TRUE BLOOD Recap: “Trouble”

     July 18, 2010


This episode of True Blood was scripted by Nancy Oliver, whose work was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008.  The fact that she’s a nominee isn’t revelatory — the show is created by Oscar-winner Alan Ball, after all.  More interesting to me is the script that earned her notice: Lars and the Real Girl.

Oliver scripted two episodes of last season’s transcendent Godric arc: both his introduction (“Never Let Me Go”), and his sendoff (“I Will Rise Up”).  Basically, Oliver’s name on the script held the promise of great things heading into “Trouble,” the fifth episode of season three; hit the jump for a postmortem.

The core characters have been scattered this season, both in terms of geography and narrative.  I assume some event will bring them all back to Bon Temps (or Jackson) by the finale, like Maryann’s sacrificial ritual did last season.  With Bill, Eric, and Tara all in the same creepy mansion for most of this episode, we’re getting there.

true_blood_season_3_image_lafayette_jesusLikewise, I’m glad Sam seems to be getting back to work full time, serving plenty of regulars at the bar.  The positioning of little brother Tommy as a romantic foil to the Jessica/Hoyt felt a bit awkward, though not entirely without potential.  In terms of the cutest relationship presented in “Trouble”, it trails Jason/Crystal and is miles behind Jesus/Lafayette.  If I know True Blood, Jesus likely won’t be completely normal (he did seem to come out of nowhere with the aggressive flirting).  But for now, he brings out the bashful side of Lafayette, and that’s more than enough to get me on board.

Subsequent to the Lost episode which presented Sawyer and Miles as cops in the sideways world, there was a lot of chatter about the spinoff possibilities of that partnership.  I don’t know that “Jason Stackhouse: Policeman” quite reaches that level, but I would absolutely watch a comedy that promises montages of Ryan Kwanten exploring alternate uses of desk supplies, washing squad cars shirtless, and generally abusing his power.  Despite the heavy load of Jason-centric comedy this week, Oliver pulled off that True Blood trick of turning on a tonal dime and selling the blossoming romantic drama with Crystal.  Her introduction seemed more a necessity to the plot than unveiling a genuine character, but I’ll see where it goes before I judge too much.

An excerpt from “This Week in Why We Love Eric”
Overbearing flashback father
: “You can’t spend your life between a woman’s legs”
Werewolf-stabbing flashback Eric: “I can try.”

true_blood_season_3_image_franklin_mott_james_frainI’ve been a bit on the fence until now, but James Frain won me over with the scene that had Franklin mocking Lafayette’s phonetics and showing off his texting abilities.  There is definitely room on True Blood for a bi-polar vampire (sure livens up the Tara scenes), and Frain is handling his duties well.

I didn’t quite get my fill of Biker Chick Sookie last week, so I was in luck that the getup spilled over into the first act of “Trouble.”  Otherwise, the episode was rather light on Anna Paquin this week.  But in the closing minutes, she reunited with Bill (however briefly) and tapped into that innate electricity again to the utter delight of our king — a very good tease for next week.

I thought the episode lived up to the Oliver promise, and next Sunday’s episode is the first this season credited to Ball; I trust we can count on the series creator dropping some major plot twists.