True Blood season 1 episode 5 review

It’s a slightly more low key visit to Bon Temps this week, as Sparks Fly Out introduces us to Bill’s sire, the wonders of V, and Sam’s quick temper…

5. Sparks Fly Out

Still pouting over Sookie’s rejection after their brush with the law, Bill nonetheless keeps his engagement to speak at the Descendants of the Glorious Dead meeting, as a gentleman should. His appearance draws quite a crowd, including some rapscallions who actually took time out of their day to show up and crush garlic in his general direction. The speech, with its tales of bravery and amputation, wins over the crowd, and Bill’s tears at seeing a picture of the family he abandoned definitely did something to Sookie.

Our favorite psychic is escorted to the event by none other than Sam Merlotte, who wasted exactly no time in asking Sookie out after she announced that Bill’s services were no longer required. Despite this kink in Bill’s evening, he’s quite the celebrity at the after party, even posing for pictures with Hoyt, who’s developing a bit of a man crush, and his overbearing mother.

Sam, of course, takes the first opportunity to parade Sookie in front of Bill, before taking her out for coffee, pie and a screaming row. The sudden change in Sam doesn’t go down well with Sookie, who flounces home.

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In the continuing adventures of man-whore extraordinaire, Jason Stackhouse, it seems the boy really doesn’t have a clue. After he chides Lafayette for introducing him to V, he volunteers for Lafayette to really introduce him to V, as Bon Temps’ answer to Timothy Leary gives the boy a master class in getting high. But not before revealing Tara’s lifelong crush to Jason.

Higher than he’s ever likely to get, Jason first stops off at Bill’s one man show to fawn over Tara, before meeting Renee and Hoyt (still crushing) at Merlotte’s to fawn over her some more. But as she so rightly points out, the boy just can’t help himself and before the end of her shift, he’s outside honing his man-whoring skills with a random divorcee – one more view of Jason that the poor girl will never forget. 

Jason’s not the only one getting physical in the bar, although Lafayette wouldn’t be caught dead with a woman on her knees near the bins. Instead, the part time chef gives the garlic rapscallions from earlier in the evening a thoroughly deserved and incredibly well coordinated kicking, without even breaking a sweat. Don’t ever mess with the chef.

While Sookie flounces, Tara rages and Lafayette rocks, Bill is questioned by the world’s most inept sheriff’s department regarding the recent murders, simply because he’s a vampire. After creeping them out so much they won’t even go back for their pen, Bill broods over a hearthside toaster, and how he was forcibly made a vampire.

Essentially down to bad luck, his female sire made it quite clear that he could never go back to his old life. He left Bon Temps, his wife and two children in the 1860’s, only returning after the last Compton was dead. Hence the brooding. He won’t be alone in the brooding for long though; after her flounce, Sookie arrives home to find the blood soaked corpse of all round Good Samaritan Grandma Stackhouse on the kitchen floor. At least Jason’s got an alibi for this one.

Another sultry and slow burning episode from the excellent HBO drama, Sparks Fly Out may be a tad less eventful than the chapters preceding it, but it still packs a punch. Between Sam’s hidden temper, Bill’s violent rebirth and the slaying of Grandma Stackhouse there are plenty of tangled threads to keep us guessing in this supernatural mystery fest. There’s a serial killer on the loose and the only thing we know for sure is that Jason definitely has an alibi for this one. Just ask Tara.

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Mystery solving aside, the high point of the episode was essentially any scene involving the superb Lafayette. The best character in the show by miles, gifted the best scene of the episode and played with utter conviction by the brilliant Nelsan Ellis, every town should have a Lafayette. Sublime. Speaking of which, whatever the V is doing to Jason, the cut-aways of his hallucinations are beautiful and hilarious – if that’s how vampires see everything, no wonder they want to keep it a secret!

What’s most fascinating about the world of True Blood is the backdrop of the Civil War. Cleary, setting the impact of the vampires coming out against the specter of one of the most violent chapters in American history does not bode well for Sookie and the gang. The war may be in the past, but the American ideal of freedom for all can be a tricky and bloody business, and it’ll be interesting to see where the show takes the fight.

Darkly funny, beautifully shot and excellently written, True Blood is yet to disappoint. Let’s hope they can keep this up for the next seven episodes…

Check out our review of episode 4 here.