Sunday, June 13, 2010

True Blood episode recap S2E1 “Nothing But the Blood”

Previously on True Blood: Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading waitress, falls in love with Bill, a Confederate era vampire, and due to the extreme differences in their ages and habits, it’s a challenging relationship. Sookie’s boss, bar owner Sam Merlotte, has been carrying a torch for her forever but has some issues of his own: he’s a shape-shifter, most usually into the form of a sweet collie dog. Sookie’s best friend Tara, a mess of poor choices and poor impulse control, is burdened with a crazed drunk of a mother. When Tara attempts to get her mother help via a voodoo exorcism, she finds herself confronting demons of a figurative sort until a mysterious benefactor specializing in wayward but beautiful youngfolk, Marianne – first seen naked in the middle of the road with a buffalo-sized pig – takes her into her home. Sookie’s gorgeous but dumb and easily-led brother, Jason, recently fell in love with a junkie and helped her kidnap a vampire for the purposes of extracting vampire’s blood – also known as “V,” a powerful aphrodisiac. After the vamp ends up dead, Jason’s girl soon does too – and he is struggling to sort out his feelings of right and wrong and love and lust. Lafayette, Tara’s out-and-proud, V-dealing, internet prostitute, line cook cousin, has disappeared and will hopefully not be found dead. And Eric, regional vampire sheriff, has forced Bill to make a new vampire in reparation for the one he killed at Eric’s nightclub, Fangtasia, in Sookie’s defense. This new vampire is Jessica, formerly a seventeen year old home schooler and now a pain in the ass baby vamp. Oh, and there was some stuff with a vamp-hating serial killer murdering town folks who were pro-vampire.

We pick right up where we left off: Sookie and Tara screaming their heads off at the body they’ve found in Officer Andy’s car, as a drunken Andy tries to gain some semblance of control. Sam runs out to calm the girls – Tara is nearly hysterical, hoping that the painted toenails don’t mean the body is Lafayette. Andy confirms that it’s not Lafayette: it’s Miss Jeannette, the faux exorcist, whose heart has been torn right out of her chest. Tara screams some more.

BTW, the opening credits are STILL awesome.

As the sheriff’s department tries to get a grip on what happened, Sookie stands to one side, unable to shut out everyone’s mind-chatter. The police question Tara closely but she denies knowing anything about the dead woman; Sookie, overhearing Tara’s thoughts, understands differently. Sheriff Bud finally arrives and tries to send Andy home, pointing out that he’s overworked and drunk. “I! Am not! Overworked!” shouts Andy hilariously. When Tara comes over, Sookie asks her how she knew the woman, and reminds her that she needs to tell the police everything she knows. Tara is at first annoyed that Sookie read her mind but then realizes that Sookie is right. Sam tells her that he and Sookie will close the bar – she should just go on.

Over at Bill’s crumbling mansion, he is attempting to lay down some rules for his new ward, for instance, bedtime is at 4:00 a.m. and not a minute later. Jessica is all, whatever with maximum eye rollage. He tells her that there is no hunting of humans, plus in his house they recycle: glass containers in one bucket, paper in another. His funny litany is interrupted when Sookie calls to let him know that she’ll be late. They’re sicky-sweet on the phone, grossing out both Sam, who overhears Sookie, and me. When Bill hangs up, he tells Jessica that he will be having a guest over for the evening and he wants her on her best behavior. “Can we eat her?” Jessica wants to know. “You may NOT,” growls Bill.

Over at Jason Stackhouse’s apartment, he is trying his best to read his new book of scripture (which that minister Orry gave him when he was in jail) but keeps getting distracted by memories of Amy and their V-fueled sexcapades. Understandably, since she was pretty cute.

Tara is trying to cooperate with the sheriffs but it is not going well, turning into a heated interrogation as Andy – still drunkish – gets in her face and Kenya scoffs about her wild exorcism stories. Bud no sooner steps in and to tell Andy to back the hell off when Tara’s momma Lettie Mae shows up, frantic and shouting, “What happened to Miss Jeannette?!” Tara tries to explain that the exorcism was a con job but Lettie Mae won’t hear it, insisting that scam or not, she’s been cured. It’s heartbreaking when she cries, “Ain’t I still right?” and no one can meet her eyes.

Next we go to a dungeon (or at least a very damp basement) where several poor souls are chained to a wheel. One of these poor souls is Lafayette. Yay! Not dead! When the door at the top of the stairs opens, Lafayette scurries to the end of his chain, hiding behind a column. Two burly figures drag a hooded man down the stairs, chaining him to the wheel; they unchain another poor soul and drag him back up the stairs. The new guy is one of the rednecks on whom Lafayette had to put a beat-down in the AIDS-burger incident last season. He is bewildered and full of questions but Lafayette has no answers for him: he does not know where they are nor does he know how long he’s been here.

