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”