True Blood season 3 episode 1 premiere review

True Blood makes it very welcome return to our screens - so what did Emma make of the debut episode of season three?

3.1 Bad Blood

Finally, the wait is over. After what seems like centuries, True Blood‘s third season kicked off with a kick ass (emphasis on the ass) premiere on Sunday night.

Dropping us straight back where we left off last year, it seems that our Bill has, in fact, been kidnapped by none other than Patrick Swayze’s brother! Part of the charmingly named F**k You crew, Swizzle’s bro and co having bundled their prize into a car, have a whale of a time topping up their V-levels from a natural and somewhat captive source. I say somewhat captive, because before they can even begin to enjoy their high, our Bill breaks free of his bonds, and causes an almighty car crash, killing at least one of the crew. Stranded and weak form His blood loss, Bill goes to ground, but not before sending young Jess a signal she is yet to understand.

Sookie, understandably worried, has called the police, but as always with the Bon Temps’ finest, enthusiasm is a little thin on the ground. Bill, after all, is a grown man, and considering Sookie’s initial reluctance to accept Bill’s proposal, the police blame her. Furious, she pleads for help from everyone she can find, including an in flagrante Eric. Cue lots of averted eyes (she’s just a tiny bit impressed) and a smidgeon of flirting, before the sheriff agrees to help, in an official capacity, of course.

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We are talking about Eric, though, and he’s always got another agenda. In this case, it turns out that although he has nothing to do with Bill’s kidnapping, it’s only because the F**k You crew beat him to the punch. This unexpected turn of events rather frightens the usually indefatigable Pam, who threatens to go to ground if Eric doesn’t tell Queenie about this himself.

With all the V-themed machinations, it seems that Bill is a marked man, and the Queen would not be happy if Eric lost him. Lucky then, that she just happens to drop by Fangtasia that night, with the magister in tow. They apparently need to ‘discuss’ a sudden influx of in the area. They know a vampire is responsible and have come to Eric for answers. 

Both Queenie and Eric play along until the magister leaves, at which point it becomes dangerously obvious that Eric is in way over his head. If he doesn’t move the remaining V that she supplied, in the next 24 hours, he’ll find himself answering for her crimes. 

Again, we’re talking about Eric, and you know how much he likes to be told what to do, but in an hilariously Al Capone-type situation, the tax man is after her, and she won’t bow to the man. She needs cash and she needs it now, leaving Eric and his local V conduit, Lafayette, with no choice but to capitulate.  On the bright side, she doesn’t seem too bothered about Bill’s unplanned disappearance, so bonus.

It’s not like Lafayette doesn’t have enough on his plate already. Having been forced to physically remove Tara from both Merlotte’s and Sookie’s after she attacks Arlene and then her best friend, he’s left forced to rely on the God-bothering, ex-drunk that is Tara’s  mother. Working two jobs and selling V in the side is a tad time consuming, and as Tara can’t be left alone, the mother’s all he’s got to work with.

As is to be expected, Mrs Tara believes that only the power of God can save her daughter, and apparently not having paid attention to anything that’s happened to Jason in the recent past, she decides a visit from Reverend Daniels is in order.

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Clearly pleased with herself for getting a second chance to get Tara back, and ever so slightly smitten with the reverend, Mrs Tara takes her eye off the ball, despite Lafayette’s strict instructions, so Tara takes the opportunity to swallow every pill in Laf’s bathroom cabinet. It takes a while. Apparently, Laf owns a lot of pills.  Whatever the fallout for the rest of the town, without a doubt, Tara’s got it the worst.

In related Egg/murder news, Jason’s reaction to his part in the death is almost as extreme as Tara’s. Luckily, Andy is on hand with a foolproof way of convincing the town it was he that killed Eggs in self defense. Everything is to go on as normal, and for Jason, normal is getting drunk and laying anything with a pulse.  The senior Stackhouse reluctantly agrees, and that night in the bar, seems to have wholeheartedly embraced Andy’s “conscience off, dick on” philosophy.  He even manages to persuade two women to go home with him, in full view of everyone at Merlotte’s.

Sadly for Jason, guilt can do funny things to a man. His dick is most definitely not ‘on’, much to the disappointment of his companion, and surely, Bon Temps tourism industry. Riding Jason seems to be on the list of things not to be missed on a visit down south.

 It’s actually double disappointment for the girls. Hoyt was originally part of the deal, but his tentative reconciliation with Jess is on hold for the time being and he doesn’t have eyes for anyone else, despite the bad ass new haircut.

Jess, though, has eyes all over the place. Having brought the redneck from the bar home for a midnight snack, upon finding Hoyt’s flowers, she has an attack of the guilts and tries to revive him, unsuccessfully. It doesn’t help that she’s interrupted by Sookie, who, after explaining that Bill can command any vamp he’s sired, asks if she’s heard from him. Unaware that she had, they slowly put two and two together and decide to look for Bill’s last location.

Having stuffed the redneck under the floorboards, Jess is free to come along for the drive, and they find the car wreckage that Bill left behind, complete with corpse, but the vamp himself is long gone. 

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After re-appearing from his makeshift grave, Bill wanders to the nearest house, where he feeds on an unsuspecting old lady, before repaying her with some sorely needed cash and an implanted memory of a better son than the one she has. During the brief exchange, Bill learns that he’s stranded in Mississippi, something that alarms him. Very little alarms Bill, and when he’s accosted by a group of hungry, apparently English-speaking wolves, it’s clear why he was so alarmed.

All of which brings us to Sam, driving cross-country on a quest to find his biological family, which, erotic vamp/shower-centric dreams aside, he does with relative ease, but has yet to build up the courage to properly introduce himself. Except of course, to his younger brother, Tommy, who unwittingly leads the shape-shifting bartender to the family home.

Can all the rumours about the MInchins being a bad lot be true? So far, it’s not looking too good for Sam. Or anyone for that matter…

So, season three has kicked off, and what a way to kick it off! Gloriously naked Scandinavians aside, Bad Blood packed in more stuff than should feasibly be allowed in a premiere, but dense storylines are just one of the many plus points in True Blood. From Tara’s complete breakdown over Eggs’ death to Jess’ complete turnaround thanks to Hoyt’s flowers, Sam’s sudden and hilarious lust for Bill, to Queenies thinly veiled threats to Eric and Arlene’s pregnancy, Bad Blood did not disappoint.  A tad on the bleak side, maybe, but since when did Bon Temps do happy?

Once again we were treated to the witty, perceptive and beautifully written dialogue we’ve become so accustomed to, alongside some of the most naked people on TV, Spartacus notwithstanding.

With gems like, “So you fell in love with a serial killer – in this town who hasn’t?” and Pam’s fabulous, “Maybe I wear too much pink,” we are most definitely back in Bon Temps, and it’s glorious.

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So much awaits us on this year’s trip and Bad Blood was just for starters. Clearly, it’s going to be an interesting year in Louisiana.