Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Review of True Blood's 1x02: "The First Taste"

Written by Alan Ball
Directed by Scott Winant

Sookie: “You really don’t consider yourself human at all?”
Bill: “I’m not human.”

The first episode ended on the cliff hanger of the Rattrays beating the living daylights out of Sookie in the parking lot, so it made perfect sense to go to that moment in question. Another good reminder of how this is a HBO show is how gritty Sookie’s beating was.

With the Rattrays further proving they were the lowest of low in general, there was no way I even felt a tingle of sympathy for their demise. Watching the episode, it looked like Bill killed the pair of them after Sookie was able to just about get Mack away from kicking her any further. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving couple if you ask me.

I’m not a sadist but I just can’t muster any compassion for the Rattrays. If you go around draining vampires and beating people up for no reason, then karma is going to catch up with you eventually. If it hadn’t been Sookie and Bill, it would’ve been someone else down the line.

Still Sookie was however in incredibly rough shape and quite possibly near death. Her injuries really did look fatal but I was surprised that Bill’s blood was the key. It’s interesting that as well as vampire blood doing wonders for your libido (something which Bill happily pointed out to Sookie), it can also heal. Good luck with keeping that one a secret, Bill.

The sexual overtones between Sookie and Bill were even more blatant than the previous episode. I’m not really a sucker for the vampire/human love interests and while Sookie and Bill aren’t totally unique, their chemistry is however electric and even I can see that.

Sookie initially freaked out about having to drink Bill’s blood but even after she did, it was nice to see the pair of them have an honest conversation. I think Sookie probably opened up to Bill more about her telepathy than she has to anyone in arguably a long time, if not ever.

Another fun element was the family meeting where Bill met the important people of Sookie’s life. Jason and Tara kind of reacted very predictably towards Bill. Jason was openly hostile and really annoying whereas Tara asked if Bill ever owned any slaves. A potential race matter aside, there might be more to that question in later episodes.

Sookie’s grandmother however was a hoot. I loved how at ease she was with Bill and even though she did hesitate, I do think that she trusts Sookie to make the right decisions with Bill. Sookie is definitely falling for him so that is obviously going to cloud her judgement with him.

A lot of scenes in this episode really played into the Sookie/Bill romance. The flirty banter, asking the other about their abilities (Bill also seemingly can’t put her under his thrall), revealing personal history to one another and what’s appropriate than a trip to the cemetery for a first date stroll, huh? I’m trying to look at this objectively but I do get the allure to Bill and not just because of Sookie’s inability to read his mind.

Of course, not everyone is pleased about vampires and the like. We had an interesting on air segment where Reverend Newlin couldn’t even manage dialogue with vampire rights activist Nan Flanagan because his devout beliefs forbade him from doing so. However it wasn’t much of a shock when he wound up dead by the end of the episode. That being said, I actually do hope that vampires had nothing to do with it.

As for vampires, the crazy porn star looking one that Maudette was with was there at that clearly uninvited party at Bill’s, which Sookie made the grave error of going to. I’m not worried. Either Sookie will save herself or Bill will. It would be more fun if it was the former though.

The episode also made sure that within the first ten minutes we learned that Jason didn’t murder Maudette. I’m still on the Jason hate train (which naturally means Ryan Kwanten is doing a great job) but it was really fucking cruel of that sheriff to hold him for half a day when he knew that Jason was innocent.

Again, I haven’t read the books but it does seem that the law in Bon Temps isn’t particularly nice to the Stackhouse family. If Jason isn’t being interrogated by them, then the sheriff is more than happy to tell Sookie what he thinks of her cavorting with vampires.

However Jason didn’t exactly lay low after his encounter with the cops. He went to Dawn for a sympathy shag and kinky stuff and she let him. Nice that she tied him to a bed but even still, Jason isn’t exactly the nicest of people in Bon Temps. Look how easily he blew off Tara as well.

