True Blood: Season 1, Episode 2- The First Taste

March 15, 2009 by  

tbhboLast we left our heroine Sookie Stackhouse she had just escaped a run in with the Rattrays and was doing her best to dodge Vampire Bill‘s strange question “What are you?”

In Episode 2, Alan Ball shows us something really special that will become a pattern in nearly every episode: each new episode (with very few exceptions) begins at the exact tense moment the previous episode ended. What effect does this have on the viewer? It makes it very difficult to discern when an episode is about to end, but instead of waiting in anticipation (thinking “Oh, man, I bet this is almost over!”) you end up on the edge of your seat until that last second when something suspenseful gets cut off by the ending credits (which is, incidentally, exactly where the next episode begins).

Episode 2 opens with a horrifying beating, as Sookie is beaten and bloodied by the evil Rattrays. Just when she is on the brink of death, the dog frequently spotted at Merlotte’s distracts the duo, who is then quickly dispatched by a force moving so quickly it can hardly be seen. Then, a foot in front of Sookie’s face. Bill has come to save her (it’s only fair since she saved him).

Jason has to watch the tape of him bedding Maudette, where he thinks he’s killed her. Bud Dearborn and Andy Bellefleur sit watching with him, disgusted and unamused. It becomes clear from the tape that Jason is innocent and he is able to go home, for now.

Meanwhile, Bill heals Sookie by having her drink some of his blood, which he explains will have unexpected side effects for her (remember, vampire blood, or V, is often used as a drug by humans). Her wounds heal and she begins to feel better almost instantly– she even tells Bill about her telepathy and how “peaceful” being with him is since she cannot hear his thoughts. While Sookie fiendishly drinks the blood of Vampire Bill, Tara convinces her cousin Lafayette to pick her up to bring her to a party so she doesn’t have to deal with her drunk mother; Jason makes a house call to Dawn, and falls back on his usual coping mechanism: sex (where he unexectedly notices fang marks on Dawn’s neck). As Bill walks Sookie to her car, she presses him a bit about his past and learns how old he is. She also asks him if he will come speak to her grandmother’s club, The Descendents of the Glorious Dead. He accepts because he wants to make her happy.

The next morning Sookie notices some of the side effects of the blood she drank from Bill. Her grandmother’s breakfast tastes “more complex” than ever before (heightened senses are a common side effect of drinking V). Tara stops by and when Jason also drops in we see something new: the look in Tara’s eyes when she looks at Jason.

Later on, the bodies of the Rattrays are found amongst what appears to be the remains of their home, destroyed by a tornado. What srikes the authorities as odd is the fact that no bad weather was reported and the tornado didn’t “hop” like one normally tends to do.

Bill stops by to talk to Gran about speaking to The Descendents of the Glorious Dead, and Jason and Tara decide to hang around to see what he’s like (and to act like children, making rude comments). After the group talks for a bit, Bill takes Sookie on a walk, where they talk about the tornado. Sookie isn’t upset with Bill, but reminds him that he should be more careful. Sookie learns more about how vampires operate (and feed), and Bill unsuccessfully tries to glamour her (it’s unsuccessful because she’s a telepath). Bill also tells Sookie that since she has had his blood he “will always feel” her, which could “come in handy” when she’s in trouble.

Episode 2 ends when Sookie arrives at Bill’s to give him the names and numbers of some electritians who are willing to work on his house at night. She is greeted by three unfamilair vampires: Diane, a tall, curvaceous black woman with a sassy attitude; Malcolm, a scary, but funny vampire with a wonderful, slow Southern drawl; and Liam, the viscious vampire from Maudette’s tape, who ends the episode with his fangs extended and a rustling growl being emitted from his throat.

Bill and Sookie also share their first kiss, which is abruptly ended when Bill’s fangs uncontrollably extend and he decides to walk her home before things get out of control. Until next time…

Important things to remember: Alan Ball is quite clever. He uses certain elements as themes to shape parts of the story. Pay particular attention to the music that is played each time Bill and Sookie are in an intimate (even a perceived intimate) situation. The music is important, it’s part of the story, and it’s really beautiful. Also, don’t write off the way Bill constantly makes mention of Sookie’s “differentness.”

(Photo credit:  HBO Inc.)