16 June 2010

True Blood Season 3 Premiere "Bad Blood"

Spoilers Ahead

It's back! And it was so worth the wait.

I'm slightly giddy from the triumphant return of this brilliant show, so I'm not quite sure where to begin. I can tell you the premiere starts out with both humour and drama. And that there are some truly awesome moments in this episode. And that there is plenty of eye candy in the form of naked and near-naked characters. Oh yes, something for everyone.

Sookie spends the episode looking for Bill. When she can't find him anywhere inside or outside the restaurant, she gets the police involved. When the police are less than helpful, she gets Jessica involved. When Jessica doesn't know anything she gets Eric involved. While trying to track down Lorena (suspect the second, after Eric) she discovers that Bill and Jessica have a mental link. Tearing Jessica away from her own, rather interesting, activities Sookie uses Jessica as a tracking system. And they make a discovery that does not bode well.

By the way, the scene where Sookie confronts Eric is one of those awesome moments (and involves a good chunk of that eye candy I mentioned). I really am starting to like Eric more and more.

But I'm still a Bill girl at heart and I was ecstatic to discover he has a major role in this episode. After he was kidnapped I was sure we wouldn't see him for a while. I love it when I'm wrong. We find him--held by silver chains--in a car full of redneck-looking guys. One is the person who kidnapped Bill, still wearing the gloves he had on as he slipped the chain around Bill's neck. They call themselves the "Fuck-You Crew" and proceed to stab Bill and help themselves to his blood. As they get rowdier, they get stupider. The kidnapper removes his bloodied gloves, giving Bill the chance to put them on and get the chains off. The next thing anyone knows, he's snapping the driver's neck. The car goes flying and flips over. Bill's hurt but alive.
Let this be a lesson, kids: don't do V and drive

After spending the day underground (am I the only one who finds Bill totally hot as he's digging himself out?) Bill goes in search for blood. He finds it in an unlikely place. Fully healed he asks the glamoured blood donor where he is, and finds out he's been taken to Mississippi. As we hear wolves howling in the background Bill suddenly has to leave. Right now. Running through the woods (too bad he can't fly like Eric) he suddenly finds himself surrounded by werewolves. Turning to one (I'm assuming the alpha) he warns them he's fed. Then the fangs come out and the episode ends. One vampire, five or six werewolves... this is going to be... fun.

Before the wolves show up we cut back to Sookie and Jessica. Thanks to Jessica's tracking ability, they've found Bill's mangled car and the dead driver inside. They notice a rune branded on the driver's neck and look it up, discovering that this particular symbol is related to Operation Werewolf. You really can find anything on the internet! But Sookie's face tells us she realizes how much trouble Bill is really in. Werewolves = bad news.

Incidentally, I think the wolves looked really good--no easy task. For whatever reason, wolf makeup almost always looks fake/bad and CGI werewolves are even worse (*cough*Twilight*cough*). Kudos to the True Blood team for getting it right.

As usual, Bill and Sookie's storylines are merely parts of a much larger whole.

Sam has wandered off to Arkansas in search of his birth family. After discovering he has a brother (Tommy, played by Marshall Allman, Prison Break) and following him home, Sam finds what he's looking for (a little too easily, perhaps). But we know there'll be complications and all kinds of trouble in Sam's future. My theory? Mr. and Mrs. Mickens are werewolves, but the missus (Sam's mom) stepped out with a shapeshifter and made Sam. Obviously you can't raise a mutt among wolves, so they had to get rid of him (by giving him to the Merlottes). Either that or they're just jerks. Or maybe both. Can't wait to find out.

Oh, and the scene between Sam and Bill? I couldn't stop grinning.

Tara is completely broken over Eggs's death. When we first see her she's still in the parking lot holding his hand. There's a sad and beautiful moment as a white sheet is placed over Eggs's body and a red stain starts slowly seeping outward from the wound in his forehead. After Lafayette helps her inside she ends up going off on Arlene, Sheriff Bud, and Andy (who's taking responsibility for the shooting). Later she attacks Sookie after finding out that Sookie helped Eggs regain his lost memories. And later still she actually asks for her mom. Now we know she's in trouble. I knew Lettie Mae wasn't the brightest bulb but just how stupid she is doesn't become apparent until she invites Reverend Daniels over to "comfort" Tara (more likely to comfort herself as she's obviously got the hots for the holy man). As Tara lies, near catatonic, the two of them tell her how fantastic God's plan is, and how the two evil people (Maryann and Eggs) took her through hell so she could return to her mom. Any other time Tara would be telling them to fuck off, but this time she obediently thanks the Reverend before heading to the bathroom to take a shower. And by take a shower I mean take a bunch of pills Lafayette's got stored in there. When Lafayette gets home after work Lettie Mae is watching TV, blithely unaware that there could possibly be any problem with Tara. At least Lafayette realizes what's going on. The last we see of Tara is her shoving pills into her mouth as Lafayette bangs on and kicks the door.

