True Blood season 2 episode 3 review

There's something new in Bon Temps that even the vamps have never seen and Sookie needs to survive an attack to pull off a rescue of her own...

True Blood: Scratches

3. Scratches

The Sunday night/Monday morning blood fest continued in our third trip to Bon Temps this season, which saw Sookie mauled yet again, but this time not by Bill. No, this mauling was the very deliberate and non-consensual result of an attack by a… beclawed beast. With poisonous claws.

Is Sookie Stackhouse the unluckiest character on TV? Possibly not. The hospitality and deference shown to Sookie at Fangtasia during her recovery clearly shows that Eric is pretty adept at getting exactly what he wants. It’s not likely that any other breather could slap him across the face and continue to breathe.

Whatever his reasons, Eric releases a wholly unrecognisable Lafayette after a brief and entertaining negotiation with Sookie, who will now accompany him to Texas and help investigate the Sheriff’s disappearance. She’ll even get a new driveway out of it. However, it’s highly probably that Lafayette hasn’t seen the last of Eric – if his farewell is anything to go by. Merlotte’s may yet have a fanged-up chef serving up chicken-steak.

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In addition to Eric’s surprising leniency, and learning that he has just the tiniest crush on Sookie, we also find out that our local sheriff is over a thousand years old, making the missing vampire as old as Jesus – which explains why Sookie gets the driveway.

Back at the Fellowship’s happy-happy camp, the brainwashing of Jason Stackhouse began in earnest this week. Struggling with his part in Eddie’s death and unable to reconcile his ‘faith’ with the fact that Eddie was gracious in the face of his imprisonment by morons, the Light’s first couple takes an even greater interest in Jason. Debbie even whipped out her pudding, which she apparently doesn’t do for just anyone – which is unlikely at best.

In the shit sandwich that is their particular brand of brainwashing, pudding is the least they could do after convincing Jason that he is responsible for the deaths of his grandma and girlfriend, and that not seeking vengeance is akin to loving evil. The one ray of light? The fact that Jason’s immense stupidity may actually make him immune. We can only hope. The Fellowship continues to be the scariest thing Bon Temps has to offer, and that includes the man/bull with poisonous claws that no one has ever heard of.

While Jason is off being pure and honest, Maryann’s one-god quest to turn Bon Temps into a passable replica of Sodom is going incredibly well. The party to which she invited pretty much the entire town descends into an orgy, with more than a little help from whatever Karl put in the punch.

Thankfully, Tara isn’t as liberal as she likes to think, and is appalled at the sight of the entire town getting down. Who can blame her? Having missed her shift that evening, thanks to one of the largest joints ever seen on TV (Camberwell Carrots aside), she inadvertently delays Sam leaving town with his tail between his legs – literally. Tara then continues the trend of dropping Sam in it as much as humanly possible, and all but signs his death warrant after flapping her gums to Maryann – his visit from a newly man/bull-poisoned Daphne, while skinny dipping in the lake is a little too coincidental. First Sookie, now Sam – hands up all those who think Maryann is cleaning house?

Elsewhere, in the continuing adventures of a fledgling vampire, Jessica finds herself a man – Jason’s BFF Hoyt, no less. Forgotten when Sookie was attacked, Jess takes a trip to Merlotte’s and runs into the one man in the place with a vampire fetish. Strangely, she actually seems to like him, and her embarrassment at her lack of fang control is actually very sweet. Bless Hoyt – do we sense a tragic death on the cards? Or will there be competition for Bill and Sookie’s Posh-and-Becks-of-the-vamp-world crown? The double dates would be hilarious, providing Hoyt managed to avoid being the main course.

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So, three episodes in, and season two is shaping up very nicely, indeed. One of the great things about this show is its forward motion. Like all great writing, it appears that each event, each sentence drives the story forward, adding extra layers and dimensions each week. From Eric’s developing interest in Sookie to Karl’s apparent enslavement by Maryann, every detail feels important – nothing is extraneous. There are no incidental characters – even Ginger is clearly being manipulated by both Eric and Sookie, who are far more alike than Sookie would admit.

Great drama should be able to fill an hour without treating the audience like idiots or filling episodes with pointless characters – Lost take note – a feat that True Blood pulls off with every episode.

This week, as with every week, Alexander Skarsgard’s contribution is immense. The creepy, playful and powerful vampire he has helped create gets better with each episode, and in a cast full of great actors, that’s some accomplishment. The imminent road trip to Texas, with its Eric/Sookie/Bill triangle is definitely going to be worth the wait…

It’s not just Alexander Skarsgard that excels, of course – Nelsan Ellis is one of the show’s biggest assets, and Lafayette’s emotional homecoming, curled up and sobbing, was one of the most affecting scenes of the series so far. Both these actors exemplify the calibre of acting on show in True Blood, and have never been anything but wholly believable.

Other than the slightly ropey beast, another superb episode – still the best thing on TV by several miles, and that’s saying something…

Check out our review of episode 2 here.

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