Monday, June 21, 2010

True Blood: Bad Blood

This a spoiler alert.  Discussion may involve the series and the books.
image It seems that Alan Ball has decided to switch gears and start this third season off with a real bang, unlike the beginning of the first and second season.  This episode began with Bill spraying blood everywhere after biting the ear off of werewolf and killing many of his compatriots.  The last werewolf is saved when the king of Mississippi appears making it clear that it was he who ordered Bill's kidnapping.  The King admits that werewolves are under his control.  This comes as no surprise to those of you who have read the books.
The scene quickly moves to Tara in the bathroom with Lafayette forcing her to vomit.  He yells at Tara's mother and says "you to busy praising Jesus to realize your daughter trying to move in permanently". I think that this is an important scene because Ball has never really allowed Tara to express anything but anger.  This shows that she has dimensions; it is just a shame that the first emotion she is allowed to show is pain, though it is very fitting in this instance.
Sookie takes her case to Eric and starts to beg for help.  When she cries he responds saying, "please don't do that, it makes me feel disturbingly human". He feels that her life is to valuable to throw away. 
In what is the first of two flashback scenes of the episode, Eric goes back to Germany during WWII and there is a surprise guest appearance from Godric.  I am really glad that they included this cameo.  Last season, Godric appeared very briefly but his presence was very powerful and he managed to evoke a lot of emotion from the viewers.  Hopefully, this will not be the last flash back scene we see that includes him. 
image Back at the king of Mississippi's home, Bill is plied with all manner of what I can only assume are blood delicacies. Thank goodness I make a practice not to eat during this show; I would have been sick. First they offer him the job of sheriff of Mississippi area two, which he declines.The sheriff believes that there is an agenda behind Bills move to Bon Temps, and his relationship with Sookie.  When the king threatens Sookie, Bill reveals his fangs.
On his way to the hospital Tara begs Lafayette to pull over. In the exchange Tara makes it clear that it is not so much the death of eggs that has brought her so much pain."The one time in my entire life I thought I was happy, I was a fucking zombie”, she says to Lafayette.  He responds with,  “Life ain't about not having problems it is about being able to dealt with the problem you got”.  If you didn't get it before, Ball wants you to know without doubt that Tara is broken.  

