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"True Blood" — "Let's Get Out of Here": Our Tolerance Is Waning

By Sarah Carlson | TV | August 22, 2011 |

By Sarah Carlson | TV | August 22, 2011 |

Creator Alan Ball, his writers and most of the “True Blood” actors often have said that if the series only stuck to the stories author Charlaine Harris delivers in its source material, fans of both would be annoyed, bored and unfulfilled. There is some truth in that, although a look at the popularity of other true-to-vision adaptations says that often, fanboys and fangirls want to see what they like brought to life because they like it. They generally don’t want to see what they like ripped apart, defecated on and set on fire. Setting adaptation arguments aside, however, it’s clear that in trying to both please fans and branch out into their own stories, the creatives behind “True Blood” have too many ideas, characters and drops of bizarreness swirling in the show’s campy pot. And unlike previous seasons, Season Four is lacking strong connecting threads for its storylines. We’re at Episode Nine already; only three remain. Aside from the ongoing vampire-witch war, which has been drawn out plenty enough, the rest of this season has been jammed with too many stories, some that appear fairly pointless and feel like a waste of time. You don’t have to have read the books to see that. But if you have, well, there’s likely a part of you wishing you’d just reread Book Four, “Dead to the World,” instead of setting your DVR to HBO.

Sunday’s Episode Nine, “Let’s Get Out of Here,” had its moments, with standby hilarious characters such as Nan Flanagan delivering great lines and more than one hook-up scene for viewers’ more prurient interests. Sookie is saved from the cemetery brawl by Alcide and then Bill, who gives her his blood. Alcide would like nothing more than to convince Sookie to ditch her fangbanger ways and get out of this mess, but her first instinct is to find Eric. The viking, unfortunately, is with Antonia (Marnie, possessed) and under her spell, a fact the coven members aren’t thrilled about. Most, including Tara, are finally realizing they’re in over their heads, but when they try to bolt, Antonia barricades them inside the Moon Goddess Emporium.

Mavis (Lafayette, possessed) takes the abducted baby Mikey to Hoyt’s house, where she once lived. After Mavis kicks him out, Hoyt alerts Jason and a very-high Andy and they, soon followed by Terry and Arlene, arrive for the standoff. All they see is Lafayette, not knowing he’s possessed, but Jesus is called in and figures it out. By working with Mavis, he sees what happened to her and tries to find a way to give her spirit peace. All Mavis wanted was to hold her baby one last time, but the father had already killed and buried him. He then plunged a knife in her belly and buried her with the baby underneath a tree in the yard. After Mikey is returned to Terry and Arlene, Jason and Hoyt begin digging for remains. They find them, quite preserved, and Mavis holds the baby’s remains — holds the baby’s remains — and finds closure. At Jesus’ touch, Lafayette is surrounded by light and Mavis and her child float out of him and into the night. So, this explains the weird instances involving Mikey, from the “Baby not yours” scrawled on the wall to the matchbook catching fire? He’s not a Damien, it was just the restless spirit of Mavis trying to get what she thought was her baby back? How … anticlimactic.

That night, Jason helps Hoyt out by taking Jessica a box of her belongings from the house. Even though he first rejects her offer to come inside Bill’s mansion, Jason and Jessica soon are in each other’s arms — in the bed of Jason’s pickup. Sam, unfazed after the run-in with Luna’s estranged husband Marcus, takes her and Emma on a camping trip, and together they do make a nice family. I like Sam when he’s with Luna, and he sure is happy hooking up with her in the woods. But Marcus isn’t a fan, and when he shows up at Merlotte’s to invite Sam to a friendly discussion about the matter, Tommy is there instead to receive the message. Naturally, he shifts into Sam and attends the meeting himself, where he faces Marcus, a crew of werewolves and Alcide, who has decided to go all in with the pack to make the jealous Debbie happy. Naturally still, the werewolves kick Tommy’s ass, causing him to shift back. Alcide, who wasn’t thrilled with the violence, carries him away.

Debbie, meanwhile, relapses and does V again before she visits Sookie to make amends and be reassured Alcide doesn’t love the telepath. Sookie enlists her help to create a diversion with Antonia while she sneaks into the Moon Goddess to find Eric. He’s too spellbound, only knowing his mission to kill Bill, to be taken away, and Debbie is too flustered by Antonia to be of use. She rats out Sookie, but Tara helps her escape before she can be captured. It’s off to a hotel, where Bill and Nan are featured guests at the Festival of Tolerance supporting peaceful vampire-human relations. But Bill notices there aren’t any vampires in attendance, and soon, Antonia has his remaining sheriffs under her power and crashes the party by killing off his guards. Sookie is too late to warn him. The humans in attendance, some of whom were undercover anti-vampire activists filming the event, scatter as Eric heads for Bill and a potential bloodbath begins.

Having Eric and Bill fight to the death is a nightmare for Sookie because, as she learned in a Bill’s-blood-induced dream that day, she loves them both. (In that ridiculous dream, where thankfully Eric was himself again, Sookie, in red lingerie, tells the vampires that she isn’t theirs — they are hers. And then they proceed to begin a ménage à trois.) It’s good that she’s being somewhat honest with herself, although as I discussed last week, she’s had so much vampire blood that her feelings aren’t entirely her own. But there’s something lackluster about the impending showdown between Bill and Eric because Eric isn’t himself. Sure, he’s dangerous, but he’s under so many spells it’s just a matter of keeping him from winning the fight, not making him lose. It’s Antonia’s battle. It’s not as if the two vampires are battling over Sookie. That would be more dramatic — OK, melodramatic. But this, combined with the weird dead baby and poorly executed fairly storylines? This is annoying, boring and unfulfilling.

Favorite moments:

  • “Werewolf, I’m gonna need you to shut the fuck up!”

  • “This is the worst day of my life. I wish I was dead. Even though I am, it doesn’t even matter.”

  • “You are nothing like you are on TV.”

  • “The cameras had damn well better find you in a festive and tolerant fucking mood.”

  • “Open the door, you racist shitbag!”

  • “First of all, you guys are vampires. What’s with all the morality?”

  • “I’m gonna forget you just said that and go on in.”

  • “It’s like having a civil rights program without any black people.” “They’re called African-Americans.”

    Sarah Carlson has a front-row seat to the decline of the newspaper industry and lives in Alabama with her overly excitable Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

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