witches’ status as a real threat, since Marnie (Fiona Shaw) is renting out her body to the queen mother of angry ghosts. There are ups and downs to both outcomes. Unfortunately, by playing the cliffhanger card so many times – and copping out more often than not – True Blood drains any sense of tension in the outcome. We’re left wondering whether Jessica is alive or dead, and presumably on the edge of our seat until we learn her fate next week. Except we’ve been screwed over so many times with “it was only a dream” or “she’s rescued at the last minute” or “we just put this twist in as a complete time waster and will resolve it just as quickly” that the suspense here becomes utterly manufactured. Maybe Jess will die, maybe not (and I’m betting the mortgage on the latter), but the show’s Perils of Pauline shenanigans have absolutely removed the suspense of the equation.

That’s a pity, because a lot of the episode – particularly the witches’ coven exercising their nuclear option – does quite well. The spirit inhabiting Marnie has the power of compel vampires to walk outside during the day, and she wastes no time in testing it out. Bill (Stephen Moyer) has prepared some extremely painful countermeasures, but the high cost can be felt throughout the bloodsucking community. It finally kicks the burgeoning supernatural battle into high gear, delivering the excitement and energy that the show promised at the beginning of the season, but thus far failed to deliver. All the backstory for the previous few episodes pays off, and Shaw adroitly shifts form hapless hippie to revenge-crazed Spaniard with just the right amount of knowing winks.

“Cold Grey Light of Dawn” also marks another great outing for Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten), with the flesh still rotting off of her bones and her anger still aimed squarely in the wrong direction. She brings Tara (Rutina Wesley) more deeply into the central plot for the first time, and van Straten’s signature (ahem) vamping remains as deliciously soapy as ever.

Together, the two subplots keep the episode more or less on course: dished about with sufficient aplomb to keep us watching past the slow parts. Unfortunately, those parts remain intact as well, hampered by the usual problem of too many characters and not enough to do with them. The werewolf pack joins together and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) still has feelings for Sookie and… zzzzzzzzz. Meanwhile, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) can’t capitalize on the momentum he created last week (he’s still not a werepanther), Sam (Sam Trammell) and Tommy (Marshall Allman) are all but sidelined, and the question of Arlene’s (Carrie Preston) baby continues to scramble for traction. We’re not even going to get into poor Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis): abruptly returned from his pointless sojourn in Mexico without so much as a “by your leave” and left to provide some threadbare connection to the mysterious woman hovering around the demon baby.

That’s become par for the course for this season: a few good things mixed in with an uncomfortable amount of bad. Fortunately, those few good things are really good, banishing the flaws and keeping things more or less on track for further developments down the road. It’s about the best we can hope for this year; that, and idly speculating on Jessica’s fate after she opens those doors to greet the dawn.  It’s likely a foregone conclusion… and even if it isn’t, you only need to look at the show’s best elements to understand that this isn’t one of them.

(PS: My apologies for the delay this week. We’ll have an early review next week to make up for it!)

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
fatpantz 8/9/2011 8:43:10 PM

I am enjoying this season, but some of the soap opera love triangle garbage is getting a bit too much to bear.  As well they really portray the witches to be nothing more than a bunch of Patchouli sniffing hippies that seem more of a joke than anything...even with the powers that Marnie is bringing forth.

As much as i am dying to see Jessica's character naked, I would like to see them kill her.  i am tired of this show tip toeing around the concept of killing off characters....just do it so then we will no lionger know that anyone is safe....although we all know with Jason's storyline lust for her, that they will find a way for her to live *sigh*

Oh and there was more naked Sookie for those of you that really care.

xJokersxWildx 8/10/2011 10:31:35 AM

Jason will save her duh lol Jess isn't dying anytime soon.

TheMovieGuy28 8/10/2011 12:00:55 PM

Here's something I don't get. Sookie had to drive waaay over to Alcides a few episodes back to get help.

Then in last weeks episode, Eric & Sookie just so happened to be getting it on in the same woods that Alcide and his wolves were going all white trash on us.

Then, in this episode, Eric and Sookie.....did they really f*ck their way back from the swamp? Not for nothing, but wouldn't Erics vampwang have totally turned Sookie's cookie into an ugly kneaded piece of hamburger by that point? How exactly does one powereff a vampire for a good hundred miles without chafing?

Lastly.....hey, Sookie is a faerie. Remember that? Oh yeah that's another arcing episode. Wonder if we'll see faeries show up. Or sookie fighting a witch cause of how she was able to hold off against the maenid

TheMovieGuy28 8/10/2011 12:02:17 PM

Another thing-I didn't realize a jaunt from Louisiana to central Mexico was just right around the corner like that. I mean honestly, they had LaFayette in this episode in the kitchen and in Mexico???? How?!?!

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