image The saddest scene of the night quickly follows with Jessica informing Hoyt that they are to different to be together.  He tells her that he is changing for her by not going back to his mother and that they can fight their challenges together, but she wants no part of this.  Tami brought up an interesting point on the show yesterday, Hoytt is in his late 20's and Jessica is only 17.  There are certainly problems with his interest in her besides the fact that she is a vampire.
Sam wakes to a gun in his face and is directed into the home of the woman he discovers that his mother.  She tells him that she was a teenager when she got pregnant and that his father was doing time in jail.  She didn't have many options, so she gave him to a family that she thought was rich and would take care of him.  I really see this as a reflection of class.  It is not often that you see hard working class people on a television show and I really think that is something we should take notice of. In the real world many women are forced to give up there children simply because they don’t have the finances to raise them and it is interesting that Ball chose to highlight this very point. 
Sookie returns home to see someone standing just off her property. She hears him saying grab her.  She is distracted when Terry shows up.  They both go chasing after the invader and in a typical male protector mode, Terry tells Sookie to stand behind him.  Terry finds wolf tracks and Sookie realizes that they are going to come for her next. 
image Lafayette takes takes Tara to visit his mother Ruby in a mental institution.  They walk in and she is being fed by a nurse/attendant named Jesus.  Ruby introduces Lafayette, and tells Jesús that God killed Lafayette "because he is a [email protected]".  Lafayette and Jesús exchange looks and this is clearly a precursor to the relationship it has been rumoured is on the schedule for him this season. Lafayette tells Tara that he works two jobs to take care of Ruby and reveals that he is scared that Tara is going down the same road because there is a darkness in this family.  He seems to imply that his mother is in an institution because she gave up.(note: this assertion is both racist and ableist, gotta love it when Ball hits a twofer)
Back at the station, Andy is giving a speech about the death of Eggs and Jason begins to share his guilt.  Andy realizes that they are not in a good place to talk and takes him to Merlott’s. The relationship between these two seems to be growing, but it was never alluded to in the book; clearly this is Ball's creation. At the bar, Jason calls Andy “the wind beneath his wings” in a drunken stupor.  He tells Andy that he tries to do good, but all he does is hurt people.  Andy tries to reassure him and tells him that he is “prettier than most girls,” and is a good guy.  Jason responds with a hug and declares Andy his best friend, to which Andy answers, “now that's just sad.”
image Sam finds out that he has a brother, and clearly there is instant animosity between the two.  It seems that his brother actually wishes that he had been the one given away.  Sam realizes that both his mother and brother can shift.  When he tries to relate to his brother over a car he is fixing in the backyard, they to end up in a competition to see who is more hard done by.  His brother suggests that they need to go for a run and cool down, and they both shift into dogs.  He leads Sam into the road, where Sam is almost hit by a car and he turns into a bird to fly away. Sam is left naked wondering what happened.
Jessica is desperately spraying the house with air freshener trying to kill the smell of the dead body. When she opens his wallet, she sees that he has a child and briefly pauses.  She takes what little money he has, and throws the wallet on his chest.  This is actually the coldest I have seen Jessica be, and I was a bit surprised by it. 
A mysterious man breaks into Bills house and he finds a file filled with information on Sookie along with a genealogy.  People who have read the books know exactly where this is going. 
image Sookie sits on her front porch and Eric arrives.  Eric shows up and confesses that he has lied to her about knowing the werewolves.  We learn that a vampire is a werewolf master. This is the beginning of the second flashback scene of the evening.  Godric tells Eric after killing the female werewolf that a Vampire “dominates his feelings”.  Clearly what Eric is doing is betraying everything that he has been taught for Sookie.  We learn that the werewolves are well funded and well trained. He tells Sookie that he is only there because he owes her, but the pause implies so much more.  When she questions him, he informs her that she is going to invite him in so she he can protect her, or have passionate primal sex with her.  (The silly girl said no, while I would have been asking for seconds) 
Lafayette and Tara return to Merlott’s where he tells her that he loves her before heading into the kitchen.  Terry makes a sweet list of 10 reasons why Arlene can trust him with her kids.  I love that the first thing on his list was nurturing, but unfortunately before he could finish she goes into the bathroom to puke and he continues to read the list to her from outside the door.
 The man that broke into Bills house makes an appearance at the bar and starts chatting up Tara.  He has a charming little accent for the record and he asks for a True Blood. 
Back at Bills, Jessica has discovered that the body has disappeared. I think that Pam may have gotten rid of it. She seemed very interested in Jessica in the ladies bathroom earlier.  On his way to drive Jason home, Andy gets a call about a supposed meth house.  We are introduced to the character of Calvin Norris, who is not happy that the police are there (pay attention, those of you who have not read the books)  Jason goes off into the woods following a young blond woman who seems disoriented.  Jason ends up tackling a drug dealer and discovering a bag of meth.
image Tara is drinking directly from a bottle and two white men exit and begin peeing where Eggs was shot.  One of the men says, “hey this is where it happened dude, Andy put that serial killer nigger down right here. Tara jumps off the car that she was sitting on and then proceeds to punch one of the men in the face. The vampire from the bar grabs him and demands that he apologize, and instead he says fuck you which causes Tara to punch him repeatedly.  I get that Tara is mad but to have her resort to this much violence I think is a commentary on her race and gender rather than anything the character is supposedly feeling.  Ball has written Tara as a classic sapphire now that he has changed her character from White to Black. (note: in the books Tara is White)
image Lorena shows up at the King’s house surprising Bill, who grabs a lantern and throws it at her. This is a very interesting turn of events, because as readers of the book recall, this is not Lorena’s true fate.  Back at Sookie’s, Eric asks if it doesn't bother her that she is “the only one doing the dying” in her relationship with Bill?  Eric hears something in her house, and Sookie invites him in, where they are confronted by a wolf.  Eric bares his teeth and Sookie shoots the gun that Terry had given her earlier in the episode. 
Okay, a lot went on here.  The pace of this episode was very quick and it was certainly an attention grabber, but once again it was not without many problems.
Tami and I will be breaking this episode on our Podcast Talking True Blood at Merlott’s next Sunday at 4pm. 

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