Things are finally starting to stutter into motion as we arrive at what will nearly be the halfway mark of True Blood’s third season and whilst not everything is as neck-bitingly exciting as we might have hoped, there are flickers of brilliance and more than a hint of drama ahead.
Where Trouble shines, is inside the walls of the King’s eloquent but ghoulish mansion. The episode begins after the King, Lorena, and Bill’s evisceration of a stripper, which was the curtain closer last week. Blood bespattered and laughing, they arrive home to find a consistently manic Franklin Mott and his new meat puppet, Tara. Bill nonchalantly refuses the always-in-distress damsel’s pleas for help (come-on you’d do the same, it is Tara) and we are led to believe that maybe he has at last relinquished to his more bestial instincts. But alas, this is all predictably part of Bill’s master plan to 'save the cheerleader, save the world'. I was about to dismiss the episode as yet another unenthusiastic struggle to get Bill and Sookie back together until Eric walked through the door. With Talbot in the corner, positively dripping with delight, Eric confesses his part in the V blood scandal that has left the Magister craving, what we can only imagine will be, swift but brutal justice; Vampire style. This in itself is not overly interesting, due to the fact that we are already privy to this selection of dirty secrets. However, Eric’s presence in the King’s home, leads to a moment of revelation as we find out the origins of his obsession with the pack of werewolves that he seems to have been hunting for centuries. Whilst enduring a tour of the estate and led by a salivating Talbot, Eric spots a Viking crown that acts as the catalyst for a flashback to his human years. The crown apparently belongs to his father, who was murdered along with his mother and many others in an attack by a particular pack of werewolves under the orders of, yes you guessed it… Emperor Palpatine (it might have actually just been the King in a big robe, but I like my version better). Finally we have some context in this strange rivalry between monsters and we don’t simply feel disorientated and bored. In addition, the King confronts Bill about his strange file on the Stackhouse genealogy and although I still feel a little confused as to what all this means, it does add some depth to their currently Twighlight-esque romance.
There were plenty of distractions in the episode revolving around the myriad of superfluous characters, many of which are uninteresting and feel like time-fillers. Jason’s Police Academy sketches are tedious and lack enough humor for them to feel necessary. I get it, he works out a lot and has a weird puppy-dog [read mildly disabled] face, but if I wanted to see an incredibly sexy wet guy, then I would have a shower and flex in front of the mirror (my webcam is on Tuesdays). There are some great moments among the monotonous character updates. Jesus (not the famous wizard, but Lafayette’s mother’s nurse) has come to ask him out on a date and all joking aside, it is one of the most touching same-sex romance moments I’ve seen on TV. I found it totally believable and even managed one of those embarrassingly sickly smiles, which you only ever pull when you think no one’s looking. Truly, it had no relevance to the rest of the episode or the show in general, but it was still worthwhile simply due to fantastic performances from both actors.
My new favorite character and who totally stole the show, is Franklin Mott. No longer does he teeter on the line between mysterious and quirky, he is now utterly bat-shit crazy. Like a mixture between Fatal Instinct and Misery, the deranged Vampire has Tara tied to a bed, whilst using his own special brand of romance to court his new play-thing. It takes a special kind of actor to pull off the line “Tara will you be my Vampire bride” and James Frain does so with style and panache.
There is also finally some movement in the side plot of Sam and his new family. Tommy seems to be petrified of his father and at first we are lead to believe that it may be just a case of an abusive alcoholic Father. However, by the end of the episode, it is obvious there is definitely more to this particular story. My guess is that it is the mother (who is also a shifter) turns into something pretty violent on specific nights and only Tommy can subdue her. This could be the origins of Tommy’s scaring and why we are told that everything would be alright in the morning.
We finally have some hints of what all these strange conversations have in relation to the context of the show. Eric is on a vengeance mission, Bill has definitely got some skeletons in his closet (possibly literally), and Sam’s family is more than just high maintenance. Sookie even uses her magic lightning hand once more, so she might actually become interesting again.
I was dreading watching this weeks episode due to the previous disappointments of this season. However, we finally have some lines of intrigue and I find a genuine curiosity returning with the new depth to the previously disjointed narratives. The episodes still appear to be struggling to fill the hour time-slot and there are some moments that feel unnecessary and tedious, but overall a much better installment to the series, which has nearly decided on which direction to take. Anyway, time for my webcam… it’s my Japanese Anime Schoolgirl night.
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