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« Are You Francophreaking Kidding Me? | Main | Couple of the Summer: Roxy and Clint? »

July 26, 2010

True Blood: I Got a Right to Sing the Blues

Welcome to the newest Serial Drama feature, which does not yet have a pithy name, because "A place for Mallory to talk about True Blood without hijacking posts for other, less awesome shows" is far from pithy, but whatever: True Blood! A place for a weekly discussion about the goings on in Bon Temps and a place where we can all marvel at primetime soap done right.

I do have to warn you, though, that sometimes vampire and werewolf based entertainment brings out a side of me that I'm not totally comfortable with, namely the side of myself that makes stupid puns and giggles at them much to the consternation of everybody else in the world. I am only telling you this because there is a chance that I might, at some point, say something like "Fangs for the good time, Eric!" or something similarly humiliating. Please know that I am judging myself harshly.

SPOILERS are after the jump, so if you aren't caught up on season three (1) get caught up and (2) avert your eyes!

Before we talk about the latest episode, a few general points about True Blood:

  • I have not read any of the books by Charlaine Harris, so I have no idea what is coming or going, or how much the show deviates from the books, so I won't be ranting about the changes. This will probably make True Blood posts very strange for you to read, since it's very rare that you've read anything I've written that wasn't steeped in irritation.
  • If you have not seen the trailer for the second half of season three, and don't mind having some things spelled out for your, click here. It is awesome.
  • Awesome is a word that comes up a lot when I talk True Blood. After a season two that spent too much time on Maryann and not enough time on, well, everything else (I could have watched a full season just about the Fellowship of the Sun, actually), I think season three is firing on all cylinders. The weakest spot thus far has been Jason's story, and even that is moderately amusing.
  • I am LOVING all of the new characters this season. I am a wary person by nature, and don't always like a large influx of new people, but the newbies are great: Alcide, Russell Edgington, Talbot, Franklin...I even like Cooter and that trashy Debbie Pelt!
  • Sam's family members do not count as great newbies, because they inspire in me mild consternation (Tommy) and outright terror (Joe Lee), but I still find their story compelling. Poor Sam needs to catch a break.
  • This picture delights me.

200woix

I wonder if Stephen Moyer is smiling so broadly because this is the one and only time he will ever tower over Alexander Skarsgard.

  • Speaking of, as someone with a well-documented fondness for tall men, it goes without saying that I love ASkars and Joe Manganiello, who I have enjoyed since his stint on How I Met Your Mother as Brad, who had an ill-fated bromance with Marshall.

Onto "Now I Got A Right to Sing the Blues"--OH EM GEE, that was one of the bloodiest hours of television I've ever watched, primetime division (General Hospital is the bloodiest hour of television I've ever watched, daytime division. And like thirty episodes are tied for that particular honor). Torture, people drinking the blood of the vampire being tortured, Tara chewing on Franklin's throat and then beating him savagely in the head later...crazy.

*After last week's episode of non-stop hilarity (Exhibit A: the revelation that Franklin slaughtered a church group because they wouldn't let him have a turn at the slot machines), there wasn't a whole lot to laugh about tonight, except that awkward kind of laughter that you sometimes make so that you don't cause a scene with your tears or violent sickness. I did get a kick out of Talbot's horror at the state of their house, following Bill's stupid attempt at fighting older, more powerful vampires.

*Sookie's game of Twenty Questions with Russell was so nicely done. Can we talk about Denis O'Hare for a second? He is doing such a good job of being entertaining with an undercurrent of malice in everything that he does. J'adore! And Anna Paquin was great here, too--a lot of times when she aims for sassy and spunky, she lands in "OMG, punch her in the head" territory. But Sookie was appropriately intimidated by Russell. And who wouldn't be?! He's terrifying!

*I normally can't stand Lorena; I think Mariana Klaveno is beyond gorgeous and a great actress, but Lorena's awfulness is usually turned up to eleven. Bill had it right last week when he referred to her as a tiresome cow. But this time around, she managed to blend her mix of unhinged bitchiness with a weird sort of vulnerability, and I found myself almost sympathetic to her. It was so sad watching her cry!

*Queen Sophie-Anne presents the exact opposite problem for me: I feel like the character, as written and with that wardrobe, could be a lot of fun, but Evan Rachel Wood is just appalling. I don't know what's she's aiming for, but she's missing the mark in an excruciating fashion. I know Russell wants to marry her to consolidate power but I keep asking myself why on earth he'd want to spend an extra second with her. She's an embarrassment.

