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True Blood Review: Up in Smoke

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It's safe to say I was not as disappointed by this episode of True Blood as Alcide likely was when a half-naked Sookie unleashed the contents of her stomach all over his shoes... but "Let's Boot and Rally" was still a big letdown.

Let's start at the end: it's a long-running pet peeve of mine that True Blood so often simply cuts off a scene and uses that as a cliffhanger. That's just poor, lazy writing. It's a cop out.

Did Alcide turn into a werewolf? Did he get attacked by a werewolf? Yes, I'll tune in to find out. But a series should not rely on editing and confusion to draw viewers in.

A Prayer from Nora

I'll operate on the assumption that Russell somehow has a cadre of werewolves under his power and they'll help free him from the dangerous situation that closed the hour.

That's sort of intriguing. I guess. We're nearing the halfway point of the season and there's been so much talk about Russell Edgington, yet so little action from the former king. In this case, Sookie, Bill, Eric, Alcide and (poor, poor) Doug trekked through bodies and rats and finally came upon their target... only for the installment to simply cut out on us.

Felt an awful lot like filler. Let's hope next Sunday night gives us an idea of what Russell is actually up to.

The editing felt off all around this week. Did Roman's speech about the Authority standing up to the Sanguistas really play into the fight between Tara and Jessica? Or Jason looking at the graves of his parents? It's as if the show ran out of time and just shoved these scenes together. I didn't feel any kind of through-like at least. Did anyone else?

But let's at all stop for a moment and smile at Jason in his He-Man pajamas. I owned the same exact pair when I was five.

As for Lafayette and his dark side... Terry and his ifrit... Sam and those masked shifter assassins. I wish I could offer up in-depth analysis, but I just don't care very much about any of these storylines. They feel like completely different shows, wholly unrelated to one another or anything else going on.

Yes, I was intrigued last week by the scenes in the Middle East - and downright disgusted here by Patrick's actions - but is anyone out there counting down the days until the next episode because you just can't wait to see what the fire monster does next?

I did enjoy Tara's inspiring speech to Tara, and I remain interested in the inner workings of the Authority. It seems far too easy for Nora to be the traitor, doesn't it? My suspicious eye remains fixed on Salome.

Overall, I've said it many times, but I wish True Blood would whittle down its characters. There's a definite storyline here with Roman, and the blood of Lilith and the concept of symbolic rituals and religious zealots and I wish it would take up a majority of the time on a weekly basis. There's plenty that material that could be mined from the Sanguistas and vampire-vs-vampire-vs-human relations. And, come on, it would mean more of Reverend Steve!

Instead, however, we get continually bogged down by seemingly random characters and events. Might they come together at some point? Sure. But that doesn't change my bored reaction in the moments/episodes leading up to that hypothetical resolution.

Like Sookie, I'm growing a bit exasperated. Lafayette wants to waste my time by going crazy, while Terry Bellefleur continues to get more screen time than Eric Northman? Must be Sunday!

What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (120 Votes)

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

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Here's my entire issue with the lot of you whiners... Every single season, we get some great moments and some cool end-of-the-season combining of story arcs. EVERY SEASON. And yet, every friggin' year, I have to watch all the internet and my family complain about how they aren't into one story or don't like one character. It's useless. I love this show BECAUSE it takes me places I don't expect, like ten years ago in Iraq or 100 years ago in London. It informs me about folklore from across the world, like maenads and fire demons, and then goes a step further in bringing them to life and showing us a vision of how these things could be. Yeah, I find the fire monster kind of dull, but only because I'm not into the special effects used. I felt the same way about the witch's force fields. I just didn't like it, visually. That doesn't mean it won't/can't become an interesting part of a greater story that still draws me back every single week. For the record, I'm thrilled to see more of Andy, Terry, Arlene... They've only been on the show for five years. I wish the show lasted two hours every week so we would have the time to get to know the other residents of Bon Temp. The vampire that lived next door to Maxine... I still think about her, wondering who else in town isn't what they say they are. I love that a vampire could live beside a religious bigot and because they don't talk to eachother, they never knew. More stories and moments to show off just how bizarre everyone's life is behind the scenes would rock. (And way more screen time for Russell. He was COMPELLING.) If I have any complaint at all, it is that we're running low on humans and the moment we start to develop the ones we do have (Andy, Terry, Arlene), the internet comes in to try to sway the writer's for next year into turning them into shifters and vampires. Pfft.

