web
counter

serial podcast / the walking dead / snl / mindhole blowers / netflix / celebrity facts / marvel


"True Blood" — "Turn! Turn! Turn!": A Time To Kill, A Time To Heal

By Sarah Carlson | TV Reviews | June 12, 2012 | Comments ()


true-blood-stephen-moyer-alexander-skarsgard-lucy-griffiths.jpg

If there's a lesson Sookie Stackhouse should have learned by now, it's this: Leave the dead alone. Tara was already a goner when "True Blood's" fourth season ended, half of her head blown away by a shotgun blast. But even those all too familiar with death, such as Sookie, can do desperate things when confronted the finality of it. So began Season Five in "Turn! Turn! Turn!," a solid if not spectacular return for the series that set up nicely several themes to expect this summer: Sookie has neither Bill nor Eric to turn to in times of trouble; people can only run from the consequences of actions for so long; and when you play with the balance between life and death, not to mention with monsters, you will only incur trouble. And Sookie is in a heap-load of trouble.
 
The boldest choice, narrative-wise, would have been to kill Tara. Her character had been through enough abuse, and turning her into a vampire (very helpful, Pam) only prolongs it. Chances are she is missing a few screws considering the state of her body when it died, and a vamp with above-average recklessness surely isn't what Sookie and Lafayette signed up for when they decided to keep Tara with them no matter her state. Is the Tara they knew in there? In this world, vampires remember their human lives and can even tap into human emotions, not to mention willfully tap out of them or turn them off completely. Who knows if that is even possible for Tara, who looks more like a wild animal than a seductive, blood-sucking being.
 
For her part, Sookie handled the kitchen bloodbath rather well; she's getting good at scrubbing brains off linoleum. She went into action mode to dispose of Debbie's body and take Lafayette to find Jesus', only the latter was nowhere to be found. Perhaps one of his relatives sensed his death and came to claim him? Sookie's guess that Eric or Bill took him was as good as any, although that doesn't seem likely. (A note for those who haven't read Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire novels: Most of what is happening in "True Blood" does not happen in the books. This isn't a "Game of Thrones" scenario in which items may be cut for time or budget reasons but basic plot points are intact. There isn't much from the book series that could be considered a spoiler at this point. The only plot point in this episode that was the same was Debbie's death. That's it. So in these reviews, there really won't be much mention of the books.) Both vamps sensed Sookie's distress when Tara was shot, but Eric's instinct was to ignore her -- she had, after all, just rejected them both. After hesitating, Bill tries to run to her rescue only to be captured by agents for The Authority. His heart may have been in the right place, but now he and Eric are on their own vampire politics-related path. Sookie has to cope without her main undead men. Although Pam helped her out by turning Tara -- and earning an IOU from Sookie that won't be pretty -- Sookie can probably forget about enlisting further help from Eric's progeny.
 
Alcide wouldn't mind stepping in to aid the telepath, asking Sookie to stay with him now that Russell Edgington has escaped his concrete grave. We don't hear him wondering what became of Debbie after he threw her out, and Sookie almost spills her secret that there is a reason her kitchen smells like bleach and ammonia ... and that there's a tooth on the floor near the fridge. While she is busy lying to him, Sam is lying for him, a development without any basis. Sam doesn't want to turn Alcide over to Marcus's pack members out for revenge for their leader's death, but his taking the blame for it to save Alcide is hard to believe. That's the kind of sacrifice you make for a loved one, not an acquaintance. Thankfully, Luna alerts Alcide so he can confess to the murder and everyone can have a chance to watch Marcus's mother eat her son's intestines.
 
The return of Steve Newlin was a more entertaining development, as was his declaration of love for Jason, although it is hard to tell how much of what Newlin says can be believed. But just as his outbursts toward Jason -- "Do not pity me! Love me!" -- were hilarious, Jessica's behavior of claiming Jason as hers, only to later tell him it was part of the act, was disappointing. She and Jason are playing the kind of cat and mouse game they had in Season Four and that she and Hoyt had previously. We know that she's young and wants to have her adventures of playing Rock Band with coeds, but the dishonesty and hurt feelings circulating between Jessica, Jason and Hoyt feel juvenile. More interesting is Holly's budding romance with Andy (looking good, sheriff), as well as Scott Foley's character, Patrick. His news that Terry wasn't the only former Marine to have experienced an unexplained fire presented the biggest mystery of the night. Terry and Patrick are the only ones who have survived the fires, and whatever horrible thing the squad encountered while on tour in Iraq is coming back to haunt them.
 
