I’ve watched True Blood since it began airing in September 2008, and I loved the adult-oriented urban fantasy show that offers a mature new perspective on the world of vampire fiction. I found Season 2 to be slightly less engaging and cheesy at times, but I’m excited to see how Season 3 stands up to its predecessors. Watch out, there are spoilers ahead.
The episode opens with a few minutes of recap from the end of the last season, then shows each character’s reaction to the events. The star of the show, Sookie Stackhouse is cute as ever in her formal lavender dress as she tries to deal with the sudden disappearance of her vampire boyfriend Bill. Sam Merlotte is on the road, while Jessica frets over the man she’s just drained. The other main characters attempt to deal with the fallout of Eggs’ death.
I was pulled into the story right away by Rutina Wesley’s performance as a distraught Tara. I always admired her acting, but she brought unprecedented realism to the situation. As a fiction author, I know it can be tough to pull off characters’ strong emotional reactions while keeping it interesting for the reader or viewer, but she aced it and kept going right up to the episode’s end. The same goes for Lafayette, who has always been a favorite character, though he had less raw emotion to work with.
The plot thickens as Sookie goes to find Eric in search of answers. We get our first glimpse of the show’s overt, sometimes excessive sexual nature when we see Eric nude and engaged in some activities with Fangtasia’s new dancer. Alexander Skarsgård may not be the best actor, but this role is perfect for him and he knows it. He and vampire queen Sophie-Anne work well together, though I found some of their dialogue to be a little silly.
I was never a Jessica fan in previous episodes and I didn’t find her role in this one to be particularly believable, but there was something intriguing about her subplot, where she battles with herself over the fate of the man she victimized. I think Deborah Ann Woll may be maturing as an actress as her character grows, and I like what I’m seeing so far.
Sam’s plot hasn’t yet involved many notable events, though it looks like episode 2 will be a big one for him. As always, I love Sam’s character and actor, though I wasn’t too happy about the soon-to-be-infamous sex dream with Bill. Though the show provides a good reason for this development (humans who drink too much of a vampire’s blood will begin to think of that vampire sexually), it seemed tacked-on as a way to make Sam’s boring scenes more fun.
Jason, on the other hand, tends to have his inner conflict expressed through his many sex scenes. Though his part in this episode was a little hasty and nothing new, I like the creativity Jason’s personality brings to the show.
Bill’s trials were nothing special either, though it’s good to know that he’s alive. I love the character’s attitude — he does what he has to, takes what he needs, and still protects the innocent with all his strength, and his scene with the old woman shows that perfectly. I thought the very end of the episode, where he’s surrounded by wolves, looked a bit fake, but I’m sure they’ll look better in action.
Overall, it was a fun episode, though I wouldn’t call any part of it excellent or moving other than Tara’s plot. The pace isn’t perfect right now, but I trust it’ll pick up as the season gets into full swing.
I tend to be overly critical of television and fantasy shows in particular, but the cast and crew have done well here. True Blood offers a beautiful balance of humor and plot. It’s easy to ignore any elements that seem overdone or poorly executed because the show doesn’t always take itself seriously, and that’s what I like about it. I have high hopes for this season, and episode 2 can’t come out fast enough.