Monday, April 12, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 2x09: "I Will Rise Up"

Written by Nancy Oliver
Directed by Scott Winant

Eric: “Everybody thinks you’re a darling, don’t they?”
Sookie: “I am a darling.”
Eric: “No, but you’re ruthless when it comes to the people you love. You’d do anything for them – your brother, your friends, me.”

And I’m pretty sure that Bill would also count in that equation as well. Yeah, never let it be said that Sookie Stackhouse isn’t a giver. She’s even willing to help suck two bullets out of a vampire despite the fact that she probably shouldn’t have needed Bill to point out that Eric had been deceiving her.

It’s here for me that lies a problem as well. I know a lot of fangirls went crazy when this episode aired on HBO because it meant that Sookie and Eric finally got some action, even if it was in a dream sequence but objectively, how am I supposed to ship a pairing when the connection itself has been forced as blatantly as this one?

Eric has lacked the subtlety of masking his feelings for Sookie and he’s certainly enjoyed creating as many obstacles between Sookie and Bill this season as he’s been able to do. With Lorena practically being forced out of Godric’s area, the only other thing for Eric to do was to get Sookie to drink his blood.

He knew that she wouldn’t do it of her own volition so the bomb blast created by Luke served the perfect opportunity to get Sookie in a weak moment. And you could see the absolute glee on his face when Bill realised that she drank from him. God help Bill when Sookie and Eric actually start doing it because it’s obvious that they will soon enough.

In regards to the actual fantasy sequence itself – I did like it and I’m not one for shipping wars to be honest. Eric noted that Sookie had a certain element of ruthlessness about her and I don’t think he’s wrong but at the same time we didn’t need to see Lorena lording it over in that dream to know that bad times are ahead for Sookie and Bill.

Sookie probably is attracted to Eric anyways, even without him fooling her into drinking from him but wouldn’t it have been better if she had came to realise those feelings by herself without Eric’s actual influence? Maybe I’ll feel differently when I actually watch later episodes in the series and their relationship is more developed of it’s own pace but excuse me if I’m not overwhelming excited just yet, okay?

Thankfully though, Bill and Eric weren’t the only things on Sookie’s mind in this episode. I absolutely loved the scene where her and Jason couldn’t sleep and ended making some real peace with each other for the last couple of months. Jason really has come leaps and bounds as a character on the series and it’s good that both him and Sookie realised that they only have each other, family wise.

Speaking of families, I really felt for Godric in this episode. He handed himself over the Fellowship Of The Sun because he thought he could atone and instead, it brought about absolute disaster in it’s wake. Nan was surprisingly irritated with him and she certainly didn’t hold back on the insult front. I’m actually surprised that her and Eric didn’t get a chance to physically come to blows on Godric.

Eric definitely wanted to smack the sass right out of Nan but found himself held. Also as much as I loved Sookie’s little speech about Godric saving her and a lot of other people, Nan’s dismissal did make me laugh more than it really should’ve done. Here’s hoping that Nan gets to visit Bon Temps next season.

As for Godric’s sacrifice at the end of the episode, I knew it was coming but it made for a powerful way to end this episode. Eric was even reduced to tears and that’s something that I never thought I’d see. It also made sense that Sookie would be the last person to see him alive as well. After all, that’s what happened in the book and Godric was far worse in that than he has been in the actual series itself.

Of course with the Newlins defeated (for a while), a few vampire/human deaths, this whole Fellowship arc does seem to be done for the time. It looks like the focus is finally going to be on Maryann and it’s nice to know that she’s getting worse and worse. This episode certainly produced some interesting moments.

I’m not sure why it’s Sam that she so desperately needs for sacrificing to her God but I don’t have a problem with it either. I know Sam’s not actually going to die but it’s giving him a better storyline than the first season and it also means that apart from Andy, he’s basically on his own until everyone else gets back.

Andy seems to be oddly impervious to Maryann’s charms for now and the rest of the town are only too happy to actually obey her every command. The scene where she stormed into Merlotte’s and demanded Sam was interesting. And now she’s got plenty of acolytes to aid her little Sam hunting quest.

However it wasn’t the only trouble she was causing in this episode. Tara and Eggs were momentarily getting some sense when they noticed their bruises and Maryann talked them out of it with chatter about religion and chaos. Worse still, it seems that Maryann now has two more victims with Lafayette and Lettie Mae.

I know there’s supposed to be an irony with the woman who spent most her life harming Tara now becoming the one trying to save her, but when Tara started physically attacking Lettie Mae, I did feel a lot for the woman. Lettie Mae and Lafayette might have Tara in their clutches but even I could’ve guessed that only played to Maryann’s advantages.

And on the non-season arc front, the awkwardness between Terry and Arlene certainly got played a little for laughs. I want these two to work because in a lot of ways, Terry actually makes Arlene a lot more likeable than she normally is and both of them could do with being happy as well.

As for Hoyt and Jessica, it’s pretty damn simple – ignore Maxine Fortenberry. That irritating old bat may have raised some valid points about her son’s safety but given that Jessica was trying to play nice, it wouldn’t have killed Maxine maybe to have met her halfway on this one. And also as Hoyt kept repeatedly pointing out in this episode, he is a grown man and Maxine might want to accept that sooner rather than later.

Also in “I Will Rise Up”

Because of Stan’s death in this episode, Isobel reluctantly became the sheriff of Dallas. I like Isobel so I do hope we see her again.

Sookie: “You big lying A-hole.”
Eric: “Bill, you’re right. I can sense her emotions.”

There was an amusing little TV spat between Nan and an arguing Steve and Sarah in this episode. Loved Sarah’s dig about Steve’s hair.

Jessica: “You should break up with me.”
Hoyt: “Hell no. That thing that grows back, it’s just a thing. I ain’t perfect either. I’m a guy that people laugh at, even my friends but not you.”

Maryann: “I will never understand that. Why be ashamed of laughter and pleasure and letting go?”
Tara: “Because I’ve never been this out of control.”

I have to say that nine episodes into this season, I’m really impressed with how both the Maryann and the Fellowship plots have been distanced from each other. Any other show would’ve merged them but not this one.

Sookie (re Adelle): “But we have to talk about her. We can’t stop remembering or loving her because it hurts too much. She’d never stop loving us, wouldn’t she?”
Jason: “No.”

Eric: “You’ve killed a man.”
Sookie: “Well that for self-defence, not lunch.”

And going into further continuity, Rene won’t be the only time that Sookie kills for self-defence. Eric‘s musings in Sookie’s dream are going to be prophetic in more ways than one.

Maryann (realising Sam is gone): “Now I am really irritated.”

Maryann: “Mrs Thornton, what’s your drink?”
Tara: “Vodka, whiskey, hairspray, antifreeze.”

Standout music: “I Will Rise Up” by Lyle Lovett, appropriately enough.

Eric: “I won’t let you die.”
Godric: “Yes you will. As your maker, I command you.”

Chronology: From where “Time Bomb” left off.

A fan favourite episode, “I Will Rise Up” certainly had all the right ingredients in pleasing it’s main audience – Sookie/Eric, Godric sacrifice, Maryann’s pursuit of Sam, so I’m more or less pleased with it.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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