*It says a lot about this show that having it confirmed that Tommy (and his mother!) were forced to dogfight had me saying, "Oh, good, I'm glad it's not something even worse". There isn't much that IS worse than dogfighting, but I was scared that this show would find it. 

*Jason and Crystal continue to bore, as does Jason's vendetta against the new high school quarterback.

*Kevin Allejandro and Nelsan Ellis have fantastic chemistry, but it was a little strange that the Jesus/Lafayette relationship ended about thirty seconds after it officially started. And I'm with Lafayette, personally--I can't shake the feeling that there's something not-so-good lurking beneath Jesus's cleancut exterior.

*How much did I LOVE Tara (and Sookie) kicking ass? If I thought Franklin was well and truly gone, I'd be heartbroken, but since she didn't decapitate him (just, you know, bashed his head in violently) or stake him, he's going to recover, right? And then he'll come back enraged and heartbroken, which I feel could make for some quality hilarity.

*Quality hilarity like his satin pajamas! SATIN PAJAMAS!

*But anyway, Tara was smart enough to get Franklin's blood for strength, she sent Sookie a telepathic message and then she and Sookie beat up Don Swayze. It was great. This is the most likable that Tara's been since the first season! It's sad that it's taken her being held hostage by a complete psychopath to make her tolerable again, but here we are. Also, it's so nice not having to hear her mourn Eggs anymore, mostly because the way Rutina Wesley pronounces "Eggs" makes me wish I were dead.

*Alexander Skarsgard was in rare form. Cunning Eric is my favorite Eric. Overtly Flirtatious Eric is my second favorite Eric.

Erictalbot

I can't quite tell if His Royal Creepster knows that there is something up with Eric.

*My mind is spinning with at least ten different lascivious comments to make over Alcide's form. Holy hell.

*It was jarring to go from True Blood to Mad Men. It's going to be equally jarring to go from splendid Sunday night TV to the soaps today...

Comments

It's seriously hard for me to focus with sexy Eric onscreen. I'm always on the verge of blacking out.
Thanks to true blood execs for the excellent alcide casting.

I'm not going to read the post, because I have only just finished season 2 this weekend on DVD. But does anyone know if there is a place online to watch for free? I don't know if I can wait a whole year for the next season to be on DVD!

If you are a reader, give the books a try. They are excellent! I'm on the 6th one right now.

I think I want to marry this post. I agree on pretty much every single count (well, ok, except for the Eric and Alicde thing). Alex Skarsgard is a nice looking man, but that's about it (for me). As for Joe M/Alcide - I'm sorry but that character is boring. Though I suppose the body is nice to look at if one is into the overwaxed, overdeveloped look ;).

True Blood weekly recaps! Be still my beating heart!

Jen - you can watch all three seasons on sidereel.com

and thank you for doing true blood posts i'm madly in love with the show and eric, really its gotten to the point that its pretty sad.

Whee! True Blood posts! I'm so excited!

I don't know from the books either. I mainlined the first two seasons in the weekend before the 3rd season premiere.

I apologize now as my comments will focus an inordinate amount on Eric because he is Eric. I love many other things about the show, but I all-too-often am blinded by the Eric.

I am sad that the lovely blue sweater was (unsurprisingly) marred with blood. Eric of course still looked hot. I marveled at his ability to roll with the entire situation and (1) ensure Sookie will be as safe as she can be given her ability to get herself in trouble by playing up her specialness for the king but (2) protect himself from the same kind of fate of Beel by downplaying his own ties to Sookie while (3) completely charming his way into the King's good graces to best position himself to get his 1,000-year-old vengeance on. I'm not sure Russell is entirely convinced that Eric is on the up-and-up but he appreciates an opportunistic ally, I think. And I also think Eric's shameless flirting was well-played by ASkars because with Talbot it was much more smooth and easy, while with Russell -- the true object of his hatred -- it seemed to be a tinge more forced, like it was harder for him to keep that seething rage in.

Meanwhile, poor Pam has been in the magister's clutches for two days. I worry.

I also agree that Russell/Denis O'Hare is positively stunning as the charming host with the undercurrent of frightening power. He threw Bill to the ceiling with a *shoulder shrug* . . . awesome. And ERW as Sophie Anne makes me want to throw things. I was entirely too gleeful by Eric's threats to her.

