True Blood, Season 1, Episode 5
We’re back, finally, after a week of waiting, to Sookie and Bill’s magical car ride home. As you’ll recall, Bill and Sookie met a policeman on the road, whom Bill scared bad enough, to make him pee his pants. Poor feller. Bill and Sookie sit in the car and Sookie berates him for his treatment of the cop, who, for all intents and purposes, didn’t actually mean any harm, guy was just scared. Bill though, not actually being human, isn’t exactly sensitive to the human plight, outside of Sookie of course. So he calmly tries to rationalize his behaviour to Sookie, while she works up for a good bout of pissy female. By the way, the introduction to all this, is some bizarre noise, which Bill momentarily explains to Sookie is “Tuvan throat singing”. Sookie brushes off Bill with the claim that “safe sounds pretty good”, in comparison to Bill’s wild and crazy lifestyle (so what, he had a 70’s cosplay party at his house, big deal), and Bill tells her he won’t call on her again. Menacing music accompanies a short scene of a collie dog watching the house, before we cue the intro song.
And what a song it is! To take a moment aside from the great sounds that accompany the show’s introduction, for a moment, focus on just the introduction. Between the spliced images of bar fights, nasty bits of natural biology, and the tangle of limbs that some of us pause to catch a nipple, there are a lot of interesting little tidbits of southern culture. The style of baptism in the river, the southern black church depictions, and the scenes of kids and adults in the south. Don’t forget the church billboard saying “God Hates Fangs” either. The show realistically depicts the world’s reaction to the existence of vampires on a small town scale, unlike what we often see in films where all the action is in big cities or foreign hyper-modern locales, with plenty of PVC and Spandex in every ensemble. Arlene and Maudette, are played by actresses who have the faces of women who got old too fast, and the show follows them through their lives as they deal with it. At this point in the show, the actors have settled into their roles, and wear their characters like a second skin, making this peek into an alternate, yet bizarrely believable universe, that much more enjoyable. Now back to the show!
We open back up on what’s known as “cop knocking” or, “Jesus Christ, the cops are here! Turn off the lights and sit on the floor!”, on a door; then Lafayette stumbles in, grabs a bat, and in a split second, Tara is inside, throwing things at him. Tara lays into him for selling V to Jason, and explains what she had to go through, while every man privvy to the scene winces in a collective visualization of agony that just might have given a few guys nightmares. Tara eventually calms down after Lafayette apologizes, and promises to go see Jason and make sure he’s okay.
Then the scene switches to Gran, cooking eggs while on the phone with a very irate woman, berating her for organizing Vampire Bill’s speech at the church, to her Civil War interest group, the Descendants of the Glorious Dead. Sookie walks in, and Gran, mindful of the girl’s sensitvity to the subject of Bill, pretends the conversation is vastly more pleasant. The conversation is cut short when the woman tells Gran she’s going to hell, and Gran cheerfully says, “Same to you,” –so we wonder, how much of that was for Sookie’s benefit, and did that sweet old lady just tell that wicked old bitch to go to hell? Sookie sits and starts eating breakfast, and right away, we can tell she’s still in a pissy mood. The two discuss Bill’s feelings, or lack thereof, and Gran tells Sookie that she should basically, think of the opportunity to know Bill as less of a curse, than a blessing.
Back at Jason’s, the recent invalid is rather graphically illustrating his hospital experience to Lafayette, with an Italian sausage and a meat thermometer; again, men around the world unite in visualizing some profound agony. Jason whines to Lafayette, while the sexy little piece of man candy reveals to Jason that Tara has been in love with Jason since they were little kids. Jason apparently had no idea, and goes on to express how horrible his life is, and blames it all on Lafayette and V. This sparks an educational drug moment, where Lafayette explains how to properly “use da shit”. After the Hunter S. Thompson-esque dialogue, Jason does some more V, this time with Lafayette as his coach; only one drop, on a piece of gauze, and Jason apprehensively waits for the effect.
Sookie, back at work, is talking to a smug Arlene, who says that the vampire bar was full of freaks, and “people from Arkansas”; if you don’t know what she means, then you’re from Arkansas, or too far north! Sookie tells Arlene that she won’t be going out with Bill any more, and Arlene, satisfied, moseys off while Sam moves in like Rebound Man, and asks Sookie out, while every head at the bar turns in their direction. Sookie agrees to go to the Descendants of the Glorious Dead meeting, and out for coffee with Sam, and then goes off to refill Detective Andy Bellefleur’s tea. Andy asks about Jason and Tara, and Sookie, who knows nothing about it, accidentally destroys Jason’s alibi that he was with Tara the night she was sleeping with Sam, also, the night of Dawn’s murder. Sookie overhears Andy referring to Tara as a “bitch” in his brain, and tells him to watch his mouth; before he can speak any of his suspicious thoughts, Sookie scoots off to refill his tea, and think of a way to reassure Andy that Jason really was with Tara that night.
