Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My Review of True Blood's 2x01: "Nothing But The Blood"

Written by Alexander Woo
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Sookie (to Bill): “I shared every dark, horrible corner of my life with you. What made you think I couldn’t handle yours? I’m a lot stronger than you think.”

I never doubted that Sookie had inner strength but it’s nice to hear her assert herself to Bill because if this episode is anything to go by, then the second season certainly isn’t going to be that much of a walk in the park. Yet again, she stumbled across a dead body. The only difference was that this time both Andy and Tara were there as well.

If we were going by “Living Dead In Dallas” like this season is setting out to, then the unfortunate corpse in the car should be Lafayette by all means. Instead it was Miss Jeanette. I wasn’t particularly fond of the woman but even I don’t think she was deserving of the death dished out to her here. So, who the hell did it?

I’m not even going to entertain the notion that either Tara or Andy were responsible for Jeanette’s death. Tara didn’t do herself any favours by originally denying all knowledge of the woman but at least she did the right thing when Sookie advised her to. Going off on one wouldn’t have been Tara’s strongest of ideas in this situation.

Andy himself seems to enjoy grilling people he knows of murders. While he was nowhere near as mean spirited with Tara like he was with Jason, he certainly didn’t give her an easy time of it either. Which was stupid on Andy’s part when Bud mentioned that he was a suspect as well. That certainly didn’t leave a happy taste in Andy’s mouth. Oh well, at least Andy can’t blame Jason for this one, right?

As for Lettie Mae, I veer between feeling a glimmer of sympathy for her and then realising she’s an out and out bitch for her negligence of Tara over and over again. I wasn’t surprised that Lettie Mae refused to accept that Miss Jeanette was a con woman and I certainly wasn’t fazed when she kept insisting on Tara’s demon as well. The weird, liar or not, Jeanette did ‘cure’ Lettie Mae. What are we supposed to make of that?

The fun part about Lettie Mae’s tirade was having Maryann sock it to her in a massive way. There was nothing more gratifying than watching Maryann remind Lettie Mae of how much of a bad mother she really was. The only sad part was that while Maryann was totally right to say all of those things to Lettie Mae, the woman is trouble and this episode only continued that trend.

With Tara you get the impression that she’s being groomed or used by Maryann and that’s before Sam even raised the notion. What it is about Tara that Maryann wants exactly? If it’s to cause a rift between Tara and Lettie Mae, then that’s easily done. However if it’s something to do with Eggs, then Tara is going to be in some serious crap before we even get to the halfway point of this season.

Why else would she go apeshit on poor Carl? All the guy did was give Tara and Eggs some towels. If that’s enough to have her smacking employees, then I’m pretty sure she’ll be scarier when she’s actually got a really good reason to be pissed off with someone. Like maybe Sam for instance.

“You’ll Be The Death Of Me” indicated that there was a certain amount of history between them. This episode went one better by showing us flashbacks. Younger Sam slept with Maryann and stole from her. Our Sam wanted to pay her back because he believed that was her reason for catching up to him. Whatever it is that Maryann wants, it definitely isn’t money. I’ve read the books but I’m assuming the series have bigger plans for Maryann.

With her around both Sam and Tara (and as the series goes on, Sookie) had better watch themselves. At least she’s different to fang-banger killer Rene and it’s rather Buffy-ish to have season Big Bads and I mean that in a good way of course. Hopefully though Maryann will make as good an impact as Rene did in the first season.

Speaking of impacts, Sookie and Bill definitely had plenty to get through with this episode. Both Jessica’s making as a vampire and Uncle Bartlett’s death were something that certainly got Sookie’s goat for this one. To be fair, I can actually defend Bill a little on this one.

Uncle Bartlett – I’m sorry but while Bill shouldn’t have done him in, I don’t exactly find myself mourning the loss of a paedophile, no matter how old he was. But Sookie raised a point about Bill not killing every single person who upsets. She even compared her own discomfort of bumping off Rene and that was in self defence to address the point even further.

Jessica on the other hand was doomed from the start. If Bill didn’t make her, then the Magister would’ve gotten someone else to do it or had the girl simply bumped off. Not much in the way of choices and it was also Bill’s punishment for saving Sookie from Long Shadow, which was something that Sookie needed to be reminded of as well.

