Stars: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Chris Bauer, Nelsan Ellis, Joe Manganiello, Carrie Preston, Deborah Ann Woll, Jim Parrack, Kristin Bauer Von Straten, Todd Lowe, Kevin Alejandro, Fiona Shaw, Lauren Bowles, Marshall Allman, Jessica Tuck, Dale Raoul, Janina Gavankar, Nondumiso Tembe, Daniel Buran
Writer:
Brian Buckner, series created by Alan Ball, based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels
Director:
Romeo Tirone
Network:
HBO, Sundays @ 9 PM
Airdate:
August 21, 2011

Last week’s episode of TRUE BLOOD, “Spellbound,” ended with all hell breaking loose. “Let’s Get Out of Here” has a similarly bloody, perilous climax, but somehow it doesn’t feel quite so dramatic. This may be because fewer lives are actually in danger in the immediate present (the long-term consequences are intended to be much more lethal), but it is also likely because we spend a sustained amount of screen time away from the witch/vampire conflict.

BEWARE – SPOILERS

A good deal of the episode is given over to what happens after Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), possessed by the spirit of the dead Mavis (Nondumiso Tembe), steals baby Mikey from his sleeping parents, Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Terry (Todd Lowe). Mavis is drawn to baby Mikey because he is about the same age as her own baby was when he died, and also because Mikey has the old baby doll that Mavis had brought for her son as a present in the Thirties. Mavis-in-Lafayette returns to “her” house and throws out the current tenant, Hoyt (Jim Parrack), at gunpoint.

Of course, Hoyt has no idea Lafayette is possessed, but calls the cops. Andy (Chris Bauer) is high on V and keeps wanting to over-react; it’s deputy Jason (Ryan Kwanten) who keeps a cool head. Finally, Lafayette’s lover Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) shows up, gets Mavis-in-Lafayette to let him in, realizes what’s going on. He convinces Mavis that she’s actually in the wrong body – there is a priceless moment when she discovers she’s in a male body – and that baby Mikey isn’t really hers. Mavis recalls the occasion of her own murder. Jesus persuades Mavis to come outside and everyone pitches in to unearth the bodies of Mavis and her baby. Reunited with her child, Mavis leaves Lafayette as a glowing figure, now holding her own baby, and disappears, leaving the onlookers – including Jason, Andy, Arlene and Terry – feeling that they’ve witnessed a miracle.

Shreveport werewolf pack leader Marcus (Daniel Buran), who is also the ex-husband of Sam’s (Sam Trammell) shapeshifter girlfriend Luna (Janina Gavankar), storms into Sam’s bar. Sam is actually off on a camping trip with Luna and her young daughter, but Tommy (Marshall Allman) is there, and promises to give Sam the message that Marcus wants to see him that night.

Hoyt asks best friend Jason to take a box containing Hoyt’s recently exed-girlfriend vampire Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) to its owner. Jason really doesn’t want to go anywhere near Jessica, but Hoyt insists, and Jason and Jessica succumb to their mutual attraction, getting together in the back of Jason’s truck.

Sookie (Anna Paquin) has been gut-shot in the witch/vampire fracas at the graveyard. Alcide (Joe Manganiello) doesn’t know that his girlfriend Debbie (Brit Morgan) has seen him carry Sookie to safety. Bill (Stephen Moyer) scoops Sookie out of Alcide’s arms and at Sookie’s house, Bill gives Sookie his blood to save her life. When Sookie comes around, she wants Bill and Alcide to find the kidnapped Eric (Alexander Skarsgard). Bill agrees to it; Alcide tells Sookie she’s crazy and heads for home.

Determined to keep things good with Debbie, Alcide offers his support to Marcus, who thinks that a man who will do whatever needs to be done for his woman is a real man. Marcus’ first request of Alcide is that he just be there as backup when Sam comes around. But it isn’t Sam – it’s Tommy in Sam’s body, who verbally taunts Marcus into beating the hell out of him. Other pack members jump in to help – Alcide jumps in to stop it. He’s horrified. Then Tommy reverts back to his own body in front of the werewolves.

Sookie has a dream where she confesses to Bill and Eric that she loves both of them. When they sulk in character in the dream, Sookie declares that it’s her dream, but really, why does she have to belong to either of them? Why can’t both of them be hers? They start a ménage a trois and both vamps bite Sookie at the same time, waking her up in reality.

Former V addict Debbie succumbs to her jones. She then goes to Sookie and offers her help. Sookie reads Debbie’s mind and hears that Debbie wants to help Sookie to please Alcide. Sookie reassures Debbie that Alcide really does return Debbie’s love and enlists Debbie in an attempt to rescue Eric from where witch queen Antonia (Fiona Shaw) has him imprisoned at the magic shop.

Actually, Antonia has a lot of witches, including Tara (Rutina Wesley) stuck there as well, since they won’t go along with her all-out war against the vamps, although one male practitioner thinks the conflict is the greatest thing ever. Eric is bespelled and can’t leave, but Tara telepathically tells Sookie that most of the witches are trapped and that Antonia is planning to have Bill assassinated at the Festival of Tolerance event being held at a hotel ballroom.

Antonia plans for Eric to kill Bill, and bespells the three vampire sheriffs present so that while TV cameras are rolling, they kill three humans. All hell breaks loose.

“Let’s Get Out of Here” has plenty of great moments. There’s an interaction between Jason and Jesus where they are talking at cross-purposes that’s hilarious for Kwanten’s earnestness and Alejandro swinging between bewilderment, incredulity, outrage and observing common courtesy. Ellis once more proves he can do anything and everything the show demands of him. Sookie’s dream is fairly (intentionally) hilarious, as is a confrontation between Bill and vampire activist leader Nan (Jessica Tuck), who mutually despise each other but are stuck in their mutual roles within the vamp power structure. Even the camping sequence, where Sam obliges Luna’s daughter by turning into a rabbit that will let her pet it, is charming. Shaw has decided that an angry ghost inhabiting a human body can be emphatic to get her points across, so she gives a justifiably huge, delightful performance. So why doesn’t “Let’s Get Out of Here” feel stronger?

It may be that the Lafayette possession sequence feels almost like a whole episode unto itself. We can speculate that this may be setting up Lafayette and Jesus getting drawn into the witch/vampire war – the sequence demonstrates that they’re both powerful enough to be players – but after all that build-up about baby Mikey, this gentle ending seems at odds with what’s come before. Mavis writes on the wall “The baby isn’t yours,” sets fire to the house – and then it turns out she just wanted to be in a human body holding her baby’s corpse so they could both peacefully move on to the afterlife? The denouement doesn’t seem to flow naturally from the unambiguous malevolence that preceded it.

There’s some ambiguity surrounding Debbie’s motives – did she take the vampire blood to mask her real thoughts from Sookie? – which is intriguing, and the possibility of the Weres entering the war on either side has a lot of potential. Even so, despite the pleasure provided by many of its parts, the whole of “Let’s Get Out of Here” seems more prelude than main attraction.

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Click on link: Review of TRUE BLOOD – Season 4 – “Spellbound”
Click on link: TRUE BLOOD – Season 4 – “Cold Grey Light of Dawn”
Click on link: TRUE BLOOD – Season 4 – “I Wish I Was The Moon”
Click on link: TRUE BLOOD – Season 4 – “Me and the Devil”

Click on link: TRUE BLOOD – Season 4 premiere review – “I’m Alive and On Fire”
Click on link: TRUE BLOOD – Season 4 premiere review – “If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin”

Click on link: TRUE BLOOD – Season 4 review – “You Smell Like Dinner”
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