Religious zealots and ancient Mayans have predicted the end of the world for centuries. But thanks to a handful of public “whoopsies” and that pesky leap year situation screwing with the Mayan calendar, we’re looking good so far. True Blood, however, is in full on End of Days mode.
Of course, that’s not to say the show is over, because its plot cup continues to runneth over. The steam behind this teetering conglomeration of vampire manifestos, battles of werewolf bravado, self-love, fire monsters, fairies, and goopy, liquid visions of mystery vampires continues to pump. But the Bon Temps we knew two years ago is all but gone. The only thing that’s remained the same is Fangtasia, but that’s not even within the city limits.
The first character to burst our bubble is Bill. So much for Jessica’s assertion that he and Sookie “is different from Sookie and anyone else.” Those days are gone and Eric continues to be the only ruling vampire with a decent head on his shoulders. (Which is good news for Eric-Sookie shippers. Sorry, those of you who’ve thought Bill was a shoe-in. After all, if we could predict which supernatural being Sookie truly belonged with, half the fun of this show would be gone.)
While the entire New Orleans crew celebrates the night’s killings like a group of horny coeds recounting their various shroom-sponsored visions as they all stroke each other and their overblown egos, Eric is sickened. And just in case we weren’t sure who’s side we’re supposed to be on, Salome orders Newland to fetch humans for dinner, with a side of baby for the creepy pervert with the melted face. Yep. Totally evil.
When Bill doesn’t leave the room after such a request, it’s clear that he and Eric no longer play on the same team. Bill has officially gone Sanguinista. We see this in action when Salome feeds Bill a young mother. As the girl screams, he drifts back to the last moment he had with his dying daughter as he refused to turn her into a vampire. Somehow, the anger of having left his daughter to die when vampire blood could have saved her acts as enough of a measure of guilt to convince him to rip the poor victim tied to Salome’s bed to pieces.
In contrast, Eric’s on a mission to convince Nora she’s being duped. While she’s babbling about seeing Lilith, Eric brings up his Godric sighting, sharing their maker’s disgust with the display in New Orleans. But it’s all for nought: Nora simply says that Godric died a blasphemer and that Lilith will eventually show Eric the way. Like the empty-eyed drone she is, she kisses Eric and expresses her faith in the vampire god, leaving Eric totally alone in his questioning of the new initiative.
Finally, Salome moves to take out a significant portion of the mainstream movement. It’s obvious Russell isn’t the villain she hoped he’d be, he’s too busy flirting with Steve Newland to help. Instead, it’s Bill who gets to be the man with “Muah-ha-ha” worthy plan: bomb all the Tru Blood factories so that vampires are forced to feed on humans only. When Eric gives Bill the look that speaks every possible version of “what the f**k” Bill simply says he’s “evolving.” And just like that, our entire True Blood world is turned upside down.
Think about it. When Bill was “with” Russell in Season 3, we knew he wasn’t. The series gave us clues. When he was revealed to have tracked Sookie like an animal, we were given reason to believe that it wasn’t as bad as it looked. But now, Bill is simply following the bloodiest faction, the one that is about to tear a rift in the world of vampires and of all supernaturals, and the only sign we get is Eric’s confounded mug staring at him as he drinks down a glass of blood. Bill has joined the dark side.
Next: Is Sookie Really Ch-Ch-Changin'?
And while Bill is on the dark side, Sookie is turning to the light. Jason intercepts her while she’s trying to use the rest of her light and convinces her that her very many logical reasons for wanting to be normal (she blames herself for her parents’ death, she’s a “freak,” she can hear strange men think lewd things about her at the bank) don’t outweigh the fact that her light is a connection to their parents and a possible way to help find out who killed them. It’s an endearing moment between siblings, so nice that I actually echoed Sookie’s “Pshhh” regarding Jason’s comment that her love for Bill was real. The sibling bond looks good on her.
The conversation does the trick and Sookie and Jason pay a visit to Claude and his sisters at the Fairy Burlesque. They reluctantly agree to help while looking over their shoulders awaiting elder punishment - we’d better meet these terrifying elders soon, because the threat of potentially pissing them off is an excuse that’s growing rather thin. The fairies meet on the bridge where the Stackhouses died because by some sort of fairy law, Sookie has the ability to join with her mother’s memory at the site of the crash. Of course, she very easily sees the night of the crash, complete with a conveniently placed hat to keep us from seeing the guilty vampire’s face. But wait, there’s a completely nonsensical twist! Despite the fact that making a connection with a vampire is supposedly impossible (and doing so would also anger those pesky elders, which Claude knows for a fact even though the whole thing is supposed to be impossible - fishy much?), Sookie somehow switches to seeing from the vamp’s vantage point and witnesses Claudine using her light to shoo the vamp away. Claudine calls the vampire "Warlow" when she zaps him and while they don’t know who Warlow is, Claudine clearly does.
