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'True Blood' Season Premiere Recap: Turnin' and Burnin'

By Kelsea Stahler, Hollywood.com Staff

Finally, True Blood has returned, and everyone's favorite sexual romp and supernatural variety show has some 'splainin to do. At the close of Season 4, we were left stunned and hungry as the giant pain in everyone's rears, Marnie, was vanquished and a whole new can of worms was opened in the episode's final minutes. And we open this season on some answers, a few particularly nasty messes, and some real turning and burning.

First, and most handsomely, we've got our newly-formed dynamic duo: Eric and Bill. After killing Nan Flannigan before she could administer her final order from the Authority (the true death), the vampire buddies killed her and her guards in a fury of flying guts. (Remind me to look into the series' corn syrup budget. It's sure to be mind-blowingly enormous.) Realizing they're royally screwed (you know, on account of Bill's being a king), they zip around and clean up the gooey mess before heading out of town. There's just one, tiny, flaxen-haired problem: Sookie is, at that same moment, fighting off Debbie. They both sense her fear, and Eric delivers the hope-crushing line in his post-rejection anger: ""F**k Sookie."" Bill, however, rushes outside to her aid only to be captured by Authority henchmen. They've been burned. (Literally. Those silver nets look painful.)

Of course, these aren't vamps who often allow themselves to trapped for too long. In what is apparently the clown car of trunk spaces, Eric and Bill manage to remove the nets and puncture a hole in the gas tank, blowing the car to smithereens and allowing them to escape with only minor injuries (but they looked so cozy in there together!). When Bill is injured, Eric refuses to leave him behind. Apparently the sting of Sookie's double rejection has made them some sort of band of Eskimo brothers.

Their bromantic moment doesn't last long, because out of the rubble comes Nora, Eric's "sister" and lover... and a chancellor of the Authority (which sounds important, so it must be). She rips out her Authority cohort's heart and promptly makes out with her "brother" while we all pause our televisions (thank you, almighty DVR) and collectively look up the definition of ""sister"" in the dictionary. Clearly, we are the ones who've been applying that term incorrectly since the dawn of time, because Eric Northman cannot be wrong. Either that or this show just crossed the incest barrier.

Luckily, Nora is Eric's sister in the same way Pam is his daughter. They were both turned by Godric, and in these vampiric families the expression of familial love is also sexual. What else are they supposed to do? Not have sex with eachother? They're all so sexy. Well, Eric and Nora do have the "appropriate" reaction (they "f**k like champions"") and we, like Bill, are all a little uncomfortable with the situation, no matter how flattering the light was on both pantsless vampires.

Just before the Authority magically swoops in to re-kidnap the fugitives, Eric answers his untraceable phone (because he always has all the answers) and Alcide delivers some unknown message, but we know what it is thanks to his Season 4 finale discovery. He's informing Eric of Russell Edgington's return, and the quick shot of some henchman feeding an undisclosed "creature" a lifeless human like the T-Rex eating a goat in Jurassic Park is our confirmation. Alcide undoubtedly thinks letting the vamps in on the news will bring them back to protect Sookie, but the Authority has other plans. While one of Nora's friends hands them their new identities, the henchmen descend with a phantom voice pulled from an episode of Inspector Gadget who demands, "Do not f**king move" right after killing the woman who was about to be their way out. It's just too bad. It would have been hilarious to make Eric go by his new name, Ike Applebaum, a few more times.

Next: Does Tara live or die?[PAGEBREAK]Meanwhile, Sookie (as we know) has managed to rescue herself from Debbie's attack, and now all of Debbie's brains and part of Tara's are resting on the same kitchen floor where Sookie once found Gran's lifeless body. (Perhaps, Sook should go for a kitchen remodel. This one's clearly prone to "accidents.") Lafayette, who just finished his ghost conference with Jesus' spirit runs down to find Tara in Sookie's arms, and that's when the most predictable part of the episode happens: Pam arrives, looking for Eric, and finds two friends who'll do anything to save their friend. If you didn't guess "They're going to ask Pam to make Tara a vampire" you clearly haven't been watching this show, or anything about vampires, very closely.

