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True Blood Review: A Case of Anemia?

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Sex between siblings. The devouring of werewolf intestines. Super snatches, erection-like fangs and countless storylines rotating around so many times in the course of an hour that one's head spins like a Maenad.

Oh, yes, True Blood is back.

The Season 5 premiere returned us to the night of the True Blood Season 4 finale, giving us an idea of what everyone was up to just as Tara was shot and in the 24 hours following that thankful tragic event. Aside from discovering that Eric could make an incredible living as a maid, what did we learn?

That True Blood has way too many characters and spends far too long trying to service each one. Do we really need to bring Terry into the forefront? Or give Andy his own arc? There's always a lot going down in Bon Temps, but "Turn, Turn, Turn" may have upped the action-packed ante a bit too much. Let's rundown each storyline below, from most interesting to most WTH....

Pastor Steve

The Adventures of Marcellus and Ike: Taking Eric and Bill away from Sookie and teaming up these one-time rivals was easily the best decision the show could have made. Their interactions now feel fresh and funny.

Add into this partnership Eric's championship-banging "sister," the impending introduction of The Authority, the factions apparently rising up within that council and my interest is very much piqued.

The Return of Russell: Granted, this didn't actually happen. And it feels a bit random overall, as if the show simply couldn't let go of Denis O'Hare. But can you blame it? That guy rules! The storyline opens up the question of who dug Russell up and it will simply give us more Russell. That's always a good thing.

Jason and Jessica: I guess I should throw gay American vampire Steve Newlin in here, too. Did he only come back to give Jessica an excuse for coming to Jason's rescue in all her scantily-clad glory? I'm not really complaining if so (see glory, scantily-clad for the reason why). The party and the dueling near hook-ups felt like a bit of a contrived way to drag out the Jason and Jessica romance, but whatever. Jessica is downright awesome.

Hungry Like the Werewolves: Noble Sam can be a bit tiresome, but at least he's now intertwined with an angry pack. An angry pack who apparently enjoys feasting on the remains of their master. To quote Summer Roberts: Ewww.

But one of the appeals of True Blood to me is going inside these various supernatural sects. I thought it was cool that Martha said there's a ceremony for dealing with the dead. I'm now curious to find out what else goes on within a pack and I also love me some Alcide. There's potential here.

The Turning of Tara: I've got multiple reasons for not thinking much of this development:

  1. It was obvious the moment HBO announced the premiere title of "Turn, Turn, Turn."
  2. Moreover, the exact ending was obvious the moment Tara's body was placed inside the grave.
  3. The turning of a human into a vampire is done on every supernatural franchise at this point, and True Blood simply has bad timing: we've just seen this it on The Twilight Saga (ummm... or so I heard) and The Vampire Diaries.
  4. It's safe to assume Tara will now be quite angry over being forced to transition into what she hates. But Tara is always quite angry. She may be a lot more dangerous now, but I don't foresee any major character transformation going forward.

The one positive, as always? Pam, in all her Walmart sweatshirt-wearing hilarity. She's anything but f-cktarded.

Where Would Jesus Go? I don't care. Lafayette is a fun character, but the witchcraft from last season was really out there and really random. Yes, even for True Blood. There was just no real sense or direction to it.

Dirty Andy: I really don't care. Andy Bellefleur is the epitome of a perfect supporting player. He's now dating Holly? Taking a bribe from a judge? Okay. Great. Whatever. Please don't waste our time by making this a central storyline.

They Didn't Start the Fire: Sorry, Terry. I know you've been through a lot and I'm sorry for the whole PTSD thing. But I didn't wait months for this show's return so I could delve into your backstory. Even if it does involve Scott Foley, an actor pretty much everyone on the planet adores.

I think I covered them all. I obviously don't watch True Blood for any kind of realism, but all shows require a sense of flow or continuity. It was hard to feel either on this episode. It suffered from Game of Thrones-itits, jumping from one story to another and not giving viewers any specific idea of what lies ahead this season.

I'll be along for the ride, don't get me wrong. I'm not going all Lafayette here and claiming I'm done with all this "supernatural bullsh-t."

There are always enough witty True Blood quotes, sex, nudity, gore and all-around fun ridiculousness to keep me entertained. But it's hard to argue that the show is all over the place right now, isn't it?

