True Blood Season One Episode Recap: The First Taste

March 20, 2009 by  

“Look, it’s a bird!” “It’s a plane!” “No, it’s Vampire Bill… to the rescue!!!” Okay, so that was cheesy, but the opening scene to episode two of True Blood was not.

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The Rattrays and Sookie

We begin where we left off… Sookie has been attacked by Mac and Denise Rattray in the Merlotte’s parking lot, and they are beating and kicking her to death (while making out passionately and declaring their love for one another. Let me just take this moment to say, “ick”). Her trusty Watch Dog Collie is there to bark and growl at the villains; however, it’s Sookie who has to try to save the silly dog from being shot by Mac. She grabs hold of Mac’s leg and is about to pull it out from under him when out of nowhere a speeding blur lifts him into the air and throws him against a tree. The blur returns a second later to finish the job and kill Mac. A scared Denise looks around in terror, but is unable to save herself. She is thrown in the air and lands across the parking lot with a decidedly final thump. (Good riddance!) Sookie watches on in pain, passing out just before her rescuer’s booted foot steps near, and his pale hand reaches down to gently cup her battered face.

I just want to comment quickly on the opening credits, which I failed to mention during my previous recap. I totally love the opening credits! Rather than show us random clips from the show and sweet headshots of the actors (so overdone), they give us a look into the radical side of the south. To the very country sounding song Bad Things by Jace Everett, we see swamp lands, church prayers, and bar drinking mixed with, smoke, dead animals, and a lovely sign declaring “GOD HATES FANGS.” From an outsider’s perspective, anyhow, they’ve captured the essence of the south with a clever, slightly exaggerated accuracy.

But now back to the actual show… Sookie wakes up as Bill, her rescuer, is carrying her through the woods. He takes her to a private place, lays her down, and starts to examine how badly she’s injured. After she coughs up blood and tells him she can’t feel her legs, Bill bites his wrist open and tells Sookie to drink his blood. Fearing it will turn her into a vampire, she hesitates, but Bill forces his wrist into her mouth. She spits it out at first, and then starts to devour the popular liquid drug like it’s the most amazing thing she’s ever tasted. The vampire watches on with a mixture of pain and pleasure.

The scene breaks here, and when it comes back, Bill is licking the blood from Sookie’s forehead. This scene has made my list of one of the most romantic vampire scenes ever! Usually you just see a vampire feed by biting a victim, which is very hot as well, but this scene ranks right up there. It’s so elemental, so carnal. And then he looks, not embarrassed, but almost a little shy about what he’s done as his tongue darts out to lick any remaining blood from his lips and stares down at Sookie. Her blood tastes different from other humans, he says, and she tells him she’s a telepath. He’s taken aback and looks quite worried that she can hear his thoughts, but she explains to him that she can’t. That’s why she likes him so much. He’s curious how she can manage a social life with men her own age, and she tells him she doesn’t date. (I really like the guy she went out with who wanted to marry her so he could stop having fantasies about Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal. Unfortunately, Sir, I can tell you now… being married does not stop fantasies about Jake Gyllenhaal.) After chatting for a while, Sookie realizes she’s completely healed, and Bill asks her not to tell anyone that vampire blood has that power.

He walks her to her car, and she asks him if he would speak to her grandmother’s Civil War group. He agrees and asks, “When may I call on you?” (What a gentleman?! As I’ve stated before, I really love old vampires with their manners and formality.) They set a date for the following night, and Bill disappears while Sookie’s back is turned.

At the same time this is happening, Jason is at the police station with Sheriff Dearborn and Andy Bellefleur being questioned about the murder of Maudette Pickens. They are showing him a tape they found at Maudette’s home, featuring her and Jason with Jason’s hands tight around her neck. When her body is limp afterwards, Jason runs out, thinking he’s killed her. The video goes on to show Maudette laughing at him and turning off the camera. I can’t help thinking “Poor Jason” during this scene. In fact, I think I will probably always refer to him as Poor Jason in my head. For all his womanizing, he’s really so simple and innocent. He tells them about the tape of Maudette with the tattooed vamp, but Bud and Andy didn’t find any other tapes. When they accuse Jason of leaving only this tape to prove his innocence, after going back to kill Maudette later, he adorably advises them, “I’m not that smart!” We know, Jason sweetie, but you’re gorgeous, so we’ll forgive you. After being released from the police station, Jason goes straight to Dawn’s house. Feeling sorry for him, she listens to his story and ends up sleeping with him. And I have to say, I really enjoyed this scene much more than the one between Jason and Maudette. Especially towards the end when Jason points at himself in the mirror as if to say, “That’s right, big buy, you’re back in the game!” His high is short lived, however, when he wakes to find old fang marks on Dawn’s neck.

The next morning, Sookie is eating breakfast and watching a debate between Reverend Theodore Newlin, Fellowship of the Sun, and Nan Flanagan, American Vampire League. They are discussing vampire rights, and Rev. Newlin refuses to speak directly to Ms. Flanagan, saying his “commitment to Christ Jesus, praise his name… compels me not to recognize her kind!” Nan Flanagan is clearly not happy with this, and the debate ends. I think adding the Fellowship of the Sun, the religious aspect of the vampire rights debate, was genius. It makes the show very realistic. While eating breakfast, Sookie notices that the sausage tastes “more complex” and goes into detail about being able to see the farm where the pig was raised on and tasting the earth the herbs were grown in (which I think is a little gross. I really don’t want to taste earth, i.e. dirt, while eating sausage). She realizes this is caused by the vampire blood she drank the previous night.

