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High Vamp: Recapping the 'True Blood' Season Premiere
by Bellatrix Boudreaux
Last night, True Blood returned, and we viewers learned, “In a series about the undead, characters might get killed off, but they never get written off.” HBO's Louisiana-set vampire romp returned with all the almost-there local references, overly complicated story arcs featuring any fantastical creatures that happen to come to the creators' minds and, of course, gratutious nudity. Let's take it from the top:
True Blood’s season premiere begins with the requisite recap of last season. Given the series’ plot is absurd, illogical, and somewhat tangential to the experience of actually watching the show, we won’t bother revisiting the past. However, NoDef took the following from the three minute review.
Accents Imagine Rene Zellweger’s awful pseudo North Carolina accent a la Cold Mountain. Now imagine if Zellweger mated with a valley girl and a nutria rat. Her offspring would have the awful tonal tendencies that TB has labeled a Luziyana accent. So, dear reader, let’s reach an agreement to ignore the accent issue, lest the topic dominate and consume this column. File it under “Suspension of Disbelief.”
Bounties Apparently, Gregg Williams is inspired by the undead. (The condition might explain his shortcomings as a Defensive Coordinator.) Last season, the vampires were setting up bounties left and right. Unike the NFL, the Authority which governs the vampires condones the practice. Tonight, they are looking for some knockout hits on Bill and Eric.
Wiccans Last season, there were Wiccans feeling dejected, and trying to stir trouble. Just like high school, now we’re a bit older, and they’re gone.
Sookie and Tara Oh yeah. Sookie killed Tara, her best friend. Mind you before killing Tara, she had her exorcised, flirted with a lesbian love affair, and set her up with a shapeshifter.
Okay, onto the action. In this episode, the subplots maintain some autonomy, and develop separately. The formula is pretty standard for a season opener, and makes the whole nonsense a bit easier for us to follow.
Vampires Bill and Eric These guys have apparently become friends. When we first encounter them, they are functioning as some sort of vampire equivalent of a CIA wet team. In super fast forward (lots of that in this episode,) they are sanitizing a crime scene. Then, they bond over rejection. The bro-mance is on until some interlopers ambush the pair in big, silver nets, and throw them in the trunk of a car. We are treated to a prolonged scene of the driver listening to Paul McCartney. (Apparently, mocking Wings passes for humor. NoDef doesn’t think so; Paul will always be the cute Beatle to us.) Anyway, Bill and Eric manage to escape, and are joined by Eric’s sister, a Chancellor. Despite the alleged sibling status, Eric gets intimate with her in a shipping container. (Of course, both are eye candy naked.) They’re also both loud. Eric explains with another triumph of the TB writers’ room. “We fight like siblings, but fuck like champions.” Then, they are interrupted, and thrust into a WWII resistance style escape at the docks. Ruh-roh. It’s an ambush. (And, the authority has a badass spec-ops team. We hope that the White House didn’t share any secrets with the TB producers.) Now Bill, Eric, and Eric’s sister are captives of the authority. (Talk about blue balls.)
Jason Stackhouse Steve Newlin, last season’s anti-Vampire evangelical, has become a vampire, and now makes an unexpected visit to Casa Stackhouse, bringing a naked Jason to the door. The vampire is dressed very nelly, a pastel sweater hanging from his shoulders. Apparently, the gay rights metaphor with the hateful evangelicals was not clear enough. So, we’re shedding the metaphors. The evangelical declares, “I’m a gay vampire American, and I love you Jason Stackhouse.” Jason insists that he “plays for the other team.” TB isn’t written by T.S. Eliott, and our undead Prufrock does not take well to being told that is not what Jason meant at all. Jason’s life is saved by the redheaded perma-virgin teen vamp. Jason falls hard for her to the dismay of her ex and his redneck buddies. They call Jason a “girlfriend fucker.” (Here is, by far, the worst phrase in an poorly written episode, the rhetorical equivalent of broken beads in the gutter.) None of it matters, since the redhead just wants to party with the sorority girls from the local college. There is even a scene where they all play Rock Band together. (TB seems to think the game is romantic; time for NoDef to hit game stop, and trade in that FIFA disc.)
Sookie/Lafayette/Tara/Pam When we first see Sookie again, she and Lafayette are dealing with Tara’s corpse. Dealing with Tara basically consumes their entire plotline. Vampire Pam enters the picture, and agrees to make Tara a vampire in order to bring her back to (un)life. Pam delivers the line, “I’m wearing a WalMart sweater. If that’s not a demonstration of team spirit I don’t know what is.” The line is not that funny, but we also hear the term “fucktarded,” which compensates. Theoretically, the ploy may fail, and the viewer is supposed to spend the episode identifying with Sookie and Lafayette, reminiscing about Tara, and hoping for her return. Unfortunately, the opening titles eliminate any suspense surrounding her return.
Miscellaneous TB also features some narrative other narrative strains mostly involving werewolves and shapeshifters. Since wolves et al. do not wear clothes, these characters are always naked when they shift into human form. We’re pretty certain that said nudity is the point of these storylines. TB does not disappoint as we are treated to a very slightly werewolf in the nude. Also, Alcides fesses up to killing the leader of the Shreveport based biker gang cum werewolf pack. (None of the wolves wear Cowboys gear; so, we find the Shreveport bit hard to swallow.)
Overall, the opener delivered all that we expect in an episode of True Blood. We rate the nudity at 7, a nice dose, but lacking the usual fetishism. The plot receives a 3 which is pretty standard as it makes no sense (res ipso loquitor.) The acting receives a 3 as well, given that the cast actually attempts sorrow this episode. Emotion, let alone sorrow, is well beyond their range and really highlights their shortcomings.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,
Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz
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