'True Blood' Saturdays: 'Where do you think you are, lady? Red Lobster?'
Everyone seemed pretty happy with last week's episode of "True Blood," considering the only major criticism of it in comments was the fact that it featured two men kissing. (And, honestly, if you can't handle seeing two men kissing, why the heck are you watching "True Blood"?) Scripted by series mastermind Alan Ball, the episode was equal parts funny, gory and heart-rending, and it probably was one of the best of the season, if not the series. So much stuff happened that it's hard to imagine just where the show is going to go from here, but I'm looking forward to seeing it try Sunday night.
But before all of that, let's see what you thought.
Cindy West e-mails me to say that my idea that the whole season is about the characters having to find ways to discover their true natures isn't it so much as things not always being what they seem and first appearances concealing something else, whether more sinister or more friendly. Although I don't disagree that that's what the season is about, in some ways, I think my reading also dovetails nicely with that idea. But so many of the characters are on voyages of self-discovery that I don't know how much first appearances play into that. Certainly the story of, say, Jason meeting up with the pretty girl is more about him getting past his first impressions, but the story of Sookie discovering her own power or Sam discovering his birth family don't seem to tie in as much to that. I think the proper answer is probably a combination of both ideas.
Also, reader Raquel Lynn writes to ask if I've noticed the similarities between the Franklin and Tara relationship and the Pedro Almodovar film "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" I don't think the comparison is ironclad or anything (what could be?), but it's an interesting one to make. The film is the story of a man who kidnaps a woman and keeps her tied up, believing she will eventually fall into a kind of love with him (via Stockholm syndrome, presumably). His plan ultimately works, for the most part, even though she still considers herself his prisoner. I won't spoil what happens from there (as it's a good film, and you should check it out), but the similarities between the two plots -- and between other stories of kidnap victims coming to sympathize somewhat with their kidnappers -- are there. Still, I think Tara is going to get out of this with fewer mental scars than the heroine of the film.
On to your comments!
Brian has an interesting theory:
"It seems very obvious to me that Crystal is a dog. Remember they were going all hot and heavy and then she just pricked up her head -- as if smelling something -- and ran off? She's a dog. She's a prized fighting dog. And so is Sam's brother (as was his mother). So the homophobes who beat up Lafayette run a dog ring that includes Sam's brother and Crystal. This feels obvious to me. And feels obvious about how these story lines will connect (Sam/Jason/Lafayette's car being smashed, etc.) Not meaning to be a spoiler, just meaning to be right. Maybe I'm wrong. Didn't read the books. I just think Crystal is a dog."
I'm not sure I buy it. Is everyone going to be a dog this season? Are we going to learn that Sookie is also a dog and that all dogs in the "True Blood" universe have lightning powers? But I definitely could see it happening all the same, and the hints of dog-fighting dancing around the edges of the storyline certainly give it more credence than I might have given it last week. If Brian is right, I will owe him a Coke.
Liz wonders if the writers knew they were stealing the rib-cage line from "Buffy," which had a very similar line in the episode "Becoming, Part 2." I suppose it's possible it was a conscious ripoff, but I think it's more likely it just happened subconsciously or the writers had no idea they were doing it. After all, the notion of wearing a rib cage as a hat -- while gross -- is not the sort of thing that it's impossible to imagine two different writers coming up with at two different times.
Carrie hopes that Lafayette gets to keep his new boyfriend. I have to agree, since it would be nice to see even one character be happy for more than an episode or two on the show. But this is "True Blood," and it seems completely obvious that Lafayette's new squeeze will be devoured by a werewolf or revealed to be absolutely evil, sooner, rather than later.
Lauren backs me up on the "true to yourself" thing and finds a way to fit Jason into the pattern, then touches on the divide between those who've read the books the show is based on and those who haven't:
"Well, if Jason thinks his true calling is to be a cop, which makes sense to me (his first season run-ins with the law probably got the ball rolling, then he thinks he finds himself and his true calling at the Newlins' boot camp, then he kills Eggs, rides with Andy and has his ta-da moment), then it fits that theme. I'm sure the writers could (did) dream up lots of ways to connect that to the other story lines. Maybe it's just taking longer than some viewers like. Jason fighting crime, trying to keep the peace and investigating would (will?) also be hilarious. I dunno, just my two cents.
"The show can be so different from the books that I don't think readers could give true spoilers because even they don't know what will happen."
-- Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)
Photo: Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) has met a mysterious young lady on "True Blood."