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TV Review: True Blood – “I Wish I Was the Moon”

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On this week’s episode of HBO’s True Blood, many creatures roam the woods of Bon Temps during the full moon. Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) nervously waits to see if he will turn into a werepanther, as he is told he will. Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) grows closer to Jason, teasing at an illicit connection. Alcide (Joe Manganiello) and Debbie (Brit Morgan) seek out a possible new werewolf pack. Tommy (Marshall Allman), after accidentally shifting into Sam (Sam Trammell), sleeps with Sam’s love interest, Luna (Janina Gavankar). Pam (Kristin Bauer) angrily catches up with Tara (Rutina Wesley), fangs bared, ready to kill. Bill (Stephen Moyer) surprisingly shows mercy towards Eric (Alexander Skarsgård). And Sookie (Anna Paquin) stumbles through it all, eventually ending up in the arms of Eric.

It’s a trippy series of scenes, which perfectly evokes the full moon tension. Everything seems a little dangerous, and a little magical, amongst the dark trees. Even though every episode of True Blood is teeming with supernatural creatures, sometimes so many of them seem so normal that one can begin to forget what exactly is lurking around nearly every corner. “I Wish I Was the Moon” corrects that, reminding viewers of all the creepy critters. The title seems to evoke a voyeuristic observance of the many going-ons, which is exactly what viewers get when they tune into the TV show. Thus, it works really well.

At first, it seems shocking that Bill will pass up a chance to execute Eric, considering how they have never gotten along. However, upon reflection, there are a number of reasons he might be inclined to do so. For one, Eric’s defiance and ability to stir up trouble is currently gone. Left in its place is a very strong, one thousand year old vampire who is very willing to obey Bill’s orders. As such, Eric could be a formidable tool for Bill, and one not easily tossed aside. Secondly, if Bill does really care about Sookie, and want her to be happy, this Eric is making her such. Either motivation is enough to justify Bill’s actions.

Because of the new Eric, Sookie is closer to happiness than ever. Fans of the book series know it didn’t last then, and there have already been hints dropped in True Blood that it won’t last now. This is unfortunate, but necessary to move the story along. While she has something good, she should enjoy it. Bill’s betrayals cut her very deeply, a pain she will not soon get over. If Sookie were to be with almost anyone else, she would be risking the same again. The way Eric currently is, he in incapable of deceit and unkindness towards her, and so she is able to feel safe with him. It’s a well-deserved reward for all that she puts up with.

Skarsgård is doing a pretty great job of capturing the two Erics. While at times he does slip back a little too much into the cadence of previous Eric, for the most part, the actor is really creating a new character, as the writers intend. Without memory, it may be assumed that Eric is boiled down to the base person he was before his vampire life. Which goes to show just how much choices and actions can corrupt and change an individual. This reveals a very tragic tale for the Sheriff.

Hopefully, Pam (who is not the woman pictured above) will not kill Tara. One may scoff and think, “Of course she won’t!” But True Blood has pulled some big surprises in the past, and this could be another one. Considering Tara is shown in the previews for next week’s episode, it is unlikely that Pam finishes her off in the confrontation at the end of “I Wish I Was the Moon.” But with revenge as a mindset, Tara’s life is definitely in danger. Just what she doesn’t need right now. Can’t one character escape Bon Temps’ sorrows?

The budding relationship between Jessica and Jason is more disappointing than interesting. Here are two people who are unsatisfied with their lives, but instead of fixing things, they contemplate betraying someone they love. In both cases, the betrayed is Hoyt (Jim Parrack), Jessica’s husband, and Jason’s best friend. Hoyt goes way out on a limb to be with Jessica, and always has Jason’s back. If they were to act on their feelings, it would be a failure in storyline. There isn’t really a conceivable way that the arc will play out well for them at this point. So don’t even go there. Maybe they won’t, considering the slow dance they are waltzing around cheating.

In the books, Jason became a werepanther. As noted, True Blood differs from the book series in many ways, big and small. For the most part, these are wise decisions. If it didn’t, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) would have died in season one, and no one wants that. Plus, Jessica never even existed. But Jason as a werepanther is such a deep, interesting twist. While Jason has shown much growth and maturation over the course of the series, having him become a supernatural creature would be a step further, and a welcome one. It is likely, however, the people who make the show just didn’t want to tie him too tightly to the hick residents of Hot Shot, which is an understandable desire. Isn’t there some middle ground to be found here?

Staying true to the books, Andy (Chris Bauer) looks to be heading towards a relationship with Holly (Lauren Bowles). It will be interesting to see this romance bloom, since the characters are so much more developed on True Blood than in the literary pages.

Too bad Alcide is further away than ever as a possible love interest for Sookie, since she will need a new one before long. His reconnection with Debbie is foreseeable, given the strong level of emotions Alcide maintains for his ex. It’s also unfortunate, as Debbie cannot be trusted. Perhaps in the TV show, unlike in the books, she has turned over a new leaf. It would not be the first time True Blood strayed far from its source material. More likely, though, Debbie won’t last. Is there some mutual comforting in Alcide and Sookie’s futures?

Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) and Lafayette are mixed up in some very heavy spells. Traveling to Mexico to seek protection from Eric and Pam, what they find is some dark magic involving possession. Which ties nicely back to their Bon Temps storyline. No matter how far one runs, they cannot escape, seems to be what True Blood is saying here. Instead of getting away from the danger, Jesus’s life is soon put at risk, as he is bitten by a rattlesnake. Something or someone comes into Lafayette’s body and controls the moment, presumably saving Jesus’s life. But why, and for what?

The big question is, what will learning about possession do for Lafayette and Jesus? It is nice that they are drawn into the overarching villain’s story so strongly this season, and may eventually get to help defeat the evil being behind this season’s woes. But before they do, they need to understand what is going on, something that has not been completely clear for the viewers at home. It does involve someone killed a long time ago wanting revenge, but to what end? Sure, Antonia (Paola Turbay) is after a vampire who escaped her prior punishment, and I guess that can extend to wanting to wipe out all vampires. But what spirit(s) is taking possession down in Mexico and why?

Which leads to the inevitable praise that Fiona Shaw so richly deserves. She is brilliant at switching between cowardly, peaceful, religious woman and all-powerful nasty big bad. The two roles are so different, and watching an experienced hand like Shaw so deftly handle them is a rare treat. Other actors have successfully tackled dual roles before, but Shaw is quickly shooting to the top of the list, putting many others to shame. There is absolutely nothing to complain about her performance, and there is much anticipation for what will come next for her.

Is Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Terry’s (Todd Lowe) baby related to Marnie and Lafayette’s plot, or is it something else entirely. In “I Wish I Was the Moon,” the baby seems to burn down their house, though the mysterious woman he waves to could also be involved, or have done it. Either way, there is something seriously wrong with the infant, and the threat he poses is not imagined. It would be hard for True Blood to justify killing someone less than one year old, no matter what threat he poses. This is a very complex situation, worth much more exploration.

Watch True Blood Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • amerirish

    “Staying true to the books, Andy (Chris Bauer) looks to be heading towards a relationship with Holly (Lauren Bowles).”

    I’m sorry to nitpick, but in the books Andy was dating Haliegh – not Holly. Haliegh was a teacher (like Luna on TB) and not a waitress. There was a Holly who worked at Merlott’s but she did not date Andy. It might have been mentioned that she had in the past, but definitely not like on the show.

  • http://jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com/ Jerome Wetzel

    Amerirish – Oops! You are so right. Guess they are looking to combine some characters.