When she finally gets to Bill’s house, Sookie throws herself into his arms for comfort. I find it funny that these two purported stars of the show are, for me anyway, the least interesting characters. Sookie has just settled in for smoochies when Jessica, fresh out of the shower, makes an appearance. Sookie’s jaw hits the ground. Metaphorically speaking – which with this show is necessary to clarify.

Outside of the sheriff’s office, Tara tries to apologize to her mother for the pain she must feel after Miss Jeannette’s death. Lettie Mae says she’s okay and they should pray for Miss Jeannette: “There’s an evil out there that wanted her soul and if you’re not careful, it’ll come for yours too.” Right on cue: Marianne drives up in her little red convertible. She embraces Tara warmly and sends her to the car, then turns her attention to ripping Lettie Mae a new one: “What 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 … just as I thought, emptiness, nothing inside.” Tara just goggles.

Back at Bill’s. Sookie is getting the Jessica story out of Bill: that Eric forced him to create a new vampire to replace the one he destroyed to save Sookie. Sookie is whiny and condescending; Bill stuffy and uncomfortable. Jessica gets all the best lines in this scene: when Sookie wants to know if Bill had sex with Jessica, both Bill and Jessica are quick to deny it, Jessica squealing: “Eeeeuw – old!” Blah blah blah … Bill sends Jessica off to bed (Jessica: “Compared to Fangtasia, this blows!”) and Sookie and Bill keep discussing this issue. Sookie’s biggest complaint, which is a valid one, is that Bill lied to her for two weeks about his new daughter. She tells him she can’t stay with him tonight. Bill is sad when she leaves.

Reverend Steve Newlin, head of the Fellowship of the Sun Church, is debating Nan Flanagan, the spokesperson for the American Vampire League, on national television, reminding us viewers of the overarching and growing anti-vampire sentiment. After the interview was over, Reverend Steve and his simpering blonde wife head up to their breakfast book signing, where that jailhouse minister Orry introduces them to Jason. He is preciously and adorably stupid. Orry suggests that Jason would be a good candidate to attend the Newlins’ Sun Church leadership conference. He is interested but doesn’t have the $1,200 fee. The blonde wife suggests he pray on it: God will send him a sign.

Sam rings the doorbell of Marianne’s mansion, bag full of money in one hand. When the butler opens the door, he observes that Marianne was expecting Sam sooner. Sam: “Yeah, well, there was a bit of a murder at my place last night.” He shows Sam into the living room to wait. As he wanders around, looking at things, Sam picks up an old, Minoan-esque statue of an earth goddess and flashes back to when he was a teenager, using his shape shifting abilities to enter houses through dog doors for a little theft. Flashback-Marianne catches him, saying that she finds him very interesting and leering at his young body. Back in the present, Sam is shaken out of his reverie as the butler says his mistress is indisposed. Sam says that he has something to give to Marianne but skeddaddles, rather than leaving the gift behind.

Boring: Sookie is trying to bring herself to pack up her dead grandmother’s room. She is interrupted by the local lawyer who tells her that her great-uncle Bartlett has been found dead (remember: Bill went after him because he had abused Sookie as a child or something). Bartlett, ever ickily fond of his grandniece, left her all his money, about $11,000. She doesn’t really want to take it, but she does.

Tara and Eggs lounge by Marianne’s glorious backyard pool. She joins them, bearing a tray of fruit and a joint, which they share among themselves. There’s a fresco on the pool house of Pan and his human lover. Marianne opines that the Greeks believed that the veil between the gods and the humans was very thin then excuses herself to go get more papaya. The two kids pass the joint back and forth, talking about Marianne, and a little about their lives, and are just about to kiss when the butler interrupts them with fresh towels. The moment ruined, Tara goes off to change for work. When the butler returns to the kitchen, Marianne smacks him in the face brutally: “Karl, nobody needed towels!”

Jason and Hoyt are at their road crew job, talking about Rene (last season’s murderer) and Jason’s new calling to the Fellowship of the Sun. Sookie drives up and gives her brother both the news about Uncle Bartlett’s death and also the $11,000 check. He looks at the check, realizes that it means he can now go to the leadership conference, and raises his eyes heavenwards in thanks.

