Monthly Archives: February 2010

Final Thoughts: True Blood

It seems that I’ve done little more than bitch about True Blood this moth and so it’s difficult to think of anything more worth saying in a “Final Thoughts.”  Clearly, I hated this show and my various reviews offer an extensive (though not exhaustive) catalogue of why.  The only point of contention I can really think of is whether this is merely my opinion or if the show is “bad” in an objective sense.  Some might claim that this is an absurd notion when talking about art, that how one reacts is inherently subjective and that you cannot make an objective assessment of quality.  I would counter that we need shared standards to have any meaningful discussions about art.  Efforts to articulate why something is good or bad presuppose some common ground in our understanding.  I say that True Blood’s failings are not merely offenses against my sensibility, but actual sins against narrative.  With that in mind, I submit Ten Commandments of television storytelling and this series’ most egregious violations of them.

  1. Events shall be relevant to the plot.  Arguably the most basic, essential part of narrative.  That which happens on screen should be a consequence of what has happened before and, in turn, be a cause of what happens later.  There were countless examples to choose from, but I’ll take the death of Sookie’s cat as the most obvious one.  The killer hadn’t done anything in a while, so for some reason he… kills and mutilates a pet?
  2. Characters shall exist outside the story.  Commonly referred to as “depth,” we should get a sense that characters have thoughts and emotions beyond what’s portrayed on screen, that their actions are a consequence of some underlying identity.  What, exactly, were Sam’s core characteristics?
  3. Visuals shall be engaging.  Television is a visual medium and what we see needs to draw us into the story, not push us out of it.  The sex scenes that dominate the first few episodes do nothing to pull the audience into the story.  Whether you enjoy these scenes or not, there’s nothing about them to either ask or answer the question “Who are these people?”
  4. The acting shall be “up to” the emotion.  Bad acting is, obviously, bad, but competence just isn’t enough when conveying heavy emotion.  The extensive melodrama between Tara and her mother just seemed absurd coming from two actresses of such limited range.
  5. Plot devices shall at least be consistent.  Generally not a good thing, the plot device shouldn’t change from moment to moment.  V: cure-all, aphrodisiac, habit-forming, steroid, spiritual experience, whatever else the writers need it to be.
  6. Emotional payoffs shall be proportional to time requirements.  We don’t need to care about everything that happens.  However, the more time we spend with an event, the more we need to care about it.  Gran’s death gave us a whole episode of mourning.  Did anyone care about her enough to be sad for a minute, let alone an hour?
  7. If we’ve seen it before, we don’t need to see it again.  Clichés are bad.  Duh.  True Blood does nothing to expand the vampire subgenre.  Why should we watch it as opposed to any other vampire story out there?
  8. Events shall be consistently relevant.  Don’t ask the audience to be outraged one moment and ambivalent the next.  Sookie’s child abuse is a perfect example, going from completely unknown, to worth killing over, to completely forgotten in the space of two episodes.
  9. The setting shall have an internal logic.  It’s not necessary that what’s on screen be “realistic,” just that it makes sense in itself.  Sookie’s telepathic powers developed and shed limits from episode to episode.  How, exactly, was Rene able to “lie” with his thoughts?
  10. Hmm, can’t think of a tenth right now.  True Blood sucks.
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You have what it takes

Lost’s structure may be what sets it apart from any series that’s come before, but its characters have always been the true strength of the show.  The first season, still generally regarded as the best, struck this balance perfectly, keeping us guessing about what the hell was going on while simultaneously dolling out satisfying character moments.  This season is NOT a return to form; not that it’s bad (this was another strong episode) but where the flashes once offered new insight into the characters, they’re now firmly in the “what does it mean?” column.  We don’t know what the connection is between LA X-Jack and Island-Jack, and must simply struggle with the show’s assurances that there is one.

“Lighthouse” presents an LA X universe with the same perplexing character non-development as “The Substitute.”  Jack starts off still wrestling with the Daddy issues he’s always had, though here he’s transferring them to his son (Son?  what the?/holy crap!).  Where before we’d seen Jack become a drunken wreck (just like Christian), here he’s become a source of intimidation and discouragement for his son (just like Christian).   However, this Jack has a capacity for growth and change that the old Jack may not.  He realizes his mistake and makes a connection with his son by, y’know, talking to him, the one thing Christian never had the guts to do.  He fixes is their relationship and, more importantly, himself, the one thing that’s he couldn’t do in the “real” timeline.  It’s no coincidence that Island-Jack says he came back because he was “broken” and thought the island could “fix” him.

