The True Blood Season Premiere: Softcore and Corn Pone

As always, True Blood picks up right where last season left off. Bill Compton is the vampire king of Louisiana and he is still the Betty to Eric Northman’s pouty Veronica. Lafayette and Sookie’s attempt to resuscitate the bleeding-out Tara is interrupted by Queen Bitch Pam. Lafayette has the brilliant idea for Pam to turn Tara, which a salty Pam agrees to do if Sookie will get Eric to forgive her. As a season opener this episode sets out to resolve last season’s cliffhangers, sweeping away the old supernatural spiders to make way for new characters and plotlines.

Steve Newlin greets a naked Jason Stackhouse and we are back in True Blood country again. He tells a long sob story that works to get Jason to invite him in. Jason always acts like such a noob when he gets cruised. Guess what, dude? No one really needs a cup of sugar. Odd couple Bill and Eric get kidnapped by a couple of particularly minimalist goth vampires who listen to “Silly Love Songs.” See, because it’s funny that they listen to AOR fluff and not dark techno music! They have fishnet burn marks on their faces, which are totally chic in the style of those Rick Owens brutalist veils.

Sam is confronted by a pack of werewolves looking for their pack leader Marcus’s killer. One of them transforms into a sexy naked lady whose long hair happens to obscure her nipples. Sookie and Lafayette bury the wounded Tara with her would-be maker Pam. Pam’s pastel-yellow kitten Walmart sweatsuit is the best fashion statement this show has ever produced.

Sam is stripping on the porch when his hot girlfriend Luna approaches with her daughter Emma and asks what the hell is going on. He explains that he’s wanted for Marcus’s murder, and is taking the rap as a favor to Alcide. The naked were-lady threatens Emma, all the while never turning her head or shaking her hair in a way that would reveal her nipples.

The evil Steve Newlin tapes Jason’s mouth shut and wraps a blanket around his shirtless chest. This kind of thing happens to Jason a lot. Steve isn’t mad that Jason screwed his wife — he’s actually jealous and wants Jason all to himself. Having grown up in Bon Temps, Jason knows better than to mouth off to a psychopath. In the nicest possible way he affirms his heterosexuality, which sets Steve off into a murderous rage interrupted by Jason’s savior-lover Jessica, who banishes the unwanted vamp-suitor. Still wearing her Little Red Riding Hood sexy Halloween costume, she celebrates by climbing into Jason’s lap.

Bill and Eric blow up the vampmobile and get ejected from the trunk onto an artistically fire- and debris-strewn set. One of the kidnappers is revealed to be Eric’s sister Nora, but only after they suck some face. Nora explains her backstory during a dockside walk-and-talk. She claims she was there to save Eric, and that they are supported by “factions” within the vampire community. They walk into a large shipping container that makes me think this is Season 2 of The Wire. If ever there was a time for Sobotka to roll by this is it, but he doesn’t show. Eric can’t tell whether Nora is double-crossing them. She is an emotionally remote, icy-hot Viking just like her blond brother.

Sookie mops up Debbie’s corpse, which is still littering her kitchen floor. (Sookie should just do her floor with a blood finish. It’d save her some time.) She and Lafayette continue their body-hauling journey with a stop at Jesus’s palace of tacky animal prints. Jesus’s body is no longer there, and Lafayette continues what has been a days-long freakout. He talks to his dead ex-boyfriend in front of a not-at-all symbolic “Dia De Los Muertos” altar display.

A couple of Levi Johnstons step in and poke at the prone, nude Frank Sobotka with their rifles. They are Holly’s kids — she is lying naked next to Frank. Frank makes a break for his police car. Noel from Felicity is staying with Terry and Arlene, and Terry seems weirdly angry about it. Arlene brings up the fire and a hilariously spooky sound cue strikes up. Noel looks meaningfully at Terry while he talks about fires. You guys, I think there’s something going on here with Terry and fires ( ~ fires ~ ).

Sookie takes a Lena Dunham–style, sitting-down shower (sans cupcake) that devolves into a flashback to some weird childhood memory about being picked last for sports and a ridiculously scrappy young Tara stepping in to save her ass. She stares out the window at the zombie grave where her BFF is buried, then wears a pink grandma robe to check up on a distant Lafayette. Another spooky sound cue comes in as Lafayette checks out a girly razor on the bathtub shelf.