While Sam is refilling the tea, Sookie goes off to talk to Tara, who is a bit chagrined about Sookie and Sam going out that night, but can’t say why, and won’t. Sookie asks about Tara and Jason’s “beautiful thang”, as Tara had previously referred to it, and Tara explains why she gave Jason an alibi. Sookie senses Tara’s unease about something; –no doubt screwing Sam the other night, –so she tries to peek at her thoughts, and is met with a steady stream of “lalalalalalalalalalalalalala” in Tara’s brain, before Tara storms off. Sookie follows and makes an attempt to reinforce Jason’s alibi, but Andy doesn’t buy it. After Sookie thoroughly emasculates the poor man, he pouts into his tea, looking like he could do with a big hug.
The scene changes over, and we’re watching cars pull into the church for Gran’s big meeting of the Descendant of the Glorious Dead. Maxine Fortenberry, much to the embarassment of her son Hoyt, puzzles over what to do with the giant cross in the front of the church, while Gran hands out programs to the townfolk, which includes even the mayor in its turnout. Bill waits in the kitchen, looking grim, with a bottle of TruBlood. While Gran reassures the mayor that Bill isn’t going to freak out and eat everybody, Hoyt is trying to pull the cross off the altar, before his mother brainstorms a new plan of attack. Sookie shows up with Sam, and they greet Gran at the door, while Bill, obviously fairly jealous, sits in the kitchen like a statue, listening.Â Sookie drags Sam over to sit by Tara, the two previous bedfellows looking plenty awkward, as Jason wanders around outside, eyeing a tree like he’d either like to ahem, mate with it, or pee on it.
While Jason stumbles around outside enjoying the LSD-like effects of V, a group of obnoxious young rednecks come in and sit down, while making nasty little comments about the old people to each other, one making a comment about “bringing some shit”. Uh oh. Jason wanders in, still half in his own little world, and approaches Tara’s pew, eyeing a rivulet of sweat running down her neck like it was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen, giving the nauseating impression that he’d really like to slurp it up. Ewwww. The friends talk quietly, before Gran addresses the group in the church and we see that Maxine Fortenberry has tactfully draped the cross at the altar with the American flag. Gran, absolutely beaming, introduces Bill to the small audience, to meager applause, and Bill thanks her before excusing himself to remove the flag from the cross, and hang it once again. The audience is shocked when he doesn’t burst into flames, naturally.
While Bill addresses the audience about vampires living peacefully with humans, and segues into the discussion of his experience fighting for Southern Independence during the Civil War, the townsfolk whisper amongst themselves. The sheriff believes that Bill should be locked up for his past, and Andy points out that his cousin Terry Bellefleur, –Sookie’s co-worker who suffers from PTSD, –killed plenty of men in the war, but Bud Dearborn shrugs and says Terry should be locked up too. Arlene’s son points out how white Bill is, and Arlene states the difference between white and dead. Meanwhile the three obnoxious rednecks attempt to make a garlic press look threatening. In the kitchen, Hoyt and Maxine Fortenberry are setting out the food, when Hoyt spies the TruBlood in the back of the fridge. He decides he isn’t that curious after taking a whiff of it, and puts it way back in the fridge.
Out in the chapel, Bill answers a man about a friend of his in the war; Toliver Humphries, the man’s great-grandfather, whom Bill fought beside. Bill explains the sad circumstances of Toliver’s death, in which he attempted to rescue a boy who was wonded, screaming on the battlefield for help. Jason, still half off his rocker, pictures himself as the screaming kid, in Bill’s memory, as Bill finishes the story. The mayor, Sterling Norris, approaches with a picture he found, and asks Bill to confirm that it is in fact, an old picture of Bill and his family. Bill confirms that it is his family, and answers a couple questions about leaving them, and it’s obvious that it’s a painful moment for him, before he moves on to ask if there are any other questions.
After the meeting, Terry Bellefleur gives Bill a big, half-tearful hug, and states that “they’ll never understand”, before telling Bill to stay sharp, calling him ‘brother’, and taking off. I thought it was pretty sweet, since Terry is obviously much altered by his experience in the war, and was able to connect with Bill on that level. Gran takes Bill’s picture with the giddy Maxine and Hoyt Fortenberry, before Gran and Bill are approached by Sookie and Sam. Bill, much to the puzzlement of pretty much everybody, insists that Sam is “legally” still Sookie’s employer, which, the four manage to shake off after a round of weird looks. Despite being dead, Bill manages to still have plenty of testosterone, but before things can get any more awkward, Sam and Sookie take off for coffee, –Bill thinks that sounds, “delightful”.
Back at Merlotte’s, Hoyt is trying to convince Rene and a still hallucinating Jason to try some TruBlood. Jason meanwhile, is staring at a dreamy Tara in a nymph-like setting at the bar, before Hoyt jerks him out of his reverie and sends him off to fetch another pitcher of beer. Jason informs the two men that he loves them, rather tenderly, before grabbing the pitcher, and setting off to fully embarass himself at the bar with Tara, who immediately realizes he’s high. Jason lays on the hippy romance monologue thick like peanut butter on toast, and Tara half-heartedly attempts to brush him off.
