True Blood – Trouble (S03E05) – Episode review

Let me begin this belated review of [[True Blood (TV Series)|True Blood]]’s Trouble episode with a quote from AV Club’s David Sims:

A True Blood episode is basically as good as whatever storyline is up on the screen, minute by minute: there’s no other show that can change from being this bad (Sam Merlotte and his drunk family) to this good (Franklin’s psycho-courtship) so quickly.

It’s true though. Even with the development of an actual storyline for Sam’s trailer trash kinfolk, I remain perplexed. Like, five minutes ago Sam’s brother Tommy was trying to lead him in front of a truck because he was jealous about his newfound brother muscling in on his family. And now Tommy’s seeking Sam’s protection from his bullying no-good Dad?

On the other hand we have this dream pairing between Franklin Mott and Tara. I’m sure there’s a more serious point to be made about domestic violence and girls letting psycho boyfriends walk all over them. But that’s lost in the hilarity of watching the craziest vampire ever dragging Tara around after him like his best rag-doll and pretending to have a relationship with her. It may only be a sideshow to the main season story arc, but Franklin’s madness is fast becoming one of the best things about this series!

You’ll see all the good stuff in the quotes section below, but for right now a big round of virtual applause for James Frain’s performance of Franklin. Look forward to seeing him later this year in the new superhero series The Cape.

Back to Sookie and Alcide: fans of the [[Charlaine Harris]] books will be glad to see Colonel Flood’s first appearance as packmaster, but maybe not so pleased that he’s a bit of a chicken. Sookie and Alcide’s relationship is so fiery and argumentative, it’s a whole lot of fun to watch. Especially when Alcide gets mad at her for reading her mind and she retorts “Work with me Alcide. It gets easier.”

Nice to see Sookie getting on the wrong side of the psychotic Debbie Pelt. I don’t think we’re expected to see any redeemable qualities in Debbie, so what we can hope for is some top anti-Sookie behaviour from her soon!

But most of the action was in Eddington’s mansion – Eric being caught out framing Bill for blood dealing, Tara trying to escape Franklin then trying to outwit him, and Russell getting to find out what Bill’s real interest in Sookie is.

Eric’s storyline was basically another flashback. On a tour of the mansion with Talbot, he gets to see some of Russell’s treasures – including a Viking helmet that belonged to his own father. Yes kiddies, Eddington and his werewolf cronies massacred a Viking village and took out Eric’s father. That both explains Eric’s hatred of the Werwolf branding and hints that Eric might be the one seeking retribution at the end of this series. What, you think Eddington’s going to survive this year?

We’ve already talked about Tara and Franklin. The funniest bit about this situation is Tara trying to outwit Franklin, but managing to end up in a worse situation: Franklin wants to change her into a vampire! This could be interesting – and the first time an existing character on the show gets changed into a vampire. Do you think they’ll be brave enough to do it? And will it make Tara more interesting?

Bill goes on the rampage to protect Sookie from the vampires, but too late. Sookie displays her cool light-touch trick again (remember she used it on Maryann last year?) but they still get taken. Now we’re in new territory – this is such a departure from the books that literally anything can happen now. Brilliant!

Back in Bon Temps…

Meanwhile, a quick update on the Bon Temps posse:

  1. Lafayette has an unexpected date with Jesus – the guy who’s his mother’s carer at the home. He’s suspicious at first, but drops his defenses, which is charming. I just hope this guy doesn’t have ulterior motives.
  2. Jessica has a minor run-in with Arlene and glamours her customers not to give her a tip (devious!). Meanwhile, Hoyt brings a date into the bar to make Jessica jealous and Sam’s brother tells Jessica she’s smokin’.
  3. Terry moves in with Arlene. (yawn)
  4. Andy pulls some strings for Jason and gets him a job with the police. However, he gets distracted by Crystal Norris, the cute girl he saw in the forest on the night of the maenad attack. But that girl’s got secrets, mark my words!

