Bad BLOOD: Our Take on Last Night’s Penultimate TRUE BLOOD

By: CT

Perhaps TRUE BLOOD creator Alan Ball was using last night’s episode — which he scripted — to prove once and for all to the folks over at The CW that “WTF” has only one meaning, and it most certainly is not “Watch This Fall!” Or maybe he lost a bet and was forced to prove that his show could be every bit as confounding as David Lynch’s classic — if not always logical — TWIN PEAKS? How else to explain the meandering, pointless and (worst of all) boring outing that served as the season’s penultimate offering?

Yes, there were some fine moments — mostly between Sookie and Lafayette — and I would watch Tara and her mama braid one another’s hair, but far too much of the hour was wasted with ridiculous nonsense that failed to advance storylines or offer anything in the way of character development.

It doesn’t help that this season has been majorly derailed by the pointless and seemingly ill-conceived MaryAnn The Maenid, which felt tacked on by someone who realized that while Bill, Sookie, Jason and Eric were running around Texas, the folks back in Bon Temps would need something to do. Michelle Forbes has done her best with the part, but the mythology surrounding MaryAnn simply has not held together well.

Last night also saw the introduction of Evan Rachel Wood’s Queen Sophie-Ann, a potentially interesting character who felt somehow miscast. While I’ve been a fan of Wood’s work in the past, her performance here seemed forced. I’m sure someone thought it would be cute for Wood to play the ancient character as a willful child, but instead, much like Bill, I was anxious to leave her presence.

In fact, MaryAnn and Sophie might well represent exactly what’s wrong with TRUE BLOOD this season: We’ve spent so much time away from Bon Temps that the people we truly care about have been treated like second-class citizens. Last night, every delightful moment (Eric eyeing Arline’s kids as if he could just eat them up… literally) was overshadowed by a painfully awful one (Sookie being spooned by one of the town’s lusty loons). This second season should have stayed close to home, further exploring the characters we know and love while expanding their universe slightly with the addition of Jessica (whose romance with mama’s boy Hoyt has been a major highlight) and perhaps even Godric, who was sent into the light far too soon.

TRUE BLOOD did, as always, get the final moment of last night’s episode right: No series in recent memory has offered up such phenomenal cliffhangers. So of course, we’ll be tuning in next week to see what the heck comes out of that egg (not to mention who the heck it came out of!). But here’s hoping that when the writers begin plotting out next season, they remember to stick closer to Merlotte’s… and consider keeping Ball away from the typewriter.

TRUE BLOOD’s season finale hits HBO on Sunday, September 13.

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  • bws

    It’s a fair counterview… True Blood is definitely not for everyone. I enjoy its campiness and the fact that it is so different. I agree that Godric was underutilized but disagree wholeheartedly about Maryanne. I’ve loved the character since they introduced her although some of the exposition by Daphne was a bit painful. Coupled with the excellent Fellowship of the Sun storyline True Blood has increased viewership essentially every week this season. Too bad the holiday makes us wait two weeks for the finale.

  • ct

    Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love TRUE BLOOD. I look forward to it each and every week. And I loved MaryAnn when they introduced her. But it quickly became obvious that either A) they didn’t define her well from the beginning; or B) they didn’t have enough story for a season-long arc (despite said-season only being 12 episodes long!).

    I VERY much enjoyed the Fellowship of the SUn storyline because it involved our favorites (first Jason, then later others as they were drawn in). And let’s not forget that just become something gets good ratings doesn’t necessarily serve as an indication of its quality. Some of the best shows out there get horrible ratings… while some of the worst ride that wave of mediocrity right to the top of the charts!

  • Josh C.

    I couldn’t disagree with most of this at all this season for me tops last season. Everything from the fellowship to the amazing character of Mary Ann has been a complete home run. But you’re right no show in recent history besides maybe 24 has gotten the cliffhanger more right

  • BJ

    Yes season 2 is definitely better than the first but I agree that it’s also really uneven.

    Also you’re one of the only people that seem to agree with me that the Maryann storyline exists solely as fodder for everyone that wasn’t involved in the FotS storyline.

    And now it’s is all we have left sadly.

  • Jeffrey Bryan

    Assuming they follow their trend of loosely following the books, next season will see even more time away from Bon Temps. Almost the entire book takes place in Mississippi.

    However, it also introduces a ridiculously hot Werewolf named Alcide, so I’m willing to go with it 😉

  • bws

    The only issue I have with MaryAnne is her explanation of existence seemed a little forced. I wished that would have been more organic. But she still scares the heck out of me.

    I didn’t mean to imply that good ratings = good television (coughtwoandahalfmencough) but True Blood definitely has a “water cooler” effect. It’s one of those shows to watch and talk about immediately. Good cliffhangers will do that. And that leads to more viewers very naturally.