Last Season of True Blood was, for the most part, much better than the second season, but it still lacked whatever quality made the first season such a standout. Hopefully Season 4 will return to that original core – a character study that just happened to have supernatural creatures. Unfortunately, the premier doesn’t really give me much hope for that. So here are my quick impressions of the new season of True Blood, because, to be honest, the first episode felt as if it only meant to give you quick impressions anyway.
Please, Alan Ball, just drop the fairy line. Maybe that’s why you went with the weird happy fairy land turning into dark fairy land, sabotaging any chance that Sookie might have a good relationship with her fairy godmother. Maybe you realized that the glowy, sparkly, silver lamee world of the fairies was so beyond tacky that even Lafayette would be scoffing at it. I don’t know, but what I do know is that it definitely wasn’t working last season and I have a feeling it won’t be working this season. There should never have been another realm at all – True Blood works when it puts the weird into real life, it stops working when the weird rings false. The fairies were great characters in the books and you’ve totally killed them for me.
And seriously, dropping Sookie out of that world and back into the real world a year later? That doesn’t work either. It gives you a great opportunity to perform a complete reboot, I guess, but I didn’t realize that True Blood’s numbers warranted a reboot. Ok, so I should stop talking to Alan Ball now, he probably isn’t listening anyway. Episode 4.1: “She’s Not There” literally time hops Sookie one year forward. What to her felt like 15 minutes was 12 1/2 months to her friends and family back in Louisiana and things are nearly unrecognizable.
To be fair, nearly everything that is now true in Season 4 was set up right at the end of Season 3, but one year usually doesn’t bring quite such a drastic change in people. Tara is now an MMA fighting lesbian going by the name of Tony; Lafayette has steadily been dating the bruja Jesus and they’re now joining a coven; Andy Bellefleur is a V-addict and Jason is a deputy sheriff trying to keep Andy’s addiction in check; Sam is attending anger management classes, paying for his brother Tommy’s physical therapy, and galloping (literally) around with some other shifters while Tommy is living (or something) with Ma Foytenberry and is a religious convert (or just a con); Jessica and Hoyt are living together, but it isn’t going so well; Arlene gave birth to Renee’s son and is totally convinced he’s going to grow up to be a serial killer, but Terry isn’t convinced; Bill is a slick salesman and King of Louisiana. Did I forget anyone?
Oh that’s right – the only pair that seem unfazed by the year of separation from Sookie are Erik and Pam, though Erik did buy Sookie’s house knowing that she would be back eventually – just so he could come in uninvited and assault her – gotta love vampires, they think LONG term.
The number of “Saywhatnows?” I uttered during the season premiere was somewhat staggering. The series has taken such an extreme departure from the books that I am wandering through as blind as the next guy, perhaps blinder, because I still have certain expectations and am, therefore, very easily blindsided (yes, I realize I just said blind a lot, but that’s how I felt). Which is not to say that any of the changes were essentially bad choices, but they are questionable choices. The three highlights of the new season will be Portia Bellefleur (I’ve been waiting for her), Aunt Petunia (yes, from Harry Potter; no, I didn’t catch the character’s name), and Nan Flanagan! The line of the night actually goes to Nan: “We have proof, it’s scientific. People are far dumber than they realize.” Seriously, she’s brilliant. Rumor has it that she’ll be making more appearances this season, which is a very good thing as it means we’ll probably see more of the vampire politics storyline.
The biggest problem True Blood will face this season is how many characters that now have dedicated storylines. The number of characters and balls to juggle in True Blood exploded in Seasons 2 and 3 and though there has been some contraction, it probably won’t be enough. This season will either see True Blood finally get rid of the extra whozits and whatnots or spiral out of control into a narrative swamp. The premier doesn’t give you a good indication of one or the other, but if every episode feels as rushed as the first, they’re definitely doomed.
Next week? The coven decides to work some dark magic, Hoyt and Jessica deal with more vampire/human relationship problems, and Bill acts all kingly.