He finally breaks free in this episode, and his actions go a long way to showing how much Jason has grown since the first season, and kudos to the writers and Ryan Kwanten for making that growth seem logical and organic.
Every good TV geek knows the feeling they get when a character they like acts completely out of character – often it’s what we really mean when we talk about a show jumping the shark. It’s those moments when you say to yourself, “Wait a minute, I’ve been watching this show for three seasons and Buffy/Starbuck/Jack Bauer/Jack Shepherd would never do that.” (Or, in the case of “True Blood,” if Eric or Alcide started wearing shirts on a regular basis, that would be completely out of character.)
Conversely, the development of Jason from complete buffoon to a more responsible and capable character has been a natural progression. In earlier seasons, Jason was essentially comic relief – he slept with every woman he could, he got addicted to V, he couldn’t stand up to Amy, he came up with schemes that were, at best, quarter-baked, and threw himself into them, etc.
As mentioned, Jason has spent most of this season tied to a bed in Hot Shot, and in this episode the women of the werepanther clan are taking turns raping him, hoping to get pregnant and add a little diversity to their stagnant, brackish gene pool.
When the youngest werepanther girl, Becky, is left alone with Jason, he talks her into letting him go. Yes, it was said to save his own skin, but I’m not sure it would have even occurred to Season One Jason to tell a character about to lose her virginity that “your first time should be with a boy you really like, who brings you presents and candy.” (Maybe I’m giving the character too much credit, or it was just really well acted by Kwanten, but it seemed like he meant what he was saying and he wasn’t just being self-serving.)
For that matter, Season One Jason was not nearly responsible enough to live up to his promise to take care of the people of Hot Shot, as he has been doing since the end of Season Three, and I’m not sure he would have been strong enough to reject Crystal like he does in this episode.
But in the context of everything that’s happened to him, particularly his role in the deaths of Eggs and Eddie, it’s believable that he’s learned from his mistakes and has started to grow up. It’s nice to see it playing out in a logical way, it makes me like a character I’ve generally been indifferent to, and Kwanten does a good job of making it all seem convincing and sincere.
ALSO IN THIS EPISODE
– On the other hand, “True Blood” writers, having the werepanthers refer to one another as “brother/husband” or “Uncle Daddy” wasn’t that funny to begin with and is just tired now. They’re incestuous backwoods folk, we get it.
– Crystal tells Jason that once he’s a werepanther, “Hot Shot’s the only place that will take you in.” Yes, clearly, because the rest of the people he knows are so uptight and intolerant when it comes to supernatural creatures…