True Blood: Save Yourself Review - Mania.com



True Blood: Save Yourself Review

Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Episode: Save Yourself
  • Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Sam Trammell
  • Written By: Alan Ball (creator), Charlaine Harris ("Sookie Stackhouse" novels by)
  • Directed By: Michael Lehmann
  • Network: HBO
  • Series:

True Blood: Save Yourself Review

Having a Ball

By Joel Rickenbach     August 27, 2012
Source: Mania.com

It's a shame this was Alan Ball's last episode of True Blood, as he demonstrates he truly gets what makes this show tick. He was more than a little handcuffed by the various storylines that needed addressing, but found enough to work with to give us some memorable scenes and character moments. I think the question now will be- Is the person taking the reins going to put their personal stamp on the show? Or will they just be guiding the freight train of supernatural insanity to its inevitable destination?
If there is a blight on this episode, it's the handling of our beloved Russell Edgington. Rarely have we been so enamored with a villain. His easy southern drawl, his penchant for ultra-violent outbursts, his karaoke chops... we expected all this and more after his re-emergence at the beginning of this season, but after the finale, one has to wonder what the point of his return was at all? He had a few juicy moments here and there, but was mostly neutered by the vampire authority. And when it looked like we would finally get a bit of that old Russell we love so much, he gets staked in the lamest of ways. It's absolutely fitting that Eric is the one to kill him, but it deserved a moment we would never forget, not a random killing before the opening credits. This also brings up another peccadillo- why are vampires, particularly ancient and powerful ones, so damn easy to kill? After this season they seem more fragile than your average human. What's the benefit of longevity when you're able to be dispatched as easy as a baby vamp fresh from the ground?
I like the idea that Jason is seeing the ghosts of his parents everywhere at this point. Their not-so-sound advice is a nice addition to an already deeply confused former Bon Temps High School football star. I get that the blast of faerie light from the elder is what most likely brought this on, but it would have been great to see these two devils on Jason's shoulder throughout the whole season. It's a shame they cut out Jason's last scene in the episode, it would have really solidified his mindset and the direction he is going to take. I believe the scene is only available via HBO Go, but it goes something like this- In the elevator up from the Vampire Authority, Mr. and Mrs. Stackhouse are congratulating Jason on how well he did taking out all the militant vamps, remarking that he killed at least 11 by their count. They start to coax him into the idea that killing all the vamps in the elevator with him (Eric, Nora, Pam and Tara) would be easy pickin's, but before he can consider it, they reach the top, and are attacked by more para-military vamps. Jason yells "I'm comin' for you, Warlow" to which a shocked Nora replies "Warlow? What do you know about Warlow??" 
I think Alan Ball had the most fun with Andy Bellefleur and the very pregnant Maurella, whose "light breaks" at Merlottes. Lafayette, Arlene and Jane Bodehouse getting drunk on margaritas and watching an orgasmic Maurella give birth to quadruplets felt like classic Ball. Unfortunately, even he doesn’t seem to know what to do with Alcide. He takes a little V, beats up JD, hooray! Ball actually finds a decent way to give Sam and Luna’s story a bit more purpose. Not that rescuing Emma is small potatoes, but broadcasting to the world the truth about vampires was a nice addition, and Sam’s Jonah and the Whale moment was suitably disgusting and cool. We’ll get to the cliffhanger in a minute, but Ball’s other great moment is a little bit of love amongst the chaos. Tara and Pam’s passionate kiss almost felt like a parting gift from Ball to the fans, replete with Jessica’s aw shucks “I knew it!
Bill, oh, Bill, where have ye gone? A few weeks ago the idea that Bill may be pulling a long con on the vampire authority made sense, he has always been the most level headed of the fangers, but the last few episodes have proven he was truly in a religious fervor. In the finale he goes all the way- finally dispatching Salome (After all her speechifying I can’t say I’m sad to see her go) with some silver laced blood, and he at last takes the plunge by drinking every last drop of Lillith’s blood. Sooki and Eric do their best to try and talk him down, but it’s all for naught. Bill is overcome by the blood’s power, and quickly becomes a pile of vampire goo… only to be reborn, looking much like the male version of Lillith’s naked and bloody self. His fangs pop, Eric tells Sooki to run, and the credits roll. True Blood loves its cliffhangers. Next season we’ll be without our captain, Alan Ball. We wish him well in all his future endeavors, however, we do get two big bads- Warlow, and someone I can only dub as “Billith”. 
 

