True Blood season 1 episode 9 review

True Blood lives up to its name this week, as Sookie can't get away from the stuff, while Jason and Amy can't get enough of it...

9.  Plaisir d’Amour

After Sookie’s brush with hair metal-tinged death last episode, its goodbye to thieving 80s throwback Longshadow, staked by Bill before he could reach our psychic. That’s right, staked, not eaten. Which leaves literally buckets of Longshadow’s blood free to drench Sookie in her own personal claret shower. Of course, killing a fellow vampire to protect a human, no matter how special they are, is a faux pas on Bill’s part – witnesses are never a good thing, as Eric so helpfully points out. Offering to take Sookie off Bill’s hands as recompense for Longshadow’s loss, Eric is almost disgusted by Bill’s attachment to her. Bill refuses to hand her over, so he’s got a debt to pay…

Bill’s not the only vampire in an impossible situation this week. Poor Eddie, still imprisoned in Jason’s basement by the toxic twins, does his best to instil some sympathy in his captors. Appealing to Amy’s better nature is a waste of time, as it’s clear she doesn’t have one – not where vamps are concerned. They’re more mobile drug manufacturers than people. He has more luck with Jason who’s clearly struggling with the turn of events that left him with a pet vamp. They even do a little bonding while Amy’s at work, but when Eddie warns a completely smitten Jason that the hippie is a psycho, the boy doesn’t take it well. He does, however, sneak the vamp some True Blood – there’s hope for the man-whore yet.

Tara, on the other hand, is just about out of hope. After paying a social call to the local hoodoo lady, Miss Jeanette, she enquires as to the cost of any exorcism she might require, and is shocked to discover that it’ll set her back $800. Apparently, a single 20 something with an attitude is a far more frightening prospect than a middle aged drunk who hates her daughter. She clearly doesn’t have the cash after paying for her mother’s re-birth, and takes her anger out on too good to be true bar owner Sam Merlotte. Dropping by to apologise has never been such a bad idea. Despite the dressing down, he gives her the money for the exorcism, right after offering to throw Arlene an engagement party. Way too good to be true – what’s he hiding? Funny you should ask…

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Bill receives a visit from Eric and Pam – completely bath free on this occasion, as it’s time for him to answer to Longshadow’s death, and Sheriff Eric has to escort Bill to a tribunal. They drop by Merlotte’s on the way, and while Eric and Pam tout for business and generally terrorize the patrons, Bill goes to Sam.  He can’t be in town to protect Sookie, so he asks Sam to do it for him. Whoever is killing fang bangers and their nans sent Sookie another gruesome message the previous evening by decapitating her cat, and hanging it from the ceiling fan. The result being Sookie’s second claret shower of the evening and a serious downswing in her mood. Without her vampire protector, she’s more vulnerable than ever, and Sam can’t say no to the vamp’s request.

Sookie being Sookie, she slips out the bar without Sam’s knowledge, and as he rushes to catch up with her, Det. Andy corners him and demands to know why he lied about his nudist heritage.  The bar owner pulls the ol’ ‘I left something in the office,’ and disappears, only to reappear naked, on Sookie’s bed where Dean the dog is supposed to be. Wouldn’t you know it, Sam can turn into a dog, but he apparently has to be naked to do it. Try explaining that to Det. Andy.

Plaisir d’Amour is, without a doubt, steeped in blood – from Longshadow and Tina’s to the toxic twins’ continual siphoning of Eddie, it’s possible the latest episode has more red stuff than the rest of the series put together. It’s deliciously gory, and just a tad hilarious. Can we say, “There’s vampire in your cleavage” ? Genius.

Aside from the fabulous gore, the episode also gave us an insight into poor Eddie, played with by the superb Stephen Root. A character actor you may or may not recognize from Office Space, Dodgeball and O Brother, Root gives Eddie a palpable sadness made all the worse by his predicament. Despite his attempts to reason with Jason, it’s unlikely poor Eddie will live to see his second anniversary and he knows it. Let’s hope they keep him around for as long as possible – Jason dearly needs the guidance.

Once again this week, it’s great to see the show making use of the fabulous Alexander Skarsgard. Eric’s deadpan humour and laidback arrogance are the perfect antidote to Bill and Sookie’s overly saccharine cooing and his sporadic appearances never fail to amuse. The closest thing True Blood has to a traditional vampire, Eric’s presence has become almost a necessity – something that can only benefit the show.

All in all, another incredibly satisfying episode of the best thing on TV, with plenty of surprises – not least the revelation that Sam can turn into a dog. If that doesn’t have you racing back to Bon Temps next week, nothing will! 

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Check out our review of episode 8 here.