But what does it mean!?!  Does the fact that LA X-Jack is able to find peace have any bearing on how we see Island-Jack?  I raised the same question for Locke last week, but this episode brings it into sharper focus.  With nothing to connect the two it feels like Jack’s development is unearned.  “Our” Jack hasn’t broken his father’s cycle, that was some other guy.  But there ARE connections (as we’re reminded over and over).  New-Jack bears the scars Old-Jack received on the island and winds up musing on fatherhood (aka leadership) with Dogan.  Jack’s character is now what the island has always been, a collection of puzzle pieces that we’re assured will fit together without being given any clue about how.

Final Thoughts

Once again, I’ve given the on-Island events short-shrift.  That’s partly because I really do find the narrative questions more fascinating and partly because I need to differentiate this blog from the thousands of Lost blogs out there.

Hurley was once again outstanding in this episode.  Some choice moments, “He just shows up whenever he wants, like Obi-Wan Kenobi,” “I’m a big fan of temples… and history… Indiana Jones stuff,” and “I’m a candidate… I can do what I want.”

The Lost creators know exactly who their fans are.  Hurley reflecting on some internet theories about Adam and Eve was priceless.

The fact that Lost has extended its narrative daring to character building is either incredibly brilliant or incredibly stupid.  It all depends on what kind of payoff we get by season’s end.

Guess I better put some pants on

 

Huh…  I really don’t know where to begin.  I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, I just don’t know what to make of it.  Frustration is an essential part of the whole Lost package, but I didn’t find this frustrating in the need for answers sense.  Rather, this episode frustrated my efforts to understand John Locke.  His LA X narrative was at odds with his story over the first five seasons (or at least the way I’ve understood that story).  So, does an alternate universe John Locke need to inform our understanding of the “real” Locke?  What about vice-versa?  For that matter, should either Locke inform our understanding of the fake-Locke?  These are all intriguing questions and how we understand this episode is really dependant on the answers.

The flash sideways gives us a John Locke with a significantly better life.  He’s engaged to Helen and (apparently) has a good relationship with his father.  The one real problem in his life is his paralysis and his failure to deal with it.  Looked at in itself, this story is about coming to terms with a disability.  Locke’s efforts to take a walkabout, jump off his wheelchair ramp and work construction are the products of denial, and only serve to make his life worse.  His decision to stop chasing miracles is the smart one and opens the door to his finding happiness and dignity in his life as it is.  And yet, this story cannot be looked at in itself.  Comparing this John Locke to the other reveals a man that never had to cope with his father’s betrayals or with Helen’s departure, who’s covert rather than defiant with Randy.  His life may be better, but his character is not.  The action on the island, both in this episode and earlier, also complicates matters.  The fact is that miracles CAN happen.  Locke does have the potential to walk again, whether through the island’s magic or through Jack’s surgery (or the island’s magic working through Jack surgery).  He also really is special, being a “candidate” to replace Jacob as the protector of the island, the one thing he most desperately wants.  On the other hand, it is in the larger Lost narrative that Locke ultimately hung himself after a lifetime of struggling to realize his “destiny.”  This contrast just seems to further drive home the point that learning to live with your limitations is the worthier goal.  So, does the potential for Locke to achieve his dreams in one reality repudiate abandoning them in the other?  Or does his tragic failure to realize that potential justify giving up?

Reading Locke #1 & Locke #2 gets more complicated as it seems we must also throw Fake-Locke into the mix.  He’s confronted by some sort of apparition on the island and told that he can’t kill “him” (presumably Sawyer).  Smokie doesn’t seem to be aware of the irony of his “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” response.  Does assuming Locke’s form mean assuming some of his other qualities?  We’re also told that Smokie can no longer assume any form but this one (though it’s still not clear why).  So, does some part of Locke live on?  If that’s the case, does he still have an opportunity to protect the island?  And if that’s the case, is his end no longer tragic.  And if that’s the case, does this make LA X Locke the real failure?  What we have here is three different stories that may be about the same individual, in which case they may actually be one story.  I can’t wait to see how (if) this narrative tangle get unraveled.

Final Thoughts

Yes, I spent this post ignoring the “big” events of this episode.  The identity issues that are now surrounding Locke’s character trumped them for me.  This is the kind of heady stuff that makes this show more than a bunch of weird mysteries.

