Tuesday, June 05, 2012

True Blood: Season 4 – review

Directors: Various

First aired: 2011

Contains spoilers

True Blood time again, and a recap of my thoughts on previous seasons can be found at the following links: Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3.

This time around the main arc concerns witches… You could almost call it 'when wiccans go bad' as the leader of a coven, Marnie (Fiona Shaw), starts channelling the vengeful spirit of a witch called Antonia (Paola Turbay). Antonia had been the victim of vampires, when they ran the inquisition as a cover for their nefarious activities and was raped, fed upon and ultimately burnt at the stake.

Stephen Moyer as Bill
Antonia was a powerful necromancer, however, and as she burnt she cast a spell that caused all vampires in a twenty mile radius to leave their coffins and walk into the sun – a useful slaying trick of course. Thus, once they know she is back, many of the vampires spend their days tied into their resting places with silver to prevent them from committing involuntary suicide. This is at Bill’s command.

Sookie in Faery
Why Bill (Stephen Moyer, Ultraviolet & Priest)? Well I should explain that 18 months have passed (Sookie (Anna Paquin) lost time by being in faery, where only a few hours passed and where she discovered the faeries were not as nice as they seem) and Bill has been made King of Louisiana. Other main characters have moved on too, Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer), is now sheriff but a V addict, Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) is now a cop and Tara (Rutina Wesley) has moved to New Orleans, become a cage fighter and discovered her lesbian side.

Eric in action
Bill sends Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) after the witches in the first instance, and their defence spell causes him to lose his memory (and subsequently Sookie falls for the innocent Eric) and Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) embroils herself and is cursed to rot like a corpse – she is not impressed when someone thinks she is a zombie rather than a vampire. However the main story doesn’t feel like it contains the level of peril for the characters that it should.

The armadillo
There wasn’t really any new lore offered, besides the idea that a necromancer could control a vampire because of them being the dead. We did get the use of weapons with wooden bullets containing a silver shaft – an effective tool against a vampire who was stood still. We also got a strange scene with an armadillo being held by Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe). The situation isn’t important but one wonders whether the appearance of the armadillo was a nod to the creature’s unusual place in vampire lore. An armadillo can be seen in Dracula’s castle in the 1931 Dracula and in the Renquist quadrilogy by Mick Farren the armadillo is believed to bring vampires luck (and thus the European vampires import the creatures into their homes from the US).

death by wooden bullet
With regards the side stories they feel somewhat more soap opera than drama. This then is the problem with this season… it felt lightweight. The faery threat just didn’t really surface, the werewolf and shifter storyline was little more than relationship issues, the evil baby storyline was a device to set up something in the main arc and the great character Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) felt side-lined and under used. Then, bang, in the final episode a substantial number of characters from the past suddenly appeared (either temporarily or perhaps for longer) and several characters died. It was a peak at the end of a fallow season.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still enjoyable – just not at its best. 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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