Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Still Spellbound by True Blood

I actually had to wait over 48 hours and use lots of ice to cool down from watching the most recent episode of True Blood, appropriately entitled, "Spellbound" before I could write about it. Sunday night Executive Producer Alan Ball revved up the non-stop plot twist bus and literally floored it. It was like being hit by an oncoming train... or in Jason Stackhouse's case, an oncoming Jessica. Jason saves Jessica in the best intro to the show... ever. Just as Jessica flings open the doors to step outside during the daylight; Jason swoops in through the white light and saves her. She turns on him at first and is about to take a massive chunk of his neck out, but as the witch's spell wears off, she hits him with a sensual arched-back kiss that he couldn't resist enough not to kiss her back. This was character chemistry 101 at its finest. Later, to keep us all sexually frustrated, he rescinds her invitation to his house and starts doing push-ups. Such a typical yet also sexy Jason move. Deborah Woll enjoys the idea of Jessica and Jason having a romance... “I kind of love the idea of Jess and Jason,” Deborah said with a smile. “It’s fascinating because they are literally thrown into a life and death situation— Jason saves Jessica... so we’re really going to learn who they are together through this experience. I’m excited about it.”

I also loved discovering that the werewolf pack leader is the ex-husband of Sam's new girlfriend. I never saw that one coming. The actress, Janina Gavankar, who is now playing a sleek shape shifter to perfection, was also seen on Showtime's now defunct "The L Word" playing Papi, the Hispanic/Latin version of the commitment-phobic, womanizing Shane (Kate Moennig). Talk about doing an acting 360! I was not even aware of the fact that Gavankar had done a short stint on "The L Word" as her "True Blood" character is the antitheses of the cocky, overly confident lesbian. Gavankar has an impressive resume as she has had a number of television roles under her belt starring opposite a number of solid lead characters- Alex O'Loughlin, Eliza Dushku and Benjamin Bratt. She's a welcome addition to "True Blood" as the multi-faceted actor Sam Trammel definitely needs a storyline which will allow him to shine as we know he can.

Sookie and Eric are still in the throws of an intriguing passionate turn for both characters. During the last three seasons we felt the sexual tension between Sookie and Eric manifest itself as torrential anger, although both characters dove in to save each other regardless of their love/hate connection. When Eric takes his chains off after the daylight spell, he needs blood to heal. Sookie offers him hers. In return, he gives her some of his. Cue a totally Grateful Dead, Narnia trippy high-on-V scene where they step into the shower and snow falls on them. Then Sookie's bedroom becomes a dark forest covered in snow with a bed and fur blankets in the middle of it. The scenes were filled with such a sweet longing from both characters as they explore each other in an entirely different "light", every pun intended.

Actor Alexander Skarsgård (Eric) shows us an almost child-like vulnerable Eric, filled with awe and the joy of a new love. One cannot help but feel his anguish at the possibility of regaining his memory. Eric would prefer to remain a blank slate, giving him what so many of us long for at certain points in our lives... a "do over". Skarsgård puts Eric into a "better place", much like his maker Godric who "chose" to face the sun as a way of atoning for the atrocities he had committed against humanity. Eric, in essence, discovers the part of himself which had been lost after his soul was taken.

Eric says he wants to remain with Sookie, forever. "There's no such thing as forever," Sookie replies as she explains to him that they cannot abandon Bill. It was priceless, awkward and actually very funny to watch Sookie, Bill, and Eric having a discussion about helping Bill to face-off against Antonia/Marni. The dynamic between these three characters is always complicated but it always comes down to Sookie making the call for both vampires... and rarely do they decide not to do exactly what she wants. Both Eric and Bill (regardless of the history and shift in the triangle) DO love Sookie, that continues to be more than obvious.

Sookie is very taken back by Tara's decision to stand with the coven. Under the guise of parlay, Antonia/Marni starts to cast a spell in her mind. But the mind-reading Sookie catches wind of it and warns Bill. Eric runs off and rips out a random witch's throat. Antonia/Marni ripostes with a fog spell. Everyone starts running around in the dark. Pam corners Tara and is ready to kill her when Bill stops her. Props have to go to Bill for protecting Tara from Pam. I do believe this will weigh heavily on Tara as he could have easily let Pam have her way. In this sense, Bill Compton, now the Vampire King has evolved into a much more complex and sophisticated character... always the politician with such diplomacy... it's difficult to know what his agenda will turn out to be.

As the chaos continues... so much for sticking with the "neutrality of the werewolf pack".... Alcide sprints to look for Sookie as he hears her scream, followed closely (unbeknownst to him) by his girlfriend Debbie in wolf form. King Bill gets hit in the face with silver. Antonia/Marni hexes Eric all over again and we are left to guess what she's done to Eric this time around. Then out of seemingly nowhere, Sookie is shot. This was very surprising and not at all anticipated as Sookie had been holding her own by using her Faerie powers to fend off the angry coven. Alcide rescues her while an angry Debbie watches. We were VERY pleased to see Alcide FINALLY make his move to show Sookie how he really feels about her. Up until his desperate run to get to Sookie, he seemed to be in a state of denial about his feelings. This move now adds yet another potential suitor for Sookie as Alan Ball has told us that Alcide is one of the most beloved characters in author Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels (which "True Blood" is based upon).

The show, according to those of us who have taken the time to read the novels, is following the novels rather closely. Although I do believe that Alan Ball "may" not have counted on the unbelievable chemistry between real-life husband and wife (Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer), who were officially married last year... Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton. We've received tons of e-mails from fans who refer to themselves as "Team Bill". Of course, there is also a "Team Eric" as well as a "Team Alcide" so "True Blood" will undoubtedly continue to capitalize an the extensive fan base all of these characters have easily amassed. The fans are indeed an extension of the show itself.

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