However, we’ll have to wait until next week to learn more about this Spaghetti Western vampire in a rain-soaked trench coat. All we get is Sookie’s fanged vapor Voldemort appearing out of thin air in her bathroom to say she’s his and he’ll find her. We’re going to go ahead and give the series the benefit of the doubt: the vapor monster was likely a mental communication as a result of Sookie’s unprecedented connection with a vampire. But did it need to show up in her bathroom looking like the second coming of O-Town’s “Liquid Dreams”? Let me answer that for you: No.
And while it still doesn’t get top billing, we have the Pam and Tara storyline, which continually proves to be one of the better elements of Season 5. This week, we learn how Mama Pam deals with Tara being bullied at school while bartending. Some bratty barbie from Tara's high school days shows up at Fangtasia wearing Elle Woods’ rejects collection and spews racist commentary out of her mouth like she’s being paid to do it. When Tara snaps at the blatant racist (and obtuse projection of that person from high school that most of us love to hate), Pam apologizes to the girl and chastises Tara while the girl brags about her four-bedroom house (woo, girl: dream big) and matching BMW.
And while in the real world, most mothers would teach their daughters that karma or some other force would take down the mean ol’ rich brat, Pam does this lesson as only Pam would. She drags Tara to the basement under the guise of punishing her, but since her mad face and her happy face are identical, it’s no wonder we were all confused. Pam’s got the wretch tied up in the basement and glamors the girl so that she thinks she is Tara’s slave. It seems that Tara will shy away from her true nature, but then she does it: she actually steals cartoon Dracula’s line, “I want to suck your blood.” Which, is probably supposed to be the signal that she’s finally okay with who she is now. What timing. Tara comes around just as vampire politics are hitting the fan thanks to everyone’s favorite former good guy, Bill Compton. Pam bends the rules every once in a while, but she still generally lives by a code of moderation. What will happen to her and progeny when and if the Sanguinista’s movement gains real traction in Shreveport and Bon Temps? Let’s hope Eric manages to bring his happy little family to the right side of the battle.
Next: Sam's Battle Gains Another Ally.
But alas, there’s not only one battle on this show. There aren’t even just two, but we’ll start with the second one. Don’t want you getting winded just yet. (I’m already panting like one of the many dogs Sam has shifted into.) The big battle a-brewing very separately from the Sanguinstas is clearly destined to eventually clash with the vamps, but unfortunately for fans of plots that are easy to follow, we’re not quite there yet. The hate group hunting supernaturals is still largely Sam’s problem, but this week, he gets an ally.
Jessica is easily tricked into coming home with a supposed fang banger at Fangtasia, but she should have known from the moment he told her “he tasted like a milkshake” that the guy was scheming. (Word to the wise: even non-vamps should stay away from men who use that line.) He actually brings Jess to the Hater headquarters where they offer her up to Hoyt as an initiation present. They lock them in a room together until Hoyt kills her, but he can’t do it.
Luckily, we’re spared any false declarations of love in the name of freedom. Hoyt just lets Jess out because he’s not totally heartless... yet. He doesn’t actually get Jess the help he promised her - she’s fully rescued because of Sam’s shifty interrogation techniques. And, like your mother said it would, Karma comes back to bite Hoyt for his deception: it doesn’t take the other Haters long to find out what Hoyt did and he soon finds himself staring down the barrel of one hateful firearm.
And while Sam's now got Jessica on his side, he has another issue on his hands: Luna is going nuts. After Sam convinces his lady that they can’t run off and systematically hunt the Haters, she gets so angry she shifts and becomes Sam. Only, she can’t shift back. Rut-roh, Scooby. We’re forced to pay witness to Sam Trammell’s best impression of a sassy, angry lady for the rest of the episode.
Finally, the nightmare ends when Sam is taking care of Sam-Luna and they share a creepy, weekday afternoon episode of Goosebumps moment when they realize they’re “a lot alike” and apologize to one another. Right when Sam’s about to kiss himself, Sam-Luna turns back to Luna and immediately begins throwing up (hey, it was her or us) like Tommy did when he was in the habit of shifting into people.Obviously, the two of them are going to be in danger because a war is brewing, but can we knock it off with the Luna-death fake-outs, True Blood? Is it not enough that these two are being hunted? Now they have to put up with involuntary shifting and their insides fighting their way out? One major peril at a time, please. It’s not like we have 20 other people to worry about... oh wait.
