TV Recap: True Blood, ‘Return to Oz’

Written by Laura Dengrove

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Looks like this week’s True Blood took a trip to the dentist, because this episode was a filler.

With a wowing opener, having fan favorites Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Pam (Kristen Bauer Van Straten) taking the lead with some excellent comedic timing from the occasionally funny Ginger (Tara Buck), it was a surprise that the show just kind of hanged there for the remaining hour. Because for every scene involving Pam and Eric that carried the episode, every scene with drunk and sad Sookie (Anna Paquin) dragged it down and was about as entertaining as watching paint dry.

Photo Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO
Photo Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

In this week’s episode, a party was thrown to celebrate life instead of grieving it, like normal people do. What a wonderful idea to throw a party at Sookie’s house, those always go over smoothly; just ask Mary-Anne the Maenad from season two, aka “the orgy season.”

While everyone gets trashed, “celebrates life”, and hooks up, more drama was laced throughout this show then an episode of 90210. Not the good type of drama either, but the “wow, took long enough” type of drama that has been expected to happen since last season.

The episode just seemed to put aside all of the exciting things that the fans actually wanted to see and instead served as a transition episode for more action to come, as the cliffhanger at the end of the episode confirmed.

While nothing bad happened during the episode, well not bad enough to ruin the progress the show has made this season, all in all it just felt way too human.

For a show about vampires, that isn’t a good thing.

So, what exactly went wrong this episode?

Photo Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO
Photo Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

For starters, the episode focused more on secondary characters than the ones viewers actually tune in to watch. While the writing on the show was seeing some major improvement since the start of the season, this episode was a step back. Falling back on bad habits, the writers seemed to have found comfort in writing about minor characters, and leaving little screen time for the real players in the show.

Who knows if this was their intention — this was a filler episode after all. Maybe they wanted to just show the viewers what everyone else was up to. But do viewer really wanted to know this? No, what viewers want is more Eric, Sookie, and (sadly) Bill action, not Andy/Holly action.

The writing on the show wasn’t the only thing bland in the episode; the drama seemed more teenager than adult, which says a lot for a show on HBO.

For example, one scene involved men hooking up with men, who were already in a relationship with a woman, and the woman turns to another man who happens to be the friend of one of the men and…does anyone really care?

Photo Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO
Photo Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

In this moment, True Blood has officially become an old school episode of Degrassi.

An episode like this is disheartening for an ever-improving show like True Blood, but all is not lost.

The show still has its moments — everything involving Pam, Eric, and Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp) truly carried the episode. And of course, there was one hell of a cliffhanger featuring none other than the ever-charming Bill Compton which prevents the episode from slipping through the cracks and becoming a truly tiresome episode.

All in all, “Return to Oz” wasn’t terrible, but compared to the awesomeness that has been the standard for the show this season; it was a let down. There were so many potentially good things that could have been played out during this episode, but instead the writers chose to play it safe instead of making the risks that have made the show a success from the beginning.

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Laura Dengrove is the one of youngest members of the Pop-Break staff and is a critic for television/movies of all types on Pop-Break. Just having closed out her senior year, she will be studying to obtain her bachelors degree at Rutgers University for Journalism/Public Relations. She was the editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of her school newspaper, runs her own blog (Pop Culture Darling), and interns for Design New Jersey. She also has an in-depth knowledge about all things True Blood and an avid Eric and Sookie shipper.

Hello! My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.

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