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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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catanus
July 9th, 2012 10:29 AM
Did anyone catch how Tara/Jessica's conversation about being a new vamp was kind of talking about how it feels to realize you're homosexual? Listen to their convo one more time and you might catch the underlying message. I'm guessing that was how you felt when you realized it? Because honestly, I sure didn't when I figured it out. Seriously. That was a weird comment Read more tv spoilers at: http://www.tvfanatic.com/2012/...

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Sick of the Lafayette magic drama. He's a scared whiney baby now. I miss the Lafayette of old, confident, sexy and proud!

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I agree with so many others, there are to many stories going at once here. On the average 50 minute show, each story is getting maybe 10 minutes or less. Lets narrow the field a little. I know things have moved away from the books however your main 3 characters are and will remain to be, Sookie, Bill and Eric. Lets try and give them a little more air time and lesson some of the secondary story lines.. Please thank you

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PART 2 BORED:
- The supernatural killings. I do not care very much for Luna and the shapeshifters. Sorry
-Terry and Captain America.
-Terry, Captain America, the other dude and the fire-whatever. Bored.
- Jess! GLAMOUR Hoyt, already. Make him forget his pain. He's sort of pathetic and such a cliché. HATE:
-I really hate that Eric has become Bill's labradoodle... He is not saying much. It trots behind, does not make his own decisions... :-(
-HATE that there is no Eric and Sookie!!! There I said it! I know I am such a girl. But I want them together and I hate those long, longing looks between Bill und Sookie.

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I'm a bit ambivalent ...
LOVED:
- Sookie's hangover ... epic!
- Sookie making out with Alcide
- Sookie´s speeches.
- Sookie, Eric, Bill, Alcide and poor Doug going all Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Russell.
- The asylum. Every decent horror show needs at least one episode in a nuthouse or abandoned hospital or whatever.
- Jason and Andy being nice to Sam.
-Pam, Tara and Jess
-and Arlene. I do not know why, I just really like her. KIND OF INTERESTED:
-Lafayette. The magic stuff and what's up with his boyfriend's head on his bedside table aunts.
-THE AUTHORITY! I like THE AUTHORITY. I think it is interesting. But I also feel that they should move it along a bit faster. Feel like nothing really happens -> they torture Nora, they monitor Eric and Bill, they talk talk talk, mainstreaming bla bla bla... but there is not a lot of action. BORED:
- The supernatural killings. I do not care very much for Luna and the shapeshifters. Sorry
-Terry and Captain America.
-Terry, Captain America, the other dude and the fire-whatever. Bored.
- Jess! GLAMOUR Hoyt, already. Make him forget his pain. He's sort of pathetic and such a cliché. HATE:
-I really hate that Eric has become Bill's labradoodle... He is not saying much. It trots behind, does not make his own decisions... :-(
-HATE that there is no Eric and Sookie!!! There I said it! I know I am such a girl. But I want them together and I hate those long, longing looks between Bill und Sookie.

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I agree, as I understand shows do not stick very
Close to the books . This how is so far gone from the books it is crazy. They have ruined some of my favorite characters. They need to pull it together

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Watches too much:
the head was Jesus, and the woman was Lafayette's mom.
Jesus used to be her nurse in the home, that's why she knows him also.

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You're that guy at that party - that sulky, whiny teenager - who's too cool for everything "this is lame", this drink is lame, this party is lame, his shirt is lame, I'm bored, yadda yadda. If this is SUCH a waste of your time, go review backyardagains or something. I don't think I've ever "picked on" a reviewer, and I don't mean it to be that way - but seriously dude, I've read your other stuff. This is just not a show you belong reviewing.

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I'm sorry, but can we please get a reviewer that LIKES the freaking show? You have whined like a little spoiled baby for EACH one. Seriously. I don't think I've ever seen a review from you on this show that you have said you actually LIKED an episode that DIDN'T come with a "BUT". You know what? We liked this episode (hubs and I). The reason all the "talk" about Russel Edgington is b/c it was the only way to work Dennis O'Hare into this season w/a conflict he had - he wasn't available until this part in shooting. That's well publicized. So chill the hell out. Most of the rest of us can keep up with the rest of the story lines, and many of us actually ENJOY the fact that we're not just spoon fed a single plot line b/c that's all the writers think we can handle. I did care - greatly - that Sam and Luna were shot. I enjoy this show. You're that guy at that party - that sulky, whiny teenager - who's too cool for everything "this is lame", this drink is lame, this party is lame, his shirt is lame, I'm bored, yadda yadda. If this is SUCH a waste of your time, go review backyardagains or something.

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By the way:
Season 1: Vampires/Fangbangers/V Addicts
Season 2: Vampires/Dryads (?)/Shapeshifters
Season 3: Vampires/Werewolves/Werepanthers?
Season 4: Vampires/Wiccans/Werewolves/Brujos/Faerys (although season was just weird!)
Season 5: Vampires plus their different factions/Werewolves/Faeries/Brujos/Smokey/Shapeshifters/Masked Assasins/Iraq War vets/Fangbangers/Religious Freaks/Psychics/Burlesque... I like this season but WHAT THE...!
Where's Hoyt's mum just making a good ol toasty sandwich and keepin it real??

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