What did you think of the season five opener? And which storyline has you most excited?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (133 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Matt-richenthal

@Rose: Tara would be non-existent?!?!? Don't tease me like that! I never review any shows based on the books. That gets too complicated and irrelevant, really. I review base on what I see on television; I respond to material solely as a television viewer and, as a television viewer, I simply do not care about Terry, Andy or any number of other storylines. I also need to see characters actually die or else the stakes on such a supposedly dangerous show are non-existent.

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okay a few issues with this review... for one the witch storyline wasn't just "thought up" somewhere, it came from the books, and as much as I loved charlaine harris' take on v fueled werewitches (werewolves that were witches) in the forth book, Alan Ball's more simple approach with simple human wiccan delving into death magic was FAR more exciting. As for multiple storylines.. if they went according to books, this would be a Sookie only story.. Lala would be dead, Tara would pretty much be non existent, and Russell would just be the "king of mississippi" and not the awesome badass that he was turned into for the show. They need multiple storylines to make it well rounded. It may seem like all these "simple" things are being done, but it is a season opener, they have to set up for the next 11 episodes.

Watchestoomuch

Last season was so bad that this episode felt like a breath of fresh air. I laughed out loud twice -- once at the Rev's absurd declaration that he was coming out as a "Gay Vampire American", and once at the "Silly Love Songs" playing on the radio as the Authority carted off Bill and Ted ... I mean, Bill and Eric. I can't remember the last time this show made me really laugh. I agree with everybody everywhere that the foregrounding of all of the secondary and tertiary characters last season was a bad, bad mistake, and I am as concerned as anybody that they will make things even worse this season. I am hopeful, however, that the writers are just tying up loose ends and will refocus on the show's core business before we get to mid-season (as soon before as possible).

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True Blood is getting old. After watching Game of Thrones I can honestly say that G O T is far better written and executed than anything the trubi team is now delivering. If this seasons flakes like 3/4 then I think I don't care if I miss an episode! Bit sorry bout that but dont like the writers take on things. They need to get back to the Sookie baseline and make her querky but almost militant. I would like to see the demons come on scene. Instead they have served up an overloaded pizza of ideas and its gonna become too top heavy and fall over. They need to make it more dirty and underground. Its too cutesy and not raw enough. It feels like the writers dont know where the story is heading and if thats the case it will just end up in a heap of unrelated stories which are lumped together wth tenuous connections.

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You used the word "obvious" twice within two sentences of each other. Isn't that a writing no-no?

Eneci

a SOLID episode:
Tara Story- I love the solution they brought for her. She hate her being weak so HER being strong will change things. Loved the flashback to their childhood days.
Laffayet- I want him to raise and kick some major ass. I was really sad when he spoke to Hesus.
Reverent Newbie V- There were no sign of him being Gay and this is just pulled around so he can stalk Jason around.#BadWriting But the Jessica appearing and ass kicking just perfect! Jason being the sucker in Love is kind of IRONIC. Nasty orgy.
Terry-Patrick story- seems like he was a KILLER down there. and Patrik has a supernatural background and I wanna know what.
Bill and Eric or Eril or Biric- Nora and Eric are steamy.But it's nasty that they call each other Sis and Bro.
Sam story- Sam is my fav character and he has gone a long way since season 1. But he always bangs the best chics in the block(Luna is wOw). It was so shity to eat the body.

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Alot of people seemed to miss this, but I'm pretty sure the person that was being dragged into that cell was being fed to Russell. Whoever supplying him with "humans" is the one who released him. Also I agree with Jarrod, the Tara arc could be fun, especially if it means more Pam!

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i am so excited by the triumphant return of true blood i wont sleep. my big gripe, it needed to be 2 hours long. but ive never missed a show since day 1 and i wont !!!!!!!

Aries93

I think vampire Tara will be fun. I’m gonna enjoy Tara and Pam scenes. However, I do feel bad for her. I don’t blame her if she decides to hate Sookie and Lafyette. They were both aware of how much she hated vampires, so to bring her back as one – for what I believe for their own personal gain – was truly selfish.

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@Terrie: Oh yep, good call. I remember her saying that Godric was her maker as well but somehow didn't put the two together and still assumed she was his blood relative. As far as Russell, I was actually under the impression that he just gained enough strength back to burst on out of there. It'll be interesting if someone did track him down and release him though. No clue on who that could be.