True Blood Season One Episode Recap: Strange Love

March 11, 2009 by  

Sookie Stackhouse isn’t your normal waitress. With an unwanted ability to hear people’s thoughts, being in a room full of people can really be a headache! Enter Bill Compton, a 173-year-old vampire who just wants to fit in. With his lack of brain waves, spending time with Vampire Bill is the “peace and quiet” Sookie so desperately wants.

In the series opener, we learn that vampires exist, and with the Japanese invention of synthetic blood, which satisfies a vampire’s nutritional needs, humans need not fear. An action-packed, comedic gem among so many dark, melodramatic vampire tales, True Blood is a breath of fresh air.

HBO True Blood

HBO True Blood

What I like most about the story is how real it is. If vampires were to “come out of the coffin” in real life, I imagine their struggle for equality and their battle with themselves to “mainstream” would be similar to what we see on the show. As when other minority groups fight for their rights, the vampires must stand tall against religious organizations, human prejudices, and people’s desire to exploit them.
True Blood has one of the best acted ensembles, with tons of chemistry, since Friends (And if you didn’t like Friends, you have to at least admit that the actors were talented and worked amazingly well together). It’s refreshing to watch a show and get so engrossed in the characters that you forget they’re not really related, or they’re not really best friends, or they’re not really in love (well, maybe they are…)

The opening scene was a very effective hook. We learn right away about the Vampire Movement, TruBlood, and that V-Juice (Vampire Blood) is the hottest new drug on the underworld market. And I love how they threw in fellow HBOer Bill Maher. Of course, I imagine he’d be all for Vampire Rights. It was interesting that they gave us the stereotypical vampire who turned out to be a redneck and then the redneck turned out to be the real vampire. Right away I thought, “This is not a typical vampire show.”

The first scene with Sookie was done very well. And it’s a real treat to hear the thoughts going through the heads of her customers. Her penchant for reminding everyone that she doesn’t like “nasty talk” or curse words is amusing. Overall, Sookie is a very likable character.
By far, however, my favorite character is Lafayette Reynolds. He’s comic relief in an already hilarious show. The part where they’re having the sex talk, and Sookie is looking on in a combination of fascination and disgust, was utterly brilliant. The first meeting of Tara Thornton was also a very humorous scene. I had tears coming out of my eyes when she put the inquisitive, irritating customer in her place. And then threatening to sick her Baby Daddy on the boss… what a riot! The other side characters are all very stereotypical “Southern Folks,” but done so well, you can’t help but love their place in this world.

The scene with Jason Stackhouse and Maudette Pickens is probably my least favorite. (Although, as a General Hospital fan, it was nice seeing Graham Shiels as the tattooed vampire on the video.) I just thought the scene was very overdone with cheesy dialogue.
I was very happy with the introduction of Vampire Bill. Everything goes quiet as Sookie feels his presence. She turns, and they stare at each other longingly as the dramatic music plays in the background. Then the music stops and Sookie sounds like an excited school girl when she proclaims, “I think Merlotte’s just got its first vampire!” Can’t have anything too dramatic on such a fun show.

I think my favorite thing about vampires is that they tend to be decades and centuries old, so they have old fashioned ways about them. Bill is obviously no exception. Even when the Rattrays are an unwelcome interruption to his meeting with Sookie, he still tells them “Good Evening.” What a gentleman?! I was a little disappointed with him, though, when he left with Mac and Denise after Sookie told him not to go!

But the resulting scene with superhero Sookie was well worth it! With barely any fear, she runs to the rescue of the silly vampire who let his bloodlust nearly get him killed (well, I guess killed again)! I like that Sookie isn’t scared of Bill. Right away she decides he’s good, despite his undead status. And poor Bill just doesn’t know what to think of this fearless waitress who risks her life to help him.

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Sookie and Bill

Anna Paquin’s and Stephen Moyer’s chemistry is undeniable in this scene. Normally the leading pair’s first scenes in a television show are awkward and unbelievable, but other than the joking-about-his-name bit (where she might have forgotten her line?) it went very smoothly. Right away they made my list of sexiest couples on TV! Of course, is there any girl alive who could be immune to Stephen Moyer’s mysterious good looks and hot-as-hell grin? I was very sorry that the dream sequence in Sookie’s backyard turned out to be an actual dream sequence and not real, and then cut off so quickly!
I think Tara needs a good kick in the rear for mooning over the womanizer Jason. She either needs to get over it or make a move (I doubt he’d turn down any woman, really). I like Tara’s and Sam Merlotte’s easy manner and witty banter. Of course, with Sam, she has to compete with his crush on Sookie, which could get awkward.

There’s not much for me to say about Adele Stackhouse. She’s a straightforward, loving grandmother. It is a bit of a shock to have that familiar, lovable character so comfortable with the conversation about a vampire, though. Then she gets all giddy to meet him and learn about the Civil War from someone who was there. If only in real life… And I find it adorable that she stays up late at night reading paperback novels. I will probably be just like her at that age! She was particularly adorable when she was learning about fang bangers and prostitutes who serve johns of the undead variety. However, I think that conversation would be strange to have with one’s grandmother.
And although Jason is a sleazebag, his concern for his sister is endearing. I was ready for him to go lay down the law with the Rattrays. And I actually felt quite sorry for him when the news of Maudette’s murder was announced. Then he had to act so guilty when the police came to question him, so I felt even worse for him.

