True Blood season 3 episode 4 review

Weres, Vamps, strippers and politics. Yup, True Blood is back for another slice of Southern supernatural melodrama...

3.4 9 Crimes

Back after a week’s Independence Day break, the glorious True Blood returned with the intriguing 9 Crimes, in which the plot thickened dramatically.

Bill’s personality transplant is nearing completion, thanks to Lorena and King Russell, and after rather callously dumping his intended, over the phone, no less, Mr Compton proceeds to barter with His Majesty for the murder of Lorena, in exchange for his in-depth Queenie knowledge. In the process, he drops New Eric and Pam right in it, by revealing their illegal V operation, and all but signing the death warrants of our favourite Nordic Vamps.

The Magister is, of course, notified, and he pays a brutal visit to Fangtasia. Pam manages to warn Eric (he’s busy saving new BFF Lafayette’s ass), but he can’t resist doing (almost) the right thing. Swooping back to the club, the Sheriff claims Bill is the mastermind behind the V operation, and the ever-generous Magister gives New Eric two days to find Bill and save Pam’s life. Tangled, no? Still, it’s nice to know Eric hasn’t changed that much.

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King Ralph’s certainly got his ancient fingers in a lot of pies. In addition to his were empire, and manipulation of Bill, it transpires that super-psycho Franklin is also in his employ. Sadly for Tara, who, frankly, is the unluckiest woman ever to have graced a TV screen, the psycho appears to have a bit of a thing for the bartender.

After a failed attempt at getting Sookie’s whereabouts from a glamoured Tara, he then feeds on her, and ties her to the toilet, before kidnapping and gifting her to the fabulous Talbot. Whatever Bill’s plan is, let’s hope it doesn’t include Tara’s impending doom.

His Majesty’s direct machinations aside, he’s causing all sorts of other trouble with his Nazi werewolf biker empire. Having learned that Alcide’s ex is addicted to V and about to become a Nazi, and still desperate to find Bill, Sookie persuades the hilariously gruff were to accompany her to the initiation/engagement party. One biker chick makeover later, and Sookie is once again confronted by Patrick Swayze’s Nazi werewolf brother. It gets worse, though.

After His Majesty hands round shots of his own personal V supply, the entire bar, including Alcide, shifts en masse, leaving Sookie dangerously exposed. There isn’t a makeover in the world that can cover the fact she is not a werewolf. When will she learn?

Elsewhere, Sam’s family problems have now become permanent. Whether out of sympathy or guilt, the Bon Temps property mogul has decided to give them a place to stay, and his brother a chance to have a life. Possibly, that’s not going to work out as well as he’d like.

Sam’s obviously in a giving mood, though. When Arlene complains that she once again is the only person who bothered to turn up for work, the bar owner goes to one Jessica Hamby for help. The fledgling Vamp is now Merlotte’s newest hostess. But this is Bon Temps, after all, and wouldn’t you know it? On her first night she’s recognized by an old friend, which definitely won’t work out well. Poor Jess. She’s almost as unlucky as Tara. Almost.

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Series three has reached its fourth episode and is beginning to peel back the layers of the latest Louisiana intrigue. The tangled Ralph/Bill/Queenie triangle and its all-encompassing consequences looks set to dominate the series, and rightfully so. It’s been a while since we’ve been privy to Vamp politics, and thanks to the Roman-esque attitudes of King Ralph, the rather laid back Bon Temps Vamps are in for something of a shock.

With the Nazi Weres, the raiding of Fangtasia and Bill’s dark side, it’s taken His Majesty a worryingly short time to cause an enormous amount of trouble.  And, knowing True Blood, it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

Clearly, though, the revelation that Franklin is working for the king means that, whatever Bill thinks he accomplished by selling out Queenie will probably make little difference to Ralph’s ultimate goal. Whatever he’s really after, Sookie  will be right in the middle of it. 

Of course, Queenie’s yet to be apprised of any of this, but there’s no way she’ll go quietly. Vamp wars anyone?

Aside from the intriguing Vamp politics, once again, Laf and Eric proved they could pretty much carry the show on their own. They’re a great double act and, hopefully, there’ll be plenty more where that came from in the rest of the series. In fact, New Eric just gets better and better. His schoolgirl crush on Sookie is hilarious, and his touching concern for Pam (a vamp that he sired) leaves us in no doubt that he’s a complicated Vamp, indeed. And he still doesn’t know that Sookie is now unattached.

9 Crimes may have been a little busy, and perhaps a little too back and forth to be a classic True Blood episode but, as laying the groundwork goes, there aren’t many series that do it better. Season Three may not have the slow burn quality of Season one, so far, anyway, but as the show has grown so has its scope, something highlighted by just how intertwined the storylines are.

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In a show this complex, occasionally episodes have to be functional, but when they’re as beautifully done as 9 Crimes, it’s easily forgivable. Whatever the rest of the season has in store, it all started here.

Read our review of episode 3 here.