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Television Collision: Is Season Four A Return to Form for True Blood?

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Since I devoted an entire Television Collision post to my low expectations of Season Four of True Blood, I thought it was about time to I went back to my initial reservations now that 10 of the 12 episodes of the season have aired. Be warned, there are SPOILERS AHEAD for Episodes 1-10 of Season 4!

I have to say I am much more entertained with Season 4 than I was expecting to be, it is certainly an improvement over the highly messy (plot-wise) Season 3, albeit the first few episodes of S4 starting out slow.

I went into some more detailed reactions to the first few episodes of S4 in the Podcast Extras at the time, but to briefly recap, especially the trip to “Fairy Land” left me icy cold. For the huge budget True Blood has, you would think they would be able to come up with better effects for the Magical Land of the Fae.
Be that as it may, the time jump was also not handled very well. It was an issue for about a minute there that for everyone but Sookie almost a year had passed, but it was quickly forgotten and didn’t really bear heavy on the new emerging storylines.

But Season 4 has a few good things going on, first and foremost Amnesia Eric. I also went into detail about this in my Podcast Extras (you are missing out if you are not tuning in, seriously), but a part of me just wanted to keep Eric in his helpless, childlike, gentle state forever. In a move that has me all conflicted about its implications, Sookie cured Eric this past Sunday though and now we have yet another “all-new Eric”, because he remembers everything, but the gentle Eric is also still in him. This has me very excited, since Eric is by far the most intriguing character to me, but the way his “cure” came about was a little too “deus ex machina” for me.

It’s a good point to drive home that Sookie has no real way of controlling some of her fairy power, but it comes along all too conveniently sometimes. Someone she loves is in danger and – BOOM – she can shoot lightning from her finger tips. The show desperately needs to explore Sookie exploring her powers and trying to gain control of them, because that would be a very powerful weapon at her disposal and given how she just loves to throw herself into the middle of trouble, you’d think it’s a weapon she would be all too eager to try and learn.

In my pre-Season 4-premiere post I had complained about the way some of the species are handled and some of those complaints have gone away. I still think the werewolves are pretty laughable, especially in their chauvinism and simple-mindedness. There are ways to combine the primal instincts of a wolf with the sentiments of modern humanity. I would advise reading Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson book series on lessons how to do that.

However, Season 4 delivered on one wish I had for the show: an all-out Battle of the Species. I wanted blood and mayhem and the way that Tolerance Festival turned out and with that geekasm-worthy last image of the “Vamp Gang” in their fighting gear at the end of Ep 10, my lust for chaos is being satisfied lately.
The witches still get on my nerves, because they have their motives all twisted, so I have nearly no quarrels with the vamps wanting to blow them to bits, but I guess that just means I am not as good a person as Sookie, who needs to be with Eric, period.

Poor Sam is still a bit too disconnected from the main storyline for my taste, but at least he gets to interact with Alcide and some of his shifter friends, which is a vast improvement over the solitude he had to endure last season. And darn it all, if that death scene of Sam’s brother wasn’t heartbreaking, then I don’t know what. One of my favorite moments all season, even though I hated the brother a good deal of the time, just like Sam. But deep down inside, we all cared. That was the point.

What I don’t care about at all is the whole Hoyt – Jessica – Jason love triangle. I don’t buy the attraction between Jason and Jessica at all, it all came about a bit too sudden and too clumsily for my taste, but for the life of me I can’t think of a good use for Jason’s character anyway, because he is just so damn useless most of the time in his human weakness (both mentally and metaphysically speaking). In the face of that realization, I almost forgive the move of sticking him in that anti-vampire church/cult, at least there he had a purpose, even if it was a crappy one.

Generally the show still suffers from having too many subplots that only marginally intertwine, even if a demon-possessed baby is kinda fun to watch. And one other thing has started to bother me as well: the opening credits. They are too long and all too familiar by now. I DVR the show and I always, always skip the opening credits. Which is a shame, because the opening credits are supposed to set the tone for a show, but I feel they are no longer fitting True Blood at this point.

If I was to rank the seasons of True Blood so far, Season 4 would be my second favorite right behind Season One, simply because of all the juicy Sookie-Eric scenes we got to see, which were a long time coming and which the majority of fans had been rooting for, it seems. I enjoy Season 4’s witches more than Season 2’s Maryann, because the S4 witches have a clear, somewhat logical goal (“Kill the vampires, they are evil”), whereas Maryann was by all means just batshit crazy (“Let’s build a giant statue of body parts and have orgies underneath it”). And I don’t even want to go into the mess that was Season 3, even the best moment of the entire series contained in it can’t save the disjointed collage of storylines Season 3 presented.

So all in all, Season 4 of True Blood is doing pretty well in my book. How about you? Have you been enjoying the Sookie-Eric lovemaking on a bed in the woods while it snows? Or were you cheering when it looked like Bill was going to drive a stake through Eric’s heart?
Did True Blood catch a second wind or is it running out of steam? Sound off in the comments below.

 

 

 

Need more TV coverage? Listen to a new “Television Collision: Podcast Extra”, Episode 14 below.

Topics include Louie, Web Therapy, The Challenge: Rivals and Project Runway.

{mp3}PodcastEpisode14{/mp3}

 

Join the discussion by commenting below or following us on Twitter: @cc2konline and @PhoebeRaven!

Author: Phoebe Raven, CC2K Staff Writer

Born in Germany, lived in the US, now in the UK. Always taking my love for TV and writing with me. Life participator. Blogger. Gaming enthusiast.

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