TV Review: TRUE BLOOD 4.1 “She’s Not There”

Sexy vampires, witches and fairies are back on HBO and Caitlin is watching them writhe naked.

TRUE BLOOD is not the greatest thing on television. I’ll be the first to admit that. It’s campy, it’s cheesy, it reads like a soap opera but views as a softcore porn. That said, I totally love it. LOVE IT. So when season four premiered on Sunday, I asked Devin (a) if anybody on here cares about this show (up for debate!), and (b) if I could start reviewing it. I like having a venue where I can talk about how ridiculous and absurd the episode just was, while still appreciating it as much as I can. And if the show gets worse and worse? Well, at least we can all say “what the fuck?” together. Hey, they can’t all be GAME OF THRONES.

I’m going into this season with certain expectations.  Last month, I spent two weeks blowing through all of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels (the books the show is based on). That shit is straight up dumb and sexy and I would really like the show to follow suit. I’m not going to go into book comparisons or anything (there’s not really a point in doing that – it’s not exactly literary genius and the show isn’t really sticking to the books), but all I ask of the show is that it gives Alexander Skarsgård as much screen time as possible.

The first 10-15 minutes of this episode were ROUGH. The fairy business is being played way too heavy handed, with really terrible special effects and visual styles. Even the books didn’t play it this hard. The premise is that the fae are pulling any part-fae’s out of the human realm and sealing themselves up in their own realm because Sookie let a bunch of vampires taste her sweet, sweet fairy blood. Sookie gets the fuck out of there (following a scene that was pulled straight out of a bad SciFi movie) and finds out that those 10-15 minutes was A WHOLE YEAR!

The purpose of this was obviously to move the story along as quick as possible. I’m pretty thankful for this because when we jump back in we’re put into a story that seems to have had a long, dull build up. Jason’s a cop and he’s taking care of the meth village, Andy Bellefleur went through a V addiction, Eric bought Sookie’s house, Bill gained some sort of respectable position in the human community, apparently beat out Evan Rachel Wood and is King of Louisiana, and is now eye-fucking Andy’s sister Portia (bookwise, they totally combined two characters into one and this is super awkward, but we won’t get into that and I doubt the show will either).

The premiere sets up the season with a couple of main story points. The first - vampire politics are on the rise. The second – so are witches! The exchange in Fangtasia between Nan Flanagan, Pam and Eric is solid. This is partially because Eric and Pam are amazing characters (and actors). Mainly it sets up what we’ve been learning through the series: the vampires are trying to put on a friendly face for the public so everyone doesn’t try to kill them. Russell Edgerton ripping a dudes spine out on national television (a really fantastic moment from last season) kind of gave them all a bad reputation. Nan seems to be setting Eric up as the new vampire poster boy for vamp-human relations, Pam openly thinks it’s a pile of horseshit.

Speaking of horses! Wow, the show is making a mistake here. Sam’s struggle with anger management and shooting his brother is not going to be a strong storyline. Even if they choose to fight that and insist that it is, it’s going to make the season suffer.  Tommy hanging out with Maxine Fortenberry is weird and I don’t really know what to make of it. What’s a worse storyline? Tara’s. Tara took last seasons wish to be a completely different person very seriously. I’m worried how much of her new life they’ll make us watch. That could prove to be very frustrating.

And then we have the witches. I was prepared for the witches. The fourth book is all about these witches. Fiona Shaw as Marnie could prove to be a really interesting character, but it’s not at all what the book dictates (although the show has proved that that really doesn’t matter). Also, I cannot for the life of me figure out what her accent is supposed to be. Placing Lafayette in this story means we should get lots of him this season. Definitely not a bad thing.

My main issue with this premiere is that they felt the need to touch base with everyone in one episode. There were just too many stories crammed in. I get it, we skipped a year, they want to keep us in the know. I really want to criticize this universe. Why is it that when Sookie pops back in, THEN Jason gets kidnapped by the meth village, THEN the weird-accent witch shows up. She’s been gone a year, folks. None of that shit could have gone down then? Whatever. Ridiculous show is ridiculous.

So the first episode didn’t really fulfill my way-too-high expectations of the show, but I’ll be damned if I stop watching. Even if it’s only for the opening credit sequence and Eric.

And in case you were let down by it too (if you watched it, you probably were), at least we can listen to the awesome cover in the closing credits:

MP3: Nico Case & Nick Cave – “She’s Not There” (Zombies Cover)