True Blood season 3 episode 3 review

True Blood ups the controversy rate with the latest blood drenched offering…

3.3 It Hurts Me Too

Well, well, well. Suddenly season three gets very serious indeed. After something of a meandering start, It Hurts Me Too has some quite stunning revelations contained within, the most stunning of which being that Bill has an entirely hidden and terrifying dark side. Ok, maybe not entirely hidden.

Southern Gentleman he may once have been, but that keenly kept façade has been shattered. Bill’s cavernously deep hidden depths have been concealing the premature death of his young son, and the effect his reappearance and revelation about his vampirism had on his poor wife. The vile Lorena was, of course, present, ever ready to persuade him of the futility of caring for humans, as it only brings them misery. He even allowed her to put the poor Mrs. Compton out of that misery, for good.

Clearly not events easily forgiven or forgotten, and in the knowledge that his continued refusal of the King’s offer would put Sookie’s life in danger once again, he capitulates, and betrays Queenie.

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Ralph calls off the dogs, or weres, and the vile Lorena does what she does , berates Bill for his weakness. What follows is something that has already been branded the ‘most shocking sex scene – ever!’ Bill, for all intents and purposes, sexually assaults Lorena (she does give eventually consent but by that point, it really doesn’t matter), and the sheer brutality of the scene belies that consent.

The atmosphere of utter hatred in which the act takes place is, in all honesty, quite shocking. It’s a Bill we’ve rarely seen – the sudden shedding of his humanity is swift and complete – and one that, hopefully, won’t materialize too often. 

Bizarrely, though, Bill’s one hundred and eighty degree twisting of Lorena’s head so he doesn’t have to look at her, somehow lessens the shock, such is its surrealism. It’s brief respite, though, as Bill’s anguished cry at his sire’s proclamations of love are just as affecting as his hatred.

True Blood has never been a show to shy away from controversy, and with this scene, they’ve got it in spades. From the very grey shade of consent to Bill’s complete loss of humanity (and apparent personality swap with a certain sheriff), as well as the ramifications for those not directly involved, like, say, his fiancée, and said sheriff.

His fiancée, currently hot on the trail of her sex attacker betrothed, gleans some info from the were that broke into her house, and she’s off to Jackson, Mississippi. Unable to accompany her, the New Eric arranges for hot werewolf Alcide (had to happen sooner or later, right?) to escort her to a were bar there.

Once in the bar, in a hilarious déjà vu moment, one of the weres tells Sookie she looks like dinner, and before we know it she’s interrogating shady characters and being attacked herself, just like old times.

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Turns out Patrick Swayze’s Nazi werewolf brother survived the crash, but Sookie’s clumsy attempts to read his mind force Alcide to earn his keep, and save Sookie from a fate similar to the vile Lorena’s.  Still, we do find out that Alcide’s ex is engaged to none other than Cooter, leader of the Nazi werewolves, so he’s in for the long haul, which can only be a good thing.

Elsewhere, Tara is laying the ground (in places, literally) for yet another spot of supernatural trouble over at Sookie’s house. After her uncharacteristic pummelling of the rednecks last week, this week she’s back to her very characteristic ways of being brainwashed by any passing non-human.

Franklin, Bill’s tall dark and mysterious replacement, glamours his way into to the Stackhouse place, after first talking his way into Tara’s knickers not twelve hours earlier. The new vamp in town is now the repository for all current Bill Compton knowledge, courtesy of Jess, and as Tara is the next best thing to Sookie, he makes a beeline straight for her. It’s a little worrying just how easy Franklin is finding the women of Bon Temps.

If only Sam were a little more… vampy. He doesn’t find things anywhere near as easy as Franklin, as his handling of the new family bears out. Stung by little bro Tommy’s little stunt with the truck, he turns tail and runs back to Bon Temps. Unfortunately, his new family follows him straight there. The second family reunion is as fraught as the first, albeit with way more alcohol, but you know your family is trouble when they try to rob as payback for trying to keep your liquor license. But at least Joe Lee had some trousers on.  Pray to God they make him keep them on.

It Hurts Me Too, is an episode packed with lots of great stuff:  Eric’s ‘gift’ to Laf, Arlene’s realization that the baby isn’t Terry’s among others, all vital plot points, no doubt, but with the airing of the Bill/Lorena scene, almost everything else is pretty much white noise.

It’s no surprise that the scene is the last of the episode. Any earlier and the entire episode would have been lost to extended gasps and incredulity. As it stands, it’s already been hailed as the ‘twist heard round the world’ by one reviewer, and has ensured that, if nothing else, the controversy machine rumbles on.

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That’s not necessarily a complaint, mind. I’m sure the scene was completely necessary to show Bill’s unravelling in what he sees as an eerily familiar set of circumstances. Having said that, Lorena has threatened Sookie before, and the outcome was altogether different. OK, so it’s a small complaint, but definitely a valid one.

Whatever the controversies of the scene, one thing is absolutely sure: it was pitch perfect. Stephen Moyer’s performance has been steadily gaining in credibility over the course of the seasons, and in this episode, the man has clearly hit his stride. Praise too, for Mariana Klaveno, also known as the vile Lorena. For her part, bizarre as it was, she brings a strange almost-dignity to her vamp’s desperate insanity.

Of course, there’s no way Lorena will be able to keep this little incident to herself. Sookie will eventually find out, and then… Well, I do believe there’s a very tall, very old vampire that would happily step in. Which will be all kinds of fun.

The ramifications of It Hurts Me Too will be interesting, at the very least, but knowing True Blood, it’ll be a few weeks before we really see them. In the meantime, we’ve got plenty to keep us going, like, who the hell is Arlene’s baby-father? What the frick does Franklin think he’s playing at? And when is someone going to give Tommy a good old fashioned hiding? Anyone?

Read our review of episode 2 here.