True Blood – Fresh Blood (S03E11) – Episode review

Would it be fair to say that the latest episode of [[True Blood (TV Series)|True Blood]] lacked excitement?

It felt like Fresh Blood was more like the clotted remains of Talbot that Russell Edgington’s been carrying around with him for the last several weeks. The episode dealt mostly with the characters in Bon Temps and storylines that we’ve all grown weary of.

Hoyt and Jessica are back together, but their scenes were not as touching as usual. On the flip side, the revelation that Maxine Fortenberry set Summer up with Hoyt was clever – showing the manipulative mother figure at her most cunning. Arlene enlisted wiccan waitress Holly to get rid of Rene’s evil baby, but predictably though she bled heavily, the baby survived. Arlene’s pregnancy is a tedious storyline that feels like it’s leaning too heavily on season one’s storyline. Or coasting on old glories. They’d have been better off pushing Arlene toward the right-wing anti-supernatural character that she became in the books, rather than having her knocked up with an almost-forgotten character’s baby.

While we’re in Bon Temps, Sam’s still on his inexplicable rage-fuelled bender. Though it was nice to see his backstory, Sam represented a nice, level moral center. He’s a supernatural who’s not loaded with evil intentions and he’s comforting home ground for Sookie. Making him into an unstable ranting lunatic kind of ruins the character for me. Though – to be fair – it was nice to see him kick Tommy out, which was a bit of karmic justice, since it was arguably Tommy who forced Sam to unleash his angry side.

Meanwhile, [[Sookie Stackhouse|Sookie]] and Bill go for a countryside drive and shoot the breeze about how perfect life would be if they could start over and forget about Eric Northman. And then…Eric and Russell Edgington appear in the middle of the road, Russell stopping the car with his bare hand.

However entertaining the storyline of the main characters has been up until now, Fresh Blood felt uneven, with Eric tracking down Russell and avoiding instant death by promising him the ability to walk in sunlight. The whole ruse, setting Russell up to believe that he’d gain this ability, even though Eric had already betrayed Russell in a pretty heinous way. You would wonder why Edgington would simply choose to believe his enemy so willingly. And…um…what happened to his werewolf entourage?

So, Eric and Russell drag Bill and Sookie back to Fangtasia and after some dull dialogue, Eric and Russell drink from Sookie. Eric goes out in daylight first and entices Russell outdoors too. By the time Russell gets outside and starts singing, Eric has handcuffed himself to Edgington with silver cuffs stand in the sunlight. That’s all very well, but would True Blood really kill of Alexander Skarsgard’s character?

I’m hoping that this was essentially a set-up episode for a fantastic climax, like a calm before the storm. We’ll find out on the season finale, won’t we?

Quotes from Fresh Blood

  • Bill: “I am older and stronger. You are no match for me.” Pam: “This is not just about your relationship, you infatuated tween. There’s a bigger picture.”
  • Crystal: “All I gotta do is marry my half-brother and let him breed me til I’m old or dead.”
  • Jessica: “This is what you think you love. This is what I really am. I tried, but I can’t live on True Blood. I drink human blood and I’m not going to stop.” Hoyt: “Drink me.”
  • Russell: “Talbot adores this one. Adored. I’m having trouble switching senses.”
  • Eric: “A thousand years ago, you brought your wolves among the Vikings. You butchered a human family. My family. Apparently you wanted my father’s crown for your vast collection of meaningless shit.”
  • Russell: “To lose the one man I ever loved because you miss your mummy and daddy. Well, that is a kick in the pants.”
  • Sookie: “I love you Bill, but after this whole Mississippi mess, I’d be a crazy woman to trust either of you.”
  • Sam: “Get back in the kitchen, you shell-shocked motherf*cker.”
  • Summer: “I even offered him my virginity and he turned me down flat.” Maxine: “Aw, Summer. I appreciate that, even if you broke God’s law.”
  • Summer: “I baked for him. I opened up my heart to him. I showed him my best underwear. There’s nothing else I can do.”
  • Arlene: “I never thought of God as a woman.”
  • Jason: “That makes you a criminal, a drug abuser and a cheater. On top of which, you’re already a cocky bullshit motherf*cker.”
  • Sam: “Nobody knows me.” Tara: “It’s not like you make it easy.”
  • Crystal: “Felton and daddy are crazy. I’ve heard them say it. They will light that whole place on fire and everybody in it.” Jason: “It’d be Waco all over again.”
  • Eric: “I didn’t say she’s a full fairy. She’s a human-fairy hybrid, which helps hide her from detection. She may well be the last of her kind.”
  • Eric: “You know I love you more when you’re cold and heartless.”

