Trouble plagued this episode of True Blood, not only because it was the title or that it focused on the individual troubles of all the characters, but in how divergent everything has become. At this point the series has turned into werewolves/vampires vs. everyone left in Bon Temps and the latter storyline is falling flat. The Bon Temps crew continues to focus on the emotional side of things while the vampire storyline is the driving force; all of it showing the sharp disconnects growing between the series.
Sookie and Alcide learn there is no help against Russell in Jackson. The King of Mississippi pits Bill and Eric against each other and finally decides to go after Sookie himself. Sam and Tommy bond as Sam questions why Joe Lee has such a hold on the younger boy. Tara gets a strange proposition from Franklin while Lafayette develops a relationship with Jesus (Kevin Alejandro). Jessica turns to Tommy for help after seeing Hoyt return to the dating game. Bill finally breaks free of Russell’s grip while Eric discovers Russell might be an adversary from his past. Jason’s new job as a cop isn’t panning out as he hoped allowing him to become easily distracted by a girl with a mysterious past.
This episode shows the overlying problem of the entire season so far, there are far too many strings that just don’t have the connection that they did in seasons 1 and 2. No matter what naysayer’s of the Maryann storyline say at least all the characters converged into one at some point. Here all the characters feel so isolated from each other lacking cohesion that allows the audience to completely turn away from particular storylines. Since this is the section where I list the highlights let’s discuss the good aspects of tonight’s episode. The flashbacks have always been True Blood’s strong suit and the flashback on Eric’s family was amazing! Eric’s stubbornness and general lack of concern for anyone but himself has always been his trademark but here we get a further glimpse into his love for Pam and where it comes from. The poor guy was a stubborn, willful young man who watched his family die before his eyes. This scene also nicely tied into Season 2’s flashback as we see now the type of man who was willing to die back then. His scenes with Talbot were hilarious as he has always been the character most willing to exploit both sides of the fence but knowing that Russell was responsible for his families death should give him an added boost of vengeance that should pay off in buckets of blood! The King of Mississippi’s interactions with Talbot continue to provide a lot of laughs as Talbot is the typical trophy wife, so to speak. It’s great to get that small hint of humanity that shows that vampires and humans aren’t so different; the men still have nagging spouses. As much as I despise the cheesy “Bride of Dracula” aspect of Tara’s storyline James Frain was hilariously campy in this episode as Franklin. He continues to be the ultimate creep and here his character tried so hard to please Tara, in a way that was completely possessive yet brought a lot of laughs. It’s hilarious to see how he honestly believes he does things out of love and based on Russell’s comments he’s done this before.
Tara is a good segue into the bad aspects of this episode. While it is nice to see the idea of a human actually being turned into a vampire Tara continues to be a sacrificial lamb as in last season. One would also assume by now she knows how to push this guy’s buttons and would use her leverage over him in some way, maybe saying “Hey if you truly loved me you’d at least untie me” or something to that effect. At this point the story doesn’t seem to be going anywhere so I should lessen up on the griping. Trouble also seemed to hint on what the hell is up with Bill’s storyline, the family tree that was the crux of the book. The sad thing is the entire book is being rewritten in this season causing both fans of the novels and the show to be confused. Can someone just spit out the whole Bill thing so it makes sense because I’ve read the book and I’m still confused! The same can be said for Tommy and Sam’s issues with Joe Lee. It’s not compelling because there’s so little movement on the storyline. Jason returning to his female hunting is great but after about 20 minutes of work he’s irritated and expects work to disappear. One would think he’d want to return to his old job by now where he had it easier or something, Jason has become the ultimate whiner! Jessica was practically non-existent aside from a really funny line of dialogue at Arlene’s expense, either give her the love story with Tommy or wrap it up!
True Blood is frustrating me and I don’t know what to do! This season is so scattered and Sookie has become just some girl in a cast of disparate story elements. It’s hard to figure out where the show is going so wrong but there needs to be a way to connect all the threads or something isn’t going to be resolved come season finale time.