TRUE BLOOD: Release Me Review -

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  • TV Series: True Blood
  • Episode: Release Me
  • 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: Raelle Tucker
  • Directed By: Michael Ruscio
  • Network: HBO
  • Series: True Blood

TRUE BLOOD: Release Me Review

Battle Not With Monsters

By Rob Vaux     August 03, 2009

Mania Review of True Blood
© HBO/Robert Trate


Is anyone else disappointed that the bull-headed creature in the woods turned out to be Maryann (Michelle Forbes) in a mask? On the other hand, she's still the scariest thing on the whole damn show, and with her hypnotic blood orgies getting freakier by the day (premium cable? You're soaking in it!), she doesn't look to relinquish that crown anytime soon.
Seduction and monstrosity play a huge role in "Release Me," and Maryann is only one of the practitioners. Director Michael Ruscio scores his strongest points balancing the evils of vampirism--their deceit, their selfishness, their willingness to use others solely because they can--with the parallel evils of the Brotherhood of the Sun. The former finds its deepest embodiment in Lorena (Mariana Klaveno), Bill's (Stephen Moyer) creator who prevents him from going to help Sookie (Anna Paquin). Recurring flashbacks reveal their lives together in the 1930s, as Bill finally breaks free of her influence: for good he thinks, until she shows up in his present-day hotel room and plays a fairly demonstrable game of Squash the Rookie whenever he tries to leave. It contrasts nicely with Sookie's dilemma: locked in the basement by the increasingly cartoonish Reverend Newlin (Michael McMillan), who's happy to engage in the same bloodlust and head games as the vampires he hates so much. The mirroring helps prop up the whole Fellowship of the Sun subplot--long a weak spot for the season--and give the upcoming showdown between Newlin and the Dallas vamps some real (ahem) bite.
With both Sookie and Bill in need of aid, it falls to the rest of the cast to save the day… and sadly, they don't seem up to the challenge. Oh, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) has the means if he can get his lunky head out of his ass for thirty seconds, and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) might be able to bail out Bill in between her (very sweet) romance, but frankly, neither of them have yet been able to connect the dots sufficiently. Everyone else is hopelessly enthralled to Maryann, with the exception of Sam (Sam Trammell), whose flop sweat in the face of such a threat has never been more pathetic. "Release Me" does an excellent job of maintaining tension by cross-cutting between everyone, showing us how readily these figures could throw Sookie and/or Bill a lifeline if only they had a little more information.
The stumbling blocks come when the episode veers away from such musings: marking time with figures like Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Detective Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) whose subplots move forward at a snail's pace. The Dallas political scene smacks of warmed-over Anne Rice as well--particularly with the Fellowship spy in the vampire's midst, who feels too bush-league to pull off a deception of such magnitude--and though Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) exercises his usual supercool, it's difficult to muster much enthusiasm for his ostensible mission (rescuing the sheriff of Dallas) in the face of so many other narratives. With the ranks of supporting characters growing larger every week and the need to keep them all more or less in play, True Blood runs the risk of bungling some of its threads for good. (Remember the body in the car in the season opener? Are they ever going to get back to that?)
For now, however, the show continues apace. The Fellowship of the Sun business will presumably wrap up in the next week or two, leaving the simpler but infinitely more frightening problem of Maryann to deal with. "Release Me" keeps the season on track with its subtleties and nuance, even as its more overt elements push a little too far into two-dimensionality. Wrapping up a few storylines will provide it with the focus it probably needs at this point, allowing it to finish up the season with the same grace, wit, and blood-soaked appeal which started it.


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Skroin 8/3/2009 12:53:12 PM

I enjoyed the episode.

But I'll admit I was slightly disappointed in finding out that Maryann is the bull creature and it was only a mask. I'm just wishing the show would hurry up and reveal exactly what her intentions are. So far I can only tell that she wants Sam because he's the one that got away. Other than that, she just enjoys throwing her parties with a "No Clothes- No Problem!" policy.

I was suprised by who showed up to help Sookie in the end. 

I'm glad Lafayette is slowly returning to his roots and getting back those smart-ass comments. But I wonder exactly where the show is taking him.

All in all, I look forward to see what happens in next weeks episode and ultimately, what happens between Bill and Eric since Bill has found out that Eric wants Sookie.

hanso 8/3/2009 1:20:42 PM

Lafayette was in this episode like for 1 minute, how exactly is that a stumbling block?  I thought Bill's flashback were pointless in this episode, I didn't really get any new information. 

I need a Season 2 episode 1 refresher, but didn't the body in the car have the heart cut out?  If this is the case, I don't see a reason to get back to that since it's established that Maryanne does that.  Anyway, I'm thinking they will actually touch on that next episode.  The preview reads "Sam gets in trouble with the law".   I can only assume, Maryanne had Daphne killed, ripped her heart and now will frame Sam for it.

I was a bit disappointed it was a mask instead of a full blown creature but works well anyway.  She was a maenad in the end just like the book.

I like the Jessica/Hoyt stuff, it brings some balance to all the crazy shit going down.

I am wondering if Ball will change Godric's reason for being captured in the next episode. 

Good episode as usual.


gauleyboy420 8/3/2009 1:29:45 PM

I am loving this show, can't tell you how much I enjoy it.


Still love the opening titles

gauleyboy420 8/3/2009 1:30:57 PM

BTW, Not disapointed that the bull creature was a mask, thats almost creepier to me.

VillageIdiotPrime 8/3/2009 1:32:47 PM

Yeah.  Was rather disappointed as well by the bull mask, but we may yet find out that her true form is more than just a set of f%$#ed up hands.  Im hopeful.

Likewise with Lafayette...its understandable that he'd change after his ordeal but Im curious to see where theyre going with it. 

And yeah, REALLY liked the ending.  Watched it again just for that.

They are sowing the seeds for next season because I dont see all of this wrapping up in what we have left of this one.  Im on board.



saiyiansreign823 8/3/2009 1:42:27 PM

 Is it just me but when Sam was talking about Maryann, wasn't it said that those with special abilities or supernatural in nature can resist her spell. Well Andy Bellefleur is uneffected by her muse during the whole sex party kill Sam moment. I know he was under the trance before, but I think because he was impaired by alcohol he was subjected to fall under the spell before. But, lately he's been unaffected.

hanso 8/3/2009 2:50:04 PM

The thing with Andy, as I see it, is that he hasn't been near her long enough to get taken over by Maryanne's abilities.  I don't think her spells work instantly, that's why Andy hasn't been affected by it.  He was only at Sookie's house for a bit, same thing when he stumbled on the orgy.   When he was at Merlott's drinking, he was near her presence a long time.

texastoast44405 8/3/2009 10:11:31 PM

true blood is bloody awesome'' maryanne is one wicked witch'' as for the bull mask?? thats just a prop to channel her powers, eggs has to be the creature.he's under maryannes spell and has stated she releived him from death. i beleive she turned him into a creature in the process.bill rules,as does eric,sookie,jason,jessica,hoyt,tara,lafaytt,e,and glad daphne got betrayed by maryanne,she was a dimwit anyway for beleiving she was safe with her. i think the fellowship of the sun should be disbanded and put in jail,violence with violence from a church goup??? not a good sign.true blood rules...

DayDrumFour 8/3/2009 11:05:59 PM

There is NOTHING scary about the Fellowship anymore. Jason Stackhouse seems to beatdown the toughest members. Hope the vamps just kill them all and get back to face Maryanne. And what about the warewolves!!?



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