Sunday, August 02, 2009

My Review of True Blood's 1x03: "Mine"

Written by Alan Ball
Directed by John Dahl

Sookie: “Are you trying to glamour me?”
Malcolm: “Yes.”
Sookie: “That doesn’t work on me.”

Are we going to get this every episode? Have Sookie placed in danger and virtually resolve it within a minute. I know it’s not the worst kind of formula but there will be times when it won’t work and here was one of them.

The trio of vampires – Diane, Malcolm and that crazy tattoo bloke all sized up Sookie as if she were dinner. Also vampires really do seem to possess an annoying knack for indicating something virginal and/or pure about a potential. It practically took Diane no time at all to deduce that Sookie’s never had sex. Wait until she meets Jason. It’ll be interesting to see her response to Bon Temps biggest man whore.

As vampires went, I’m not sure how to feel about them. Sure, they’re nasty but we’ve had minor vampires on Buffy who are somewhat more effective than this lot. The only thing here that makes them standout is that they’re Bill’s houseguests and there’s some noticeable tension flying around the place.

Diane and Sookie immediately take a dislike to one another – the former one nighter versus the imminent girlfriend. Bill didn’t do too much to remedy the situation at hand, except to claim Sookie as his own. How very possessive of him. If I were a teen girl, maybe I would mistake that as a romantic gesture.

It might have stopped Diane, Malcolm and that other bloke from feasting on Sookie but her annoyance over Bill treating like a piece of property is well placed. Seeing her show some reservations about Bill is smart. He is a vampire and ignoring bigotry aside, Sookie should be careful.

However it doesn’t help matters for Sookie that not only are Bill’s little friends here to stay for the time being, but she’s also fantasising about vampire sexually. I did think it was funny that Sookie tried to combat that by tending to yard work, only for her grandmother to enforce a meal on her.

I know it’s popular to deem such and such an actress too thin but I don’t think Anna Paquin is. Still, I liked the scenes between Sookie and her grandmother. The grandmother made the point that not being able to read Bill’s thoughts was a good thing, something which Sookie was more than happy about back in the opening episode.

At this point in the series, the chemistry is there between Sookie and Bill and with Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer but there needs to be more than chemistry for the relationship to be both interesting and make sense. We know that Sookie is having some reservations about vampires and Bill is definitely becoming more drawn on her, though less sneaking up really would help his case.

As for his little mates, very interesting that Sookie found that Jerry was planning on giving all the vampires a nasty case of Hepatitis D for good measure. I felt a little sorry for the character of Jerry (even if he did attack Sookie). He was trying to avenge his lover’s death and wound up being hacked to piece by a vengeful Malcolm.

It’s also interesting that this episode talked about vampire hierarchy. It was nicely timed. I’m very intrigued about the character of Eric and something tells me that while Diane and her friends might not want to play nice, it’ll be Eric in some capacity who’ll make them regret it if Bill doesn’t.

Also in terms of the vampire plot, Jason being sold vampire blood thanks to Lafayette (who can drug dealer and prostitute to his growing resume). And this is all because Jason is having a hard time keeping it hard for once. Dawn had no problems humiliating him about his sexual prowess before nearly shooting him out of her place. To be fair, he did act like a total jackass with her so I wasn’t entirely sympathetic with him.

Jason and Lafayette’s scenes together were absolutely hilarious. I actually thought that when Lafayette wasn’t keen on being paid with cash that Jason might have had to put out. In some ways though he did, but that was just gyrating in his underwear and a mask for Lafayette’s pay site.

Jason’s avowed hatred towards vampires is rapidly becoming something that’s being drilled into our skulls. Apart from the fact that a great chunk of them can’t be trusted and that Jason does just seem bigoted, there’s been no other reason for his hatred towards them.

Oh and we can also add another dead notch on his post. Maudette met her maker and Dawn also got killed off. Poor Sookie had to be the one to have found her body and given that Dawn also had vamp teeth marks on her, it’s obvious that the same person who bumped off Maudette did Dawn in as well. I don’t think the killer is a vampire though.

On to more difficult viewing, that scene with Tara and her mother was painful to watch. Blood, guts and gore are almost easier than watching Tara having to endure abuse from her drunken mother. Tara got clouted twice by the woman and while she did manage to snag an invite to stay with Lafayette, she would want to think of a long term solution as well.

Then there’s her and Sam. I loved them discussing their disapproval of Sookie’s relationship with Bill, only because I think both of them raise valid (ish) points. Now I like Bill but a bit of objectivity isn’t bad either. Okay, we might have to rely on Tara for the objectivity part.

As for Tara and Sam taking on a friends with benefits approach, interesting but it will be even more so if neither of them falls for the other or just uses the other to deal with more self-hating issues. Alan Ball’s imaginative enough to avoid falling into those usual trappings.

Also in “Mine”

Every cliff hanger has so far ended with Sookie in some capacity. It makes sense given that she’s the main character.

Diane (re Sookie): “She’s innocent.”
Bill: “She’s mine.”
Diane (to Bill/Sookie): “Yeah, yeah, we got it. So why aren’t you over there taking care of your master?”

Bill and Diane slept with each other back in the 1930’s. When she tried to come onto him later in this episode, he literally tossed her aside.

Tara: “It’s obvious you’re carrying a big one for Sookie. I’ve known ever since I met you.”
Sam: “That’s not really any of your business, now is it?”

Bill: “We’re all kept alive by magic, Sookie. My magic is just a little more different from yours that's all.”
Sookie: “I think we need to stop seeing each other.”

We know Hep D can be bad for vamps (makes them weak for a month), so you’d think that Jerry would’ve tried something else if he wanted to kill them.

Sam (re Tara’s mother): “Has she ever tried AA?”
Tara: “She doesn’t need AA, Sam, she’s got Jesus.”

Sam (re drink): “Do you want another one?”
Tara: “Are you kidding? I’m the adult child of an alcoholic, I'll at least need three more.”

Tara got bashed with a bible and a bottle, which annoyingly enough, summed up her mother effortlessly as well – a religious drunk.

Jason: “Let me get my pants on.”
Dawn: “Hmm, I don’t feel like waiting.”

Diane (to Bill): “Hungry for something else? I remember you having a very sizeable appetite.”

Jason was watching the son of Reverend Newlin talk about being murdered when he didn’t flick over on a documentary on vampire bats and an old horror movie.

Bill: “We have to moderate our behaviour now that we’re out in the open.”
Malcolm: “Not everybody thinks that’s such a great idea and not everybody intends to tow the party line. Honey, if we can’t kill people, what’s the point of being a vampire?”

Mrs Thornton: “Jesus ain’t gonna help you.”
Tara: “Yeah, that’s been clear for quite some time.”
Mrs Thornton: “You sass the Lord and I will kick your skinny ass, do you hear me?”
Tara: “You can’t even stand up, you pathetic, ugly old bitch.”

Sam mentioned Buffy and Blade when talking about getting rid of Bill. He also took an interest in a passing dog. It wasn’t the same one watching Sookie though. Or was it?

Tara: “You’re a prostitute now?”
Lafayette: “I’m an entrepreneur.”

Standout music: “Downtown” by Alex Chilton and “Good Times” by Charlie Robison.

Sookie (to Gran, re Bill): “Not scared because he will ever hurt me. Scared because I don’t know what he’s thinking.”

Chronology: Straight where “The First Taste” finished up.

“Mine” is still another ghoulishly good addition to the series, if not as strong as the first two episodes. I like that there’s good grey area with Sookie and Bill’s relationship and even the high sex quotient isn’t that bothersome, though we should be seeing more antics that aren’t connected with Jason.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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