REVIEW - True Blood - S06E01 - 'Who are you, really?'

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The season six premiere of True Blood picked up right where season five left off, with the focus of this episode being on ‘Billith’, Warlow and the fallout from the loss of so many True Blood factories and Luna’s transformation on television. Minor subplots also focus on Andy and his faerie quadruplets, Alcide’s new role as pack-master, and the introduction of a new character, the governor of Louisiana, Truman Burrell (Arliss Howard).

After escaping from Bill at the Authority compound, Eric, Sookie, Pam, Tara, Nora, Jason and Jessica hear on the radio that Governor Burrell is practically declaring war on vampires. This causes some tempers to boil over, so Eric pulls the car over and they all get to have a big, err, ‘heart-to-heart’ before going their separate ways.

Information comes thick and fast in this scene, so that the audience is bought up to speed on who everyone is and where they stand. Eric tells Pam once again to leave him alone, so she and Tara go back to Fangtasia. Sookie confesses to Jessica that she still loves Bill, but that Bill is dead, and whoever this ‘thing’ is it’s not him. Jessica expresses a reluctance to harm her maker. Eric quizzes Nora on reincarnations, but she is more interested in asking Jason about Warlow, who according to the book of Lilith is her progeny. Jason goes on an anti-vampire tirade and tries to shoot Nora, but Sookie steps in. He walks off, claiming that Sookie is now “dead” to him. Jessica is summoned by Bill, and when Eric tries to stop her from going, Bill is able to cause her physical harm. Sookie decides to go with Jessica, and Nora and Eric fly off.

When Sookie and Jessica find Bill, he seems ‘normal’ and says he means them no harm. Eric and Nora burst in to try and kill Bill, but he is now stronger than he used to be, and Sookie stakes Bill to stop him from killing Eric. Bill is able to pull the stake out of himself, and it is clear that Bill is no longer an ordinary vampire, and that he could be unstoppable. Jessica flips out at Sookie for trying to kill Bill, so Sookie, Eric and Nora leave. Bill confesses to Jessica later that he is scared by these new powers he has, and needs her by his side. Bill then has another vision of Lilith, as well as two other naked blood-covered women, who all seem to step inside his body.

What is going on with this whole ‘Billith’ plot, I have no idea, and despite the fact that so much screen-time was dedicated to Bill this week, we still have no answers! I know they want to keep us watching by stringing it out, but this is becoming even to far-fetched for True Blood which means a lot of people may just start switching off. I just hope the writers haven written themselves into a hole they can’t get out of...

Anyway, Eric walks Sookie home and gives her the deed to her house back. Just when it looks like they might share a kiss, Sookie rescinds his invitation (why?!). Nora realises that Eric loves Sookie, and that she is his weak-spot. As Nora eyes Sookie through the window it seems she has a plan to use Sookie to get her brother to do something, it’s just unclear what that is at this stage.

Meanwhile Jason has hitched a ride with an elderly man who he tells his life story to. Jason then suspects this man might be Warlow and tries to kill him, but the man just disappears. Given the revelation that the actor who has been playing Warlow (Rutger Hauer), will also be playing one of Sookie’s relatives, Niall Brigant, it is unclear whether these characters will be one and the same. Until that is cleared up, I don’t know whether to think Jason was in the car with Warlow or Niall, so that has made what seemed like a relatively straightforward scene all the bit more mysterious.

The focus on the other characters is somewhat cursory in this episode, with just enough information given about each to catch the viewer up and open up room for story progression.

Andy is struggling with his new responsibilities as a parent, but after a pep-talk from Arlene he gives it a shot. Just when Andy thinks everything is under control he wakes up to find that his children are no longer newborns, they are primary school-aged kids. Although a good way to progress his storyline and avoid the problems of working with children, I’m assuming they are going to have to come up with a (hopefully interesting) reason to make them stop aging, otherwise they’ll be octogenarians within a couple of days.

Martha and Rikki worry that the power that comes with Alcide’s new role as pack-master will corrupt him. Of course the power does go to Alcide’s head, and just as he is about to have sex with a female member of the pack, Rikki walks in. They end up having a threesome, but Rikki reminds Alcide “I’m still your number one bitch.” Rikki’s role seems set to expand this season, but the drama with the wolf-pack just hasn’t been as interesting as the other plots in the show, so perhaps she is there to liven things up.

While all of these other things are going on, Sam, Luna and Emma escape the Authority compound as well, only to have Luna die just outside. Before she dies Luna begs Sam to take care of Emma, which he does, by taking her to Merlotte’s. At Merlottes they find Lafayette, and Sam swears him to secrecy. They haven’t yet established much of a storyline for Lafayette this season, but I hope they incorporate him somewhere, as he is one of my favorite characters.

Despite the rather lackluster treatment given to the series regulars story-wise, one of the most interesting parts of this episode was the new character, Governor Burrell. He asks to be a silent partner in True Blood, claiming he wants the vampires peaceful so that his people are safe. We know he has another agenda, and I am looking forward to finding out what it is. Since Bill doesn’t appear to be the ‘big-bad’ of this season, and not enough about Warlow/Niall and his agenda are known yet, Governor Burrell could quickly become a huge threat to our favourite supes and humans this season.

For die-hard fans of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, not just this episode, but the series as a whole may have wandered too far from the original source material to be enjoyable. But for those who, like myself, have only watched the show, or are able to consider the book and the series as separate entities, may still want to keep watching, even it is just to see how everything turns out... especially those Sookie and Eric fans who were disappointed by the ending of the books... Although this episode spent a lot of time rehashing old information, enough new information was given to keep me interested and ready to tune in again next week.

Review by Heather Bale.


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