True Blood Review: "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (Episode 5.01)
When last we saw Sookie and supernatural friends, things had gotten a little messy for the True Blood gang. Russell “we will eat you” Edgington had been freed from his concrete prison; Bill and Eric staked Authority representative Nan Flanagan, and Debbie Pelt lost her head (somewhat literally) after a late-night visit to Sookie’s, courtesy of a shotgun. Season four came to an abrupt end with Sookie weeping over a dying Tara, who after jumping between Sookie and Debbie, lost a few necessary brain parts in the process.
Season five opens directly following these events, and if “Turn! Turn! Turn!” has one distinct theme, it’s damage control. Season four left an unprecedented body count of major characters and splintering relationships in its wake, and the first episode of the new season begins the necessary cleanup. While Sookie and Lafayette deal with Tara’s fate (which I won’t spoil here), Bill and Eric attempt to cover their mess and escape before the Authority learns of their actions. Most interesting here is the vampiric duo’s disregard for Sookie’s safety. Both feel her distress, yet as Eric bluntly states, “Fuck Sookie.” The series’ love triangle came to a head last season after Sookie refused to pick between them, and it seems for now that love is taking a backseat.
Instead, Bill and Eric have teamed up for a True Blood “buddy-flick” situation. We’re treated to a taste of their growing bromance early in the episode, as a wounded Bill commands Eric to go on without him, and Eric stubbornly replies, “I’m not leaving you here.” Their newfound camaraderie promises to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the new season—if it holds.
Meanwhile, back in Bon Temps, there’s still plenty of weird to go around. Freaky werewolf rituals take on a stomach-turning twist as Sam and Alcide deal with the consequences of pack master Marcus’ murder. Terry Bellefleur’s past is creeping back to haunt him, and it seems that the fire that destroyed his home might be more than just the work of season four’s ghosts. We’re also sure to see a lot of former reverend of the Fellowship of the Sun and newly vampired Steve Newlin, as he’s declared his somewhat obsessive and creepy love for Jason Stackhouse.
Jason/Jessica-fueled sexual tension also makes a return for the new season. We’ve passed the brunt of the “will they, won’t they” situation (because they already did), and it looks like Season 5 is gearing up to continue the “we’re friends, JK we’re banging” scenario. Predictably, Hoyt is still mad, bro. It’s too early to tell if the creators will add a twist to this stereotypical plotline, as an entire season of continued teasing sounds like nothing sort of torturous boredom. And please, no more vampire Rock Band scenes. No one plays Rock Band anymore, especially not drunk college co-eds.
But though the episode carries its doubtable moments, it holds all the makings of another great season. True Blood is still armed with sex, violence and biting wit, all on top of the undeniable bizarreness of the series. Our telepathic heroine continues to grow from the sweet Southern blonde we saw in the first season, and we’ve started to see a darker side of Sookie. As Sookie admits to wanting Debbie dead, we have to wonder if such an admission marks a serious change for the character. Has running with vamps all these years finally launched her into badassery? And more importantly, will she ever get people to stop bleeding out in her kitchen?
Fun Fact: The first episode of Season 5 featured no less than eight nude characters. Full moon, indeed.
Quote of the Night: “I’m wearing a Walmart sweat suit for y’all. If that’s not a demonstration of team spirit, I don’t know what is.”