Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 2x12: "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"

Written by Alexander Woo
Directed by Michael Cuesta

Maryann (to Sam): “Was there no god?”

The amount of debates that particular question raises would have my head in a spin but to answer Maryann’s question, there was no god. Or if there was, he couldn’t be arsed to show up, even with all the big fuss that Maryann had set out.

She had the entire town under her control and even Sookie as maid of honour (so this whole debacle was treated as a union and a rebirth of sorts) and Bill was even kind enough to hand her Sam in exchange for Sookie. Heck, Sam was even bound and gagged to that meat pile and Eggs stabbed him but it wasn’t enough.

For one thing, Maryann’s probably been doing this for a while now which means that Dionysius had no intention of actually showing up and given that Maryann was supposed to be so savvy, she should’ve realised that she was being duped in a way.

Sookie smashing the ostrich and trashing the altar aside, it should have been clear that Bill and Sam had their own little plan to shaft the maenad once and for all. Both men desperately wanted her out of town and both of them knew that she needed to be her most vulnerable in order to do it.

The moment where Maryann thought she saw her god in bull form was the moment where she was undone. I’ve seen gorier death scenes on television but having Sam literally rip her heart out was enough to make me glad that I hadn’t been eating anything when watching this episode.

I know there was some disappointment with fandom over this episode’s quick resolving of Maryann’s plot but I thought it was perfectly fine. The character had been so radically different from “Living Dead In Dallas” that there was no way the character was going to make it out of the season alive. She had to die.

Sure, I’ll miss Michelle Forbes but we had her for fifteen episodes and she did a wonderful job with Maryann. And there’s also the fact that Maryann’s time on the show had serious consequences for nearly every character in some capacity as well.

Eggs for instance couldn’t deal with the fact that large chunks of his memory were gone and freaked out when he saw blood on his hands. Even Tara was no use in trying to reassure him and when Sookie did end up helping him fill in the gaps, Eggs did not react well at all. You can say what you like about the character but he did care about he’d done.

He freaked out over murdering both Miss Jeanette and Daphne and nearly causing Sam’s death and even tried to attack Andy in his guilt and confusion. While I didn’t exactly cry over his death, I did feel incredibly bad for Tara and for Jason, who was the one that inadvertently caused Eggs to die.

Eggs might not have been the most ideal of boyfriends but for Tara, she loved him and was hoping to have a relationship with him that didn’t consist of Maryann controlling either one of them. And if this series adheres to future books, then Tara’s abysmal track record is going to get worse.

I did love that Sookie reassured her about the family and I’m sure there will be scene in the third season that will see the pair of them bond over their losses but I also really feel bad for Jason and Andy. Covering up the truth behind how Eggs really died isn’t going to be successful for either one of them.

Andy didn’t need to actually lie for Jason. Jason did shoot Eggs because he thought that Andy was in danger, so it’s accidental. Still in some ways, this cover up might even cement or eradicate their newfound friendship. Jason had encouraged that heroes do things for good rather than glory. There might be a possible chance that Andy’s covering up of this murder could be his way of honouring that way of thinking.

As for the townspeople themselves – it’s amazing what a lot of self-denial can do. This is a community that have had to embrace the supernatural or at least acknowledge its existence and now they’re pretending that it never happened. I can understand why Andy was annoyed with them. I think I would be too.

Arlene in particular might not have remembered everything but she felt guilt about not being there for her kids and Terry was just awesomeness personified with the way he bonded with Coby and Lisa and Lafayette was just glad not to remember everything. Maxine, well she was less awesome but her venomous tongue finally got Hoyt to man up and choose Jessica over her.

And that would’ve been a brilliant thing but then we had to go and see Jessica sink her teeth into some trucker. I get that she’s young, immature and unable to deal with an adult relationship (hey, most adults are like that too) but perhaps she should’ve just faced Hoyt instead of snacking on some pervert trucker. I’m just saying.

As for Sam, it seemed that he got some lessons in people accepting his true nature. I loved that Sookie told him that he was special and while I never want to see a romantic entanglement with these two, it’s nice to see them more friendly with each other than they have been. Also the fact that they were some scenes together as well given how little interaction they’ve had this season.

Sam’s quest to learn about his true nature however was probably much needed for him but I can’t help but think that maybe he should’ve heeded Mrs Merlotte’s advice about his real family being bad people. And there’s Sookie’s own feelings of identity.

Electrical stuff aside, Maryann went to great lengths to point out that Sookie wasn’t entirely human and the words stuck with her. It was why Sookie had reservations to Bill’s marriage proposal and while it was predictable that she would change her mind and agree, I actually liked the fact that she did have some initial doubts.

With Bill being missing, it would seem that the obvious culprit would have to be Eric acting on Sophie-Anne’s behalf but knowing the books, Eric properly didn’t get the opportunity to keep Bill quiet on the V supply situation. Sophie-Anne was slightly more threatening in this one as well but even I know damn well that she’s not responsible for Bill’s disappearance.

Also in “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’”

Sookie Stackhouse creator Charlaine Harris guest starred in this episode as a customer talking briefly to Sam in Merlotte’s.

Maryann: “That’s hitting me. You’re not committing to this at all.”
Sookie: “I don’t have electrical powers. I’m a human being.”

And Sookie was literally the only human in Bon Temps, apart from Hoyt who didn’t succumb to Maryann’s power. Even Jason and Andy did in this one.

Maryann: “Come on, it’ll be our little secret. What are you?”
Sookie: “I’m a waitress. What the fuck are you?”

Eric might have many talents but it turned out that Yahtzee is not one of them. Hadley on the other hand looked worried/threatened when Sophie-Anne talked of Sookie and bored during the rest of the time.

Sophie-Anne (re Bill/Sookie): “Of course he would be with her. You probably are too.”
Eric: “I do not love humans.”
Sophie-Anne: “She’s not entirely human. Have you tasted her?”

Andy: “I never killed nobody before.”
Jason: “You see that house? It’s been in my family for 150 years. What kind of man would stand by while his grandmother’s house gets torn to the ground?”
Andy: “Not my grandmother’s house.”

I loved the deliberate contrast that Bill and Jessica had with each other during this finale. They’ve come a reasonably long way from disliking each other.

Bill: “I need you. Sookie needs you to make this right.”
Sam: “If I thought it was easy as giving myself up to Maryann, I’d have done that by now. What’s to say she’s gonna stop with me? Killers just don’t suddenly quit, you ought to know that.”

Maryann: “You’re lucky Sam. It’s everyone’s wish to have their life mean something. So few ever get to realise it.”

One of the patrons in Merlotte’s thought that Maryann Forrester meant Martian Foreigner and that the water had given them an LSD trip. Some people do have selective memory.

Jane: “Andy, whatever you’re drinking, we all want some of that.”
Andy: “It’s diet coke with lime.”

Sookie: “I don’t have the words to thank you for what you did.”
Sam: “Probably best you don’t.”

Standout music: “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” by Bob Dylan, which was also used in the main trailer for this season.

Sookie: “Yes, yes, Bill Compton, I will marry you. Bill?”

Chronology: From where “Frenzy” left off.

As a finale goes, I liked “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” a freaking lot. It tied all the loose ends of the season together nice enough and it set up a lot of very interesting storylines for the third season. It might have killed Maryann halfway through the episode but it certainly didn’t lack in keeping me interested. And I bet I know exactly who kidnapped Bill too.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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