And speaking of 20 other characters, Alcide is still very much an important character. We can tell because the episode gave him almost an entire minute of viscious, steamy werewolf sex with his new girlfriend/trainer, Rikki, for ab-solutely no reason. (Get it? Because, dayum.) And the writers are lucky I remembered anything after that scene, which may be the closest thing to actual porn we’ve ever witnessed on this show, because all that happened afterward was a mess of a packmaster challenge. Alcide refused to hunt the teenage boy J.D. insisted upon using for the challenge, then he chased J.D. when the drugged up wolf threatened to kill the boy anyway. It’s not clear whether Alcide jumping back in to defend the boy after he forfeited his challenge made him a viable candidate again, but it doesn’t really matter because Martha and Rikki have to save him from J.D.’s ability to drop a heavy rock on his gorgeous head. We all know Alcide is just about the strongest werewolf we know (which I guess isn’t saying much), but his defeat is a clear sign of J.D.’s being on V. That damned drug and Jason’s penchant for dumb, adorable commentary might be the only two things that have stuck around since Season 1.
But Season 1 has clearly abandoned Lafayette and the bundle of other secondary characters that waltz into his story this week (but hey, at least we’ve got more plots converging and making our lives easier). After having a peaceful vision of Jesus sitting with him on his way back from Mexico, Lafayette plans to leave all the magical nonsense behind (and I really, really wish he could). But, Arlene and Holly need him to hold a fake séance so Terry will stop yammering on about the smoke monster that’s chasing him. Lafayette demands $300 dollars and it seems Arlene is willing to pay up because we soon find her, Holly, Patrick, and Terry at a table with Lafayette. After Lafayette tries to bulls**t his way through the procedure, the Iraqi woman actually does come back and she offers to stop Terry’s (and the True Blood audience’s) suffering if he kills Patrick. We already know Patrick is a despicable human being, so it’s no wonder the coward bolts for the door halfway through Lafayette’s explanation. And as much as I love Scott Foley in real (TVFelicity-based) life, I hope for nothing more than for Terry to waste that obnoxious character and rid us all of this plot plague.
Can you believe it? The plots are actually syncing up, which means we may not spend the rest of the season mumbling like crazy people trying to remember what happened on the previous week’s episode. If this continues, we might actually get to feel normal again. Or as normal as one can feel while watching Stephen Moyer suck blood-red corn syrup off an actress’ neck, anyway.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
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True Blood: Season 3 - Episode 1 Recap: 'Bad Blood'
"Conscience off, dick on"
S3:E1 Welcome, viewers, to our recap of the first episode of season three of True Blood! Where "conscience off, dick on" might as well be your viewing instructions. (Unless you don't have a dick, of course. Or a conscience.)
When we last left our gang of intrepid hot people, Sam killed Maryann (finally) and drank some of Bill’s blood in the process, Jessica broke up with Hoyt and started eating truckers, Eric tricked Sookie into sucking his blood and then spent the rest of the season standing around being attractive, Jason shot Eggs (finally!) and Tara cried a lot, and Bill got kidnapped shortly after proposing to Sookie. Also, there’s some business with the Queen of Louisiana trying to make Eric deal V, but that’s plot and honestly, I don’t know many people who watch this show for the plot.
Someone on the True Blood writing staff must have realized that Bill really didn’t have anything to do last season, because he’s been the center of all the action so far. He’s also been surprisingly badass, quickly escaping his kidnappers, feeding off an old lady while remaining a Southern gentleman, and even getting into a werewolf fight scene! (though we don’t get to see that until next week.) After the show literally had nothing for Bill to do last season other than argue with Lorena, I began to wonder whether he would be written off. Which would be terrible, because Bill's bowl cut and "Southern" accent are the largest source of unintentional humor on the show. Fortunately the issue seems less with Bill as a character, and more with giving him something interesting to do. Bill’s perpetual scowl makes more sense when he’s in actually dangerous situations, and his unflappable Southern gentleman attitude is more interesting when he’s politely feeding off old women or coldly informing his kidnappers of his impending death. From this episode, at least, it seems like the writers have finally got a handle on Bill, and I think it may require keeping him away from Sookie.