At a coffee shop in town, Sookie and Sam share the last bite of pie in a scene so sweet it made my teeth hurt to watch. They start discussing the weird thought process of Sam, as well as his lack of a personal history, and all that. Back at the bar, the shit is about to hit the fan; Arlene takes a plate back to Lafayette in the kitchen. Apparently, the group of obnoxious rednecks from the church decided to go by Merlotte’s. Camou-guy claims that he doesn’t want a burger with AIDS on it, and after a short discussion, Lafayette proceeds to kick some redneck ass, leaving them with a friendly reminder to tip the waitress. Jason giggles and Lafayette shoots him a high-five before scooting his sexy black ass back into the kitchen.
Sookie and Sam leave the coffee shop, and after a short but sloppy make-out session, Sookie tells Sam that it’s a bit too soon for her to jump to another guy. Sam goes off on a quasi-parental tangent, before getting in Sookie’s face rather nastily; needless to say, the evening doesn’t end well. Sookie refuses to go home with Sam, and goes back inside to call a cab. Back at the bar, Hoyt tries to pick up a celebrating divorcee, while Rene remarks that the scene is like watching Animal Planet; more like the Jerry Springer show afterparty. Hoyt heads back to the table, hesitant to take up the lady’s offer to go home with her, when their drinks arrive. Hoyt tries a big gulp of TruBlood, and nearly gags on the big bottle of warm fake blood. Jason, still high and thinking way past practicality, explains the difference between the synthetic blood, and vampire blood. The men toast each other in their manliness, but the divorcee sees Hoyt drinking TruBlood, and turns ten shades of not interested.
Meanwhile, Bill, walking grimly back to his house, flashes back to seeing his family gathered on the porch. Sheriff Bud Dearborn and Detective Andy approach Bill from behind, and interrupt his little memory moment, wanting to ask some questions. Bill invites them in, and Bud and Andy hesitantly follow. Bill invites them to sit, without so much as a ‘Be careful where you sit guys, fashion criminals were having sex on that furniture not too long ago’; but I guess Andy and Bud aren’t the nicest guys anyway. I just hope neither one of them comes down with a case of acute interest in retro fashion, –the prospect of communicative bad taste is terrifying enough to have me on the edge of my seat!
Andy takes Bill’s offer for a nice warm can of Fresca, served after Bud gives him a good scolding for taking candy/soda from a vampire. Bud and Andy question Bill about the murder of the women, and Bill asks if either of them women were exsanguinated; drained of blood. Bill informs the two that there’s no way a vampire would just kill a woman, and leave her blood untouched; naturally, he shares this information as creepily as possible, with some sexual undertones that make the two southern cops squirm. Once the cops leave, Andy willingly leaving his pen, Bill resumes his flash back memories by the fireplace, the familiar iron toaster by the fireplace bring back thoughts of his first experience with a vampire.
Bill’s memory begins with him invading a “locked” cabin in the middle of the night after knocking and calling for assistance, by cutting through the rope holding the door closed. A woman levels a rifle at his head, and warns that she’ll shoot him, but she feeds him anyway. Bill explains how he got separated from his fellow soldiers, and lost in the wilderness, while the woman serves him toast with the big iron toaster. The woman describes the situation with a husband she believes was killed in the war, then cleans Bill’s wounds as he eats. When she comes onto him, Bill refuses her, for the sake of his wife and children. She tells him that, basically, she’s been feeding and screwing pretty much every soldier that’s knocked on her door, and Bill refuses her yet again, but lets her know that he isn’t judging her. But, when he tries to leave, the woman speeds over, extends fangs, and begins feeding on him.
Bill lays on a bed, half dead, while the vampire sits over him looking pink and healthy, looking around and noticing that hey, there’s quite a few dead and decomposing guys in the room with him. She convinces him to drink from her by telling him that it’s the only way he’ll see his family again; and he does see them again, but only for a few moments, while the female vampire who turned him explains why he can never see them again. Woo, what a bitch. Bill cries tears of blood, and follows the melodramatic, evil bitch off into the night, leaving his family behind forever. Back in the present time, Bill picks up the toaster, and smashes it against the fireplace a few times, but doesn’t manage to break it.
Back at the bar, Tara is taking out the night’s trash, and out by the dumpster, she hears something weird and goes behind the building, where Jason is rather energetically, nailing the horny divorcee. Tara, fully pissed off at Jason, pours trash all over the both of them and stalks off, while Jason resumes screwing the still horny divorcee. We switch over to Sookie, who is just now arriving back at home in a cab. She slips when she enters the kitchen, and turns on the light, to reveal her dead grandmother, in a pool of blood on the floor. That’s where they leave us; very sad. :(