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After doing quite a bit to redeem itself last week following several sub-standard episodes, True Blood still had a ways to go this week with “Spellbound.” After finally getting to the point and letting us know exactly what has been going on for weeks past, it had to not only keep up the tempo of the back half of the season, but continue to add drama to an otherwise drama-less and all-around messy season. What ultimately came to the screen with “Spellbound” did its best to meet those criteria, perhaps helped by the fact that Alan Ball decided to pick up the pen and put out a script that wasn’t incomprehensible garbage like much that had come before it, but there were still problems. Pacing for once wasn’t one of them, but instead those timing issues were replaced by substance problems.
By that of course I don’t mean that True Blood has gotten itself addicted to meth (although Sheriff Andy’s addiction to V and his general presence in the season is an utter waste of time), but rather that there are still things making it to screen that just don’t belong there. Up until this week the Alcide, Debbie and the wolf pack in general made just about no sense within the story, but even they are starting to slot into place. The problems are coming once again from anything involving mediums. Until last week Terry and Arlene’s “evil” child was just a horrendous blip on the radar screen of True Blood, but now outed as a medium, or at very least a child capable of seeing the dead, I had hoped that he would begin to fit into place. Instead, what occurred was some terrible acting trying to explain that baby Bellefleur was somehow connected to a mother that had her child murdered at an undisclosed time in the past. Then, possessing Lafayette (also a medium), the spirit of this woman went about kidnapping the child as if it were her own.
Now while on any other day ending with that might make for good television, with everything else that is going on in the show right now, please someone tell me how that fits in at all. There is a vampire-witch war going on and we, the lovely viewing public devoting an hour of our Sunday evening to watching True Blood, do not need our time wasted on this useless B-plot. Nevertheless, it seems hell-bent on persisting so I’m sure I’ll be ranting about it next week, too. Moving on to the things that actually matter, “Cold Grey Light of Dawn” left us on a cliffhanger ending with Jessica opening the doors to Bill’s house (is it a palace now that he’s the king?) and stepping out into the Sun. Being a pretty big fan of Jessica, her being saved by Jason was the optimal outcome, but the aftermath of the whole thing left me feeling somewhat unsure of whether I liked what I’d seen. When Jason and Jessica finally kissed it was just about perfect and Jessica breaking up with Hoyt was long overdue, but Jason being a good friend and rejecting Jessica’s later advances was a frustrating turn. Him being a good friend is a testament to his character, but the two of them really need to just get it over with. I doubt there is really any scope for a real relationship unless Hoyt does actually kill himself, but if two characters on television needed to have sex more, I’d love to see them. The chemistry between the two is intense and well portrayed and keeping them apart is just cruel, even though they are just characters on a show.
Forbidden love and ghost possession kidnappings aside, a vampire-witch war wouldn’t really be very good without some war, and war we got. Following the semi-failure of the spell that was supposed to kill all vampires, with Bill managing to save all but one, Antonia was frustrated to say the least. When Bill offered a face-to-face meeting to propose a truce between the battling sides, she agreed that both parties would come alone. Of course, that wasn’t exactly how it went down. After seeing the devastation that Antonia could cause were she successful, Sookie and Eric chose to stand and fight with the king, whilst Marnie’s coven remained loyal to Antonia. There was a nice moment between Bill, Eric and Sookie before heading off to the meet in which they discussed the nobility and lack of fear at dying for a just cause, but what really mattered at the end of the day (a phrase I can use as the meeting really did take place at the end of the day) was the fight.
Giving no chance to diplomacy, Antonia attempted to cast a spell in her head upon Bill and the rest of his vampire backup, but with Sookie on Bill’s side, the secret didn’t keep for long. Not being a complete idiot, Bill foresaw a double cross and brought humans carrying an awful lot of weaponry with him, causing Antonia to ultimately run, kind of. Casting a spell that brought a mist upon the graveyard – the site of the meeting – Antonia disappeared and allowed her human faithful to fight it out against the vampires and Bill’s men, and in the confusion/lack of visibility, Sookie caught a bullet. While her peril didn’t go unnoticed by the otherwise occupied Bill and Eric, it fell to Alcide to rescue her when he arrived at the fight after hearing the gunshots. The episode concluded with Eric falling to his knees before Antonia, presumably now under her control.
While the mini war did amp up the action quota for the season that has been fairly absent of any of it so far, it didn’t exactly end the way that I thought it would. There is absolutely no threat to Sookie as sad as it is given that, well, there are more books, and Eric is already not the real Eric, so having him get taken over by Antonia is just adding to the list of times that his head has been toyed with. For what it was it worked pretty well, but given that we’ve been building to that confrontation since minute one, it fell a little short of what it ought to have been. At the very least Bill should have been the one to bow to the witch at the end of the episode, adding some scope to the following episodes in that the vampires would be without a king. But no, this is season four of True Blood – the disappointment factory.