Wednesday, May 20, 2009

True Blood 1.8

OK, I think I've got a problem with the cliffhangers now. It took me about 4 days to work up the enthusiasm to watch this episode - which I attribute solely to the false jeopardy of how the previous ep ended. I tend to feel betrayed when a cliffhanger promises to kill the lead character or threaten the series-defining central relationship.* On rare occasions, I'll keep watching if the cliffhanger makes me ask 'HOW the hell could she possibly get out of this?", but that is a difficult skill to regularly master.

* It's why I stopped watching Alias after 6 episodes and never went back.

Far more successful are the cliffhangers that change the situation utterly.* True Blood has only done this twice so far (1.6 and 1.7), and they were far and away the most intriguing, engaging ends of episodes for me.

* See most episodes of 24.

So, I wasn't predisposed to like this ep, and sure enough I found it a little choppy in its characterisations. Tara and Sookie seemed all over the place emotionally - for good reasons, as both their lives seem to have fundamentally changed, but not in ways that convinced me dramatically. Vampire Bill's characterisation seemed much more settled and relaxed, which I totally didn't buy after what he'd just been through. And there was what seemed like a 10 minute sequence at Merlotte's that just felt like a series of scenes in a dull soap opera.

Maybe it'll all play better if I rewatch the series. I'm prepared to admit that I might be judging it too harshly.

And it did do something neat with the central Bill-Sookie question that kicked off the episode: for a while I felt that were going to drag out the mystery for the entire episode, focusing on Sookie alone, seeing what she did and how she started to live her life. The way they actually revealed what had happened was shocking, dirty, and kinda sexy in a WTF sort-of way.

It also contained a number of nice developments in everyone else's subplots. I'm a particular fan of Jason's new girlfriend, who's drug addict hippie ways make me laugh at nearly everything she says. In a way that feels much cleverer than the equivalent in this movie.

But then the ep ended with another false jeopardy cliffhanger. So, yes: officially starting to get grumpy and worried about this show now.

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