3 Comments

  1. RandomEnigma

    I’m doubtful they’ll kill off Eric and I’m sure we’ll see him back in Season 4. I have to agree with you, this wouldn’t be a bad episode…if it were the second or third one of the season – not the penultimate one. The final scene was a real emotional one with some great acting from Skarsgard and O’Hare but there wasn’t enough excitement.

    The sub-plots, which have undoubtedly been the weak point of this season, have really struggled because Alan Ball and the writers haven’t planned them out properly and appear to be lacking in direction. Everything seems to be about getting the characters to do something from episode to episode rather than thinking of a storyline that can last throughout the whole season. I’m hoping the writers pick up on this next season or else they’re screwed and people will lose interest in the show. Jason’s story has been a prime example of meandering throughout the series. First three episodes – Jason’s trying to be a cop, next three episodes – Jason’s in love with Crystal, next three episodes Jason has some rivalry with some barely established teen character Kitsch who is now on V and should we really care.

    Sam has gone completely out of character. I like this dark side of Sam but he has gone from mild-mannered barman to angry, raving drunk in two episodes and there wasn’t a proper build up all season.

    I’m actually liking Arlene’s storyline now that it’s gathered steam. She’s been the comic relief for two years now and I want to see more depth in her character – which I think we’re actually getting. I think there going to portray Arlene’s foray into religious fanaticism in a more sympathetic light – really believing that she can inflict such black and white evil on the World. Plus Terry is a LEGEND! Love that character!

    I’m not liking the fact that there isn’t more of a fallout with Russel’s psychotic episode in…um…Episode…9! Russell is basically a terrorist and if TB wants to draw parallels with the real world than you can bet your ass, that America would be going crazy. We haven’t seen any of this and they better show it next season. It really betrays the powerful final moment in Episode 9.

    While it’s had some great moments and brilliant characters (Russell and Franklin to be precise), I feel underwhelmed by this season of True Blood this year. What was once a nice balance of smart and sexy television has now been reduced to all style and no substance TV with cheap ploys in shock value. Things better improve next year…or I might just have to give up on my favourite show! 🙁

    1. Gerard McGarry

      Sam’s definitely a problem – when he was ‘in character’, he was solid and dependable. Look at how he fought his biological parents to take care of Tommy, and now he’s being told he’s just like his father. That’s an impressive u-turn, and confusing.

      I wouldn’t go as far as to say the whole series has been a washout. Though admittedly the outrageous sex and death scenes have contributed to my good memories of the series.

      Where they’ve definitely gone wrong is that they’ve tried to introduce a stack of new characters, but to keep the existing, well-loved characters in the frame as well. By cutting out Jason, Crystal, Tara and Arlene (possibly Lafayette’s storyline too), they could have made space for more focus on the main story. It feels like they need to carry the characters on to give them something to do, but the sub-plots are substandard and they’re becoming annoying now.

      1. RandomEnigma

        Oh I don’t think it’s a washout!!! I just feel disappointed by it and hope they make some improvements next year and put more thought into the storylines. Of course, True Blood would be nothing without the sex and violence! 😉 I’m still immensely entertained by the show every week, I just feel underwhelmed once it’s over.

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