True Blood: Life in the Corpse

True Blood: Life in the Corpse

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I expect True Blood to go out harder than a train crash in the third Atlas Shrugged movie. This show exists to justify the phrase "Get out while the getting's good."

And yet.

AAANNNDDD yet...this week was honestly one of my favorite episodes in the show's history. It was really, really good, you guys.

On the surface, nothing of real note happens. The infected vampires get their final, puddle-y end in the most predictable battle since Sam Houston caught Santa Anna deciding that an afternoon in the middle of a war was the perfect place to catch a few Zs. Spoiler, but I'm really surprised that the show had the balls to actually kill off Alcide, but really that's the nitty and the gritty of plot development.

What made this episode so awesome was what made the show, and really the original books, awesome in the first place: simple, ridiculously lovable characterization.

For instance, the show has a problem with stupid flashbacks. I'm going to say a full 90 percent of them are more useless than a screen door on a submarine. It's usually just an excuse to wear period clothes, and as far as I'm concerned that;s what the Renaissance Festival is for.

True Blood: Life in the Corpse

This time, we get to watch Pam and Eric being forced into business ownership of a small video store in Shreveport as part of their punishment by the Vampire Authority. Zeljko Ivanek makes a surprise and much-needed cameo as the Magister, showing off the porno basement that will later become the sex-dungeon of Fangtasia to Eric and Pam.

Where True Blood often fails as opposed to the books is the fact that it doesn't spend enough time world-building. It's the little things that make Bon Temps real, and this was an episode of nothing but little things.

The song this week was Bob Dylan's "Death is Not the End." Now, far be it from me to say mean things about Dylan, but using the original song this week in the show was a mistake.

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Don't get me wrong. I love the tune with all my heart. But just as Johnny Cash forever stole "Hurt" from Trent Reznor, so did Nick Cave steal "Death" from Dylan. His ensemble ode to the twisted ways to and beyond the mortal coil would have given voice to the myriad of characters coming down to their final goodbyes.

The message is still there. The line "When the cities are on fire with the burning flesh of men/ just remember that death is not the end" loses none of its brilliance. But that Cave cover...he put those words in a half-dozen different mouths, and the song becomes a hymn.

Regardless, the song speaks the truth. Death don't mean it's over for True Blood, and it's nice to see the show recover its balls a bit.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.


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