TV Review: Tonight’s ‘True Blood’, Episode 2.01 ‘Nothing but the Blood’

Photo: HBO

Last year I reviewed the first five episodes of HBO’s vampire drama “True Blood” and due to an unfortunate miscommunication I didn’t receive screeners of the final seven episodes, which meant the reviewing stopped there. However, I was recently sent the final seven episodes of season one along with the first four episodes of season two and a promise to make sure I am able to bring you reviews of each episode all season long, which has me extraordinarily excited.

I am the first to admit I didn’t instantly take to the “True Blood” series. Of the first five episodes I reviewed I wasn’t altogether impressed, but I had a feeling there was a lot of potential, and boy was I right. The final seven episodes of the first season got better and better, and the first four of season two had me glued to the screen. I can now honestly say I am hooked and a dedicated “True Blood” fan.

While I have watched the first four episodes of this second season, I’m not going to get ahead of the show and will only review one episode per week starting with tonight’s season two premiere episode, “Nothing but the Blood” and hopefully you’ll catch the episodes on HBO and join in the conversation as the season progresses. I won’t be spoiling the goings on during these reviews, just simply plotting the course and giving an overall opinion. However, if you like to go in 100% fresh then perhaps come on back after you’ve seen each episode and weigh in with your opinion.

Now, before we go any further, if you haven’t watched “True Blood” yet and want to get a brief season one recap, I have written up a “need to know” article right here, which will give you a heads up as to where the show takes place, has been and is heading. The recap will get you up to speed and ready for tonight’s season two premiere, but if you are ready to go now let’s get to the review…

Anna Paquin, Rutina Wesley and Sam Trammell in HBO’s “True Blood”

Photo: HBO/ Jaimie Trueblood

If you’ll remember, the last moments of the first season of “True Blood” ended with the reveal of what appeared to be a dead body in the back of Detective Andy Bellefleur’s (Chris Bauer) car outside Merlotte’s bar and restaurant. And, as with all episodes of “True Blood” we are instantly tossed back in the action as Sookie (Anna Paquin), Tara (Rutina Wesley) and Sam (Sam Trammell) find out the identity of said dead body as screams are let loose (an impressive one by Tara) and the responsible party for yet another Bon Temps dead body is entirely unknown.

Beyond this early moment we find Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) somewhere you wouldn’t want to be left alive; the mystery of Maryann (Michelle Forbes) gets deeper and deeper; Jason Stackhouse gets in deep with the Fellowship of the Sun Church and we are introduced to a new character in Daphne (Ashley Jones).

Deborah Ann Woll and Stephen Moyer in HBO’s “True Blood”

Photo: HBO/ Jaimie Trueblood

Perhaps one of my biggest concerns from the first season was Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), the freshly minted vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) was forced to create as punishment for killing another vampire in order to save Sookie (all three are featured in the clip to the right). I was worried the character would become too clichéd and just play the role of the “brat” the entire time, but as this show has proven in the past, things move too quickly for any one character to fit into a specific mold for too long. As a matter of fact, Jessica becomes a character that has some of the best moments in the first four episodes of this second season although in this first episode you only see a little of the character’s growth.

I don’t want to reveal much more since this first episode of the season isn’t as much about action as it is about establishment for what turns out being a four episode story arc in which A LOT happens. However, as you have probably noticed, not a lot of what happens in this episode revolves around Sookie. Sure, she’s the lead protagonist of the show but one thing this series has done over its first twelve episodes is give a lot of quality time to its supporting cast, almost to the point they aren’t actually supporting any longer as much as they all merely share a connection with Sookie in one way or another. Good thing too, because I think the supporting characters in this show may be the most eclectic and entertaining bunch I have ever seen in a television show in a long time.

So there you have it. The first episode of season two isn’t necessarily a barn burner when compared to those that follow and those that led up to it, but it has the task of establishing all that is to come, or at least all that is to come over the course of the next three episodes. It is a good episode, but things get much better, very quickly.

If you haven’t watched the clips I recently added from the second season you can find those right here. Of the bunch, the first three are from this episode, while the other one is shortly down the line.

“True Blood” airs on HBO on Sunday nights at 9PM.

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