True Blood season 3 episode 2 review

We’re back in Bon Temps for our second drop of brand new True Blood, and things have taken a rather interesting turn. Could it be that Bill is not what he seems after all?

3.2 Beautifully Broken

So, after all the worry of leaving Bill at the mercy of a pack of werewolves last week, it seems all the stress was for nothing. Clearly, either werewolves just aren’t all that, or Mississippi weres are just a bit wet.

Either way, having literally made mincemeat out of all but two, the remaining wolves stand down when their master, the King of the Mississippi territory, arrives to take charge. Russell Edgington (played with barely disguised glee by Denis O’Hare) is unashamed at having Bill kidnapped, but horrified to discover the weres drank from his guest. It’s just incredibly rude.

Bill is taken to Russell’s palace, for it is such, French Royalty would have had a hard time matching the opulence, where, although captive, he is treated to a beautifully put together formal banquet. The banquet itself, prepared by the King’s increasingly fabulous consort, Talbot, is essentially there to mask the bitter taste of what Russell really has in mind. 

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He’s political, without a doubt, and believes Bill is working for Queenie, in whatever manner it is that allows him to exist in the backwater that is Bon Temps. What the King wants is more territory, Queenie’s territory to be precise, and the power that comes with it. And wouldn’t you know it, Bill’s the only person who can help him achieve his goal.

Bill, of course, denies everything, but clearly, Russell has something of a point. And to make matters altogether worse, after the threateningly civil meal is over, the vile Lorena appears out of nowhere. Bill then treats his highness to an impromptu display of indoor pyrotechnics that Metallica would be proud of. It isn’t like he didn’t warn her.

While Bill lounges in a dinner suit and commits vampire-cide for the second time, Sookie begs Eric for help with the whole werewolf/kidnap situation. Unusually cagey even for Eric, the Sherriff displays some increasingly odd behaviour, at one point telling Sookie not to cry because it makes him feel “disturbingly human”.

We later find out that this empathic behaviour isn’t all that unusual, and nearly got him killed during the war. That’s World War II. Eric and Godric were both there, but rather than taking on the Hun, they were hunting the very werewolves that currently have Sookie in their sights.

For reasons only Eric knows, he later confesses all to Sookie, insisting he wants to protect her. When one of the Nazi weres appears at her house, he all but forces the girl to invite him in before launching an attack. Suddenly, Sookie’s life has become precious to Eric, and he’s not crazy about too many humans. Which probably won’t work out well for Bill’s intended…

It seems hunting Bill and/or Sookie is all the rage in Bon Temps right now. First the weres appear and now there’s a new vamp in town, rifling through a couple of centuries worth of Bill’s paperwork. Whatever the vamp’s intentions, his uncovering of what can only be described as a Sookeh Dossier hidden in the house is bad enough. His aiding and abetting Tara’s ABH is creepy as all get out.

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Not that she’s not entitled to her revenge. Iif a redneck literally pissed on the memory of your dead boyfriend, you’d probably want to do the same, so you can’t really blame her for losing it. The vamp’s obvious, ahem, excitement, on the other hand, was altogether more distasteful. Still, a little casual violence is infinitely preferable to suicide, right?

Casual violence is probably something Sam’s redneck family know a thing or two about. Having been unwilling to introduce himself before now, his brother Tommy makes the decision for him, at gun point. It’s a downbeat reunion, not least because Tommy throws a juvenile ‘What about me?’ tantrum. He’d probably get on quite well with Jess.

After a brotherly chat, they do some shifter-bonding, but Sam finds out pretty quickly that he’s clueless about his abilities when he’s almost killed by a truck. Tommy shifts into a bird to escape, but Sam is left rolling naked in the mud. One thing’s for sure, if what the boys shift into is an accurate reflection of who they are, Sam’s screwed.

Beautifully Broken, while being the second episode of season three, feels a lot more like the beginning of a new series. The premiere was fab, but with so much to tie up from last season, the new storylines didn’t really emerge. Episode two fully takes care of that little problem.

With revelations aplenty, and not just the obvious ones, Beautifully Broken reveals just enough of this season’s biggest dramas, and as it should, leaves us with more questions than answers.

The most interesting of which has to be why the Sookeh Dossier exists in the first place. Can Russell be right? Maybe it’s just that we don’t see much of Queenie, but Talbot has it absolutely right when he calls her crazy. Surely she’s not with it enough to plan what must have been a very long term con. She’s definitely not patient enough to wait that long for a plan to bear fruit.

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And what about Eric? His sudden brooding teenage crush on Sookie is at odds with pretty much everything he stands for, and it’s a disturbing thing to watch.

Plot points aside, one of the highlights of the episode was, of course, the amazing Lafayette. From his telling off of Mrs Tara, to his clearly difficult revelation about his own mother, Nelsan Ellis literally owned the screen in all of his scenes. His dialogue is pitch perfect, and in this episode we were shown more of Laf’s undoubted humanity. He’s possibly the most human character in the show, and is fast becoming the heart of it.

Beautifully Broken gave us yet another master class in exactly how good TV can be, if for no other reason than this show takes the piss out of its own lead character’s catchphrase. If that’s not classy TV, I don’t want to know what is.

Read our review of the third season opener here.