True Blood: You’re No Good, Review

'You're No Good?' Don't be so hard on yourself, True Blood. In this current direction, you are the best you've been in years.

The title for True Blood’s third episode this year is “You’re No Good.” However, I am starting to think the show is being too hard on itself as the fences of Season 5 are beginning to look good and mended. Increasingly, True Blood has become NOT Sookie’s show. Yes, Anna Paquin is still the lead and deserves top billing, yet it seems more and more likely that the series based on the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries makes at least as much room now for the characters of Eric and Bill. And most refreshingly, not only for this show but vampire television and fiction in general, it is currently not in the shape of a love triangle. One-third through Season 6 and there has been no pining over Sookie other than one estranged glance (more on that in a moment) and while Sookie is having her first interesting storyline in at least a few years, Bill and Eric are driving the majority of the show in their own plots. So, let’s start with the fan favorite. Eric opens the episode by going the full Christopher Lee/Hammer Horror Dracula on the governor’s daughter. Still a bit peeved that Governor Burrell resisted his glamour charms and declared war on the entire vampire race, Eric appears as a wolf at Willa Burrell’s window. It is total fangirl service when daddy’s girl, wearing complete virginal white and with an impotent crucifix hanging around her neck, gives in to Skarsgard’s Eric’s spell. He promises to make her father scream at the horror he is about to inflict with a bite downtown. Fortunately for the actress’s resume, she manages to convince Eric to let her stick around for a few more episodes by pledging to reveal tantalizing intel on the governor’s “camp” operations. So faster than you can say Christine Daée, Eric whisks the ingénue away from papa and onto glorious freedom. At least, until Pam finds out. Eric spends the rest of the episode running interference between Willa and the varying vamp progenies. Pam, sensing another Sookie situation (a human who can replace her in her maker’s affections), immediately wants to decapitate the girl. Pam protests it is in vengeance for the closing of Fangtasia, but we know the truth. Conversely, Tara still clings to humanity and wants to send Willa packing home after a good glamouring forces her to forget who did this. Eric will have neither option and wants to save the girl for some nefarious bargaining chip with the governor. Also, the producers can get some more fan service when Eric shares his coffin with the willing victim for fear of Pam murdering the waif (good call). What is Eric’s endgame? Unfortunately we do not find out, because after Eric uses the girl to bait the governor with threats of excruciating torture, Tara decides to spirit her off from Eric’s clutches. This is the part where I go: Why, Tara? Why are you still on this show when characters like Gran, Godric and Jesus are in the permanent ground? Obviously Eric is not planning to kill her (at the moment), otherwise he would have done it much earlier like Pam suggested. But leave it to Tara to do something stupid. Oh well, at least we finally got to see where Ginger lives. Apparently, she dresses in her best leather every night hoping that Sheriff Northman will come knocking. We get the sense that this is not the first time he broke her heart by bringing Pam along. Still, we enjoy the lovable idiot when she does things like answer Eric’s phone despite knowing they’re hiding. Somehow though, I think we may be nearing the end of poor Ginger. Glamoured into forgetting Eric and co. were even there, she is going to be completely useless to the governor when he gets there looking for his daughter, and this is a man who has no qualms about killing registered voters. Plus, the show seems to be closing down the Fangtasia storyline for good…  However, lest we forget this is not just a vampire show, Sookie is having her own troubles. Grandpa Niall continues to put the fear of God (Lilith?) into Sookie about Warlow and honestly, as tiring as all this Warlow talk is, I am warming to the old faerie royalty. It likely stems from just how entertaining Rutger Hauer is as an actor, but Niall is putting the sway in fae. This is one faerie who isn’t caught dead at the oversaturated disco clubs, unless it is to clean up Warlow’s mess. It seems this mysterious Warlow fella’ is good at sneaking into faerie hideouts and bleeding them dry. Niall even puts one of the half-drained victims to rest. Meanwhile, Sookie and Jason have some real bonding for the first time. In a rather anti-climactic way, the show seems to be tying a knot on the “racist parents” visions Jason had last season with Sookie revealing how fearful and judgmental mama was around baby psychic Sookie. Even so, it is a nice moment that adds the littlest of needed weight when Bill comes a calling. Remember how I said that there is one remnant of the love triangle in this episode? Here, the writers seem to boldly be closing the book on Bookie. They get to play the haunting ode of their dead, dead love from Season 1, but even the musical accompaniment seems to acknowledge this party is over. You see Billith—I was partial to Lill myself, but the Internet has spoken and Billith he shall be—has come up with a plan to combat the Tru Blood shortage and the governor’s scheming. However, he needs faerie blood (more on that in a bit). And after politely asking for Sookie’s help, he shows off his Lilith powers by walking into her home and making Jason look (more) the fool. No invitations required. Rather than helping this demi-god thing, Sookie refuses to willingly give him a drop of her blood and further demands that if their love ever meant a thing to Bill, he will leave without taking her by force. At this point, I must say that while Sookie can be seen as making the right decision—every time she helps a vampire, she gets screwed over and placed in crimson doodoo—this seems like a forced point to draw the line in the sand. Bill convincingly tells Sookie that not only he, but Jessica, Eric, Pam and super-BFF Tara could all die without a way to combat the sun. However, Sookie seems disinclined to acquiesce to Billith’s request solely because she is still mad at him for the whole becoming Billith thing. In short, there is a good chance a vampire character may die this season because Sookie is pissed at an ex. I’m sorry, but I am on Lill’s side when he says, “You are dead to me Sookie Stackhouse.” May the book readers strike me down for saying this.  