Wednesday, September 14, 2011

True Blood Season Four

This show rolls like waves. When it's good, it's really good. When it's bad, it's agonizing. Season 1: Awesome. 2: Torture. 3: Great. 4: Incomplete.

It's no secret I've had my issues with Season Four. I think the writing tanked, the pace was too slow, and the characters were underdeveloped. But, I kept hope... far away. I had to stop watching it week by week because it made me so angry.

SPOILER WARNING: If you don't want to know anything, stop reading HERE. See you next post.

If you're staying, might I suggest warming up a bottle of Tru Blood or grabbing some cookies; this will get long.

This season started off promising, if not a little weird, but I'm all for weird. We spent last season learning the big fairy secret and the season four premiere tricked us to believe that fairies would be explored this season. But they never were.

I'm mixed about this. For one, fairies seem pretty lame. But they still started this plot and damn it they should have finished it. Sure, it made cameos throughout the season, but that's not enough. Sookie knows nothing about who/what she is other than she can probably microwave popcorn from her palms.

There's no excuse for dropping such a crucial plot, it's embarrassing.

Each story, each season has a villain to torture all characters. Marnie was just as weak a villain as the maynad (what was her name? who cares.) Did that drag on forever or did it... what? So bored.

I especially hate when the villains go all soft and we're supposed to feel bad for them. I never do.

Amnesia Eric
HUGE issue for me. I can't blame the writers for this because I understand it comes from Harris' books. Don't even get me started on her writing. Hooker, please.

But you don't have to be a pretentious writer to understand that giving a solid character amnesia is like writing a horrible soap opera.  It's a lazy, cliche, pathetic way out.

Amnesia really cheated Eric out of an amazing character transformation. Eric in his most vicious did have genuine moments of redemption. Any scene with Godric showed that. His tenderness with Pam? The way he cared about Sookie even when she wasn't his. There was legitimate potential for him to transcend all that he was.

So by taking that away from him, creating a blank canvas, the character development is like building a skyscraper on a marshmallow. Did he truly change because he wanted to or because he knew no other way to be?

What did Eric actually do to change? He and Sookie fucked anytime they were on screen together. Eric used to do that before, granted not with her, but besides talking like a lovesick, weak puppy, what else did he accomplish? Exactly.

This is character building 101: put your characters through hell to test who they really are, don't erase all their flaws and start over.

Eric/Sookie Fuckfest
Another supposed big "storyline." They sure as hell spent a lot of time smashing the two together for us to feel like it was important, but it really wasn't. It accomplished nothing. Unless your thing is vampire softcore...  

This chick. I have a love/hate relationship with Sooks; I think she's a decent character, but her opportunities to win me over all flop. I'm such a Pam, "I am so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name."

This season: she took care of the Eric pile of jello and then stuck her nose in the real drama at the very end.

I sincerely hope the writers keep Sookie single next season. I want her to develop, learn about herself, and act like she can live on her own without a vampire or werewolf or shifter taking care of her. We all know she's stronger than she seems, hell, she never listens to anyone and she has a good heart. The show wouldn't continue if we didn't see promise in her.

Tara's a total A.Ball creation, so there's always something more to her whining and incessant crappy life. Sure we all want her to die each season, but that's part of the fun.

Tara is the direct antithesis to Sookie. Opposite backgrounds, opposite worldviews. Sookie trusts everyone, Tara trusts no one. They both have this chip on their shoulder, but Sookie uses hers to make men work for her and Tara prefers to take it all on herself. Sookie's torn between two guys, Tara goes completely lesbianic.

Tara can't die because Sookie can't die. I think the ultimate irony will be Tara as a vampire. Cross your fingers.

Lafayette and Jesus
I adore Lala. He was way underused in previous seasons. He's the steady voice of reason, the skeptic in a town of unbelievable crap. I'm okay with his medium plot.

Lala and Jesus are such a good couple; so different, but so good for each other. I'm banking on Jesus coming back as a ghost next season. Best line: "Dude, I’m dead. You’re a medium. I’m always with you." Awww.

The Eric and Bill Power Couple
How hot is this? They're certainly going to have consequences with The Authority and I'm all for it.

I hate that we never saw Bill as King, with all his duties and struggles. Sure his house turned fancy and he acted tough and powerful, but he has more influence than Eric. Didn't anyone think this power struggle was worth exploring?

I think when they both stop obsessing about that "gash in a sundress" (I die for you, Pam), Eric and Bill are entertaining, sexy, and could easily carry the whole show.

Just for the record, how did Eric and Bill get chained up to that fire pit? Because they weren't robot vampires, they were totally fine. So they went willingly? Oh, right, lazy writing strikes again! 

Vampire Politics
The writing in the first season was fiercely political, allegorical, and fantastic. But the message diluted each season until it became just as vapid as our own. Was this the point? I think Russell Edgington's return will have a lot to do with this. Especially if he teams up with Eric & Bill.

I love that she's stuck at 17, with her angst and impetuousness and the sudden desire to fuck and kill almost everyone she comes in contact with. Jess, please don't change. Please don't fall in love with Jason. We need some fun, young, reckless vampires again.

Just like Sookie, he has a good heart and he's hilarious, but why do they give him the shit ends of stories? Werepanthers? Christ, I wanted to gag. Now Reverend Newlin returned for his blood? What the hell. Grasping at old plots much? Give him a decent character arc already!

If I had to give this season a letter grade, I'd give it a C. But the wheel of fortune she keeps a turning and if we consider the trends of True Blood odd numbered seasons, next summer will be absolutely delectable. Oops, let me retract my fangs...

What did you think? How would you grade this season?