Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review: True Blood "Who Are You, Really?"

Non Spoiler Review:
Who Are You, Really? kicks off the mystery of who and what is the resurrected Bill Compton. As Louisiana turns against the vampires, Jason sets off on his own when it seems Sookie remains loyal to them. Alcide sees the benefits of being pack leader, while Andy and Sam both tackle child rearing.

As True Blood premieres go, this wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. I find the Bill storyline the most interesting, but it runs the risk of quickly derailing if the whole Lilith mythology doesn't hold up. Sam, Andy and Alcide all got short shrift given the vampire-centric opening.

It used to be that I really anticipated the series premiere. But after a couple of sketchy seasons, the series really needs to pull things together and go for some solid storytelling over the rampant craziness that has become its trademark. There are still great characters here—Bill and Jessica, Alcide, Lafayette, Sam, and Pam and Tara that can sustain the series, if only the writers treat them seriously.

Spoilers Now!
Eric and Sookie run to the elevator but the power goes off as a resurrected Bill goes on a rampage. The two of them climb up the shaft. Jason, Pam, Jessica, Tara and Nora make their way outside as Bill sets the building on fire. Eric and Sookie drive up and everyone piles in as the building explodes. They watch as Bill emerges from the flames and stares after them. It's not Bill anymore, Sookie says, and he flies into the sky.

Eric believes he let them get away. They hear on the radio that Louisiana Governor Burrell has declared a vampire curfew and is closing all vampire businesses in his state given over two hundred people have died since the True Blood bombings.

Pam is offended Eric never mentioned Nora in all the time they knew one another. Eric shoots back that there are more important things going on at the moment. He asks Nora if anything could explain what they just saw but she's at a loss to understand it. If Lilith is walking the earth they have to destroy her. Nora needs to talk to Jason and wonders how he knows about Warlow. Eric has never heard the name before.

Sookie consoles Jessica. They're both afraid that whatever rose from the dead isn't Bill. She thinks they have to let him go.

Nora attempts to glamor Jason for his knowledge on Warlow. Jason explains he murdered his parents, but he pulls a gun on her when he recovers himself and demands to know where Warlow is. Nora admits she's never laid eyes on him, but he's in the Book of Lilith—Lilith's progeny and one of the first vampires. Sookie demands he put the gun down and steps in between them.

Jason declares she loves the vampires more than her own blood and says she's dead to him too. He runs off. Jessica abruptly turns around, feeling Bill is summoning her and unable to stop it. Eric tries to hold her back but she vomits blood and faints. Jessica is in agony so Sookie decides she's taking her to Bill with or without them. She and Sookie go off. Tara wants to follow but Eric stops her and orders Pam to return to Fantasia while he flies off with Nora.

Luna lays dying and asks Sam to look after her daughter. Sam returns to the bar to find Lafayette, who comments on Luna transforming from Newlin on television and creating alarm there are other kinds of supernaturals. 

As the pack eats the body of J.D., Alcide's father urges him to partake if he's to become pack master. He does so. Martha warns Rikki that power is more of a drug than the vampire blood and will wear away at his decency. Alcide receives the fealty of his new subjects and they run off together as wolves.

Sookie and Jessica arrive at Bill's mansion, following a trail that ends with a pile of dried blood. They find Bill on the porch looking his old self. He just wants to talk. Nora and Eric attack but he easily restrains them. Sookie shoves a wooden stake through his back. Bill turns to her and pulls it out, suggesting they talk now.

Bill explains he brought them there because he's no monster nor wishes them any harm. He says he is Bill Compton, but clearly something more. He sees everything differently now. The man who put fear in their eyes is gone. Sookie says she felt Bill die and doesn't believe it's him, asking him to prove it. She wants him to stay away from all of them. Jessica disagrees. She wants Bill to stay and tells the rest to leave. All they want to do is kill and ask questions later, and she accuses Sookie of betraying her trust by trying to stake Bill. The earth shakes as Bill orders them away, leaving just the two of them.

The governor meets with one of the True Blood producers, offering a government bailout—a partnership with True Blood. Her clients are vampires and she doesn't want to partner with him. He reveals he has an old oil refinery that has been refurbished as a bottling plant, something she can use free of charge until her facilities are back up and running. The partnership can be a silent one. Once the vampires have their True Blood he hopes they will return to peaceful law abiding members of society. Louisiana needs revenue and so does he if he wants to be re-elected. That's what's in it for him. 

Alcide changes back to human form with his new follower Danielle and proceeds to make out with her until Rikki shows up. He apologizes but she takes over and tells Danielle to join in. She informs Alcide she's his number one bitch and don't ever forget it.

Back at Fantasia, Tara can't understand why Pam keeps taking orders from Eric. Pam tells her she can't ever replace him. The police arrive to close down the bar and Tara threatens them, only to be shot.

Eric offers Sookie money so she can start a new life, but she realizes Bill will find her if he wants. She knows she's changed but he says she'll always be the girl who walked into his bar. At her home he gives the deed back to her. It's the least he can do. She admits she wants her old life back so she can be that girl again, and rescinds his invitation to her house. He tells her goodnight. Eric and Nora then conspire to find Bill's weakness, but he insists they stay away from Sookie from now on. 

Arlene tells Andy he has to look after his new litter of fairy babies. He admits he doesn't know how to take care of them. Later as he sleeps Andy, Terry and Arlene are woken up by the rapidly aged children, now young girls.

Bill tends to Jessica, but when she drops her glass it suspends in mid air, thanks to Bill's new found abilities. He didn't know he could do that and he admits he doesn't have answers. He explains that during the war General Sherman started out as a good man but as the years passed and he grew more powerful he turned mad. He needs Jessica to keep him honest and tell him as it is. She's the only one he trusts. He lets her sleep.

Jason is picked up on the side of the road by an older man. He explains he was in Bontemps a long time before and asks about Jason's family to pass the time. Jason recounts the tale of what's transpired. The driver finally suggests he can't keep Warlow away from Sookie. Jason fires his gun, but the man has vanished and the car veers off the road.

As Sookie sleeps the scroll next to her begins to glow. Bill, meanwhile, has painful visions and hears his name. He finds Lilith standing in his study. He asks who she is and she flies into his body.

The Verdict:
There's not much to say at this early juncture about the direction of the series. Who Are You, Really? keeps Bill and Jessica's relationship as one of the strong points of the story. I really enjoy that these two continue to be at its core. As for the rest of the bunch, I don't care about Andy's babies, nor does Eric and Nora really inspire me all that much.

Luna was dispatched so quickly I didn't even have time to remember what happened to her in the finale. I'm not sure I want to see Sam as a father at this point. Which could mean Emma is passed on to her grandmother. Martha's speech doesn't portend well for Alcide. But I'm guessing Sookie is done with vampires and might move on to werewolves, which could likely save him from going to the dark side. I realize Alcide is currently high on V, but he's in danger of becoming a caricature of himself like Jason has.

The introduction of Warlow hopefully will prove to be an inspired storyline, and maybe he won't even figure as a villain despite the ominous introduction. And it remains to be seen if the Louisiana governor has everyone's best interests at heart as he professes.

So an apathetic review at this point. Given so many other series have overshadowed True Blood's former greatness in the last few years, the writers can either pull the show out of the doldrums or let it fade out. It would be nice if they could somehow recapture the fun and excitement of season two.

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