True Blood Recap – Bravo, Denis O’Hare!

Oh, how I am loving the storytelling on True Blood this season. I cannot brag about this show enough. SPOILERS INCLUDED. Particularly the new additions…James Frain as the demented Franklin, the magnificent Denis O’Hare as Russell Edgington, and the incredibly underrated Alfre Woodard as Lafayette’s crazy mother Ruby Jean. Sure, last night’s performance was generally a recap on stuff the audience already knows – mainly Eric’s gripe with Russell and the telling of it to the “authority” and the exasperating “heaven-like” world that somehow allows Bill to walk around in daylight. Why? We’ll have to tune in again. Annoying? Yes!  This annoyance hangs around because of the unfortunate problem of having some story lines more interesting than others and the need producers feel to stretch these stories for as long as possible. It was the bump in the road True Blood hit last season with the character of Mary Ann.

There are gems in the latest episode “Everything is Broken” – primarily the schizophrenic Ruby Jean’s statement that “Maybe God loves fags,” after witnessing her son’s afterglow from Jesus. It deepens her character even more since she’s been established as a raging homophobic. But my love for this episode is the story line centering around the brilliant performance of Denis O’Hare. Russell’s descent into madness is truly extraordinary. In a matter of moments the viewer sees Russell’s grief unhinge his already mad-like tendencies and catapult him into full blown lunacy. His gathering of Talbot’s (his lover of over 700 years) remains – gross and gooey as they are- to his chest, proves that even a vampire can experience heartache – even when the heart doesn’t beat. It rivals Eric’s sorrow over losing his Maker Godric, but Russell’s rage is unparalleled. Brilliant. If the Emmys didn’t pooh-pooh sci-fi/fantasy television, I would say O’Hare is definitely a contender for next year’s award season.

My only wish is that James Frain’s Franklin could have had a moment like Russell’s. His delightfully demented performance deserves a more memorable departure. Poor Franklin. I will miss you.

But I will still tune in again. There’s only three episodes left. Like Tara says, “It’s f*cked up…crazy!”