Whoo doggy, wasn't that fun? There's been so much of run up to this second season of True Blood I was worried the actual product wasn't going to meet the challenge. The episode, "Nothing But the Blood," did a good job of juggling all the balls left in the air at the end of last season (dead body in parking lot, the mystery of MaryAnn, Bill's vampire-in-training, Lafayette's fate) while delivering on much of the promise Alan Ball was telling us about last week in interviews. Ball said the second season was going to be "more intense...a lot scarier (and) sexier." Let's see how he did:
More intense? Check.
I'd say that's pretty good (spoilers to follow).
*Those worried that we'd have to wait for some sweet Bill and Sookie nooky certainly had their concerns put to rest. No Cat Power love this time, but having watched a few episodes, I can tell you that Anna Paquin is no longer as shy about showing off her goods.
Alan Ball claims True Blood is pure popcorn, but forgive me if I go all Cliff Notes for a second. I picked up on a theme emerging amidst the thrills, and it's a circular one of reparation. Jason makes amends for his past by giving himself over to the Fellowship of the Sun cult, but he can't do it until Sookie hands over her own reparations given to her by her diddling Uncle Bartlett; who in turn had restitution forced on him by Bill; who, by episode's end, is made to apologize for the action the only way a Southern gentleman knows how: with some well written romantic flattery. Sookie can't resist, and lays thick her best Scarlett O'Hara: "God damn you Bill Compton, I love you." It's bodice-ripping time!
Of course, restitution was brought up elsewhere, namely in the torture dungeon in Fangtasia's basement, which housed both Lafayette (Praise be, he's alive!) and his redneck nemesis Royce. Both contemplate the bad things they did to end up in such dire straits, with Royce ending up paying the ultimate restitution for "crossing" Eric. The look (and blood splattering) on Lafayette's face was possibly the most intense the series has gotten, making the juxtaposition of Randy Travis singing the traditional hymn "Nothing But the Blood," even more chilling. The episode's namesake in song also tells of reparations, but more importantly ties together both the blood and the growing religious.
Meanwhile, we get more of Sam's back story and her relation with MaryAnn (Michelle Forbes, seeming to enjoy every bit of her dark and mischievous role,) and it turns out he's got to make his own reparations, having stolen somewhere close to $100K in cash from the vibrating maenad. Speaking of vibrations, ever notice that we only see Eggs when MaryAnn is nearby? I know he's a real character in the book, but I get the feeling in Alan Ball's hands, the character has been changed to a product of MaryAnn's power, something meant to draw in Tara (and in turn, Sookie?) It's perhaps telling that the first time Sam sees Eggs and Tara together, John Doe's "The Golden State" is playing in the background, with these lyrics piping through:
We are tangled
We are stolen
We are living where things are hidden
More random things I noticed:
- Love the inclusion of the mundane, like Bill giving Jessica the 411 on recycling. Being green, one would think, would be a priority for vampires, given that they live for as long as they do.
- Similarly, Eric appears to have been interrupted from getting his hair done when he comes down the stairs to 'take the garbage out.'
- Jessica, a product of reparations herself,
- I know Andy is meant to be an annoying character (he is, after all, a Bellefleur,) but I don't know how much more I can take of Chris Bauer yelling like his first name is Jack.
I'm on vacation in Florida right now, so I had to write this before I could get confirmation on all the songs, so forgive the incomplete list. I'll update the playlist portion sometime on Monday when I'm back. UPDATED!
Playlist: True Blood - Episode 2.01 ("Nothing But the Blood")
1. "Bad Things" - Jace Everett - Theme song
2. "Hello Walls" - Faron Young - Sookie plays while reminiscing about Gran
3. "Take Me Home (Pie Cry remix)" - Lizbeth Scott - Sookie tries to box up Gran's things
4. "Lá Vem A Baiana" - Jussara Silveira - MaryAnn, Eggs and Tara by the pool
5. "Back to the Crossroads" - Todd Snider - Sam meets new waitress Daphne in his office
(Black Toast Music selections - 2 Black Crowes sounding songs playing in background at Merlottes)
6. "All Night Through" - Shaker Sisters - Square dancers rush in w/ trophy
7. "The Golden State" - John Doe - Merlottes
8. "Nothing But the Blood" - Randy Travis - closing credits
Previously: More Blood: Video and Photos from Season 2