TRUE BLOOD Recap: “I Smell a Rat”

     August 22, 2010

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I have looked at the list of  True Blood episode titles weekly since starting these reviews.  The one that always stuck out was “I Smell a Rat.”  Not that there’s any correlation between the excellence of an episode and its title, but there’s a part of me that has anticipated this, the tenth episode of season three, for a couple months now.  That said, hit the jump for a review.

anna_paquin_true_blood_fairy_imageThough I sometimes take issue with the agency of the character, Sookie is very often a great anchor for the show.  She’s not dumb, but her intelligence is always demonstrated through action (“street smarts,” if you will) rather than a mannered eloquence.  There’s a certain Southern authenticity to the way she reacts to the craziness around her (“How fucking lame?”) that’s always refreshing.  I mean, it’s played for laughs, but it works for me on other levels as well.  I hope we don’t lose any of that (and have no reason to expect we will) now that she knows she’s a fairy.

And with the official introduction of fairies (and panthers, for that matter) to the True Blood universe, is there any worry of a mythology is growing too vast?  That sounds silly when I type it, but “focus” is not among the many talents of the show.  There are still a couple episodes to make something of it, but this season’s werewolf storyline has gone nowhere so far.  I admire the scope, and can understand how it would work for the books, but I’m not certain this approach benefits the show.

You have no idea how much I loved seeing Flashback Sam.  The idea that his dour personality is the consequence of the negative side effects of his old, dynamic personality forgives a lot.  Were he to return to his old con-man ways, and that’s the Sam we got week in and week out — I would be giddy.  I don’t know how this fit into the episode, but at the very least, it was a nice stylistic aside.

The same is true of the the joint hallucination of Lafayette and Jesus.  If the trip was just a visual treat, and a narrative rabbit hole, that’s fine by me.  Yet it was detailed enough, and long enough, that it could very well be portentous.  Any theories?

alexander_skarsgard_stephen_moyer_true_blood_imageI don’t think I’ve given enough credit to the relationship between Bill and Eric.  It’s easy to relegate them as the bottom corners of the Sookie-tipped love triangle.  (Which advanced about seven degrees tonight before Eric chained her up in the basement.)  But there’s a whole history between there that plays well on screen.  The scene between Moyer and Skarsgard early in the episode crackled.  And while we’re assigning credit to the male leads on the show…

I think Jason bats 1.000 as a comedic character, and I believe Ryan Kwanten is a very capable actor.  How does Jason work as a dramatic character work for you, when Kwanten must work in tandem with the writers?  I am curious about the consensus on the shared emotional moment with Tara, both pre- and post-kiss.

The aftermath of the Russell’s newsdesk proclamation was all talk in this episode, though I liked the scene between him and the Talbot doppleganger/prostitute.  I trust Russell will be dealt with by the end of the season (any chance he doesn’t meet his demise?), which ought to be great for some dramatic thrust.

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