TRUE BLOOD Recap — Season Three Premiere, “Bad Blood”

     June 13, 2010

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I recently moved from a home with HBO to a home without.  With the third season premiere of True Blood approaching, that simply would not do — I ordered HBO last night.  True Blood has never had the most focused of narratives, but maintains an astounding level of entertainment value by way of sheer audacity.  Lord knows I’m not one to miss out on a zeitgeist.

So look for my review of “Bad Blood”, the third season premiere of True Blood, after the jump.

True-Blood-image Anna Paquin and Stephen MoyerSeason two ended with Bill proposing to Sookie who, fulfilling her duties to the plot, excused herself from the room to mull the offer.  By the time she returned to joyfully accept the proposal, Bill had been dragged away with a silver chain around his neck by a mysterious kidnapper (apparently a member of the “Fuck You Crew”).

I respect the Mad Men-style time jump approach to a new season, where months have passed since last year’s finale, and what happened in between is parsed out over several episodes.  But such a ponderous approach is not in the DNA of True Blood, and I thank God for that.  Picking up seconds after the fact is exactly what you should do on a show as sudsy as True Blood.

Alan Sepinwall once (accurately) referred to True Blood as a “donut show,” with the core couple of Bill and Sookie making for an empty center*.  Sookie is more interesting opposite Eric (and likely Alcide once he’s incorporated), or by herself than she is with Bill. So I’m in support of a plotline, however arbitrary, that keeps them separated.  Plus, this particular direction makes Sookie an active agent in her storylines, and I prefer Anna Paquin as a woman in charge rather than a damsel in distress.

On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever found Bill more appealing as a character than he was in Sam’s dream.  I reckon that infusing Sam with the blood of Bill will make for fantastic moments for at least the next several episodes.  When Bill is on screen outside of those moments… Similarly, Tara in season two was tolerable mostly because Eggs was so very beautiful, but with a bullet in his pretty head, I think there is about as much hope for her scenes as there is for the Bill scenes where Sam is awake.

True-Blood-season-3-imageYet any time the pace begins to drag, all you need to do is cut to Jason.  I like the character of Jason enough that I’d love him to get to be “New Jason.”  But really, I don’t want Eggs’ murder to weigh too heavily on his mind.  Jason ought to be a constant source of hillbilly logic.  Conscience off.  Dick on.  And saying things like this:

-“Because dogs can’t talk.”
“What am I thinking about right now?  You know, in my brain.”
“If you and me are going to be roommates there’s a certain amount of pussy overflow you’re going to have to get used to.”
“Let’s just plow through this.”

Alexander Skarsgard is so awfully captivating.  I’ll always wonder what a Thor starring him would’ve looked like, and I hope it doesn’t ruin the Chris Hemsworth version for me.  As far as bad boy vampires go, the character of Eric doesn’t stray too far from the Spike handbook pilfered from the old Buffy set, but HBO is admittedly a much better venue for soulless acts than The WB.  (Also, gratuitous rear nudity.)  Skarsgard and Evan Rachel Wood bounce off each other very well, and this role looks like it’s a lot of fun for her.

In no particular order, my favorite screen duos of this episode:
-Eric and Sophie-Anne
-Sam and Gay Dream Bill
-Lafayette and Pam
-Baby Vamp Jessica and her corpse

If True Blood is indeed a donut show, then Lafayette and Jessica are among the sweetest bites.  In fact, for me, the comedic supporting characters (Lafayette, Jessica, Jason) are on the whole much more engaging than the dramatic players (Tara, Sam).  I guess I shouldn’t expect an hourlong comedy each week, but dourness is not among the show’s strong suits.

The werewolf aspect of this season was featured heavily enough in the promos that I thought they’d have more of a presence in the premiere.  Still, a nice tease intrigues as to what opening the door to that world will add to the show this season.  I’m pretty sure the mark on the neck wasn’t actually a swastika, but a league of Nazi werewolves?  Hmm…

I thought “Bad Blood” was very effective as a setup episode — threw plenty of balls into the air.  What did you think?

*I think Dexter is an example of a donut hole show.  Any scene that doesn’t involve Michael C. Hall is terribly boring.

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