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Emilee - it was with the Maenads. Sam was shifted into the white ox, and it was in coordination with Andy. My husband asked the same question :)

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What a muddled mess this show has become. They need to pare down the characters by half at least and add some normal people into the show. Way too many monsters. The writing sucks and the editing is the worst on TV. I couldn't care less about any of them.

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All I can say is thank goodness for the fast forward button. The storyline with Patrick and Terry is so boring. I didnt care about Terry's house burning down last season and I certainly dont this season.
Can anyone remind me when shifters came out of the doghouse? I don't remember them broadcasting it to the world.

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I think the name of the New Orlean's witch was Amelia.
I too miss important characters and tremendous story lines like Quinn and the bombing of the Hotel with the vampire official weedings and trials etc etc sookie's grandfather and cousins ... It's like the TB set has become a little family business and they are deciding who gets the next scenes among them ... Meanwhile Skarsgard is on set filming In New York . Paquin and Moyer babies showering and Ball packing

Terrie

I'll stick by my earlier observations of this season. TOO MANY ARCS!!!!!!!!
We were cheated out of about 10 minutes this episode too!!!!! Only 7 more left............. NOT INTERESTED in this "fire monster" thing....it's adding NOTHING to the rest of the stories, at least not yet..........
NOT INTERESTED in the Lafayette story either......I think they could do better by his character........ Only good thing, this week Russell is back at 100% BUT if you saw the previews it looks like Bill and Eric will take him to the authority........Yes, I will take MORE Roman please......... I'm also wondering why Quinn has been left out and the witch that was involved with Queen Sophie Anne and Hadley-I can't remember her name......

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Oh, and another thing I feel that the head of the Sanguistas is Salome but who and how she found out about Russell. And why is Nora still alive? I am so tired of seeing her pray to only get burned....REALLY! I am not please with the intro of my man Russell Edgington. I mean the whole build up was great and then nothing!!! I felt like Alcide did with Sookie upchucking on his shoes....just sayin!

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So far I like this season but I do agree with everyone about it having too many unnecessary storylines. I can see having one storyline other then the main character just to give the sidekicks something to do but this is a bit much. I do want to know what happen to Jason and Sookie's parents. The fire monster is just too fake and out there for me. Wrap that up quick. The Lafayette story is okay but again move it right along please. I love the way Tara and Jessica had a moment and I like the minute fight over Hoyt at the end. Okay, with that fight it looks like Tara gave Jessica a harder time then she should have since she is a baby Vamp and all....maybe cause of the bloodline of Pam and Eric has something to do with Tara's strength not to mention she is a witch and all....in season 2 didn't she did make up MaryAnn…anywho There is just too much of nothing and not enough of Alcide, Eric and Bill time for me!!!

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i don't agree with one word written in this whole review. I actually turned off the last three episodes because the authority crap was getting so boring! It felt like there was way too much setup! This sunday was the first time i actually watched a whole episode w/out getting bored or doing something else and i actually didn't want it to end. It finally had some of the old true blood in it! And the worst part of all of this is that normally if you miss one episode you are totally lost because there is always so much going on well this season i can definitely say that is not true. I watched this last sunday's episode w/out watching the 3 before it (in full) and i had no problem jumping into the story and knowing what was going on. So far this season is seriously lacking and it better pick up the pace. Finally the last episode showed promise!

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Instead, however, we get continually bogged down by seemingly random characters and events. Might they come together at some point? Sure. But that doesn't change my bored reaction in the moments/episodes leading up to that hypothetical resolution.
Like Sookie, I'm growing a bit exasperated. Lafayette wants to waste my time by going crazy, while Terry Bellefleur continues to get more screen time than Eric Northman? Must be Sunday!
So true! Totally agree with everything.

True Blood Season 5 Episode 5 Quotes

Tara: So basically I'm your slave.
Pam: Pretty much.

A 3,000-year old vampire wants to suck my blood. Must be Thursday!

Sookie

True Blood Season 5 Episode 5 Music

  Song Artist
Song Let's Make Santa Claus Happy Didipop
Echo-and-the-bunnymen-rescue Rescue Echo and The Bunnymen iTunes
Warpaint-undertow Undertow Warpaint iTunes
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