Jason--Eggs's real killer--isn't doing much better. After freaking out over the fact that he killed a person, a talk with Andy calms him down a bit. Andy convinces him that he needs to suppress his conscience and act like the same old Jason Stackhouse (even if he's really not that guy anymore). Or, as Andy puts it, "Conscience off; dick on." Resigned, Jason sets out to pick up a pair of veterinary students, who are only too happy to follow him home. But they're not too happy once they get there. Let's just say Jason can act like his old self, but he can't perform like his old self. Mainly because he keeps hallucinating bullet holes in the girls' foreheads. They leave in a hurry.

Jessica's been keeping quite busy this episode. Returning to Bill's she discovers Hoyt's flowers on the porch. She seems pretty pleased to find them. Then she drags a body into the house behind her. The body belongs to the trucker she fed on the last time we saw her, but surprisingly he's not dead. Yet. She begs him to stay alive (but won't take him to the hospital) until she hears a car in the driveway. Hiding him, she's surprised to see a panicked Sookie. Unable to help her, Jessica reluctantly promises to call Sookie if Bill returns (even if he orders her not to). Then she goes back to her victim, who has since expired. Desperate she bites into her own wrist and pours the blood into his mouth, hoping it'll turn him. Unfortunately, when she wakes up the next night she's still got a corpse on her hands, only now it's stinkier. Before she can figure out what to do with it, Sookie shows up again and drags her out to track Bill. Next episode: Body Disposal 101.

And then there's Eric. His fans will be happy to know Alexander Skarsgard has finally made it into the opening credits (at least, I never noticed him there before) so we'll surely be seeing a lot more of him. Not that there is a lot more to see after this episode's nude scene. Actors on this show really need to put aside any shyness they might harbour. Mr. Northman spends time (apparently about six hours) getting to know Fangtasia's new dancer, Yvetta (Natasha Alam, The Bold and the Beautiful), as well as trying to pretend for the Magister's benefit that he hasn't noticed the sudden spike in V use in his district. While the Magister explains why a vampire is clearly behind the skyrocketing trade in the product, the Queen stands by playing innocent. After the Magister leaves, the Queen (who I liked a lot less this time) informs Eric that he's to sell all the remaining V by whatever means necessary, and then cover their tracks. Why? Because she needs the money. Why? Because the IRS is breathing down her neck. Um. So, I thought that was a pretty damn lame reason why the Queen would be selling vampire blood; they could have done much more with this storyline. But it is what it is and hopefully it'll be concluded soon. We also find out that Eric, although not behind Bill's kidnapping, did hire a vampire (whose name I couldn't quite catch, but it sounded like Mr. Rugen) to get Bill from the restaurant and bring him back to Fangtasia. Of course, by the time Eric's guy got there Bill was already gone. Now Eric's in a bit of a panic because the one vampire who can link him (and indirectly, the Queen) to the V sales is missing. On the other hand, I'm sure he'll take full advantage of the opportunity to get to know Sookie as well as he got to know Yvetta.

Plenty going on in the season's first episode, which can only be good for future episodes. There were a couple of weak spots and a bit of rushed pacing, but I think those can be forgiven as this week was all about setting the stage. And luckily all the good aspects of the show easily outweigh the few bad bits. Sex, violence, wit, and fangs: welcome back, True Blood!

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with prominent snakelike fangs that descend or retract at will. Vampires cry blood.

Strengths: Super strength, speed, resistance to injury. Fast healing. Ability to glamour (hypnotize) humans. The mental link between maker and made.

Weaknesses: Silver, sunlight. People are willing to kill vampires for their blood ("V," which is a drug). The mental link between maker and made. Werewolves?

Mythology: Once a human has consumed a vampire's blood there will always be a connection between that human and the vampire; the vampire can sense and track the human, while the human will start feeling a sexual attraction to the vampire (complete with disturbing and erotic dreams). In order to turn a human, there must be an exchange of blood, and the human and vampire need to spend a night together in the earth. A vampire needs an invitation to enter a private residence. Vampire society is hierarchical, with the world divided into territories ruled over by Sheriffs, Kings, and Queens. The Magister is judge and jury presiding over vampires.

Sound Bites

Terry: That first kill--it's got a way of making you feel that that's all you are.

Sookie: Where were you tonight around 11 o'clock?
Eric: Here. With Yvetta.
Sookie: Doing this? For the last six hours?
Eric: You seem surprised. Is Bill's stamina not up to snuff?

Driver: Stop it or you're going to get yourself--
Bill: Killed. (snaps driver's neck)

Jason: You wanna really fuck somebody's life up? Tell the truth about 'em. I ain't never gonna be the same.

True Blood, Season 3 Premiere "Bad Blood." Written by Brian Buckner. Directed by Daniel Minahan. From HBO.

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