Tara had more fun moments in this episode. I was in stitches when she blew off a potential date by telling him that she had a psycho husband and all the points in the world for her telling Jason that everyone knew he was an idiot. But more to the point, even if she was snappy with Bill, at least her concern for Sookie felt more genuine than Jason’s and that goes for a lot. Clearly Tara is a worthy friend.

As for the rest of the characters, Lafayette was there to get Tara away from her alcoholic mother and Arlene was hacked off when Sookie sympathised with her after reading her mind. Much as I understand Arlene’s anger for Sookie inadvertently invading her headspace, she might want to iron out those issues with Rene as well.

I liked the office scenes with Sookie and Sam, though he did visibly deflate when Sookie tried to put some distance between them. I take she does know that he’s attracted to her and that she’s trying to let him down firmly but nicely. Hopefully Sam will eventually get the hint, even though he does seem to be a nice guy and Sookie could do a lot worse but at the same time, there’s no point being with someone you’re really not that into.

Also in “The First Taste”

There was no reprise from the last episode; it just simply jumped into the Rattrays attacking Sookie.

Jason (re Maudette): “I didn’t kill her.”
Andy: “Well somebody sure as hell did.”

I noticed that there’s a song in this episode called “First Taste” by Fiona Apple, so are all the episodes (or just some) going to be named after songs?

Lafayette (to Tara): “What’s depressing is how often I get this phone call from you. That’s depressing. Why come you won’t Jason Stackhouse?”

Sookie: “Do I taste different from other people?”
Bill: “Yes. What are you?”
Sookie: “Well, apparently I’m not dead. What I am is telepathic. I can hear people’s thoughts.”
Bill: “Even mine?”
Sookie: “No. That’s why I like you so much. I can’t hear you at all. You have no idea how peaceful it is, after a lifetime of blah, blah, blah.”

This episode confirmed that Tara and Lafayette are cousins. Lafayette was right to tell Tara to move away from her drunk of a mother.

Tara: “I’m trying to watch my fool cousin hit on the straightest man here.”
Guy: “Alright but baby, I’m the straightest man here.”

Bill: “I look forward to meeting your grandmother. When may I call on you?”
Sookie: “I’m off work tomorrow.”
Bill: “Just after dark then.”

There was a funny headline about Angelina Jolie adopting a vampire baby. Maybe next season, Madonna will get in on the act.

Gran (re Bill): “Did you want to be alone with him?”
Sookie: “I don’t know. Maybe. Aren’t you gonna tell me to be careful?”

Jason (re Bill): “Well thanks for making me look like a fool in front of him, Gran.”
Gran: “Jason, you don’t need any help looking like a fool.”

Bill admitted that he knew some of the Stackhouse family way back when and also told Sookie that he lost his wife and children as well. Notably, Sookie also mentioned that her parents died in a flash flood before she was eight.

Sookie: “You’re gonna have to give me a minute here, Bill. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.”
Bill: “Of course.”

Jason (re being an idiot): “Can I tell you a secret – I am too?”
Tara: “It’s not that much of a secret.”

That dog appeared to be watching Sookie twice in this episode. I’m beginning to think that it’s someone. Interestingly though, Sam has a picture of a dog in his office.

Bill: “Sookie, this is very strange.”
Sookie: “You don’t like not being able to control people, do you? It’s not a very attractive trait, Bill.”

Sam: “Remind me why I hired you again?”
Tara: “Affirmative action.”

Standout music: “How The Day Sounds” by Greg Laswell and “First Taste” by Fiona Apple.

Sam: “Might be surprised by what you find.”
Sookie: “Not all surprises are good.”
Sam: “Well, try sometime.”

Chronology: Straight where “Strange Love” left off.

“The First Taste” continues the exhilaration surrounding this series. I know it’s only two episodes so far, but damn, this show has gotten it’s fangs into me and is unlikely to let go anytime soon.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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