True Blood: Review: Season 4 Ep 2

HBO, July 3 (US)

Hubble bubble toil and trouble—the coven of witches are beginning to have a serious impact on the residents of Bon Temps and Shreveport.

There’s a lot that’s new and potentially intriguing in this series as it gets underway with its second episode, but how fresh it all is continues to be something of a moot question. The witches in particular are still a blank slate, and Marnie (Fiona Shaw) is screaming out for more air-time. Does she go home to an apartment filled with the welcoming mews of her cats or to her Southern mansion where she is ignored by her rich husband?Whatever her motivation might be, the necromancy she is practising has some enormous repercussions. When she is possessed by a spirit that incants a Latin spell, the visual effects are simply enticing. And by the way, Eric remains the best thing about this season so far, even more so because of what happens to him following Bill’s orders.

One of the other big questions raised this season—Bill’s rise to the position of King—is revealed. Partly, this is a nicely shot and executed sequence that takes up from Sophie-Anne’s appearance in his house at the end of season three, and partly a risible flashback to 1980s London. Now 1982 in London seems a good idea, but um, there seems to be some sort of discontinuity going on here. Come on, it’s the time of New Romantics, not the height of punk (that’d be 1976!). Why not at least get the year in the caption right: how much effort would that take? Or even make it a couple of years later and have Bill as a goth? Cliched yes, but that would have been a hoot! Perhaps this is just a minor quibble, but it does disrupt the flow of what is otherwise an engaging episode—and sorry, it loses a point or two for that.

The fill-in around these major themes works well, even though with all that is going on, there is a threat of it all becoming a little bitty or collapsing into a fallen house of cards. The writing and build-up of anticipation, around Arlene’s baby, over Jason’s transformation and about Sam’s new shifter friends in particular, are well done and open up a lot of avenues to keep you tuning in.

Verdict: Punk what? Oh, Bill, that’s so not a good look!

Episode 2 ‘You Smell Like Dinner ‘: 7/10

Brigid Cherry

Click here for our review of episode 1.

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