Well that was all over the place, Mr. Ball. I know you’re trying to suck us back into the “True Blood” world as quickly as possible, reacquaint us with the characters, but some of us are smarter than we look. We remember most of the people in the past two seasons - we didn’t need for you to incorporate every single character. You could have spent more time concentrating on…say, Eric? I did so enjoy the moments you lingered upon his intoxicating, naked form. Naked forms were de rigueur this hour, along with plenty of God and religious smack-downs and homo-eroticism galore. While there was a good deal to enjoy about “Bad Blood,” there was also a bit too much meandering all over the place.
As season three opens, the chaos from season two carries over as the audience is bounced from character to character, each one reeling in his or her own way. Sookie (Anna Paquin) runs out of the restaurant screaming for Bill, Sam (Sam Trammel) drives off in search of his biological family, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) goes home to let his freak out after having killed Eggs. A devastated Tara (Rutina Wesley) grieves over Eggs’ dead body, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) brings comfort and a blanket. Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) finds the flowers Hoyt left at her door, takes a moment to admire them and then drags a body into her house.
Bill (Stephen Moyer) has been kidnapped in his own car and stabbed by a rough bunch of men who tell Bill he can call them the “fuck you crew.” The men feed on Bill and get horny and high and seem to be more interested in each other than whatever their mission with Bill might be. When one of the men suggests another feed a guy in the back seat by spitting blood into his mouth, his response is, “That’s gay,” even as he twiddles his own nipples. Reminds me of football, the manly man’s game…
Sookie spends most of the episode running here and there, trying to get herself and Bill’s disappearance taken seriously by anybody. She doesn’t have much luck and she’s not going to get a lot of sympathy from me either. I don’t know what it is about Anna Paquin, but I don’t find her Sookie very compelling most of the time, the exception being during her more rousing scenes (like last season when she was attacked by Maryann in non-human form and had to be treated by Eric’s doctor).
At Merlotte’s, Arlene (Carrie Preston) relates her dramatic version of events to Sheriff Dearborne (William Sanderson) as Terry (Todd Lowe) consoles cousin Andy (Chris Bauer), who is taking the rap for shooting Eggs. Terry commiserates with Andy over his first kill and assures Andy he’s still a good man, declaring his love for Andy. Tara, who’s ready to throw down with anyone at this point, gets pissed with Arlene for not being more upset over Eggs’ death. (Arlene has her own problems — she’s pregnant.) Andy leaves and pays Jason a visit, tells Jason that he confessed to killing Eggs and they have to get their stories straight. Andy says Sheriff Dearborne is getting old and won’t notice problems with their story as long as they act normal. For Jason, normal means repeating his mantra: “Conscience off, dick on.” Later on, he rounds up a couple of veterinary students and heads home with the girls and his new roommate, Hoyt, but Jason can’t stop picturing the girls with bullet holes in their heads so his mantra’s reversed. And poor Hoyt can’t think of anyone but Jessica, but when he calls her, she’s too caught up in trying figure out what to do with the guy she accidentally killed to be able to respond like she wants.
In what was clearly the best scene this episode, Sookie goes to Fangtasia where she runs into Pam (Kristen Bauer) first. Sookie asks for Eric and Pam says he’s very busy and pretends to discourage her, but Sookie pushes past and goes downstairs to find Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) giving his new dancer a test run. Demonstrating a clear inability to appreciate the fine art of the human form, Sookie questions a fully nude Eric about Bill’s whereabouts. When Eric denies knowing anything about Bill’s disappearance, Sookie wants to blame Bill’s maker, Lorena and asks where she can be found. Eric informs Sookie that he, as sheriff of the area, is duty bound to find Bill. Sookie reminds him that he owes her ten thousand dollars. Afterward, Eric screams and threatens someone over the phone for not having brought Bill to him. Pam tells Eric he’s losing it and needs to call the Queen. Eric wants to know what Pam thinks the Queen will do if she finds out he’s lost the one vampire who knows about their part in selling vampire blood.
The men driving Bill are distracted by their high on vampire blood and Bill is able to snap the driver’s neck. The car crashes and a weak Bill manages to escape. He calls for Jessica who is slumbering with her newly dead friend; Jessica experiences some sort of full body awakening but doesn’t recognize that Bill needs help.