Probably my favorite scene in the whole show (with the exception of the Bill/Sookie scenes, of course) is when Lafayette and Tara interact with the man in overalls at the bar on the second night. Tara is incredibly funny when she’s going off on “stupid people,” and I actually believe that Lafayette would like to hook up with him. Following this is when Sookie learns about her brother being arrested and yells at Dawn Green, “I am not psychic!”

The last scene with Bill and Sookie gave me goose bumps. I was leaning into the TV hanging on every word and I was equally taken aback as Sookie was when Bill stood abruptly and left. It was a bit strange how she could jump from being so worried about her bother to being so engrossed with Bill. On second thought, maybe not so strange. Vampire Bill is quite hypnotic! But then I fell a little bit for Sam when he started yelling at Sookie about being a vigilante, and then he comforted her when she started to cry. And I just love how he calls her “cher.” When Sookie yelled at both Sam and Tara to shut up when they weren’t saying anything, just thinking, I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit.

The final scene of the show was brutal. It really brought home my hatred of the Rattrays. Every kick was so realistic and the blood splatter made me cringe!
All and all, I was very impressed with the first episode of True Blood. It was unique and fresh, and left me desperate for more!

(Photo Credit: HBO)

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  • Antonio

    There is just something special almost magical about the 1st season of True Blood. While Season 2 was good and the upcoming season 3 will surely enthrall fans, Season 1 had a special charm and mystique all it’s own. This first episode,for example, was very well done. The writing was crisp,intelligent,provocative and moving. The acting and direction were good,too.
    There is just something special about Sookie and Bill’s first meeting. It was like lightning just raw electricity! From the moment Sookie and Bill’s eyes met..Whoa! Pow! There was that sense of intensity, instant attraction and love at first sight!
    Aside from Jason and his “conquests”, Most of the episode is about Sookie and Bill. This is an incredible episode! To start out with such great chemistry between these characters is unbelievable! You get a sense of who Sookie is,the town where she lives,her friends and what her situation is like especially her abilities as a telepath (funny thing is she thinks its a “disability”!) The thing that moves me is that here are these 2 misfits~~~for lack of a better word~~~ And yet each sees something real and true in one another! They are Not “misfits” to each other They bond connect almost right away!
    The writing is unbelievably good here. Bill is a vampire by all accounts a “monster”. Sookie is a telepath by all accounts a “freak” and yet the Real “monsters” of the episosde are the Rattrays Mack and Denise who are human! Bill may be a vampire a “fiend” who drinks blood,but,The Rattrays abduct and kill vampires so they can sell their blood on the black market!
    The writers and Alan Ball seem to convey powerful messages about Tolerance,Compassion, Diversity and most of All Acceptance of oneself And of Others! In the first several episodes of season 1, We see Bill making an effort to move beyond his wild vampire ways,We see a “dark” side of him and we also get to hear what he thinks about himself,his old home town and Sookie and her family. We see Bill as a kind of a tragic figure…an anti-hero
    He is sensitive and yet dangerous. This “edge” to Bill has been toned down in S2 Unfortunately. It seems that in S2, Eric Northman had become the premiere “bad boy” “rebel” and Bill had to become the “good guy”. This whole “good” Bill “bad” Eric thing was set up or so it seemed.
    In Season 1,Particularly Episode 3 Mine We didnt know if Bill was good or bad could he be trusted? Was he just like all the rest? There was a volatile and uneasy “edge” to his character I think that is what made the first few episodes So compelling! Bill could be tough but by and by Sookie wore down his defenses. There was some(albeit very little) sexual tension at the beginning for Bill and Sookie…Her first “sex” dream of Bill, and that scene where he went with her for a walk after dinner at her Gran’s. “I can smell the sunlight in your hair!”
    he says to her in a smooth southern way.
    Eps. 5 and 6 are very moving! After her Gran is murdered, Sookie needs Bill more than ever and he is there for her.
    She runs to meet him after the sun has set and they become intimate He doesnt want to bite her but she practically begs him to. The whole Bill/Sookie/Sam thing? Just Incredible!!
    In Many ways, I feel that this Is the best season! It has a warm feel to it and the storylines are somewhat more coherent and enticing I feel. Who can forget the first few minutes of the pilot episode? Where these 2 bumpkins go to a bar and try to get Tru Blood they are under age of course and the goth looking dude behind the counter tries to scare them (he does a good job) into thinking that he is a bloodthirsty vampire
    Of course the hillbilly behind them is a “Real” vampire He bares his fangs at the goth dude and scares him!
    There are other moments like “Sookie Is Mine!” what fan could forget that?? There is No big part for Eric or anyone else as of then Its all about Bill and Sam and Tara and Jason’s mistrust of him! What are his intentions regarding Sookie?
    Is she really the love of his life Or is she just another meal for him?? That sense of not knowing what he is capable of is i believe 1 of the things that drove the show!
    At the end of the season 2 finale Bill proposes to Sookie does This mean he’s no longer dangerous Or mysterious??
    A “toned down” Bill makes almost No sense to me.
    Hopefully, in S3 things will be revealed about Bill and who he really is just like layers were removed with Sam,Jason and Lafayette.
    Anyway, S1 is special and maybe be the best so far S2 is good but for some reason does not have that “feel” that S1 seemed to have. Will the show struggle without a solid love relationship driving it in S3? Sookie is now alone So is Sam So is Jason
    So is Tara Without a “love story” aspect will this weaken the show?? I suppose that we can only wait and see.