Anyway, I heart everything about the Mississippi story -- vampires and werewolves alike -- and find much of the Bon Temps stuff drags -- Jessica and Lafayette aside. I usually love adorably dumb Jason, and the entire Fellowship story in season 2 was fabulous, but he's trying my patience and I just need his story and Sam's story to somehow be better integrated with the show as a hole. I find myself just getting frustrated for the night to fall to get to the "good stuff" again.

Oh, and if you're looking for pithy (and of course cringeworthingly punny) nicknames for this column, how about "Sucks So Good" or "The Soap with Real Bite"?

No? Bueller?

You have the gif I went to bed dreaming about last night! Good for you! I adore flirty Eric!

And yes, SUCH a great episode. Though.. I'm a horrible person because I found many parts of it hilarious..gore included.

Wow. Such fun-ness! I'm excited to read your True Blood recaps. Thank you for sharing!

Yippie! I am so thrilled you've added a TB recap. I LOVE the show and am of course a complete Eric fangirl. I'm loving the entire Mississippi story too. Poor Sam he's such a nice guy & an interesting character / great actor. But could his stories possibly suck more? His "family" just sap the energy out of the show.
I think this season is really hitting it's stride, certainly when compared to last season's Maryann debacle.
I hope Alan Ball is keeping a finger on the pulse of the audience and realizes Evan Rachel Wood is a disaster.

Looking forward to rehashing all the episdoes with you!
Amy

Alcide is boring as hell and also FOINE as hell. I'll take him and Sam to go please. Franklin brings the creepiness and hilarity. Thanks for recapping TB, my fellow Amazon!

I have read all of the books and short stories at least once (I've been a Charlaine Harris fan since the early 90s), so I was worried that the HBO series would let me down. Although they are often very different, Alan Ball seems to be sticking pretty close to the original with the main characters. It's often when he veers off course from the novels that it gets a little strange (but not necessarily bad - except for when he expanded the whole maenad thing). ;-)

Ok, so I'm all worried about Pam. She's been hanging around, presumably being tortured, for way too long. I hope Eric knows what he's doing. I get that he wants his dad's crown back, and he's working hard to keep his interest in Sookie on the down-low, but Pammy needs some attention too.

I know that a lot of people hate Evan Rachel Wood, but I'm not having a problem with her portrayal of Sophie-Ann. I think she's pulling off the queen's shallow selfishness pretty well. I'm hoping we get to see more of cousin Hadley.

I was laughing at poor Tara when she was chopping away at Franklin's head. Either she really thinks she killed him (in which case, what a lot of effort for nothing!), or she was only trying to incapacitate him so she could get away. I'm guessing it's the former. She really needs to catch up with her girl, Sookie, and get the sitch on all things supernatural (and how to kill them).

Thanks so much for the link to the clip of the second half of the season! I had tried another link last night and was completely stymied.

Spoilers from the spoiler reel:


When I give TB spoilers, I try not to give too much away from the books since a) people who didn't read the books find it annoying, and b) it can be misleading since the series often takes a different turn. When I fail in this now or in the future (because I usually can't help myself), I humbly apologize.

From what little they showed in the clip, it looks like they are planning to borrow from the books and maybe have Alcide and Sookie "date" a bit. Also, it looks like the famous "incident" between Sookie and Debbie from the books WILL happen on the show. Awesome! That event ties in with Eric in the books. Fingers crossed for that to cross-over to the show as well. I LOVE ERIC!!! Anything that gives me more Eric (and, preferably, less Bill & Sookie togetherness) is good and pleasing to mine eye.

Joe Manganiello gives this jaded gay boy the cardiac pitty pats.

Le sigh...

I love that you wrote a True Blood column! I couldn't agree more about Evan Rachel Wood's performance as Sophie-Anne. She's the one low point of the show for me. Seriously loving the additions of Franklin, Alcide, Talbot, and Russell though.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting about True Blood! I read your blog everyday for the soap updates but, I never comment. But with True Blood I can't help it I'm addicted to it like one of those screaming teenagers who's in love with Twilight but instead I'm a 33(34 in two days) sista from Detroit. I don't know where to start Eric Lord have mercy, Lafayette I can't say enough about him and I'm glad they gave Tara some of her fight back. Is it wrong that I like Franklin crazy behind. He's scary, crazy and sad all in one and I love when he's on my screen. The way Talbot screemed like a girl last night and how he complained that Russell never takes him anywhere was hilarious! I will be looking forward to your weekly post. Thanks again!

