Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Review of True Blood's 1x06: "Cold Ground"

Written by Raelle Tucker
Directed by Nick Gomez

Sookie: “I can’t think straight.”
Tara: “Of course you can’t, not with all these crazy buzzards. You’re not their entertainment. You don’t have to dance for them. You just gotta feel what you’re feeling.”
Sookie: “I’m not sure I’m feeling anything, I’m just numb.”

Before I continue with this review, I’m going to point out that this episode stirred a lot of personal issues for me. In two weeks time, it will be a year since my own mother passed away so there was a lot of stuff in this episode that stirred many memories for me, which made the hour both uncomfortable and engaging to watch.

Sookie’s reaction to finding her grandmother brutally murdered, the sheer horror of it was just hard to watch. This was a big episode for Anna Paquin and she bloody well excelled in it throughout. Having Sam and Bill both fight for her attention and to be her support system was believable enough for me.

Although I do like Sam, I guess I sided with Bill on this one. Both men care for Sookie but Bill was the only one she really wanted by her side. Sam, no matter how much he tried to be there for Sookie kept getting pushed aside. I don’t hate Sookie for it, especially given the circumstances.

This episode delivered an all too honesty gamut of reactions and behaviour surrounding the death of a loved one. I’ve seen enough of Six Feet Under to be au fait with it but like I’ve said, I’ve also had the first hand experience as well, though a large part of me largely felt numb.

It’s easy to turn on loved ones during grief. I more or less kept my distance with some people and every chance I got, I would get out of the suit I had to wear during the repose and funeral. But like Sookie, I did have a good support system in friends and unlike Sookie, I did have family members I could turn to as well.

Jason took horrible to a new level when he slapped Sookie. Granted I was like Jason in the sense that I was the last person in my family to know about my mother’s death. I was told by my twin sister over the phone, Jason had to be told by Rene and Hoyt, who were naturally uncomfortable telling him. Not actually being there when a loved one passes away can certainly do a number on you and I have an immense hatred of hospitals, in relation to my own experience.

However Jason, grief or no grief had absolutely no right whatsoever to slap Sookie or to accuse her of being responsible for Adelle’s death. I’m saying this next part from an objective viewpoint but Sookie could shag or piss off every vampire in Bon Temps and what happened to Adelle still wouldn’t be her fault. Jason saying that it was her doing was a selfish thing to say, even for him.

The weird thing is that a minute after wanting to punch Jason Stackhouse, I actually felt bad for him when Andy made no bones of accusing him of killing Adelle. It might have been stupid to have shoved Andy but Andy deserved being shoved a lot more than Sookie did being slapped.

I think the worst thing about this whole episode was the neighbours. Those days leading up to my mother’s funeral, I hated practically everyone visiting us. It might be the done thing but it’s incredibly disconcerting when it’s people you don’t know from Adam but death does show you who your friends are and in that sense our family was fortuitous.

Personally myself, I have three incredible friends, one of whom is a Jehovah’s Witness who even came to my mother’s funeral. That might sound silly to some people but it meant a lot to me and it’s something that I will never forget for as long as I live. Times like this, you always need someone.

It’s why Tara and Lafayette continue to go up in my respect as characters. The writing for them has been pitch perfect for them anyways but the way both of them were there for Sookie was fantastic. Tara rightfully gave Jason a piece of her mind after he slapped Sookie and even shooed everyone out of the house (there were times when I wanted to do that myself). Even Lafayette offering Sookie Valium was far kinder than anything anyone else, outside of Tara, Sam and Bill did for her in this episode.

As for the neighbours – what a bunch of bastards! Seriously, how dare these people have the audacity to pay their ‘respects’ to poor Adelle and yet blatantly hold Sookie responsible for the woman’s death? Sookie was far more gracious in that situation than I or a lot of other people would’ve been.

I was waiting for her to blow up and she did do twice. First off all by scolding Maxine Fortenberry about Adelle’s pie and then telling everyone to shut the fuck up at the funeral. These neighbours utterly disgusted me in this episode and Jason was no better, what with inviting Uncle Bartlett. I think the reason why Sookie hates him was made very clear – he abused her. He even tried to justify his sick urges at one point. Poor Sookie, she royally got crapped on in this episode. Who needs enemies with the kind of neighbours she has?