Tara and Jason arrive (separately, of course. Poor Tara) and Gran gets a call telling her that the Rattray’s trailer has been hit by a tornado and they were found dead inside. Realizing what must have happened, Sookie rushes to the scene to see the extent of Bill’s work. Sheriff Dearborn and the new Parrish Coroner, Mike Spencer, show up and question her about Bill. Due to the lack of destruction in the vicinity around the trailer (after all, “tornadoes hop”), they think something else happened. After defending her vampire, Sookie storms away, angry at the prejudice against the undead. And I don’t know about any of you, but Mike Spencer really creeps me out!!! Sookie seems to have something against the coroner/funeral director who buried her parents, but it’s not entirely obvious to me. Maybe we’ll learn something in the future…

Later that evening, just after dark, Sookie is at home preparing for her evening with Bill. She’s piqued that Jason and Tara decided to invite themselves over to meet her date, but she doesn’t dwell on it. When Bill arrives we learn that vampires can’t enter a mortal’s home unless they’ve been invited inside. After making sure she can rescind the invitation at any time (in a teasing way, of course), she lets him into the house to meet her family. Bill speaks to everyone about his past, regaling the group with his memories of the Stackhouse family. Tara is offended when she learns that Bill’s father owned slaves (I thought he handled this controversial conversation quite well, especially since he understands a little better now what it’s like to be a minority.), and Jason’s protests about Sookie taking a walk with Bill are overruled by Gran. After Sookie and Bill leave, Tara tries to bond with Jason, telling him she understands he only wants Sookie to be safe, and it works until Jason remembers he has to pick up Dawn from work. (Oh, Tara… I so wish you would move on!)

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Bill and Sookie

During their walk, Bill answers Sookie’s questions about being a vampire and what effect his blood will have on her. He tells her that he can glamour, or hypnotize, people, but when he tries it on her (after she calls him a chicken for not wanting to) she is immune. They walk through the cemetery and stop in front of Bill’s home. He explains he’s been doing repairs on his own, but needs an electrician. Unfortunately he can’t get one to call him back. Sookie offers to call around and stop by his home the following evening to tell him who to call.

And on to romantic scene number two in this episode! After asking for permission (What a gentleman?!), Bill runs his fingers through Sookie’s hair and smells her neck. “I can smell the sunlight on your skin.” He says with longing and an inner torture. He leans into her, and it seems like he might be planning to kiss her (He was probably going to ask for further permission.), when Sookie has had enough of waiting. She reaches up and pulls his mouth to hers. The kiss is passionate and takes Bill a little off guard. He’s unable to stop his reaction (extended fangs) so he turns away from her. He offers to take her home and she agrees. If he did that to me, I’d probably tell him to bite me… literally!

The next day, Dawn leaves Jason tied to her bed when she goes to work. She promises him she’ll be home by midnight. He’s quite upset, but I’m sure if he takes a second, he’ll realize that the way the headboard is set up, he’d have no trouble getting untied on his own. At Merlotte’s, Sookie waits on a table full of college-aged kids who’ve been drinking. When she’s walking away one of the guys, who’d been thinking some very nasty things about the telepath, grabs her backside. Before she can do anything, Rene has the guy pinned to the table. He makes the guy apologize and tells the kids to eat somewhere else. When they leave, Rene tells Sookie he wants to keep Merlotte’s a nice place, and she reminds him of his baby sister. He hopes someone would look out for his sister if some creep tried to hit on her like that. (I just love Rene! And his accent is kind of sexy.) A little flustered by what happened, she goes to the back hallway and Sam asks her to speak with him in his office. Sookie tells him a little about her “gift,” confirms that she can’t hear the vampire’s thoughts, and when he tells her she can listen to his (“You might be surprised what you hear”), she explains she doesn’t want to know. Sorry, Sam, I don’t think any of us would be surprised by what you want her to hear! She goes back to the bar and hears on the news that Rev. Theodore Newlin, Fellowship of the Sun leader, is dead. He, his wife, and small child, were killed in a car accident.

Sookie arrives at Bill’s to see an unfamiliar vehicle in the drive. The license plate reads, “FANGS1” and the bumper stickers say, “Vampire’s Suck!” and “Honk if you’re a blood donor!” She is clearly nervous, but gathers her nerve and heads to the door. It swings open and there is a female vampire at the door, shortly accompanied by a male vampire. When she asks for Bill, they don’t let her in immediately and their fangs extend. She realizes she’s in trouble and turns to leave, but there is a second male vampire, the tattooed one from Maudette’s tape, and he has extended fangs and a bloody mouth. An interesting thing that the show does is dress the vampires for different time periods, showing us when that vampire was made a vampire.

I love how the show always leaves us at an exciting end! Sure, I’m gnawing at the bit to find out what’s going to happen next, but isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?!  Thanks for reading!

(Photo Credit: HBO)

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