Sam hears a knock at his door: it’s a shirtless Bill asking for a shower and a shirt. (Bill was able to find Sam easily after having infused Sam with his blood.) As the two speak, Bill appears to glamor Sam and invite him in the shower. In a strangely arousing few moments, Sam accepts the invitation and Bill says something about Arkansas’ very hard water. I can’t be the only one fanning myself, but just then the phone starts ringing and Bill tells Sam not to answer and at the moment Bill moves in for a kiss we figure out this is Sam’s dirty dream. The waking call was to advise Sam his biological family is gone, evicted from their last residence, but Sam learns he has a brother who works in town. When Sam meets a Tommy at the auto shop he was directed to, he thinks it’s his brother but the Tommy pretends to be someone else. Sam’s got a little of that bloodhound in him though, so he follows Tommy home from work and checks the mailbox in front of the house. Sure enough, his instinct was right and he’s found his family. I feel confident he’s going to turn tail and run from them real soon though.
Lafayette clears Tara’s head with tequila and pills until her mother, Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) arrives. Lettie Mae brings over a reverend to help Tara see that everything she’s been through was God’s plan to bring her back to her mother. After all the proselytizing, Tara says she needs a shower (me too).
Sookie reports Bill’s disappearance to the the sheriff, but Dearborne isn’t concerned with missing vampires. Pam visits Sookie and delivers an above and beyond payment from Eric, then Pam has some kind of full body shudder that means Eric is calling her. Sookie immediately thinks of Jessica, runs over to the Compton house and asks if Jessica has ever experienced the shudder alert system. Jessica realizes she has and says she also felt sick and may have been drawn to a place. Sookie demands Jessica come with her to try to find it.
Eric enjoys a performance by his new dancer until he’s interrupted by the entrance of vampire Queen Sophie-Ann (Evan Rachel Wood) and the Magister (Zeljko Ivanek). They demand Eric close the club for the night. The Magister is hunting for whomever might be selling V to humans and the Queen and Eric do some poor bluffing through his questions. After the Magister leaves, Eric expresses concern that the Magister might not have believed them and the Queen demands that Eric sell all the blood he has because she needs money. Eric tells her about Bill being missing, but she couldn’t care less.
Pam pays Lafayette a visit at Merlotte’s. She instructs him to sell all his V by tomorrow and when he balks, she gets right up in his grill and purrs threats against his throat. Lafayette gets the message. Meanwhile, Lettie Mae fawns over the reverend until Lafayette returns and asks where Tara is. Lafayette quickly realizes what Tara is up to and attempts to break down the bathroom door as Tara swallows as many pills as she can.
Bill claws his way out of a forest dirt bed. He wanders until he finds a house in the woods and rings the bell. A disoriented elderly woman invites him in; he feeds on her, finds out he’s in Mississippi, then glamors her so she’ll forget he was ever there. But he does leave her with a wad of cash and a story that it’s a gift from her absent son, so he’s not a heartless bastard.
Jessica and Sookie follow Jessica’s nausea until Sookie sees Bill’s overturned car. She and Jessica investigate the vehicle and find a body with a small tattoo. They look up the symbol and find it has something to do with werewolves. Sookie looks excited by the prospect, and I might be too. Just please, let’s not go all Twilight with this shit. If I see one sparkle on Eric’s perfect derriere! Meanwhile out in the woods, Bill himself becomes surrounded by wolves. He bares his fangs and declares a warning that he has already fed.
So in the blink of an hour we’re all caught up on just about everyone in Bon Temps. While I wasn’t thrilled with the over-stuffing of this episode, I was truly excited (in more ways than one) to see my favorite characters back again. No one delivers a line like Lafayette: “Bitch, you and me bridge, it ain’t never gonna muthafuckin’ happen.” Gotta love Alan Ball for weaving social commentary with camp and fantasy. I’m trying to finish up the third book in Charlaine Harris’s series before the next episode so I’ll know what liberties and diversions this season of “True Blood” takes. I can tell you one thing I’m hoping for: more Pam. Closing credits: Beck’s “Bad Blood”
Cindy is no vampire (not that there’s anything wrong with them). You can reach Cindy here