Oh, True Blood. What would your season premieres be without unintelligible chaos that takes viewers until the opening credits to discern the who and the what? (But never the why). Last year, the series seemed to be in free fall after creator Alan Ball left (which was also kind of a good thing), but then the new showrunner left, too. Eventually, one stayed, and the show’s sixth season actually went far in righting the ship after Season Five’s disastrous Billith situation. For this final run, viewers were promised a return to a focus on Bon Temps, and the humans (like Season One), but did “Jesus Gonna Be Here” deliver? Hit the jump for more.
The short answer is: yes and no. On the positive side, Sookie’s telepathic powers are as important (and as much of a curse) as they were in Season One. They aren’t just around when convenient for the plot, and then forgotten about for several seasons. Sookie is tormented by the thoughts of others, usually about her (people are very single-minded in Bon Temps, it seems). Even Alcide “betrayed” her by seemingly blaming her for the chaos and carnage that has been brought to town because of her “love of the dead.”
Regarding almost every other plot though, things were not so positive. True Blood has always been batshit crazy, let’s just all start from a point of mutual acknowledgement about that. But there’s the True Blood that has some character-driven substance to it, like this plot with Sookie, and then there’s the poorly-written porn of Jason and Violet consummating their … whatever it is they are.
In between, there’s a lot of catching up to do after that time jump to end last season. Sam is apparently the mayor, Pam is playing Russian Roulette in Marrakech in order to get to Eric, Jessica is watching over Adalene (whose sisters she ate), but thank God LaFayette is still LaLa.
And, oh yeah, the show killed off Tara. Seriously? She was unfortunately always a pretty useless character (the complete fault of the writers, because she was never unlikable as a personality, just as plot device), but she hung out for six long seasons, being degraded in every way possible. Finally, she had a decently interesting arc as Pam’s young vampire progeny, only to be killed off in the first few minutes of this new season? This is some real bullshit, True Blood.
Everything else is basically status quo in Bon Temps. After a vampire attack, people are angry, mostly at Sookie, and people are dead. Andy and Bill have formed an uneasy alliance against some random vigilantes led by a man we just met, who we’re supposed to give some kind of care about. Well, we don’t. He lost a mayoral race to Sam? When? Who cares? It’s just another group of humans trying to kill vampires, because they’re sick of it. Jason and Andy are then forced to stand up for vampire kind, which has traditionally been against their nature. Not to mention that Holly and Arlene are captured and in danger, of course, again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
True Blood‘s premieres aren’t usually that great, and things do tend to get better after each season finishes trying to undo that mess of the prior season’s finale. It takes a few episodes to find its new groove, but Season Seven is not off to a great start even by True Blood standards. There are opportunities for some great character moments as the season winds down, but we have a long way to go before that. For now, to quote Pam, “Your God and my God can get a hotel room and have a circle jerk for all I care — I’ll be in hell, having a three way with the devil.”
Episode Rating: C
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I was genuinely looking forward to this season of True Blood. Readers from last year will note that I defended the show throughout Season Six, thinking that things were actually going in a better direction than Season Five. This premiere doesn’t leave me with much to defend for Season Seven, unfortunately.
— The most powerful moment of the episode was Sookie confronting Alcide over the “ugly truth” she hears from townsfolk, friends, and even her family on a regular basis. It was heartbreaking, and something the show hasn’t addressed in a very long time.
— I know Pam clearly had a death wish, but was part of it over Tara? Very strange that they didn’t address it overtly.
— Adalene wanting to befriend Jessica was just plainly ridiculous. You don’t have someone literally consume your family, and then start asking about their boyfriend, please chat with me, go ahead and come inside! Etc.
— I have zero interest in James, Jessica’s new vampire boyfriend, but I do think it’s interesting that he is now played by Nathan Parsons instead of Luke Grimes, who left the show over “creative differences.” HA!
— The problem with True Blood picking up and running with something like Jason and Violet having sex in the premiere is that the writers act like everyone just binge-watched the prior season. I didn’t even really remember who she was, or that she was withholding sex from him. Their car sex might have had more of an impact if their relationship had been given a minute to develop this season.
— Also par for the course: many, many gruesome deaths of strangers at the hands (and teeth) of vampires we don’t know. Great!
— “Please let me help” – Sookie. This season could be about her redemption, which would be great. Bring it on.