There are of course two issues with this plan. Pam is the least nurturing blood-sucking vampire known to the whole fanged set (well, aside from one-dimensional bad vampires and super villains like Russell) and Tara. Hates. Vampires. Clearly, nothing could possibly come back to bite them (literally) for this decision. Pam agrees to the task (and donning a Wal-Mart sweatsuit, the poor thing) on the condition that Sookie repair the disconnect between Pam and Eric with her "super snatch." It's about time someone properly lamented the fact that Sookie is somehow the perfect woman for every supernatural creature in Bon Temps.

While Pam and Tara go to ground for the full transformation, Sookie and Lafayette clean up Debbie because Sookie says she consciously chose to shoot shoot her and therefore can't pass off a self-defense explanation with the police. It was not a heat of the moment, thoughtless defense mechanism. She wanted to kill Debbie. (Maybe she's had a little too much of that vampire blood in her system.) In a parallel moment for the purpose of a comparison journey, Lafayette and Sookie also go back to his place to clean up Jesus. They can't report that death to the police either because Lafayette physically committed the crime and "I was possessed by a dead witch" doesn't usually hold up in court. But when they get there, the body is gone. The reason for the disappearance is a mystery, but it sends Laf into an emotional tailspin. And it makes sense, in Bon Temps time, it's only been a day since Jesus' death. (It's difficult to remember these things when HBO makes us wait through Fall, Winter and Spring before we get a resolution.)

Sookie and Lafayette even get matching bathroom contemplation scenes in which Sookie remembers Tara sticking up for her in middle school as she stares at the plot where her potential vampire of best friend is lying. Lafayette gives us a fake out as he stares at Sookie's Lady Schick while lying in the tub with his hands at his sides. Luckily, Sookie's bathroom remains a blood-free zone and he runs down the stairs with a freshly shaved head as Sookie is about to tell Alcide that she just killed his ex-girlfriend. It's not a great plan, but in her defense, Lafayette did just give her the speech about how people need to grieve. Alcide deserves that too, instead of just thinking Debbie is off somewhere on a V bender. There's no way this won't eventually come out and burn Sookie. Well, she'll probably escape with a minor burn mark. This is Sookie, the girl who gets herself into messes and comes out with only a few scratches. Every. Single. Time.

After Lafayette stops her from sentencing them to certain jail time by telling Alcide, Sookie tells the werewolf Adonis to leave. He's insisting that she stay with him now that Russell is free again, but she can't because of what she's done to Debbie. But, considering the amount of silver wrapped around Russell when he was buried and the length of time he went without blood, we'll bet it will be a little while before he can really get back to his top game. She'll be okay for the moment.

Well, that is if Tara hasn't killed her by next week. After patiently weeping over Tara's vampire-cocoon in her backyard, Sookie gets a shock when Tara suddenly emerges from the ground and makes a beeline for Sookie's delicious little neck. That'll certainly change the friendship dynamic.

Next: Alcide is everywhere and Jason is having a rough day.[PAGEBREAK]Alcide proves to be the consistent thread throughout the episode as he also gets roped into Sam's troubles. Marcus' and Alcide's pack comes after Sam for killing Marcus because they assumed he went in for the revenge kill after Marcus basically killed Tommy. After escaping with his usual bird trick, he's tracked to Luna's place by a female werewolf, who's conveniently the only wolf in the hunting pack who changed into her naked, model-esque human form. (Kudos to the makeup department for figuring out how to make her hair stay flawlessly attached to her otherwise bare breasts. Ah, HBO.) She takes Sam (who is also in his birthday suit) away from Luna's when he refuses to rat out Alcide and turns himself over.

Cut to Sam being tortured while naked in the pack's handy dandy torture barn. Marcus' mother Martha wants Sam to lead them to Marcus' body so they can perform some all important, mysterious ritual. Of course, when we learn what it is, we all breathe a sigh of relief that we didn't have to suffer through any dialog attempting to explain it. As the pack uncovers Marcus thanks to Sam's instructions, they're about kill Sam for his efforts when Alcide and Luna come to clear his name. Alcide killing the pack master automatically makes him the new pack master, so he's safe from a revenge kill. However, no one is safe from watching Martha and the rest of the pack turn into wolves and feast on Marcus' innards. Does anyone else need about 10,000 hot showers after seeing that?