So, how much of what Smokie told Sawyer was BS?  If Locke wasn’t a candidate, how does that impact things?  Perhaps he was a candidate and Smokie poached him from Jacob?

Further supporting my “things aren’t as good as they seem in LA X” theory, Rose doesn’t have cancer on the island.  Her “accept what you can’t change” advice sounds good, but the fact is that she and Bernard get many more years on the island.  Perhaps the non-Losties are all getting set up to have the rug pulled out from under them.

The scenes between Sawyer and Smokie were awesome, and deserve more reflection, but there’s just too much going on in this episode.

So, there are “rules” that apply to Smokie, and apparently they go beyond some agreement between he and Jacob.  It would seem that the Island may actually have some power of its own (there goes my theory).  So, is the Jacob Vs. Smokie struggle for control of the island, or does Smokie really just want to leave?

Richard’s terror was great.

It’s episodes like this that make me regret my rule against re-watching.

“And I’m very sorry I murdered him.”  Outstanding!

So, how did Ben get off the island and why?  Or Ethan, for that matter (can’t believe I didn’t ask that last week)?

I’m gonna hall ass to Lollapalooza

Yes, I’ve gone with a Simpson’s quote rather than one from True Blood, it seemed appropriate.  The episode quickly established itself as a by the book thriller and kept bringing to mind that Simpson’s classic, “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming.”  I was therefore able to find some delight in my own insight though not the episode itself when it literally ended with a “here we go again” moment.  The briefest of summaries:  The heroine tries to stay with her manly protector in order to avoid the serial killer stalking her.  Unfortunately, she needs to go home for some reason and so gets a lift from the one other person she trusts.  Damn, he’s the killer.  There’s some cat and mouse when she figures it out, a gun with no bullets, and then a big chase scene.  Manly protector figures out that she’s in danger and must rush to the rescue.  He arrives just in time to attack the villain, who quickly turns the tables on him.  Luckily, it’s enough of a distraction for her to deliver the killing blow.  Wow, I’ve never seen one of these things play out like that before.  Outside of that, Bill also realizes Sookie’s in danger and braves the sun to try and save her.  He doesn’t quite make it so she and Sam need to bury him to save his life.  Gee, that Sam really is a great guy.

 Thankfully, all this cliché is mercifully short, taking up about half the episode.  The rest of our time is spent setting up plot lines for next season and, since I have no intention of watching season two, I won’t bother getting into it.  I suppose enjoying this finale hinged on enjoying the episodes that preceded it.  Bill’s sacrifice in particular was flat for me.  Why should I care about his suffering for a romance that I don’t buy into?

 Final Thoughts

 Why doesn’t Bill put up some curtains?

 Seriously, the scream that ended the episode just felt like the final insult, a witless promise of more wacky adventures to come.

Requisite Buffy Comparison:  Buffy, with the exception of season 7, always ended strong.  Payoffs were made, emotions were satisfied, things were laid to rest.  That’s not really so much a comparison as another “Buffy’s better” statement, but I really can’t come up with anything else.

I still haven’t decided if True Blood needs a final thoughts post on the season.  I’ll need to step away from it for a week to see if I can come up with anything that isn’t just rehashing the bitching I’ve done all season.

Let's see where trust gets us

My dislike for Kate is longstanding, and so it’s no surprise that I was disappointed to learn that the season’s second episode would be focusing on her.  My expectations were largely validated as this certainly wasn’t a strong follow up to the premiere.  Truth be told, Kate’s decisions weren’t as wholly stupid as many of her past one’s have been, but “I’m escaping” was just too close to her old mistakes for me to expect anything but seeing her make things worse (again).  The fact that she hasn’t (yet) didn’t so much vindicate her decisions as it left me waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It’s fine for the story to depart from old patterns, but it shouldn’t just pretend those patterns don’t exist.  Then again, maybe that’s just my Kate-hate talking.

In the midst of the Others forcibly taking Sayid in for some questioning, Sawyer gets a gun and makes good his escape.  Kate volunteers to bring him back and stages a jail-break of her own before following him to the barracks.  Her willful disregard of the protection the temple offers seems completely in keeping with her previous behavior and had me rolling my eyes.  Combine this with a Kate/Claire buddy storyline in the LA X universe and you’ve got one uninteresting main plot.  The two bond after Kate feels guilty about stealing Claire’s luggage and it turns out that Aaron’s adoptive mother doesn’t want him.  The whole scene where she explains her divorce felt really flat to me and the “oh my God, she’s in labour!” conclusion was laughable.  We get an Ethan cameo in the hospital and it turns out that the Baby’s fine.  Honestly, we’ve been waiting to see what happened to Claire for a long time and to reintroduce her in this way was a real let down.

Luckily, the subplot was there to pick up the slack.  The Others put Sayid through some torturous tests and determine that he’s “infected.”  It’s a tantalizing promise to payoff one of season one’s plot points, though we’re left wondering why they need to trick Jack into delivering the fatal “antidote.”  Taking the pill himself has to be one of my favourite Jack moments in a long time.  The Others administer a karate Heimlich and admit the deception before explain that there’s now a darkness growing inside Sayid that will consume him… just as it did Jack’s sister!  This is certainly a more welcome return to her story and we conclude with an image of her rescuing Jin from the Other’s search party.

Final Thoughts

If one were being generous, one might see Kate’s admission that she shouldn’t have followed Sawyer as some kind of growth, but I’m afraid there just isn’t enough weight here.

Jack’s conversations with Dogen about leadership were pretty interesting, given all the poor decisions he’s made recently.  It put taking the pill himself in context, a bold move that puts only himself at risk and actually pays off.  Dogen promised that administering the pill would be a means of redemption and, in a way, it was.

Sawyer’s grief for Juliet was another episode highlight.  For all the character’s Lost has killed over the years, they’ve never really given the deaths much weight.  What a welcome change.

Coming back to Jack taking the pill (again, sorry), it’s a fine comment on the lack of trust and communication that’s permeated the entire series.  Rather than simply give the pill to Sayid, Jack actually has a conversation with him and then makes a decision to force the truth out of Dogen.  He finally seems to be putting some muscle behind his demands for answers.

I'm a vampire, woo!

That was, without a doubt, the most blindingly stupid hour of television I’ve ever willingly sat through. Seriously, I rag on True Blood a lot, but the penultimate episode set new lows in storytelling. The best way to illustrate my point is with a counter-example, the one piece of entertainment this episode has to offer. Lafayette sees one of his clients, a state senator, spouting anti-vamp & anti-gay rhetoric on the national campaign trail. Now, it’s been established a couple of times that Lafayette is out, proud, and has no tolerance for anyone who won’t tolerate him (“Just say hold the aids!”). It’s natural that he wouldn’t tolerate someone he’s blown and sold V to talking this crap, so when he shows up a fundraiser and confronts the man with a quiet speech about hypocrisy, it builds on what we’ve seen before. This isn’t even really a character arc, just a character moment, but it’s shining beacon amidst the steaming pile. Someone in that writing room knows what they’re doing, too bad they weren’t allowed to touch any of the other characters.

That girl Bill sired last episode? It makes sense that he’d try to get her to mainstream as he does. Unfortunately, she turns out to be a cartoon. The sweet, repressed good-Christian girl becomes whiny, bloodthirsty, hungry, and horny now that she doesn’t have to play by the rules. Bill passes her off to Eric and the bad joke is brought to a merciful close. Tara ends up in jail for her DUI and her mother refuses to bail her out. Turns out the exorcism took her compassion too. Their argument had me ready to throw the remote. Neither of these actresses are very good and we’ve spent a whole season of melodrama bringing them back to the estrangement they had in the 2nd episode. It’s up to some “social worker” who Tara doesn’t recognize as the naked chick she almost ran over to bail her out and take her in. Finally, Sam and Sookie go on a road trip to investigate a similar murder “up the road.” I keep forgetting there’s supposed to be some romantic tension between these two, but there is. I also forgot that being away for two days without calling is grounds for cheating, but it is. Sookie makes out with Sam just in time for Bill to get home and get pissy. She rescinds his invitation and gets angry with Sam, credits.

Oh, remember how I asked for clues about the killer’s identity? We got our first two this episode, so close together that there could be no doubt whodunit. Jason tells his buds about Amy’s V addiction and she gets murdered, leaving only two suspects. One of them is from out of town. Mystery solved. It’s Rene! Which… should I even bother? Is there anyone out there that thinks this was a satisfying payoff?

Final Thoughts

So, now Amy’s dead, effectively destroying any possible payoff to her relationship with Jason. Two weeks in row and the show’s most interesting character has died. Lafayette better watch himself.

Requisite Buffy Comparison: There is no comparison, these shows are nothing alike

Sam: Are you looking in my mind?

Sookie: I’m looking in your heart.

 Me: <<throws up, just a little>>

Well, this is gonna be awesome

The final season of Lost begins with a profound “What the F-?” scene and all is right with the world. In retrospect, it was naïve of me to think that this show would adopt a straightforward structure with events occurring in the same place at the same time. It’s never done that and, as much as I might crave clarity, it shouldn’t stop playing with narrative in its final season. Right out of the gate, Lost challenges us with the fear that lurks at the back of every fan’s mind as we enter the final season, what if it was all pointless? What if there really is no grand explanation behind everything we’ve seen and six seasons of mystery turn out to be a colossal rip off? Opening with the plane not crashing would seem to suggest exactly that. Nothing that’s happened in the last five years mattered if it can all simply be wiped away. The opening threatens us with a Lost reboot in which the stewardess is stingy with the booze, Rose is the one giving reassurance, and the Island lurks beneath the waves (nice imagery, bad CGI).

Luckily, we don’t need to twist for very long as the post “LOST” scene has Kate clinging to a tree, presumably on the 2007 island we know and love. So what’s with the successful flight 815? Dream? Alternate timeline? Parallel universe? Connecting the structure to the meaning is one of the joys of Lost but, for now, I’ll discuss the narratives separately in order to keep things simple. On the island, that 70s crew are back in the present and are dismayed to find that Jack’s plan didn’t work. Juliet’s still at the bottom of the pit, which is now under the wreckage of the hatch. Tragically, Sawyer digs her out just in time for her to die. The tragedy here is good, I just hope it doesn’t lead to renewed Sawyer/Kate/Jack BS. That love story really needs to die.

Speaking of dying, Sayid’s still suffering from a gunshot wound and Jacob’s ghost advises Hurley that the only way to save him is to take him to the temple. He, Jack, Jin, and Kate do so while Sawyer and Miles stay behind to bury Juliet.  Miles reads her corpse to discover that her last message to Sawyer was “it worked.” Presumably, she’s referring to the other timeline, but we’ve now got to wonder how she knows that. The Losties at the temple are captured by the Others (again) and taken to their leader. He orders their deaths but spares them when it turns out their names have finally made it onto Jacob’s list. I’m glad to see this element of the 1st season brought back and I’m hoping we finally get an explanation of how someone makes the cut. They immerse Sayid in a Lazarus Pit (which doesn’t work) and Hurley informs them that Jacob is dead, sparking panic and a barrier of smoke repellant ash.

Elsewhere on the island, Not-Locke is revealed to actually be (and not just control) Smokey. He kills most of the “shadow of the statue” folks when they come looking for Jacob and then has a conversation with Ben about the real John Locke. The quest for meaning gets its next challenge in Locke’s last thoughts, “I don’t understand.” I’m relieved that the writers are apparently aware of what a tragedy Locke’s story is, as it’s bothered me since last season’s finale. He spent his whole life searching for meaning, trying to understand his destiny. And it was all a lie, an elaborate con, orchestrated by some evil power. Not-Locke is right, that is pathetic… unless the story’s not over. If Locke were somehow proved right over the course of this season and “don’t tell me what I can’t do” was more than a delusion, then his story could prove to be triumphant rather than tragic.

Which brings me to the “other” flight 815. There are few tense moments in which we hope that Locke may not be in the wheelchair in this alternate timeline. Sadly, he is. He’s also a liar, telling Boone that he actually went on his walkabout. The whole scenario is sad enough to confirm Not-Locke’s assertions, but then we get the exchange between Locke and Jack in the Oceanic lost-luggage department. It seems they misplaced the knives and the coffin. Locke’s able to offer Jack some comfort in saying that it’s just a body and not Sheppard Sr. that the airline lost, and suddenly we’re reminded that there really is something admirable about this man and it is not, as Smokie claims, that he’s aware of how pathetic his life is. Locke’s wisdom is not all bluster and delusion. I’m hoping that Smokie realizes his mistake in some serious comeuppance.

As far as the other survivors are concerned, there are some interesting departures from the“real” Lost universe. Shannon didn’t leave Australia with Boone; Hurley isn’t cursed; and Charlie elects to swallow his heroin rather than flush it. For others, things seem to be identical. Kate gets back on the run after outwitting the marshal yet again; Sawyer still seems to be grifting; and Jin and Sun remain estranged. Why parts of this timeline weren’t identical up until the moment of the crash while others were is almost as interesting a question as how they’ll be integrated down the line. If I may throw out one possible theory regarding integration: Desmond. His presence on the plane was probably the biggest change from the first flight and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. Desmond’s ability to move through time has already been established and it’s entirely possible that he could exist in both timelines simultaneously.

