Blood Like a River
Vampires, and shifters, and Nazi werewolves, oh my. True Blood is taking us into the supernatural underworld with all the camp and panache we might expect from a show that is not afraid to wallow in the bloody bath of murderous sex or town-wide maenad induced orgies. And I have to say, the more over the top it gets, the more I love it! Perhaps the best thing about this season so far is the separation of Bill and Sookie. I’m not just talking about rooting for Team Eric (though, let’s be honest, Eric is one of the best things about this season – his suave arrogance tinged with just a hint of emotion and none of the mopey self-pity that haunts Bill’s every word). I wouldn’t have been able to put my finger on it until this season, but things are so much more interesting when Bill and Sookie aren’t making goo-goo eyes at each other and oscillating between angry misunderstandings and passionate confessions of love that lead to nakedness. Or maybe it is just that Bill is so much more interesting when he is pulled out of the mainstream and plunked firmly in the river of blood flowing smoothly from the King of Mississippi’s kitchen.
I speculated on this blog at the end of last season that Alan Ball wouldn’t have the stomach to show us the full range of Bill’s betrayal (OK, so that is a spoiler hint if you haven’t read the books – and I promise I won’t say anymore). But what with the arrival of Franklin (who, as Natalie pointed out to me in an email, has fantastically crooked fangs) and his own blood-soaked surrender to his freaky, violent codependence with Lorena we are well primed to see Bill at his less than gentlemanly best. We are used to seeing Bill in the throes of existential torment and it was nice to see him earn that angst when he pulls at his hair and screams to the heavens upon ravaging/raping/seducing Lorena.
His fall back into that twisted relationship is just one example of a common theme: who are we in relationship to our pasts and how much can we change? Bill obviously is going to struggle with this question vis-à-vis his Maker/Lover. Tera is wrestling with the same thing as she tries to break the cycle of destruction wrought in her life first by her mother and most recently by the situation with Eggs, well-summed up by her sad statement to Lafayette: “the only time I thought I was truly happy, it turns out I was a zombie.” Let’s pause for a moment, however, to sincerely hope that the writers don’t rely too heavily on Franklin’s vampiric powers of persuasion. It seems a bit tired to think that Tera will fall into another destructive relationship by power of hypnosis. How much more interesting to let us watch her choose to walk this dangerous line as she wrestles with questions of her own agency in relationship to her past. Eric is also getting in on the game, carrying a centuries’ old grudge against Operation Werewolf. We can only hope we’ll get more glimpses of his various past lives. Finally, as we realize just how screwed up Sam’s biological family is (and something tells me that bill delinquency is just the tip of the iceberg), Sam is going to have to face his own questions of identity.
Besides these personal journeys we are being introduced to the complicated world of vampire politics and I for one can’t wait to see Russell’s marriage proposal to Sophie-Anne. It is nice to know that whatever allegory for gay rights these vampires might be, in this mythology vampires most definitely believe in gay marriage. They also apparently believe in kidnapping, extortion, torture, and blackmail, so we can’t exactly imagine vampire rule is some sort of utopia. I love this about the show – the vampire world is both so appealing I can’t help but sort of wish it were true and so realistically twisted I am very glad it is not.
Other loose observations and things to keep track of:
— just what were those pictures of Sookie doing in Bill’s hidden desk compartment and what does Bill’s work for the queen involve?
–if Arelene’s baby isn’t Terry’s can we assume it is Rene’s? You can’t really blame the gal for fudging on the dates there…
–I am so glad that Jessica’s first kill turned out to be a means of indebting her to Franklin and not some drawn out plot piece of its own. Now that she doesn’t have to worry about being exposed as a murderer, do we think she’ll take Hoyt back? Especially with his new haircut that makes him look oh so badass.
–I hope Jason gets over his cop fetish and gets down to business in Hotshot… at the risk of a spoiler, I’ll leave it at that.
–Give me more Pam!
What about the rest of you, Moth Chasers? How far do you think Bill will go with Lorena? What exactly is Franklin hoping to learn about Bill and who does he work for? Any plot developments you are loving? Things you want to see more of?