Season 3 of True Blood: Truly Frustrating
**Season 3 Spoilers Ya’ll**
If someone were to compare Season 3 of True Blood to Season 3 of the ill-fated NBC show Heroes – I wouldn’t be surprised. There were some pretty low points this past summer and very few episodes really hit any kind of high note for me. They felt rushed, disjointed and most played merely for shock and awe.
My buddy Smalls nailed it when she mentioned the lack of any over-arching mystery. Or any mystery in most of the individual episodes. It’s true. For a series based off of mystery source material, where did all the somewhat loose intrigue go? I was looking forward to seeing the Shreveport Werewolf pack brought to the small screen, but those shown mainly consisted of the evil vamp-blood-drinking werewolves and Alcide. None of the Shreveport pack even made an appearance. Did they? If so, it was entirely un-memorable.
Even without the mystery, the separate plot-lines never converged nicely as they did in Seasons One and Two. The whole attraction of focusing on the town is in having the characters interact with one another. There shouldn’t have to be a small thrill when I see Sam and Lafayette exchange pleasantries or when Jessica and Bill actually spend 5 minutes in the same room together.
Sam’s plot-line was absolutely bleak. I don’t really buy the wounded-tortured small town bartender angle. It’s like watching Peter Parker turn hipster evil in Spiderman 3. Sam is a lovable puppy dawg, caring, and a bit awkward. Sure, his character experienced massive growth in Season 2 when he was finally able to rid himself of the maenad Maryann who was haunting him. The scene when he turns into the white bull and punches his arm through her chest was incredibly powerful. Sam has been one of my favorites through the entire Southern Vampire Mysteries book series (I’m always hoping Sookie eventually ends up with him). So what’s up with the creepy flashback of shooting and killing two people? It’s entirely out of character (ugh – the greasy hair and everything!) and the bastard-ass drunken raging at Merlotte’s? WTF? His “I’m-tired-of-folks-walking-on-me-freak-out” was totally forced. Blah. Lame all season. Like his lame family. Poor Sam.
Tara’s plot-line was exceedingly depressing and highly uncomfortable to watch. There is nothing sexy or entertaining about watching this poor girl be continually tortured by everyone around her. She is bouncing between mourning her dead boyfriend, a raping/kidnapping vampire and discovering her life-long crush is a murderer. Ugh. After her shitty upbringing with a crazed alcoholic mom and a season of being emotionally manipulated by an evil goddess…I was really hoping they would take it easy on her for 12 episodes. The only bright spots in her life are interactions with Lafayette. She and Sookie hardly engage in conversation that doesn’t end in bitchy cat-fighting about men or vampires. Yuck. I love Tara. She is real and tenacious and feisty as hell. I’m glad she is getting some kind of reprieve in the form of leaving town. I hope they bring her back in some uplifting capacity in Season Four.
Arlene’s serial-killer baby. It’s just an excuse to bring back the awesome actor who played Rene and have him appear in creepy cameos. Arlene and Terry consistently bring the funny and odd. But their relatively low-key subplot threatens to bring all-sorts of silly intrigue in where it’s just not needed. Maybe it’s cause I’ve read too many comic books/watched too many soap operas but plots with pregnancies are dead fucking ends. Hmph.
Lafayette and Jesus. Another bright spot. The slow progression of their relationship and the revelation that they both have magical powers seemed entirely natural. It was one of the few elements of the show that didn’t feel false or forced.
The Sookie, Bill and Eric trifecta. Shouldn’t Eric drinking Sookie’s blood have been sexier? Didn’t Sookie take Bill back a little too easily after he sucked her blood to near death? Especially after she found out Bill betrayed her…multiple times. Why did she revoke both of their free passes into her house and then immediately let Bill back in? Why does she do any of their bidding at all? Sookie from the TV Show is kind of a weak lil bitch. Sookie from the books would have said “Screw You Both” and left them to their own devices. And what was with Sookie’s psychotic laughter while dumping Edginton’s dead lover down the drain? I dunno. I’m not feeling exceptionally drawn to TV Sookie right now. She screams and whines and pulls faces way too much without any power, strength or backbone behind her words and actions.
Shouldn’t the vengeance wrought by Eric on Russell have been a bit more…I dunno…vengeful? Sure, he killed Edgington’s sassy Italian boyfriend during some ill-conceived anal sex, but where was the showdown? Eric is all fiery muscular intensity. Using Sookie’s fairy blood to fool Russell was a smart move, but it lacked the energy and tension it needed. The flashbacks provided great build-up and there was promise of witnessing Eric’s power in action. Instead he shriveled and cowed at his dead vamp-daddy visions and wussied out. Gah.
Though I did appreciate Bill’s pulling a fast one on Eric. Quite clever that.
Sophie-Ann as a character on the TV show blows. I’m tired of seeing her on-screen and can’t wait until she dies.
Jessica and Hoyt continue to be adorable as hell. I want more Jessica and Hoyt.
The Jason/Hotshot angle is promising, but I was really hoping he would be turned into a were-panther in the final episode. It would have been nice to see more of his interacting with Sookie and his becoming a police officer would have shown character growth, plus given the show an “in” into exploring some good mysteries. His revelation to Tara was underwhelming and dealt with much too fast. But on a positive note – the actress who plays Crystal, and her character in general, is much more sympathetic and forgiving than in the book series. In the books – anyone who isn’t Sookie is generally a hoe-bag (unless it’s Amelia, the witch). Crystal is kinda skeezy but only in a way that makes sense given her family’s inbreeding and general lack of ethics.
A better focus on relationships and the smaller elements from Season One which made the show so promising in it’s first conception: a realistic take on what would happen if these creatures existed in our world – has pretty much evaporated at this point. Perhaps it’s just the desire to watch/read/hear about vampires receding from my system that has me lamenting but the elation for True Blood Season 3 has washed entirely from my veins (hah).
Season 4 has potential – if it mirrors Book 4 we could witness Eric with amnesia plus sexy time with Sookie and the introduction of witches and werewolves in greater force. The revelation of fairy Sookie happened a bit too early in the series and I’m afraid it hit a rather sour note. We’ll see how her disappearance into that world pans out.
I’m not giving up on the show as a whole but I’m certainly putting it on probation. The shock antics and lack of more than one incident of sexy sex were a big bummer. More sex, more strong Sookie and Tara, more focus on the human elements of the series will counter-balance the wacky, nasty and magical that seems intent on lingering around.
Oh, and if Sam shot his brother – I might have to write the show off entirely. That’s a bit too much jumping the shark for my taste.
Bechdel Test: True Blood Season 3 features several female characters and PASSES the women test, PASSES the men test and features more than two minority characters with names and interactions about non-white characters so it PASSES the race test. While individual episodes were not itemized, as a whole entity, Season 3 is a Bechdel PASS.