Flashback: Marianne rides teenaged Sam like a racehorse, pausing in her pleasure to raise her arms over her head – in the pose of that statue – and starts to shimmer in and out of existence. Freaked, teenaged Sam throws her off him and she just laughs, “Baby boy, you’re not the only one who’s special.” Sam is snapped back to reality when Arlene knocks on the bar office door, saying that he really needs to hire a new waitress and here, why doesn’t he interview this girl here, Daphne.

In Lafayette’s dungeon, there are only three prisoners left: Lafayette, some pathetic woman and that redneck who insists on talking to him. The redneck wants to confess his regrets – banging his cousin’s girlfriend, hassling Lafayette for being gay, once getting a blowjob from his bunkmate at “safety patrol camp” when he was a kid. Lafayette sits there and rolls his eyes, hoping to God that this moron isn’t the last person he talks to before he dies.

Back at Merlotte’s, a drunken Andy is flashing his badge and interrogating the locals about Miss Jeannette. Over at a booth, a blonde tramp is trying to get Jason to bang her brains out but Jason is currently abstaining, needing to stay pure for the leadership conference. It’s pretty impressive, the level of self-control he’s exhibiting given what we saw of him in S1. Later, when Sookie asks him about the conference, he lies and makes up a name, knowing his sister won’t approve of the Fellowship’s anti-vampire stance. At another table, patrons are gossiping about Rene, making Arlene cry. Terry Bellefleur, the cook – who, as you may remember, has a thing for Arlene – comes out, slaps money down on the tables and kicks the gossipers out. Aw.

Bill has bought all the different types of True Blood and has lined them up on the table, trying to come up with a taste combination that Jessica can choke down without gagging. Jessica: “[The A negative] tastes less like ass than the A positive but more like ass than the B negative.” She bitches that Eric let her feed off “that guy with the tattoos and the nipple piercings” but Bill cuts her off, saying that he is not Eric. Jessica: “Ooh, you are SO not Eric.” I think I like Jessica.

Sookie wanders out back of the bar, finding Sam lost in thought on the steps of his trailer. He doesn’t feel much like talking – especially when she starts blathering on about Bill and the fight they had. Sam: “It seems like you’re either apologizin’ or yellin’ at me – aren’t you tired of it?” He lets her go for the night but snaps that she has to come in early to make up her hours. Sookie just goggles, amazed that someone doesn’t want to listen to her babble. Inside the bar, Sheriff Bud – awesomely dressed in his line-dancin’ outfit – pulls Andy aside and tells him that he is off the Miss Jeannette case.

Flashback time: teenaged Sam makes his break for it while Marianne showers. He grabs some clothes out of the dresser, then can’t help but take her jewelry too. When he opens a drawer, it’s stuffed full of money. He takes that too. Grown-up Sam is snapped back to reality when the sorceress herself appears at his door. He pulls out the bag of money and hands it to her. She chuckles, “You sweet thing, it’s not your money I want ... How in the world did you get the impression that this was about you?” Sam just stands there, open-mouth gaping.

Sookie lets herself into Bill’s house. He is overjoyed to discover that two parts O negative to one part B positive is a recipe that Jessica thinks is almost palatable. Sookie, demonstrating remarkably savvy, sucks up to the girl vamp saying that if Jessica will give Sookie tonight alone with her boyfriend, tomorrow night the two girls can spend the next night together, doing girl stuff, just the two of them. Jessica finds this acceptable and flounces off. After she’s gone, Sookie immediately accuses Bill of killing her uncle Bartlett. “He hurt you,” Bill reminds her: “I cannot and I will not lose you … I am not sorry, I refuse to apologize for what you have awakened in me … for the first time in 140 years I felt something I thought had been lost to me forever – I love you, and for that I shall never feel sorry.” Sookie, of course, loves him too. And then there’s some pretty hot make-up sex, with Anna Paquin, that skinny thing, fearlessly and totally naked. My question: doesn’t all that bloodplay make a mess of the white bedspread?

In the dungeon, the redneck “has a plan” … but someone is coming down the stairs, so Lafayette shushes him and tries to scuttle back behind the pillar. “Shushing won’t help, sweetheart. We hear everything.” This, of course, is Eric – who hilariously has his hair foiled for highlighting. He comes over to the redneck and unchains him, saying they have some questions about that fire from last season that killed three vampires. Amazingly, the redneck does have something of a plan, and slaps a silver crucifix against Eric’s cheek, screaming, “Die, you dead fucker!” Eric shrieks, the crucifix sticking and burning into his skin. And then it gets AWESOME as Eric literally and very messily tears the redneck limb from limb, slurping and howling and growling maniacally. Lafayette cowers behind his pillar, unable to escape the spewing blood.

Previously on True Blood / next time on True Blood

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