Eric's blast from the past comes in the lovely form of Nora (Lucy Griffiths), a vampire who shares his maker, Godric, and who is working as a double-agent in the Authority. Eric and Bill escape their captors before her plan to free them kicked in, but that simply gives her and Eric plenty of time to both bicker and have sex -- "We fight like siblings, but we f*** like champions," he tells Bill. No one knows Eric has such a friend in such a high place, not even Pam. Before they can flee, complete with fake identities of Marcellus Clark for Bill and Ike Applebaum for Eric, Authority agents capture them yet again again, this time with Nora in tow. We'll see if she's able to keep her lies going, not to mention what sort of punishment is in store for the boys, who are quickly (and a tad improbably) becoming buddies. I'd watch "The Eric and Bill Hour: Life On The Run."

It's all part of the game for the vamps, but more and more the humans are realizing just how bad an idea it was to mingle with monsters. The fake-out of Lafayette eying the razor in Sookie's shower wasn't that big of a stretch. Who wouldn't question the point of their life continuing once they had faced such destruction, sometimes at their own hands? Everyone's carefree days are over, and the outlook for the breathing this season is bleak. Let's hope they don't let the undead have all the fun.

Favorite lines:


  • Pam: "Color me impressed, you guys know how to party."

  • Pam: "I am wearing a Walmart sweatsuit for y'all! If that's not a demonstration of team spirit, I don't know what is."

  • Newlin: "I'm a gay vampire American! And I love you Jason Stackhouse."

  • Wade or Rocky: "On the couch, Momma? Where I sleep?"

  • Lafayette: "We done with all this supernatural bulls***, you hear me? No vampires, no witches, no ghosts, no maenads and no motherf***in' werewolves!"

  • Jason to sorority girl: "Do me a favor and put on that sweatshirt. Because you are in some kind of shape and I don't need to see that sh**."

Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in Texas.




In Four Minutes, Jon Stewart Perfectly Encapsulates All That's Wrong with American Politics | "Longmire" Review: It's Like "Justified," For People Who Think "Justified" is Too Dense






Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.


Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • buell

    Now Tara can text like a motherfucker!

  • manting

    I apologize for having offended-
    I am constantly bombarded by people talking about this show around the "water cooler" at work, as well as a girlfriend that insists on watching it. Ive tried (been forced) to watch it. I am aware "to each his/her own." I simply find the show ridiculous. The special effects are worse than a direct to scifi channel movie about a gigantic prehistoric (insert shark, snake, or whatever). The plot has more holes than sonny corleone after the tollbooth scene. Example - If someone has their head blown off they are dead. You cannot "turn" a dead person. Can someone explain this please?
    I love Pajiba and agree with/enjoy 90+% of the reviews I read on here but I just dont get the fandom of True Blood. To me its a soap opera with nudity; no one is ever truly dead and at some point im sure Sookie's secret evil twin will appear.
    ps reba I also love pop culture like comics, video games, anime, kung fu films, the simpsons (seen every episode), the wire, venture brothers, Japanese horror movies, and so forth.
    PPS the Kardashians is also scripted - so is nearly every "reality show," which is why they are such a cultural wasteland devoid of any redeeming qualities.
    Again I apologize for my vitriol, which feels weird writing this on a website that advertises itself as "scathing reviews by bitchy people."
    Good night and may the flying spaghetti monster bless you

  • Lady B

    In the book, a freshly dead person can be turned IIRC which is how Bubba happens but they come back "f@cktarded" (to use Pam's words).

  • LEonaRd

    Interesting start to the season, good but not great. The episode acted as mostly a setup for all the story lines and it already looks to be much better than last season. I'm really looking forward to what happens to Tara now that she's a vampire and has Pam as her maker, it's going to be interesting to see where it goes.

    I'm just glad that True Blood is back, I don't care what anyone else thinks. I love this show.

  • tar

    f@cktarded ... my new favourite word. I sure hope this season is better than last, or it might be MY last. The premiere gives me some hope. I was wishing Tara dead at the end of last season, however I think f@cktarded vampire Tara could be very entertaining. She was already hanging on my a thread emotionally anyway, what happens now that she has the physical strength and power to express that rage.

  • Sean

    I just wondered why Sam didn't turn into a grizzly bear and rip the annoying vampire lady with the muscular ass to shreds. Or any other annoying werewolves. The Tara story is clearly going to be a Monkey's Paw storyline. Which was old 100 years ago. And make an annoying character even worse. She is awfully pretty however. Maybe with a decent script she will be less annoying in something else. Is there anyone left who cares about Sookie at all?

  • manting

    you people seriously watch this show? It makes days of our lives look like shakespear. This is, simply put, the hbo drama equivalent of the Kardashians. Souless dreck, horrible writing, but pretty, pretty people.