Pick of the quotes: Trouble

  • Talbot: “You and your dusky little blood beast are totally at odds with my decor.”
  • Franklin: “Just ignore him, he’s the cleaning lady.”
  • Franklin explains Tara’s presence: “She wants to be with me.” Talbot: “Hence the restraints.”
  • Russell: “Last time you had any real money, you ended up at the slots in Billoxi slaughtering a church group of elderly women.” Franklin: “They wouldn’t let me have a turn.”
  • Franklin: “This one is spectacularly different. She’s such a f*cking disaster, we could be twins!” Russell: “Franklin, you’re a huge freak, but I like your work.”
  • Sookie: “I am not gonna die because of your shitty girlfriend and a Mississippi pothole!”
  • Franklin: “Hey Tara, watch how fast I type mutha f*cker! Love you!”
  • Sookie: “Work with me, Alcide. It gets easier.”
  • Jessica: “Whatever happens, do not tip your waitress. Do not.”
  • Franklin: “Why Tara why? You were afraid of me? That’s insane!”
  • Jason: “I can’t take no test.” Andy: “Well you gotta. Come on, it’s easy! You just shove all that stuff in your head, write down your answers and forget it all the next day. Learn on the job like everyone else.”
  • Tara: “We need to talk.” Franklin: “Don’t say that. Women say that, everything goes black and I wake up surrounded by body parts.”
  • Tara: “If we’re going to be together, you have to remember that I’m alive and I have needs. Like food.”

1 Comment

  1. RandomEnigma

    Last week’s episode was fantastic, especially the ending when the vampires fed on the stripper while that Damien Rice song played in the background and it had a dark, stylistic feel to it.

    This episode was more humourous but I enjoyed it a lot. Franklin is in danger of falling into caricature. They definitely pulled off the whole psycho thing best with Amy Burley in Season 1. However, he’s a major laugh and his scenes with Tara were the highlight of the episode.

    Like most people, the Sam storyline is boring me but it finally made some progress with Joe Lee basically saying he ‘owned’ Tommy. I really think he’s forcing him to fight in pits and this will link in with Quinn’s storyline.

    Jason’s episodes have been nothing but comic filler up until now but I’m glad to see him finally interact with Crystal. Less pussyfooting around from here on out now and let’s see them pick up the pace with this storyline.

    Arlene and Terry are best left as comic background characters. Seriously the pregnancy storyline is so unoriginal and do we really want to see Arlene whining at Terry when we’ve got vampires, telepaths, werewolves and shapeshifters. I don’t think so.

    Jessica was a scene stealer as always but honestly give her a proper storyline instead of having her spend three episodes staring at a dead body and two episodes crying over Hoyt at Merlotte’s. I hope her and Tommy get together and there’s stigma directed towards them for being involved in a vampire/shapeshifter relationship.

    Sookie is quite different from her book counterpart. She’s definitely using her telepathy to manipulate which isn’t like the kindly Sookie from the book. However, I’m liking her spunkiness and her and Bill are better off apart. Alan Ball thinks their soulmates and probably will eventually have them fall happily ever after, a huge contrast to the books, but the two are so unbearably soppy together. I prefer this dark, violent, woman beating Bill to the wet blanket we’ve had to put up with for two seasons.

    Eric’s short flashback was excellently designed with some stunning cinematography but they need to get some new wig designers on that show. I also thought the image of Tara running out of Edginton’s mansion while being chased by Coot in wolf form was another stunning cinematic shot. I don’t think Tara will actually turn out to be a vampire but I do think she may be a witch. Franklin calling her ‘magical’ in last week’s episode hinted at some definite foreshadowing. I just hope they introduce Amelia and don’t ditch her ’cause Tara’s a witch.

    I can’t wait for next week’s episode and can’t wait to see more of Sookie’s radioactive hands. I hope Franklin and Debbie survive this season, especially Debbie because she’s a character you love to hate in the books but we haven’t seen enough of her on the show. They need to move Lafayette’s story further too.

    Overall, True Blood still manages to provide an extremely entertaining hour of television but the pacing this year (and some of last) as well as the intelligence level have dwindled a little bit in my opinion. There are too many characters focused on in one episode and maybe they should divide this out over more episodes. Maybe not focus on eight different storylines per episode. Or maybe they should increase the number of episodes to leave a little more room for the plotlines which feel a little rushed. I think Season 1 is actually pretty flawless but Season 2 and 3 continue to be a great watch.

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