I had such a good time covering True Blood last year that I decided early on that I'd chime in again this year. Unfortunately those slutty Bon Temps whackjobs and their blaspheming god (Alan Ball) did not reward me with a fine debut. Cliffhangers are rarely the best way to end a TV season -- especially one with a really devout fanbase that's coming back anyway. They invariably make the return feel like less of a drunken celebration and more like the clean up after A Lost Weekend. No one remembers how things got so messy but excuse us while we mop up.
There's so much clean up. Sookie's house had not one but two dead girls to dispose of (Tara and Debby) and icky leftovers (the tooth!) but to avoid Tara's death being a true one, Sookie bargains with Vampire Pam to turn her. This is a terrible terrible decision but Sookie makes notoriously terrible decisions and almost always for selfish reasons so this is par for the course. More after the jump including the usual NSFW shenanigans of those Bon Temps hookers...
Out damn spot! Still more dead bodies to bury... or unbury. Lafayette's house had only one dead body to--- hey where's dead Jesus go? No clean up required but who made off with the corpse? Meanwhile Luna's ex-husband got unburied by the wolf pack for some midnight snacking recycling (ewww). Even True Bloody's Bossiest, sex god Eric Northam (Alexander Skarsgard) got his hands dirty mopping and sweeping up all the gooey pieces of truly dead Vampire Nan (RIP) in super speed fashion. All this cleaning up but the episode stayed messy either by laboriously wrestling away from point A's various bloodbaths (end of Season 4) to point B (beginning of Season 5...or maybe that happens next week?). It was unable to conjure up a single through line or consistent tone but I suspect this season's storylines will center around the following:
a) Sookie struggles with sleeping around. Alcides first?
b) Jason struggles with Jessica & Hoyt not wanting him and the Reverend doing the opposite
c) Terry struggles with his mysterious past. His ex friends are dying in fires so...something demonic surely.
d) Arlene struggles with Terry struggling
e) Bill & Eric struggle with The Authority
f) The show struggles with the decision to cast a non-Swedish actress as Eric's sister. Weird how she can't speak Swedish back to him when he goes there.
g) Nathaniel struggles with King Russell (I hate "Big Bad" reprises on television shows. Move on!)
h) Pam struggles with new progeny Tara
i) Tara struggles with becoming Vampire Tara
j) Sheriff Andy struggles with shady bosses.
k) Alcides struggles with Sookie's Super Snatch Powers (thanks, Pam! Always telling it like it is)
l) Alcides, Sam and Luna struggle with The Werewolves. Maybe a civil war with a second pack forming?
There are too many characters and not enough new plots. Just a guess. But it's also why I desperately wish that this season could be about... MARTHA
But will True Blood make proper use of the great Dale Dickey? Stay tuned.
Draining the Episode Dry...
Body Count: 7 (1 human, 6 vampires) or 10 if you count Human Tara and the two werewolves who all died in the last split seconds of Season 4.
Sex Scenes: 1 Eric & Nora (Skargsård and sibling)
Five Reasons People Watch True Blood:
Fresh Meat: Martha (Dale Dickey), Nora (Lucy Griffiths), Zander (Ken Luckey) aka Future Frat Boy Dinner for Jessica, Cammy (Cherilyn Wilson) aka the first girl that Jason has ever turned down... and Vampire Tara in a poorly edited final shock clip.
Line Reading Hall of Fame: How does Dickey make mundane lines like "Give us a minute" and "the name is Martha" so filled with drawling hard-life deadened-empathy dread
Best Sookie Moment: Sook' admits that she shot Debbie on purpose "Does that sound like self defense to you?"
Funniest Moment: Sookie would like Pam to at least try.
I am wearing a Wal Mart sweat suit for y'all. If that's not a demonstration of team spirit, I don't know what is."
Trashiest Moment: Honorable Mention - "on the couch mama. Where I sleep!"; Runner up - The werewolf funeral. 'Don't do it, Dale! Don't d.... eeeWWWwwwwwwwww!'; The Winner - Eric and the writing staff's sweaty incestuous pride:
We fight like siblings but we fuck like champions."
Episode MVP: This episode was all over the place but Jason Stackhouse is still a comic treat thanks to Ryan Kwanten's impeccable timing particularly when dealing with unwanted "I'm a Gay American Vampire!"'s advances. It's not exactly measurable but I'd bet my neck that even Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis couldn't out-act him in the 'dim wit sliding in and out of vampiric hypnosis' Olympics. For your consideration...
Your turn. What did you make of the premiere? Which moment thrilled you / disgusted you most?