All in all, I’d call this a promising start to the season. The pacing was a little frantic, as we had a bit of an information overload, but the developments were fascinating enough to keep me from caring too much. The episode concludes with Sayid awakening to ask, “What happened?” Good question.

Final Thoughts

I’ll admit that much of my Locke analysis may be biased. He’s my favourite character but, just because his tragic end stung, doesn’t mean it didn’t make sense. Locke was at least partially responsible for all the adversity he faced, and so there may be something just in his ultimate fall. Still, part of me thinks that’s all the more reason for him to ultimately succeed, surpassing his own limitations.

Island-Jack may well be broken. All his big decisions seem to have been wrong and it looks like he may have given up decision making. Where does he go next?

Hurley was surprisingly credible as a leader. It’s a nice evolution for the character and I’m interested to see how it progresses.

Jack and Locke seem just as compelling as friends as they were as rivals. This dynamic by far surpasses Jack/Sawyer and Jack/Kate and is almost as good as Ben/Anybody

Did the blast give Juliet Desomond-like powers.  That could explain a few things.

Man o man, I really missed this show.

Meet your maker

 

If Scooby-Doo has taught me anything, it’s how to execute the mystery formula.  A crime’s committed, some meddlers start sleuthing, some seemingly isolated clues are found, there’s a musical number, and then those seemingly disconnected clues add up to an intelligible culprit, the groundskeeper.  Joking aside, good mysteries keep you guessing until the end, when the reveal puts the proper context on all those clues you’ve been puzzling over.  Sadly, True Blood is no Scooby-Doo.  We’ve been wondering whodunit since episode one, but there really haven’t been any clues to speak of.  We can be fairly certain that some human is targeting fangbangers, beyond that, nothing.  I bring this up now because this episode made a point of highlighting just how weird/creepy some of the folks at Merlotte’s are.  Gasp, one of them could be the killer!  Because they’re… weird/creepy.  If this turns out to be the case then I’ll be sorely disappointed, it’s the worst sort of laziness.  Perhaps I’m wrong.  There could’ve been all sorts of clues I’ve missed that will all make perfect sense by season’s end.  Two episodes to go and I’m not holding my breath.

 Creepy townsfolk aside, this episode was split between the awful and the good.  The awful parts:  Sookie’s really pissed that Sam never told her he was a shape shifter because, you know, they were so close?   She bitches about it for most of the episode until Sam saves her from a near miss with the killer.  Naturally, he does the smart thing and comforts her rather than actually going after the guy hiding in his kitchen.  Tara continues waste screen time as she has an exorcism and then learns it was all BS.  Upset, she drives drunk and then crashes her car to avoid some naked woman on the road.  Is it too much to hope that she’s dead?

 On to the good:  Amy’s emerging as True Blood’s most/only interesting character.  Her claims that having a negligible carbon footprint makes her a better person than Eddie was a little over the top, but for the most part her “tree-hugging cancels out kidnapping” logic is fascinating.  Her claim to the interesting throne is solidified when she stakes Eddie (a response to Jason insisting he be let go), the only other character I really enjoyed watching.  Elsewhere, the show does a really good job building its mythology.  Sam’s exposition about shifters and werewolves would’ve been better if it had been shown rather than told, but it’s nice to get the suggestion that there’s a much bigger world out there than we’ve seen so far.  Finally, Bill’s tribunal does an excellent job exploring vampire society.  Their standard of justice is, by any definition, evil.  Bill’s punishment for killing Longshadow is turning a young woman into a vampire.  It’s as much about teaching Bill a lesson as it is about replacing the “life” he took.  Humans are cattle, not worthy of his protection and he must demonstrate his commitment to a vampire way of life.  Again, that way of life is shown to be completely incompatible with our own and the “vampires have rights” ethos now seems to be complete bogus.

 Final Thoughts

 Requisite Buffy Comparison:  Isn’t it odd that everything True Blood does right has to do with the mythology and what it does wrong has to do  the characters and their relationships.  Great scifi/fantasy (Buffy) is really “about” the characters involved, with the mythology serving as a backdrop.  Popcorn scifi/fantasy puts the mythology front and centre, which can be fun, but not much more than that.  True Blood fails in both categories.  Its characters are mostly dead weight, but it insists on devoting its time to them.  This show needs to play to its strengths and aspire to be empty entertainment.

 Farewell Eddie, we hardly knew ye.