Both her and Jason were unable to connect with each other in this episode as well. When Jason made a piss poor attempt to apologise, she blew him off. Given the way he treated her, I don’t blame Sookie for it. Then Jason decided that the best way of dealing with his grief was to have sex with the girl from the previous episode while crying about his grandmother. That would be Jason for you.

Jason wasn’t the only person who got laid in this episode. Both Sam and Tara hooked up again as well. I felt a bit bad for Sam when Tara left him in the lurch afterwards but given that they’re supposed to a no strings deal, maybe Tara in her own way had the right to bolt from him. Besides, it’s Sookie he wants even if he does care about Tara.

As for Sookie and Bill, waiting six episodes for them to actually do was better than waiting until the middle of the second season of another show for Buffy and Angel to do the deal. The way it was written, scored, shot and directed was both gothic and romantic and even a bit sexy. Sookie even went as far as to let Bill bite her by the end of the episode, which presumably cemented their connection even further.

Also in “Cold Ground”

The cat purring when Sookie masturbated earlier on in the season was one thing but I was icked out when I saw it licking Adelle’s blood.

Sookie: “Do you think you could apologise to me some other time?”
Sam: “I just. Whatever you need, anything I can do, you know I’m right here.”
Sookie: “I know. Thank you.”

Raelle Tucker, who penned this episode also used to write for Supernatural as well. It’s always great to see a genre writer on another brilliant genre show.

Sam: “I want you to stay away from her.”
Bill: “You know, Sookie doesn’t take too kindly to people making decisions for her.”

Sookie (to Bill/Sam): “I’m as safe here as anywhere. Besides, I’ve got you both to protect me, haven’t I?”

Bill, Bud and Andy all came to the obvious deduction that Sookie was the intended target, not Adelle. That still does not justify anyone blaming Sookie for Adelle’s death.

Arlene (to Sookie): “You know, you really are smarter than anyone gives you credit for. Oh sweetie, I didn’t mean it like that.”

Tara (to Jason): “You oughta be ashamed of yourself. Is that how your grandmother raised you, to beat on your sister? Look at you. I don’t even recognise you anymore. Get the hell out of here. Get out. Get out.”

Jason went through some V withdrawals in the episode. I think Lafayette might have picked up on that as well when he called Jason a stupid bitch.

Tara (re Sookie): “I get it but right now, she needs to be alone.”
Sam: “If there’s anything I can do.”
Tara: “You’re a good friend. Now get the fuck out of here, please.”

Bill (to Sookie): “You don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere.”

Bill sleeps under his house and talked to Bud and Andy about having heightened senses. Plus Sookie came across his grave and he watched over her with a certain dog in tow and he interpreted one of her dreams and came to her.

Sookie (re Adelle): “To say she’ll be missed doesn’t even cut it because I can’t imagine a world without her in it. She was always there. A kind word and a hot meal and always a shoulder to cry on, not just for me.”

Lettie Mae: “Adelle Stackhouse took care of my baby when I couldn’t and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

I felt bad that Tara bought into her mother’s claim of having a demon inside her and wanting an exorcism. I guess it’s possible but the only demon that woman has is alcoholism and nothing more.

Jason: “Sookie, we’re all we’ve got.”
Sookie: “We’ve got nothing.”

Tara (to Lettie Mae): “I’m hurting you? That’s funny, because the last time I saw you, you were beating my head in with a bottle.”

Sam: “I was looking for you.”
Sookie: “Well, you found me.”
Sam: “I liked your speech, what I heard of it. I especially liked the part where you told the town to shut the fuck up.”
Sookie: “Yeah, I’m a real crowd pleaser.”

Standout music: “Cold Ground” by Mark Seliger’s Rusty Truck and “Take Me Home” by Lisbeth Scott during Sookie’s breakdown in the kitchen.

Sookie (to Bill): “Do it. I want you to.”

Chronology: Just moments from where “Sparks Fly Out” left off.

“Cold Ground” is a hard episode to watch. In some ways, it could be the True Blood equivalent of Buffy’s “The Body”. I already stated this episode stirred a lot of reminders for myself, which is partly why I had a hard time watching it, though it is without a doubt the finest episode of the series so far. To rate it any lower than the rating it merited from me would be wrong.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

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