Sunday, October 4, 2009

True Blood Season 2: The Good, The Bad, and The Sexy

Contains spoilers

I hope that season 2 of True Blood is the worst season of what I hope will be a long, fun series. I know this analysis is three weeks late, but hey, my pain was uncontrollable, and I was literally unable to write this then. Let's start with the bad: I hated that Maryann story line. I admit that in the beginning I was intrigued by this beautiful, mysterious, do-gooder who came to rescue Tara from jail and give her a new chance at life. But as she got more and more bizarre, she unequivocally ended up in the "too weird" camp. Even though season 2's numbers were twice that of season 1, all of my friends who watch the show agreed that the Maryann story line -- that she is a "maynad," a mythical, immortal god who wields humans like puppets for her own amusement and carnage -- was just too darn weird. This took up a tremendous percentage of the episodes, and frankly, it got old. It did provide some important moments to further the story overall, like illustrating that Sam, once again, genuinely loves Sookie and would even die for her. It was ironic for him to literally trust his life to Bill -- basically his arch-enemy for winning Sookie's affection. Sookie's grief when she thought that Sam died was palpable. Could this foreshadow Sookie ending up with Sam (God forbid) at the end of the series? Clearly, she cares for him deeply.

Fans have reacted pretty harshly to Queen Sophie Ann; many have said they expected her to be much meaner. Produce Alan Ball's hilarious response to this was, "You don't want to blow your wad the first time you introduce a character!" I'm keeping an open mind about Queen Sophie Ann; Evan Rachel Wood is beautiful and talented. I really liked her in the beginning because she was witty, classy, and cool. I loved the line, "I haven't enjoyed sex with men since the Eisenhower administration." Did anyone else notice how quickly she seemed to change her tune? By the last episode of the season it looked like she wanted to rape Eric! Do you agree?

Another bad move: Bill, what in the hell were you thinking proposing to Sookie so soon? Season 2 took place over the span of eight days. During those eight days Sookie, while travelling to an unfamiliar city, was: kidnapped, at the scene of a suicide bombing, almost raped, and totally traumatized by the scene in the finale leading up to Maryann's death, when she thought Sam was killed. And at the end of this, Bill proposes to her? The plane tickets to Vermont threw me until I remembered that Vt. was the first state to legalize vampire-human marriage. To her credit, Sookie didn't do the lame heroine thing and immediately said yes. She had a nervous breakdown and excused herself to the restroom, where she had an epiphany that she really, truly loves Bill and wants to be his wife. By the time she got herself together to come back and tell him that, Bill had been very obviously abducted. This was a great setup for the next season, so I can't rate the proposal as all bad!

Now, for the good stuff: it started with the Best Apology Ever that Bill offered Sookie in episode 1 after she confronted him about killing Uncle Bartlett, who sexually molested her as a child. After Sookie threatens to break it off because of his casual disregard for human life, Bill blocks her exit at the door and says:

"Sookie, I cannot and I will not lose you. For all the ways I have dismayed, aggrieved, or failed you, I swear I will atone. But I am not sorry. I refuse to apologize for what you have awakened in me. You, you are my miracle, Sookie. For the first time in 140 years, I felt something I thought had been lost to me forever: I love you. And for that, I shall never feel sorry."

Men, memorize this. Tattoo it on your arm. I really think this is the absolute Best Apology Ever. It was, of course, followed by an amazing make-up-sex scene. Wow. David just asked me that since Bill cries blood, does he also ejaculate blood? I told him that hadn't been discussed, but it wouldn't surprise me.

More good stuff: I loved Jessica's evolution this season. "Making" Jessica, meaning turning her from human to vampire, was Bill's novel punishment for killing Long Shadow, the bartender at Fangtasia, who was about to kill Sookie when Bill staked him. Vamps killing vamps is very taboo, and the usual sentence is 500 years chained to a coffin in silver. But since Bill has never been a maker (due to his ambivalence about the lifestyle), the Magister wanted to play with him and force him to turn Jessica, a sheltered, home-schooled child of abusive, right-wing Christian parents. I hated Jessica last season; she was such an impetuous brat. But she's growing up to be a sweet vampire, and really coming in to her own. I have always loved Hoyt, the good ole' boy in Bon Temps who is intrigued by vampires. I love Jessica and Hoyt together, and hope that in season 3 they can reconcile. I also really liked the little detail that for Jessica & Hoyt every time they have intercourse is like the first time -- literally! Vampires quality of immediately healing anything that is breached or injured sadly applies to her hymen too. Poor Jessica! I'd investigate other sexual outlets if I were her.

Oh, Godric! He was a fan fave and for a very good reason. Godric, Eric's maker, was seemingly kidnapped by the rabidly anti-vamp Christian group The Fellowship of the Sun (FOTS). It turns out that ethereal millenium-old Godric is sick of the hatred and ways of the world. He's tired of vampires acting like sociopaths, and we learn that he willingly turned himself over to FOTS as a sacrifice, since they were hell-bound determined to torch a vampire come hell or high water. The drama around Godric going missing, which was the whole reason Eric summoned Sookie to Dallas in the first place, led to another great line in the season. Sookie asks Eric if Godric is his maker, and Eric replies, "Don't use words you don't understand." Sookie retorts something like, "Well, whoever he is, you clearly love him." Eric dryly replies, "Don't use words I don't understand." Loved it! I want to quickly mention that I liked the show's treatment of Jason in FOTS; I think his character grew as much as poor, witless Jason can grow.

Episode 9, "I Will Rise Up" was a high point in the thick of that Maryann-Maynad crapola. When Eric and the Dallas vamps foiled Godric's suicide plot by "rescuing" him from FOTS, Godric decided to literally stay up and watch the sunrise, which would kill him. I sobbed at the exchange when Eric bid goodbye to his beloved maker. I was touched by Sookie's innate kindness and devotion, staying with Godric to the end since Eric couldn't, and then trying to comfort Eric for his loss. Godric proved so popular, Alan Ball hinted that there might be many Eric flashbacks with Godric -- after all, they have 2,000 years of history together, so there's a lot to mine.

In conclusion, I strongly preferred season 1, but the high points of season 2 still made it a worthwhile use of my rec time. I can't wait to see where things are going in season 3. I plan to catch up on some of the Sookie Stackhouse novels until then, and of course, the Eclipse movie comes out at Thanksgiving for more of my vampire needs.

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