Ultimately, Niall returns after another failed attempt at capturing Warlow and brings Ben in tow. Ben just happens to be standing around the field where Warlow killed a whole bunch of fae and also just so happens to be ready to help Niall defend Sookie. Later, when aiding the Stackhouse princess (not my words, Niall literally called her a faerie princess!) clean up Billith’s mess, Sookie notices that while he can read her thoughts, she cannot read his. So, at this point I am all but convinced that Ben is either Warlow himself or Warlow’s ancient progeny. The only reason he may be Warlow is because Nora may have met him and when she showed up by Sookie’s house, she did not turn to Ben and say, “Hey, Warlow.” However, it is obvious that Ben has certain attributes out of the norm for fae. Sookie can unnaturally hear him poking around inside her head and listening in. Also, he continues to randomly show up in convenient places, be it outside Sookie’s home or a fae massacre. Do we know for sure that Niall has seen Warlow before, even if he is hunting the bugger? After all, when the vampire creature was wandering around Sookie’s property in this episode, he moved too fast for anyone to get a real look at him. Ben is Warlow or works for him. He is a vampire who has drunk enough faerie blood to be immune to daylight. You can take that to the bank. Speaking of daylight, it seems to be the focus of Billith’s storyline this episode. Terrified of visions of Jessica and countless other vampires burning to death in the governor’s death camps (which were confirmed as such by a more than willing Willa in Eric’s storyline and briefly glimpsed in Steve Newlin’s cameo this week), Bill becomes transfixed about finding a way to save his progeny and other vampires from the sun. Not Bill at all, eh Sook?  His first strategy is to use his Lilith powers to walk in the light of the sun, making for a hilarious moment that Team Eric went giddy for across the Web tonight. While Lilith seems immune to wooden stakes through the heart, sunlight is still a no-go and Bill fries faster than breaded chicken. Well, that didn’t work. Plan B is to synthesize faerie blood into a new UV-resistant brand of the Tru stuff. Unfortunately, while Jessica is able to secure the perverse college professor responsible for the drink (as well as the male audience) by dressing as a naughty schoolgirl by way of Adam & Eve, it seems all for naught because Billith failed to acquire Sookie’s assistance. Yet, not all hope is lost when Sheriff Andy Bellefleur drives by his great-great-great grandfather’s solitary walk home. Let’s talk about Andy for a moment. Usually, the really secondary characters (Andy, Arlene, Terry) have entertaining storylines that never intersect with the main threads. Ergo, they often can find themselves shortchanged in reviews like this. But this year, Andy’s is really, really, REALLY amusing. Those four half-faerie children he sired two seasons ago? Well, not only are they born this year, but they’re aging about 5-8 years every episode. Babies in the Season 5 Finale are now over 10-years-old in Season 6, Episode 3 and will be teenagers next week, judging by the previews. So, Andy, the dumbest good man in Bon Temps (besides Jason) has a nice running joke all season. Or so it seemed until this episode. Andy lives up to his dumbness by admitting to his distant relative, Vampire Bill, that he has had four children. Smelling the faerie on them, Billith knows exactly what that means. And the episode ends when he walks off smiling. So, Plan C looks to be for Billith to now secure at least some blood from Andy’s own progeny to save his own. Are we okay with this? Well, it will depend entirely on if they only are taking some or a lot. Also, it will matter if Bill and Jessica can contain themselves around a more potent batch of fae blood. Personally, I will support this until they take it too far. Which seems inevitable, but we’ll have to find out next week.  Overall, True Blood feels on the upswing. I still miss the slow boil hospitality of Ball’s style, but he was clearly burnt on the show and for the first time in years, I am actually positively looking forward to the next episode. Granted, there are still storylines that I could leave. Alcide’s power trip as pack master, causing him to become a were-douche, just feels like spinning wheels, despite causing a good laugh when the college activists became werewolf chow. Unfortunately, Nicole escaped and is apparently being positioned to be a love interest for Sam (and a newly turned werewolf after a biting). But the major three plot threads are circling each other while exploring interesting aspects of both the vampire and faerie world in an entertaining way. Niall is a welcome goodbye to much of the fae camp from previous seasons, as this one cleans faerie house; meanwhile, the vampires have all but said adios to the Authority crap beyond Lilith’s influence on Bill and Governor Burrell is making for a mean cuss of a villain. All TB viewers know that a character is supposed to die this season. While my heart is still wishing for it to be Tara, my gut tells me it is going to be someone we actually care about. Many viewers are pegging it on Jessica, which makes sense to a degree. But as an original television creation, Jessica is a fan favorite who I simply do not see them ditching. No, I think it is going to be Bill…ith. The bridge between him and Sookie has not only been burned down, but the ground its foundations stood upon has been scorched and salted so that not even vegetation can grow there. We saw this week that Billith is not wholly invulnerable and it would be a good way to reverse trends after the pathetic semi-end the character got last year. Either way, I just want to say: Why does Lafayette not have a storyline this season? Again, one of the show’s best characters remains criminally underused. Den of Geek Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


4 out of 5