Christopher Meloni Gets Fangs: True Blood, “Authority Always Wins”

This week’s episode of HBO’s True Blood gives us our first look at vampire Chrsitopher Meloni. I never watched him on SVU, but I enjoyed him on Scrubs and the bits of Oz I peeked at when I wasn’t covering my eyes because, damn. That show was crazy even for HBO. Though his time onscreen was brief, I’m already interested in the threat he poses to Bill and Eric if they don’t make good on their promise to bring in Russell. Plus he’s got an actor from Spartacus on his council; I’ve seen him use a sword and no one wants to be on the pointy end of that.

Also: Sookie is a selfish idiot. But that’s not really news.

It’s going to be a long season.

(Apologies for the lack of episode review last week. I was buried under cement moved to a new apartment and was without cable.)

I can’t say I was nuts about the premiere. I hate it when characters don’t talk to each other. This is True Blood, not Lost. You just know Sookie’s all set up to get horizontal with Alcide and then either he’ll find out or someone will tell him that Sookie killed Debbie Pelt and a boring dramabomb of angst, and betrayal will explode and make me find Alcide as boring as Bill. But I hope I’m proved wrong.

The premiere was heavy on exposition (and bare butts) but low on real excitement. Normally, seeing Eric Northman naked is cause for celebration, but watching him hook up with his “sister” seemed strangely perfunctory. Nora just showed up. There was no story to her, so I didn’t care that she can fuck like a champ. And I can already tell which storylines are ideal for making a fridge-run. (Hint: it’s Terry and Arlene. Again.)

But I do love the can of worms that’s been opened by having Tara turned into a vampire, by Pam no less. I understand why Lafayette wanted to turn her. He said it himself in last night’s episode. But for Sookie to allow it? That’s crazy. At least now Tara has a good reason for being pissed off all the time. She’s still a victim of circumstances beyond her control, but maybe being a vampire will make her stronger in more ways than one. If she is indeed in that insane vampire body.

And for Pam to be Tara’s maker? Awesome. Anything that gives us more Pam is a good thing. I had hoped that Pam and Jessica would have more of a relationship when she was first turned, but that never happened. And perhaps it won’t click with Tara either, seeing as they hate each other. But making someone is clearly bringing up past issues with Pam, especially while her own maker has been either missing or distant the past few weeks.

I love flashbacks on vampire shows. No main cast vampires ever get turned in aesthetically dull time periods like, I don’t know, 1970s Salt Lake City. It’s always corsets and top hats and prostitutes in glamorous cities. And sometimes horrific, hilariously awful accents. Pam’s flashbacks were brief and didn’t quite fit with the flow of the hour, but getting to see what she was like as a human gave me a lot to think about. She was protective of the girls in the brothel. As one could have guessed, there was a time when Pam had feelings for others.

The show could really use a good storyteller. And a better editor. Wouldn’t it be nice to get some high-concept episodes every now and then? I’m hoping for more flashbacks to San Francisco 1905 juxtaposed with Tara struggling with her own new reality as more of a mirror reflecting Pam. This is where the show should be more like Lost. Devote a whole hour to just Pam and Tara. Never gonna happen though. We wouldn’t get to see thrilling things like Sam argue with his suddenly unreasonable girlfriend or Alcide’s emotionally conflicted abs.

Why is Luna so pissed? Marcus is dead, it’s time for her to party. If you ignore that whole wolf-law thing. I love the actress playing Marcus’ mom. She speaks with the same inflections he did and she was great in Winter’s Bone. And she made one hell of a disgusting methhead on a really disturbing episode of Breaking Bad. I don’t think Emma is a wolf. I think she just shifted to one because her father was on her mind. How can Luna tell the difference?

And also Arlene and Terry are so boring, I’m not even going to discuss them further. Who let these side characters get their own storyline? They were great in the background. Should’ve left them alone to appear in funny small doses.

Aside from Pam and Lafayette, Jason is more interesting to me than any other character on the show. I like this new Jason, trying to make some amends. Maybe I like it so much because we have no clue what’s going to happen to him this year. Will Jessica be his only partner? What kind of thank-you pie will Maxine bake him?

Bill and Eric’s story didn’t heat up until the last ten minutes when we finally got to see Christopher Meloni for the first time and then the vampire we’ve really all been waiting for… Russell. Seriously. The whole Bill and Eric story bored me to near-tears. There’s just no danger of either Bill or Eric getting staked this early in the season. Where’s the suspense? I never cared about Nora. I would like to know more about the council members. Is turning children against the vampire law as it was in the universe of Anne Rice’s vampires? Will Peter Mensah get more than two sentences this season? It was weird seeing him in modern clothes.

Most importantly, will Russell save True Blood from becoming a snoozefest?

True Blood airs Sundays at 9PM E/PT on HBO.


Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com. She covers True Blood, Game of Thrones, and is also an avid gamer. She has also covered tech and TV for Geektress.com and Action Flick Chick. Follower her on Twitter @tdelucci

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