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.


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)