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"True Blood" Spellbound (2011)

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Shocking, eventful, and much better than the preceding episodes

Author: Sarasilien from United States
15 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The season's story arc is nearing its peak. The battle between the vampires and the witches has been joined. We now know who's haunting Arlene and Rene's baby and why. Hoyt's relationship with Jessica goes past the point of no return. We learn the identity of Luna's bad-tempered ex-husband, and it's an surprisingly unsurprising surprise. There's even some humor, most of it courtesy of a hapless vampire and the ever-incompetent Bon Temps police. In all, it's a much more satisfying and engaging episode than #4.7.

----- Spoilers Begin Here -----

The highlight of the episode is Hoyt/Jessica breakup, for which the show gives us two different versions. In Jessica's dream, Hoyt tells her he'd rather die than lose her, so she obligingly kills him; in the "real" version, Hoyt angrily denounces Jessica and bans her from his house. Both scenes are shocking because we never expected such extreme behavior from either of them. Shocking is good -- it's something that has been missing from most episodes this season.

When Jessica turns to Jason for support and Jason throws her out, we can see how devastated she is ... and we know that we can expect her to do something desperately bad in the next episode or two. The show has toyed with poor Jessica almost as much as it has with poor, poor Tara. I've generally been more annoyed than entertained by Jessica, but she's been one of the most interesting characters this season, giving us a clear, raw view into the conflicted vampire heart.

The next highlight ... maybe ... is the V dream that Sookie and Eric enter after exchanging blood. It's not as good as the visions Jason had with Amy back in season 1, but it's a welcome change of pace from the usual soft core stuff that still won't disappoint anyone looking to see Sookie's bare chest or Eric's bare butt.

Nondumiso Tembe does an excellent job playing Mavis, the disturbed woman whose ghost has been haunting Arlene and Rene's baby. Mavis does us a favor by demonstrating something that Lafayette suspected and the rest of us may not have realized -- the poor man can be possessed by any stray spirit that happens along. Nelsan Ellis doesn't play Mavis nearly as well as Tembe, but he makes a valiant effort.

It was inevitable that one side or the other would break the agreement that Antonia made with Bill to meet in the Bon Temps cemetery, but I admit I was surprised that both did. That's fine, but the ensuing chaos was ... pretty much just chaos. Inconclusive battles are part of any war, but this one could have been staged better, I think.

It's clearer now why we've been following the saga of Alcide and Debbie. The Marcus-Luna-Sam triangle is not necessarily a bad move, but having Alcide so attached to Sookie that he runs off to Bon Temps just in case she needs him ... it's not entirely plausible and, more importantly, it's just another complication that we really don't need.

So, while this episode gives this season a well-needed shot in the arm, it's still way messier than I would like.

P.S. The IMDb credits for this episode don't say this for some reason, but Dan Buran plays Marcus Bozeman and Paola Turbay (yes, the same actor who plays Marissa on "Royal Pains") is Antonia. No offense to Fiona Shaw, who does an excellent job with Marnie/Antonia, but couldn't the producers use the usual device and have Turbay play Antonia once it's established that she's really in Marnie's body?

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9 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Disgraceful overdose

Author: igoatabase from France
15 August 2011

Hi, my name is John Doe. I'm a V addict, pink werepanther and I watch True Blood every week. Until now I forgave all the show flaws and tried to focus on its qualities but Spellbound finally opened my eyes. This was one of the most unbalanced episode I have ever seen. A cocktail of undeniable strengths ruined by weaknesses that make you wonder about the very sanity of the people behind the show. Before I used to blame the editor but the poor soul has probably nothing to do with it. How is it possible to allow such confusing action to air on TV ? The cemetery part was 90% massacre, 10% bittersweetness. In some films the fights are so badly choreographed and ridiculously over the top that you can only laugh but here the creativity came straight from the asylum. I know many viewers love Lafayette when I have to admit the character annoys me and doesn't entertain me at all. Now it has been revealed he's a medium I was wondering how his skill, that came from nowhere, would be used and I seriously worry about his fate. His arc was boring and completely misplaced. As for the other stories I can see how their lines could collide but my priority is the Sookie Gang. After all Lost proved that developing a character each episode can pay off and I really wish his process was applied to True Blood because his format doesn't work for me anymore. As usual I could praise some hilarious dialogs (My Bill !), the exciting Jason & Jessica (Fangtastic !), an interesting oneiric escape or a few frightening moments but not this time. I'm annoyed, very disappointed and consider this episode could be the last treat of some long time fans and I wouldn't blame them for giving up ! I just hope the team behind the show will learn from its mistakes, pay attention to their audience's feedback and serve us with a stronger season next year because season 4 has been a mess so far. I ate too much candy and I threw it up. That's how this 8th hour made me feel.

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