Best Moment: The kiss
Worst Moment: Nora’s areal stake throwing. Maximum cheese. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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monkeyfoot 8/27/2012 11:30:21 AM

Yes, the season finale was a "What the!?!?!" to me. As I've said the series goes all over the place in the biggest extremes I recall seeing in a regular show. It's reached the point where the kitchen sink is the least of the bizarre things thrown in. There are too many sub-plots and characters to keep track of, that barely relate to each other.

Also, the extremes of character have been at their most ourageous this season. As you mentioned Bill's total religious fanaticism which we never saw even a hint of in any of the other seasons. What is he a bi-polar vampire and we are just now seeing him in his mania stage? Also, at the begiining of the season Lafayette was at an all time low with the death of his lover and the craziness of his newly discovered medium gift. Not to mention getting his mouth sewn shut. Yikes. But with the snap of a writer's fingers on a keyboard he is completely recovered and the comic relief of the whole episode. Only Tara's complete change of personality is understandable to me. Being turned into a vampire can totally change your POV.

I don'y know if I even want to start watching the next season. The Bizarro world-ness the show has begun takes away my emotional enjoyment of it. But I might end up watching just to see the zaniness that come up.

SarcasticCaveman 8/27/2012 6:28:58 PM

 I'm watching it right now...and I can't believe this crap.  This season was doing SO WELL, and then they just decide to get stupid at the end..."My light broke"..."BLAST HIM!"...are you F***ING serious?

blankczech 8/27/2012 7:29:01 PM

I agree with monkeyfoot.  I'm not sure I want to commit to another season of this show.  I don't share Joel Rickenbach's fervor for Alan Ball's scripts (was Ball trying to stay true to the books).  I thought the show was all over the place this season...the Ifrit (fire monster), the Fairy Elder, Maurella's quadruplets, Mr. and Mrs. Stackhouse (who make their offspring sound like intellectuals), etc.  It all got a little to silly / stupid for  my tastes.

Joel also mentioned the incredible fragility of the vampires in this series (calling it a peccadillo)...I see it as a major flaw in the show.  You can exterminate True Blood vampires by exposing them to sunlight, driving (or throwing) a wooden stake through their heart (a sharp wooden pencil would probably due), you can shoot them with, arrows, wooden or silver bullets (not sure which it is),  inject silver into their blood stream, or trick them into drinking blood with silver in it, chop off their head, or if you are a shifter turn into a fly, fly into their mouth, and than turn back into a human (witches and fairy's can also knock them on their ass if they don't get bitten first).  Russell Edgington somehow managed to survive for  3,000 years but was killed rather easily in last ngiht's spisode.. Next season I imagine the Vampire's will be dispatched by kids shooting holy water at them from water pistols.  A few year's ago Lafayette was traumatized by a absolutely frightening Eric (who kept him locked up in a dark cellar) this year Jason and (the new) Eric call each other names like children until Sookie scolds them.

The Twilight and True Blood series have de-fanged vampires.  I long for a vampires that resemble the vamps in Salem's Lot or Dracula.  Let's hope some writer doesn't come up with a Zombie love story / soap opera.

TheSilentKiller 8/27/2012 7:46:49 PM

 I think what I find frustrating is that there is so much in the series that now makes no sense whatsoever if you haven't read the books, and therefore have the background.

fatpantz 8/27/2012 9:39:46 PM

@ Blankczech Have you watched the movie Stakeland?  Even though those creatures are quite mindless, their ferocity goes along with the type of creature you long to see :)

ageloving 8/27/2012 11:47:08 PM

Do you still doubt that "a 40 men can date a 30 or much younger women".....all at "ageloving_com".....answer you well

TheSilentKiller 8/28/2012 3:46:55 AM

@BlankCzech - I second the vote for stakeland.

BushHog 8/28/2012 5:34:23 AM

I love the show, but know that it has it's flaws.  Look forward to next season in hopes that Bill Compton stays dead forever.  I knew when he turned into a puddle of goo it was to good to be true.

joelr 8/28/2012 9:21:07 AM

Stakeland is a cool film, it too has it's flaws, but definitely worth checking out.

ddiaz28 8/28/2012 10:54:25 AM

For all it's flaws True Blood is still a show I love to watch.  Only thing I didn't like about the finale was Russell's death.  After delivering such an amazing scene at the end of last episode, he deserved a more satisifying ending.  Best moment for me was Sam exploding out of that vampire lady.  Definitely one of the best kills ever on the show.

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