While Sam is running around naked, Jason is busy keeping his pants off as well. As we saw last season, Reverend Newland showed up on his doorstep with fangs before he could even throw a blanket around his bottom half after having sex with Jessica. Newland's got some yarn about being a helpless baby vampire and quickly catches Jason's gaze long enough to glamor his way into the house. It's there that he announces his deep, hidden love for Jason. His vampirism has made him brave enough to accept his homosexuality, and let's face it, Jason's so cute he makes a line like "Fangs are like little twin hard-ons" adorable. Who wouldn't fall in love with him?

Unfortunately, this doting vampire comes with some anger issues, so when Jason sweetly turns down his heartfelt offer, Newland goes in for a good ol' taste of Jason's neck fountain. Luckily, Jessica isn't far away and she flies in to claim Jason as hers and promptly take her prize... again... right there in his Lay-Z-Boy. But what happened to all that talk about "I can't be in a serious relationship right now?" Well, it still stands, but Jason is confused... and with good reason. He's usually on the other side of these games, so he doesn't know what hit him.

He stops by Jessica's house when she's taking advantage of Bill's long-term absence with an extremely collegiate party, complete with Rock Band sessions. She immediately sets the record straight breaks his poor little heart when she says that the "he's mine" bit was just to protect him. He enters the party crushed, but with a smiling face, and by the end, his heart is broken again when Jess leaves him hanging and makes out with a drunken college kid right in front of him. In case we forgot that Jessica has the emotional age of the teenager she was when Bill turned her, this is a pretty good reminder. Jason is clearly at the same emotional age, because he reacts the way any proper jealous lover would, and waltzes out with some blonde sorority girl on his shoulder. Only, he can't go through with it. Jessica's confusing rejection has actually changed Jason Stackhouse. He can no longer be the champion manslut he once was. He tells the girl if they slept together he'd just hurt her and instead, provides her with a safe ride home. And that's how you know he's really hurting. Jason Stackhouse had a hot girl in his car, begging him to sleep with her and he couldn't do it. This changes everything.

Finally, we have all the other colorful Bon Temps characters, whose outlandish stories are seriously overcrowding the series' trajectory.

Andy Bellefleur is off the V and on top of Holly, the waitress, but he gets caught butt-naked by her two teenage sons and runs out in shame. He spends the rest of the episode awkwardly staring at her from his Merlott's booth and accepting bribes from the local judge, which is sure to spell some sort of trouble eventually. Damnit, Andy. Can't stay out of trouble for a single, excruciatingly slow Bon Temps minute, can you?

Hoyt is still a plot-earning member of the True Blood family, though his only job at the moment is to be eternally angry at Jason, who's in an even weirder place now that Jessica has declared they're not together. It's just too bad he gave up his lifelong best friend for her.

Terry Bellefleur's military past has come back in the form of Scott Foley, or Patrick, Terry's buddy from his regiment in Afghanistan. Arlene's vision of Rene set us up for some seriously sinister stuff, and Patrick's ominous commentary about how ""horrible"" house fires are adds to it. By episode's end, we find that burning houses are some sort of curse placed on Terry and the rest of their regiment. Why? Well, there are too many characters on this show for the episode to allot enough time for us to learn that this week. Whatever the curse is, Patrick seems to think its one of their former soldier buddies who's inflicting the flame-filled harm (even though last season, the reason for the burning house was some supernatural manifestation of an unsatisfied mother from years past, but who's counting?).

The first showing of Season 5 is an intriguing one, because ""Turn, Turn, Turn!"" does properly set up a host of promising storylines. We have the Alcide and Sookie relationship to suffer through until they finally make out already (let's hope it doesn't take too long, but then again, we waited three years to see her get it on with Eric). There's the imminent threat of Russell Edgington and impending unveiling of Christopher Meloni as the leader of the Authority. And finally, we have the intriguing notion of Pam as a motherly maker, which will surely be a struggle for the notoriously selfish vampiress, especially since her progeny is already going batty now that she's become the thing she hates most.

Can you wait for next week? When do you think Russell will come back to the screen? Who do you think let him out? What is the Authority going to do to Bill and Eric? How is Pam going to handle being a maker?

Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.

More:

True Blood Character Overload: How To Tidy Up the Plot

True Blood vs. Vampire Diaries: Eight Reasons We See Double

True Blood and 7 Other Shows That Have Changed Drastically

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