Jessica’s bratty behaviour was still a good source of fun in this episode. She found Sookie strange, was thrilled about the idea of dressing like a Slattern but also found herself slowly yielding to Bill’s way of thinking by finding a cocktail of Tru Blood that didn’t taste as bad as the rest of them. I see a lot of fun here if done right. And it gives Bill something to do other than protect Sookie all the time.

In terms of the shipper stuff, both Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer got some beautiful material in this episode. Bill is far better in the series than in the books and the sex scene between them in the episode, even with the blood was something else alright. Then again at this point if you’re not used to the racy sex of this show, then why watch it?

In relation to sex, how funny was it to see Jason turn down a girl because he wanted to be pure? Unlike the start of the last season where Jason was intentionally depicted as a jackass, this year he actually does want to do the right thing. Too bad his idea of that happens to be joining up with the Fellowship Of The Sun.

When even Hoyt is pointing out that the Fellowship are a bunch of vampire hating psychos, it’s good reason to listen up fast. Steve Newlin embodies every ounce of bigotry as his father did before and no amount of perkiness is ever going to make me like Sarah. Also when religion starts demanding $1200 for you to join up, then there’s a reason to be even dubious of it’s motives. Poor Jason. No way in hell is hooking up with the Fellowship going to end well for him.

As for Lafayette, the good news is that he’s alive. Bad news is that Eric has him as a prisoner, which must mean that he thinks Lafayette is responsible for Eddie’s disappearance/death. Watching Lafayette’s scenes were certainly grim but oddly when Eric in the middle of getting his highlights done came down and killed one of those homophobic hicks from last season. Nice to know in a weird way that Eric does have a bad side. Too bad Amy didn’t make it until Eric offered her his own brand of justice.

Also in “Nothing But The Blood”

Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica), Mehcad Brooks (Eggs), Michelle Forbes (Maryann) and Anna Camp (Sarah Newlin) were added to the regular cast this season.

Sam: “I don’t know about you but I think I’ve seen enough dead bodies to last me a lifetime.”
Sookie: “Except this one, I just don’t get. With everyone Rene killed, you would see his rage but this? Cutting out this poor woman’s heart? Someone just wanted to see her suffer.”

Bud Dearborne seems to be into square dancing, which has to be the most harmless secret anyone in this show seems to have. Although obviously it’s not a secret.

Tara (re Miss Jeanette): “The woman’s got a voodoo bus out in the middle of the woods.”
Andy: “Any particular place in the woods or just the middle of the woods?”

Royce: “How long have you been here?”
Lafayette: “I ain’t got no idea.”

While Tara acknowledged Lafayette’s absence, it would be nice if Sookie or someone actively started looking for him.

Maryann (to Lettie Mae, re Tara): “What a rare opportunity this is. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to gaze into the eyes of someone so devoid of human compassion that she would abandon her own child when she needed you the most.”

Steve: “It’s a beautiful, sunny morning in America, Miss Flanagan. I wish you were here.”
Nan: “Give me twelve hours, Reverend. I’ll be right there.”

In case of confusion, it’s pointed out in the episode that Nan is actually in Tokyo at the time she was speaking to Steve Newlin. Hope we see more of her this season.

Sam: “What are you?”
Maryann: “Baby boy, you’re the only thing that’s special in this world.”

Royce: “What else is there to do down here? Don’t you talk to the others?”
Lafayette: “No. Mostly I keep to my fucking self and think.”

Lafayette seems on the verge of a character assessment for himself. On another note, how lovely was it seeing Terry defending Arlene? Plus there was the poignancy of Jason grieving for Amy and Sookie going through Adelle’s stuff and we have a new barmaid in Daphne as well.

Sookie: “Jason, Amy was a V addict.”
Jason: “That don’t mean she had to die. I can’t help it, Sook, I loved her and when you love someone, you gotta love it all. Otherwise it ain’t love.”

Sam (to Sam): “I’m tired of charring my ass on your back burner.”

Standout music: “The Golden State” by John Doe/Kathleen Edwards and “Nothing But The Blood” by Randy Travis.

Maryann: “You have something of mine.”
Sam: “I don’t know how you found me but I assume this is what you came for. I’m sorry. I was young and scared at the time.”
Maryann: “I remember. Money. Oh, you sweet thing. It’s not your money I want.”

Chronology: Exactly from where “You’ll Be The Death Of Me” left off.

For a season opener, there are moments where you think things are moving slowly but seriously, “Nothing But The Blood” never seems to stop with the amount of storylines that are clearly being set up for the new season. A wonderful opening episode.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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