Published on June 27th, 2011 | by Sean Bell2
‘True Blood’ Season 4 Premiere Review – Lots of Changes as Alan Ball Ups The Crazy
If there’s one thing that tonight’s premiere of True Blood proved, it’s that twelve months of time can change a whole lot of things.
Thanks to Sookie’s creepy little trip to faerie land, we’re in complete setup mode as the story jumped forward a whole year in time. And for that reason, True Blood has a certain freshness (and weirdness) that we haven’t seen in some time. Faeries, witches, magic, Tara with a woman, Bill as King of Louisiana. Yup, Alan Ball is making certain that nothing is predictable about this fourth season.
“She’s Not There” was a rapid fire mix of strange and bizarre scenes – with changes all across the board for each character. Vamps are in damage control mode in an effort to restore their public reputation. Eric now owns Sookie’s house and stakes his claim on her. Tara has left town to start a new life. Arlene has a baby that would make Dexter Morgan proud. There’s a new coven of witches in town. Even Jason has matured a bit and he’s a better law enforcement office than the V-addicted Andy Bellefleur (OK, that’s not that big of a stretch). Over the next several episodes, we’ll be left to wonder how everyone got in their new predicaments in True Blood’s first time skip in four seasons.
There were several big surprises, the most significant (and shocking) of which was Bill being the vampire King of Louisiana. Am I alone in thinking he didn’t have it in him? But did he actually kill off Sophia Ann? We won’t know that right away, but it’s about time we get to see Bill do something different. Aside from the cool office and ridiculous new haircut, Bill has a chance to be useful instead of just hopelessly shouting “Sookie is Mine!” at every juncture. But he’s apparently traded in his calm nature for his darker side – it will be interesting to see if he does anything Russell-esque in the near future, especially now that he has a spy working for him.
And it seems as if Tara has had enough of a few things, including her given name, the opposite sex and Bon Temps. Leaving Louisiana behind (and hopefully her overused chin-quiver cry) to start a new life seems may be just the radical move necessary to forget about her crazy past. I mean, who needs deranged male lovers when you’ve got a new female fling and the warm embrace of Mixed Martial Arts? Of course, this new life will soon grow old on her, especially now that she knows Sookie is alive and home. Ball needs a miracle, however, to deliver Tara from the realm of hated characters, no matter how many drastic changes he introduces in her life.
As for Marnie’s coven of witches, they’ve already creeped me out more than anything Maened Maryann Forrester did back in Season 2. Rumor has it that they will play a big role this season as they convene to resurrect dead things. If they can control a dead bird, can they control a dead human (aka vampire)? In any event, Lafayette has gotten himself caught up in another sticky situation, but we have him to thank for the laughs (I’m referring to his ludicrous Mohawk).
And now, Eric has made big moves to stake his claim on Sookie – you know, like buying her house and inviting himself in. Will the two finally hook up? They need to just get it over with already.
As of now, it’s too early to determine which storylines will reek of “filler,” but I’m betting that Jason will be up to his usual nothing as well as Sam and his merry pack of shapeshifters. Tara’s excursion definitely has some juice to it, though it already looks to have a tangential connection to anything going on in Bon Temps. And I’m already sick of the Jessica/Hoyt situation – I’d much rather Hoyt stake her and call it a day.
But, at the very least, the show seems re-energized and I’m watching with caution as this collage of storylines is brought together to something meaningful (or not). And hopefully that starts happening fast (as in Episode 2).