True Blood‘s third season reached episode five with this week’s Trouble, in which Russell is revealed as the catalyst for everything that has ever happened, Tara finds herself trapped in a Victorian horror novel, and Sookie is finally reunited with Bill, albeit briefly, and with rather a large audience.
The dastardly and ancient Russell, having tracked Sookie down through Bill’s impetuosity, now knows that, in addition to her psychic prowess, she also possesses some form of superpower, thanks to Cooter’s frankly appalling performance record as an attack were.
Yup, the flashing blue electricity that Maryann was so impressed with is back, and the King couldn’t be happier. Clearly Sookie is the secret weapon in Russell’s arsenal but, whatever his long term plan is, surely the revelation that His Majesty is responsible for the death of Eric’s family means our favourite sheriff is now fully in the game. With both Bill and Eric vying for Sookie’s attentions, the inevitable rescue attempt/vengeance will be nothing if not interesting.
Russell’s a fascinating character, in a megalomaniac kind of way, particularly as, despite his age and power, he’s essentially the Mississippi equivalent of Queenie. Surely, there’s more to come here, but some Russell backstory wouldn’t go amiss right now, if for no other reason than to explain how he’s managed to stay hidden for so long.
Of course, His Majesty isn’t working alone, and one of the episode’s highlights is the hilarious Franklin, and there was plenty of him. There’s nothing quite like watching a grown vampire throw a tantrum, although, Tara probably isn’t laughing quite as much.
About to become a vampire bride, and with little chance of rescue (at the moment, anyway), at least she can console herself with the fact that she’s dressed for the part. It’s quite a gown. Franklin’s purpose (to provide Russell with evidence that Bill’s up to something) has clearly been served, but let’s hope they don’t get rid of him just yet. His super-psychosis is the perfect antidote to all the were posturing, and his creepiness continues to hit heretofore unseen levels.
James Frain has pitched his performance perfectly, making Franklin a definite candidate for the show’s best new character. And considering his competition is the Merlotte family, he’s a shoo-in. One thing True Blood has done well since season one is pick the right actor for the right role, and in Frain, they’ve done it again.
With all the Mississippi focused action, the Bon Temps storylines are taking a little longer to get going, but the Merlotte family is more than likely going to be the story there this season.
Joe Lee and Tommy have a particularly strange relationship, and Sam’s unflinching generosity toward his troubled, and troubling family can only lead to, well, trouble.
On a slightly more positive note, Laf’s tentative relationship with Jesus, his mother’s nurse, showed us just how coy our Laf can be, batting his eyelids and such. But this is Bon Temps, which means Jesus must have an agenda. Hopefully, the writers will let Laf have some fun before it gets too nasty.
Episode five, while throwing up some intriguing revelations, didn’t get everything quite right. Jason Stackhouse as a love struck wannbe cop seems out of kilter with the rest of the storylines. Without wishing to cast aspersions, it kind of feels like they just don’t know what to do with him this year.
Jason has been a delight over the course of the last two seasons, and it would be a crime to waste him now, so let’s hope that new squeeze Crystal is way more interesting than she so far appears.
So, while we’ve yet to reach the dizzy heights of season one, Trouble proves that were definitely on our way. Sookie is in Russell’s hands, Eric is out for revenge and the weres are spoiling for a fight. The really good stuff is just around the corner…
Read our review of episode 4 here.