I am so glad we have a place to discuss True Blood in general, and the amazing ways of Joe Manganiello, Alexander Skarsgard and Franklin Mott in particular.

And OMG, I'm totally worried about Pam, too! That's an awfully long time to be stuck getting tortured by the magister. I hope nothing bad happens to her (more bad than torture, I mean), because I could not live without her outfits and droll line readings.

Mary Beth, "Sucks So Good" is GENIUS.

Poor Franklin. Tara didn't even notice that he shaved! I refuse to believe Franklin is dead--I love him (and James Frain) too much.

True Blood is awesome. So are the books, they are a guilty pleasure easy read. Im totally obsessed with this show.

Cant wait to see how Eric will co-ordinate all the simultaneous threats and vengeances. Eric telling Sookie to shut up and then clamping his hand over her mouth when she wouldnt and being all "thank you" was probably my favourite scene of this season!

Franklin is totally hilarious and kinda like a crazy scary puppy dog (makes me think of Spike on Buffy: loves bitch).

Tara is back to being awesome and hilarious as well with her crazy WTF faces at everything Franklin says or does, kicking werewolf ass and telling Sookie shes dumb for being so butt-crazy for stupid Bill.

Russel is delightful and scary at the same time and is a real villian and feels like an actual threat that will have changed things around even after hes gone and not be totally pointless like Maryanne.

Jesus and Laffy are cute but im 100% sure Jesus is some sort of supe/witch. ***BOOK SPOILER: Perhaps he will be a part of the Hallow storyline from book 4? END BOOK SPOLIER***

Sams family creeps me out in the worst way and i was also releived that it was "only" dogfighting as i was seriously thinking WAY WORSE cuz this show is crazy.

All in all im sooo glad you are doing recaps of TB cuz i love reading your GH recaps, and unlike that show TB is actually awesome and about what its supposed to be about and is amazing while doing it.

Thanks Melissa, I'll check out that site when I get home!

James Frain is supposed to be a regular on another new show in the Fall, so I hope that doesn't mean he's actually gone.

Why is there a "True Blood" post all of the sudden when this show is not actually a soap opera!!!!

What bothers me most about Evan Rachel Wood as Sophie-Anne is how appalling the Queen is written. She is a wonderful, wonderful character in the books, sympathetic, articulate, and actually vulnerable, and I cannot separate my love for the book Queen from the show. I utterly cannot appreciate a single thing about the show's version, and it's sad, because I think ERW could have done better if the character had been done ANY justice.

P.S. If Franklin were dead-dead, I think we'd have seen him burst into a pile of goo like the other vampires who have been killed on the show. They're pretty consistent about that kind of thing.

guilty pleasure, I think True Blood, while technically not a soap, IS soapy in every way, so it falls under my umbrella definition. And, really, I would like to write about a show that I actually like*

*Also, on the off chance that Alexander Skarsgard reads this blog (YOU NEVER KNOW), he will now know where he stands with me.

Well Mallory, if you hate blogging posts for GH, then don't bother blogging for the show at all!!!!!

Imagine my eeeeee-gleeeeee when I came to see what wrath you had brought down upon "Francophrenia," only to find a True Blood post! EEEEEE!!!

I was such a huge Bill/Sookie shipper in the beginning, but I have to tell you, Eric is HAWT. Alex Skarsgard is just yummy on a big, 6-foot-something stick, so I'm definitely not opposed to an Eric/Sookie pairing, even if it's brief. And more Eric bare-assed, if you please!

It's really hard for me to watch those scenes with Franklin. One of my favorite movies of all time is Where the Heart is, and it's bizarre to see "Forney" as a psychotic vampire! LOL!

Why in the hell didn't Tara grab that giant hatchet and cut his head off?? I don't think the bashed in skull is going to last, and it appeared from the previews that he's going to be back.

Even though she's a lesser character on the show, I do heart Arlene. When Jessica's fangs popped out, and Arlene held up her fingers like a cross, I thought I'd croak! She's just a hoot.

**SPOILER ALERT!!***
What about the very last scene of the previews where Bill appears to be standing in the SUN without bursting into flames??? Is he the "immortal??"
**END SPOILER!***

THANKS, Mallory, for bringing the love for this fantastic show. Any chance I can get you to bring it for Dexter or Big Love when their shows return??? Beg, plead?

Hey guilty pleasure, I've got a better idea. Why don't you find another blog to read!

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