Good, Bad & Ugly Review: True Blood


Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 50% (Critics) / 83% (Audience)
Episode Title: “Jesus Gonna Be Here”
Directed By: Stephen Moyer
Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell and Ryan Kwanten
Network: HBO

Synopsis:A band of rogue H-vamps crashes the vampire-human mixer at Merlotte’s, with shocking results. As Sookie seeks refuge from accusations that she’s somehow to blame for the chaos in Bon Temps, the “one vampire for every human” plan moves forward. In the face of a vigilante insurrection led by redneck Vince, Bill receives aid from an unexpected source. – (Source)


The Good:
The attack by the H-vamps was very well shot. Star and director of the “Jesus Gonna Be Here” episode, Stephen Moyer (who has directed several episodes of the show previously) did a great job of conveying the confusion and disarray that a surprise assault like this would have. Moyer also did some little tweaks to the super-speed fighting that TRUE BLOOD’s vampires tend to do by making it more Matrix-y than it has been before.
I also liked the way Moyer shot the encounter between Jessica and the H-vamp that was hungry for half-fairy Adilyn Bellefleur. Keeping the infected vampire in almost total shadows only helped to increase his menace and the brief glimpses of him were done in such a way that he became even scarier.

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The Bad:
Despite starting out with a siege upon the good people of Bon Temps this episode somehow felt like it was spinning its wheels aimlessly with no clue as to what it wanted to do. The introduction of the infected vampires is an intriguing idea that adds a bit of zombie flavor to the show and can be used as a perfect way to get all of the characters involved in one single storyline that leads up to the series conclusion. However that is not what we get. The infected vampire threat doesn’t seem nearly as scary as the show wants it to be because the characters are barely acting like it is that big of a deal part of the time. Sookie walking home alone in the dark 5 minutes after the vampire attack, Bill and Andy giving up their search semed a bit premature. Alcide and Sam (in dog form) losing the scent of the vampires and their abducted victims and not really seeming that broken up about it seemed out of character.
Also the entire subplot of a guilt-ridden Jessica camped outside of Andy’s house to protect his daughter from an infected vamp seemed like a waste since no vampires could get into the house unless invited. So Adilyn was the safest person in Bon Temps at that time.
Why is Pam halfway around the world searching for Eric? These two characters should be in Bon Temps with the rest of the cast dealing with the infected vampire situation not wasting time on a storyline island for several episodes.
And I have few words (and all of them are profane) for the “Blame Sookie” subplot that makes almost no sense and is just taking time away from anything else that could be shown.

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The Ugly:
The off-screen “death” of Tara is such a cheesy move to pull for a show in it’s final season. I would have preferred just killing the character outright instead of this cheap bait and switch that will no doubt end up with the reveal that Tara is not actually dead. This is the show’s swan song season so showing a little ballsiness by killing a main character right out of the gate would have been a nice attention grabber and set the tone for a final season where anything could happen.

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Final Verdict: TRUE BLOOD was a once creatively mighty show that has seen better days and this first episode of it’s final season was an inauspicious start to what I had been hoping would be a return to early season form. The show seems unfocused and meandering with hardly any inclination being shown in this episode that things would be more daring since there are no future seasons to have to worry about. Hopefully the show finds a little creative bravery (maybe it can borrow some from fellow HBO show GAME OF THRONES) and start giving fans a show that is not just limping to the finish line but boldly sprinting there.

Rating: D+

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