  • Jezzer

    I hate to interrupt you while you're claiming cultural superiority there, but you misspelled "Shakespeare" while spelling "Kardashian" correctly.

  • $27019454

    Who is "you people?"
    But thanks for enlightening us all. I...I had no idea I was into soulless dreck. I...I'm so ashamed. Thank you. Thank you, kfukeith, for making the scales falleth from my eyes. I will go forth, only to watch National Geographic documentaries on the monks of Tibet and The 21 Club. Please...feel free to comment on the rest of our soulless lives. We are wandering and lost in the soulless cultural wilderness and need the benefit of your vastly superior superiority complex

  • Yes, I watch it, but I enjoy pop culture and am capable of seeing the underlying tropes and broader meaning. Why? Because good, bad, or mediocre, the show is scripted, and writing always, always reveals more than is on the surface. The Kardashians is a reality TV show, and while I am sure there are also ways to interpret it in the broader cultural context, I am not as well versed in those, so I don't bother watching it.

    One notes that Shakespeare was considered lowbrow entertainment at first. He didn't have nearly the cache of Marlowe. The pits were filled with the most base denizens of seedy London. Just because it lasted long enough to take on a sheen of class does not mean that it did not start out as entertainment for the masses.

    Would you care to further insult my intelligence, or just make peace with the fact that not everyone has the same taste in shows?

  • Sam wants to keep Luna and Emma safe, but he also owes a debt to Alcide who rescued Tommy (thinking it was Sam) and thus gave the brothers a chance to say goodbye and the viewers the only moment in which Tommy was remotely likeable.

    Did anyone else notice that Holly's kid was taking a cell phone photo/video of naked Andy? I suspect that's gonna be an instagram moment. Oops.

    I don't think Lafayette will get another chance to out-alpha Alcide. Fun to watch trauma trump the supernatural.

    I think it was stupid and possibly evil for them to ask Pam to turn Tara. I'm hoping Pam's admission that the last time she turned someone worked out poorly is a veiled reference to Bubba/Elvis, in which case we might get to see Tara eat cats.

    If they aren't going to make Jessica interesting, she can meet daylight. Coeds, pfft.

    My friend says the themes this year are: clean up your messes if you can - but - nothing stays buried.

  • I think the reference to Pam turning someone was Steve Newlin's turning.

  • BBB40

    Sam didn't confess for Alcide. He confessed to get the pack away from Luna and her daughter. He was willing to play dumb for Alcide due to loyalty. He was willing to die for Luna due to love.

  • Tara isn't crazy because half her brain is missing--vampire blood perfectly regenerates the near dead as we saw with Calvin Norris in season 3---Tara is crazy because her maker Pam is still under Marnie's demon spell and passed it on to her. Sookie can break the spell on both of them and Tara will be in her right mind.

  • Jezzer

    When Sookie offered to break Marnie's spell for Pam in return for turning Tara, Pam told her that Marnie's spell was already broken when she died, and to come up with something else to offer.

  • Well Pam is wrong. I saw black veins in her forehead during the scene in the kitchen. The spell has her confused haha.

  • High points of the episode:

    - Bill being the third wheel like a champ.

    - Andy's ass as his introduction shot.

    - Pam in all her glory.

    I can't wait for Russell to show up in all of HIS glory, because baw gawd, he was classic and owned that role. I agree with you about the Jason-Jessica-Hoyt thing going on. To me, it feels way, way too young for all of them, but then again, if you put all three together, I'm sure one lightbulb would dimly glow. Eventually.

    This was a solid episode, but the Tara thing had me groaning and rolling my eyes. Even though Rutina's representing my home city, that character is annoying and just needs to go. Bubba wasn't introduced for a lot of reasons in the series from the books and we don't need a replacement storyline for him in Tara's.

  • HelloLongBeach

    Do you think Tara is replacing Bubba or Alexi? I think she's gunna wind up an Allen Ball mash up of the two, and I LOVE that!

  • From the preview for next week's episode, it looks like they're going for "mindless killer" instead of Bubba. Honestly, how many times can one girl become a pawn in a season? Season 1, she was okay with her only "flaw" being liking Jason Stackhouse. Season 2, she's the maenad's pawn. Season 3, she had Franklin to deal with. Season 4, she was at first a lesbian MMA fighter (where did that talent go?) and then she becomes wrapped up in a coven. Even though every character has their own b.s. to go through, Tara's always grates on my nerves and makes me throw up my hands.

    .. I just realized I went on a tangent there. Now that you mentioned both Bubba and Alexi, I'm actually curious to see what Alan Ball will do with her. BUT STILL.

blog comments powered by Disqus