Alcide arrives at Sookie’s house, not knowing that his ex-girlfriend’s murdered body was splayed there mere hours before. The handsome werewolf has come to tell Sookie that former vampire king of Mississippi Russell Edgington is on the loose again. Jason and Frank Sobotka share a meal at Merlotte’s and complain about how it’s literally the only restaurant in town. Hoyt shoots daggers at Jason across the room for screwing his girlfriend behind his back. One of Hoyt’s friends coughs “girlfriend fucker” at Jason, which is not a real slur anyone uses. Jason tries to bypass Bubba to talk to Hoyt, but Hoyt is not going to roll over and take his betrayal that easily.

Alcide wants Sookie to crash at his place. She starts explaining that he won’t want to once he finds out the thing that she has to tell him and she just has to tell him as soon as she can get it out which will happen just momentarily except then whoops she takes too long and Lafayette interrupts. Lafayette just used the razor to shave his head, which is a joke from Eastbound & Down this season! Lafayette gets in Alcide’s were-grill, and Sookie agrees that he should leave. She overhears Lafayette calling her a dumb bitch in his head.

A tough bitch in a leather jacket walks into the bar where Sam Merlotte is being tortured with his jeans on. The only place other people get tortured with jeans on is gay porn. Leather jacket lady is the closer. Her name is Martha, which is my mom’s name! Therefore my mom is a werewolf.

Bill chills on the dock while Eric rails his sister. They fog up the shipping container and prove that Game of Thrones doesn’t have a monopoly on incestuous sex scenes. Meanwhile at Bill’s plantation home, a bunch of college students are having a kickback in the living room courtesy of Jessica. Jess wears a tight, flowery red-and-fuchsia dress reminiscent of that other hot-blooded ginger Joan Holloway’s wardrobe. Her normie friends praise her for being the coolest vampire, and a ripped, tan Abercrombie bro with product in his hair makes sex eyes at her.

Jessica answers the door to find Jason expecting a booty call from his old girlfriend. She explains that she is not, in fact, his girlfriend anymore and as such there will be no booty call. She invites him in anyway to show that there are no hard feelings, and he feels embarrassed that she didn’t even invite him to what is obviously a party at her house. She says she doesn’t want Jason to narc on any underage drinkers, but it’s clear she just doesn’t like him to cockblock her from Abercrombie guy. A couple of babes beckon Jason to the couch, and Jessica feels a flicker of jealousy despite what she just told him.

Noel from Felicity appears on Terry’s deck to talk ominously again about … ~fire~ … and how it was a coincidence that Terry was present for a bunch of mysterious blazes. Arlene steps outside to find Terry choking out Noel. Noel pushes him to the ground and talks about the string of deaths he’s trying to stop. Which may or may not be connected to Terry and the ~fires~ and his PTSD.

Jessica is playing Rock Band and singing “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways, but so off-tempo that she would fail that level of Rock Band right quick. Jason tries to make it a duet by sliding up behind her, but Abercrombie bro cuts in and she falls into his arms instead. The blonde chick who was drumming hops on Jason’s back and he takes off with her in an attempt to gain some control of the situation.

The blonde chick suggests they go to her sorority. Jason tells her he wants to stay a gentleman and not do her in his car, because he is just going to never call her again. She obviously doesn’t care if she ever sees him again and it’s insulting that he’s using that as an explanation for not having sex with her. It’s unclear why he doesn’t just say “yes, I do have feelings for someone else,” except that maybe his pride over being rejected by Jessica makes him unable to admit that he is totally hung up on her.

A bunch of werewolves dig up Marcus’s body as Sam and Alcide stand back. Martha speaks with a stately drawl. The evil werewolves are about to bury Sam alive when Alcide steps up and takes responsibility for the murder. Martha tells them that she is Marcus’s mother, and starts to shift.

Bill, Eric, and Nora meet up with a vampire named Cat who outfits them with new names and papers to match. Bill is “Marcellus Clark” (does he look like a bitch?) and Eric is “Ike Applebaum” (see, because it’s a Jewish name and Eric is super-Aryan). Eric makes out with his sister as a spray of bullets executes the vampires around them. It’s a vampire battleship with a firing squad. A sinister voice tells them to stay still.

Sookie is waiting by Tara’s grave with Lafayette, who runs off to scrounge up some snacks. A hand slides out of the dirt, but it’s just a false alarm, as Pam crawls out and uncorks a True Blood in her dirtied yellow sweatsuit. Sookie digs out Tara, finding that her friend is still dead. Pam shrugs. What are ya gonna do? A teary-eyed Lafayette surveys the body as Sookie weeps. Tara scares them all by shooting up out of the ground as a vampire, setting up one of what is sure to be many new silly plot arcs on True Blood. Welcome back to Bon Temps. Hope you like softcore and corn pone.

Filed Under: HBO, Recaps, True Blood, Vampires

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert