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?


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+.


I hate to think that private actor's life could interfère in the quality of the show ... Stephen and Anna should seriously question themselves about all thèse irrelevant story lines !!!
And why the Eric-Sookie's lové story blew up so quickly after such a perfect built up ... Anna is an Oscar winner and Askards is the best actor Hollywood has seen In ages !
What a waist of talents !!! Sorry Stephen but this is not cool at all a director yourself you should Know better...


I agree too many story lines irrelevant to the TB original concept. The writers did well to add caracters from the books like Jessica or to change them like they did with Russell or Tara and even Hoyt. But they should stick to the Spirit of it : it's about supra naturals i.e. vampires vs fairies vs shifters vs humans. And also Louisiana's black Magic stuff. What is wrong with Sookie's family original story Line ?
Why so many changes from the Books ? Her cousin Claude is gay and super sexy.. Not the right Guy on screen. Also i miss the every day/night Life of Eric and Sookie's love relationship ... The writers got to get Back to vampire story lines and shifters going public ans fairies battles


Talk about being bored by unnecessary story lines...I watch online, and I just completely skip over the Terry, Lafayette, and Andy story lines. Couldn't care less about them. I watch for the Authority/Bill & Eric and (surprisingly) Tara/Pam/& and now Jessica(?) story line (and I guess Sookie and Alcide are all right :-). Everything else is ridiculous, out of place, and there's just way too much going on!


Hoooooooooolyyyy crap. This show is making me absolutely nuts lately. A FIRE MONSTER FROM THE IRAQI WAR? Are you friggan kidding me? I... I can't even go there. I don't get the apparent viewer confusion about the werewolves... Russell has always employed them and all it would take was word getting out that he wasn't dead for them to rejoin his ranks- He's a vampire who will willingly provide them with V straight from the tap. I'm glad they're exploring the whole fairy deal and mystery of the Stackhouse parents' deaths. All in all the only thing that even remotely salvaged this episode was the beautiful albeit brief return of Russell. I've been needing it and now I have it.


Apart from that though, I thought the episode was pretty good--better than the last few. And I'm really excited that Russell is back.


Lola, you're not the only one who misses Eric and Sookie. Their relationship was showing real progress and now it's almost like it never happened. Apart from that, I agree with everyone about too many cast members and too many storylines. Just stick the few cast members that really matter on this show because I don't think every character needs to have their own individual story.


they should of stuck to the books to keep it going , in the books you dont see several storylines all at once , its about sookie and thats how the show should of stayed, season one was the best in my opinion but as the seasons went on im finding my self less interested in it as i used to be. why did they stop sookie and alcide getting it on !??


I think this is the perfect show for him to be reviewing. I enjoy his reviews for the most parts and when there are times I do not agree with him I agree to disagree. I have been checking many sites and most of the posters agree with his analysis!
Sloppy writing and editing and too many characters.... it's all true.
I hope next week is better! I miss the old show!


I used to love this show, now it grates on my nerves! How in the world can anyone keep up or care about the confusion/boring story lines?


Filler? More like concrete set-up. To be an emotionally satisfying show, there can't be just action or drama. There must be a set-up for there to be a big emotional pay-off. Idk if you're a bookie, but the shifter sniper was the plot of the fifth book. I like the extra characters. Have the drifted from Sookie, yes, but that does not mean that they deserve less face time. I could see how Roman's speech and the composition of characters could have been perceived as rushed, but I thought it was a way to bring the characters to, because they drifted after. It's a foreshadowing technique to symbolize that they all will be effected by the Authority's decision.

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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!


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