Monday, June 25, 2012

My Review of True Blood's 5x03: "Whatever I Am, You Made Me"

Written by Raelle Tucker
Directed by David Petrarca

Pam: “I’m not interested in you or that pathetic excuse for a vampire you had me make, so get out of my bar before I suck you dry.”
Sookie: “Find Tara.”
Pam: “Fuck Tara and fuck you.”

Oh, Pam, did you learn nothing from Eric at all? Being a maker means being responsible and even if you hate Tara with the fire of ten thousand burning suns, you’re responsible for her now, whether you like it not. You should’ve copped on to the consequences of becoming a maker with your trip down memory lane with Eric.

Ah, the flashbacks in this episode were a lot more fascinating that the previous episode. Pam’s desperation to avoid becoming a social pariah once her good time girl days were at an end made a great deal of sense and having forced Eric’s hand by trying to commit suicide was definitely a way to become a vampire alright.

I have to admit these flashbacks have almost made me see Eric in a somewhat different light. His reluctance towards turning Pam in spite of the fondness he clearly had for her back in 1905 was believable enough and I also loved how he managed to put both Bill and Lorena in line as well when the two of them were killing some of Pam’s girls in the mix too.

It’s because of this that I actually hope Pam will step up to the plate and actually help Tara out. Tara’s struggles with being a vampire are something that the show hasn’t really done before (Jessica adapted fairly quickly) and her reckless attempt of ending it all in a sun bed is not how I want to see this particular character written out of the show.

This episode was definitely both Kristin Bauer van Straten and Rutina Wesley’s episode alright. Tara herself turned to Sam and then against him when Sookie and Lafayette caught up with her and she wasted no time in setting up an uncomfortable conversation between Sookie and Alcide as well while Pam had to suffer the ouch end of Sookie’s microwave hands at one point too.

Having Sam share some poignant scenes with Sookie and Tara in this episode made me glad for the absence of Luna and anything Marcus/pack related material in the same way that Debbie’s parents arriving in Bon Temps and interrogating Alcide over their daughter’s whereabouts was a lot more interesting to watch.

I’m glad that Alcide found out what happened to Debbie, even if Sookie’s hand was forced into confessing about it. Alcide does have a right to be mad with Sookie for the time being but I get the impression that once he has the time to actually process it, he will end up forgiving Sookie. It’s not like she killed Debbie for fun after all.

Speaking of fun, the Authority stuff might not be a whole bunch of it but I could definitely watch Nora calling Rosalyn a twat for a bit longer. I’m not sure if I believe her when it came to confessing about the Sanguinista stuff because I still get the impression that she’s still trying to but either way, I do hope that Nora will survive for a bit longer. I’m enjoying her too much as a character to see her go so soon.

Keeping with the enjoyment, when Steve Newlin isn’t being a good little PR lackey for Roman, Salome managed to become a far more interesting character in her own right. Making her into that biblical figure was a masterstroke and certainly more interesting than her sex scenes with Bill, Eric and Roman but her own conflicting viewpoints on mainstreaming with Roman could be setting up something interesting in later episodes.

Compared to Salome, Roman still felt a little one note in this episode to me. I like him as a character and I’m wondering if he genuinely believes that mainstreaming is the only way for vampires to thrive but at the same time, I’m still wary of the character as I should be I think.

As for the rest of the episode, I liked seeing Jessica pursuing Claude (now played by Giles Matthey) in the woods and then trying to connect with Jason without the sex for once but Jason’s whole hook up with the former teacher of his kind of served as a wake up call we had already seen in the previous season. Still, at least this episode made some genuine progress with Jason and Jessica.

Also in “Whatever I Am, You Made Me”

Tara managed to show enough self control and not feed off a young woman at the beginning of the episode. I also loved the scene where she was staring at the stars.

Roman (to Bill/Eric, re Russell): “Do you know what’s more dangerous than a martyr? A 3000 year old vampire who hasn’t fed in over a year. Suffering does not kill the appetite for power, it exacerbates it.”

I hate to point it out but that child vampire is super annoying and hard to take seriously as an Authority member. Also Salome was both Nora’s sponsor and mentor and the iStakes were a clever way to keep Bill/Eric in line.

Steve (to Roman): “Humans are not rational. They are a hundred percent motivated by fear. All they want is to feel safe.”

Sookie: “Why would you lie to me, Sam?”
Sam (re Tara): “Well, she made me promise not to tell you.”

In other subplots, Holly’s kids posted nude pictures of Andy on Facebook, Terry’s gone with Patrick to sort himself out, Lafayette’s new demon came out to play and Hoyt’s become a fang banger. Pam was actually kind of civil to Hoyt in this episode.

Eric: “Lorena, you’ve procreated, he is protective. How sweet.”
Bill: “Who are you?”
Eric: “Eric Northman but to you, the true death.”

Salome: “Do you know what I admire the most about you?”
Bill: “Clearly not my ability to take orders.”
Salome: “Your heart. You still let it rule you. A rare quality amongst our kind.”

Steve’s been a vampire for four months according to this episode and both Bill and Eric managed to see through Salome’s attempts of bonding with them.

Pam: “Let me walk the world with you Mr Northman or watch me die.”

Nora (to Rosalyn): “And as we say in Surrey, sod the fuck off, you cunting twat.”

Standout music: Koko Taylor’s “Whatever I Am, You Made Me” and Garbage’s “Blood For Puppies”.

Pam (re Tara): “You stupid bitch.”

Chronology: From where “Authority Always Wins” left off.

Definitely a stronger episode. Most of the unneeded subplots were scaled back, the Eric/Pam flashbacks definitely more and the focus on Tara’s struggles as a vampire with the Authority storyline flowed more solidly. Overall, “Whatever I Am, You Made Me” was a richer episode because of these little things.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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