Sookie, on the other hand, remains a tertiary character on her own show. She spends the entire night wandering from reoccurring character to reoccurring character, asking about Bill. It’s mostly just done to reintroduce the cast, and to set up a situation where Sookie inevitably has to go to Eric for help. There's a decent scene between Sookie and the Sheriff where he refuses to look for Bill while there’s a murder investigation going on. The whole “vampire racism” metaphor the show likes to use is not always appropriate because it forgets that vampires are actually dangerous, and being afraid of something that’s a deadly predator is more common sense more than prejudice. But it works pretty well here since Bill is clearly in danger that the police are ignoring because they prioritize human life. Its easy to see where the sheriff is coming from, but he’s still in the wrong. Sookie's heavy-handed lecturing at him about respecting his elders was really silly though. She gets into these arguments a lot, shouldn’t she be better at it by now?
While having Sookie run around saying “hi” to important characters is kind of lazy, I didn’t mind because it meant we got to see important characters again! Yay! Jessica is back as the world’s cutest serial killer, and Pam seems to be taking a larger role and competing with Lafayette for the title of “most snarky”. Not that Lafayette isn’t doing a great job, but there’s definitely enough ridiculousness here to go around. And he’s apparently going to be busy this season following Tara around and keeping her from killing things, and explaining to the audience that yes, Tara and Sookie are friends. Even though they haven't had a scene together without fighting since the first season. But the scene between Pam and Lafayette was a high point of the episode. She managed to be both funny and scary, while Lafayette is finally over his basement trauma. If Eric’s V drama keeps those two interacting, I’m in favor of it.
Oh, speaking of Eric’s V drama, Eric has V drama. The vampire Magistrate is in town to investigate his theory that a vampire is behind Louisiana’s bustling V trade, and Queen Sophie-Anne seems ready to throw Eric under the bus like a losing reality-TV contestant. I'm on the fence about the V-selling plot, but I liked True Blood's little Wire moment. The problems at the top of the V trade with the Queen trickle down to become Lafayette's problems, which is can't deal with because of Tara. It's a good way of pointing out how connected everything is in a somewhat fragmented show, and adds a sense of foreboding since there are so many characters at risk. I’m also interested to hear more of the Magistrate, who drops the idea of a vampire religion and actually acts a bit like an old-school, Bela Lugosi vampire. True Blood’s dealt a lot with human religion, with the Light Of Day Institute and Tara’s crazy mom, but I’m curious to see how a fundamentalist vampire religion would go down, especially one that thinks that using V for anything but procreation is blasphemy. Calling the process of making vampires “procreation” really hits the biting/sex metaphor nail on the head, but I’m more interested in finding out if using blood for healing, like Bill is always doing, counts as blasphemy as well.
The biting-people-as-sex metaphor shows up a lot in the show, and vampire lit in general, but the dream sequence with Bill and Sam is one of the more clever examples I’ve seen. When Bill shows up at Sam’s door, my first thought that it was someone in disguise who wanted to eat Sam, because he was looking at Sam like he was covered in nutella and bacon. But it quickly became clear that he wasn’t interested in eating Sam as much as he was in eating Sam, if you catch my drift. It maybe just because I was distracted by the glitchy cable, but I wasn’t sure which one Bill had on his mind until I remembered the whole vampire blood sex dream thing. Which, a bit off topic here, I hope they bring up with Sookie and Bill, since she drank his blood within two days of their meeting. I wonder if Bill and Sookie are going to discover that the basis of their relationship is blood-induced infatuation. It might explain why they stay together despite having no chemistry and nothing in common.
So, how was the episode? My general criteria for True Blood is that I enjoy it as long as Eric is hot, Lafayette is funny, and Bill says “Sukehhhh” in his ridiculous accent. Having Pam, Godric or a fight scene count for bonus points. Since Bill is stuck in Mississippi romancing the elderly, there weren’t many opportunities for him to yell Sookie’s name dramatically, and the episode cut out before the first big fight scene, unless you count Sophie-Anne and Eric growling at each other. But Eric most certainly was hot (and nude!) and Lafayette and Pam were both in top form. While the “Bad Blood” was mostly just putting the pieces in place for the new season, it’s gotten me excited to see where it goes.
“I’m in no mood for lesbian weirdness tonight”
“I hear the water in Arkansas is very hard”
“Every time I look at you, I just keep seeing these big old bullet holes in your heads” is probably the worst pick-up line ever.
“I’m sorry that you fell in love with a serial killer, but who the hell hasn’t”