True Blood Season 6, Ep. 1 review: “Who Are You, Really?”

Tonight’s premiere marks the first time True Blood has been without its creator, Alan Ball. Left in the hands of a new creative team, is it too much to hope that really turns the show in a new, improved direction? Perhaps not. But it’s too early to tell. The missteps of the fifth season linger, but are growing faint as everyone—audience included—adjust to some drastic changes.

Bloody spoilers after the cut.

Because True Blood follows so many different groups of people, but each episode largely eschews traditional “themes” in favor of plot—unlike Game of Thrones—I find it’s better to review the show on a character by character basis. As a bonus, when the season invariably starts to drag and I stop giving a shit about at least two storylines, I can skip over the boring bits (ARLENE’S DEMON BABY) in favor of the good stuff.

But, as it’s the first episode, every character gets a fair shake. I always start each new season of True Blood with cautious optimism. I think the guest stars lull me into a false sense of security. Christopher Meloni! Michelle Forbes! This season we get Rutger Hauer, of all people. Nice genre pedigree. But before we get to him, we get…

Billith

After drinking the blood of the first vampire, Lillith, the formerly uber-charming Southern gentleman is now just a jerk. Yet, it’s really nothing new, as Bill has been getting more tedious to watch since he and Sookie broke up and he threw himself into the even more disappointingly tedious world of vampire politics. So now, Bill is the “naked, evil Superman” of vampires. And no one knows what that means just yet, including Bill. I guess he needed to take a breather before starting an all-out war and going all William Sherman just yet. Understandable. Good side effects of Lillith juice: impervious to stakes. Bad side effects: naked bloody chicks jumping on your body. Okay, maybe that’s another good side effect. For some people, anyway. I think Bill has run his course and I’m hoping he’s going to be entering his end-game soon. He doesn’t have much of a plan at the moment.

Sookie and Jess

Sookie

I still like Sookie. Even if she is a Mary Sue, a cry-baby, and way too freaking fickle in her taste in unavailable men, she’s still funny, caring, generous with her heart, and capable of moments of real bravery. How long do you think her rescinding Eric’s invitation will last? We’ve been down this road with other chipper blondes and their blonder vampire boyfriends. We’ve been down this road on this same exact show before, even. But, you never know, I think she can keep out of Eric’s pants for at least… six episodes. And how awkward is it that Bill lives pretty much across the street from her, plotting… something. “Bill was my first everything.” It’s the end of what was once a great era. I will shed a single blood-tear.

Eric

“Goodnight, Miss Stackhouse.”

Awww. How sweet. Oh wait a minute: Eric treats Pam like shit for pretty much no reason. He’s an asshole. Why is he such a dick to her after 100 years of companionship? And his sister is annoying and still eyeing Sookie like she’s dinner. If I were Sookie, I’d be very wary of Nora. But, yeah, Eric might’ve been surprised with Sookie staking Bill to save him, but Eric is now the main vampire attraction on True Blood.

Jessica

Bill’s progeny gets the most depth on this show. I really love her father-daughter relationship with Bill and I’m glad that she decided to not abandon him. It fits that she’d be the only one to try and understand him. Of course, she probably just wants a little distraction after her human beau unceremoniously dumped her. “You told me that you loved [Bill] and then you tried to stake him!” was definitely more about Jason’s betrayal than Sookie or Bill. On-the-prowl Jess is way more fun than captive-Jess.

Lafayette

Oh, please, please, please get a good storyline this season, Lala. Something better than your Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost schtick. Something better than Dance Moms.

Lafayette

Sam

Oh man, it really sucks that Luna’s dead. I liked her. Why can’t Sam be happy for two season in a row? Not fair. So now he’s on the run with the most precocious little wolf cub ever. It’s like… Arya and The Hound in Game of Thrones! Only with more hilariously awkward nudity.

Jason

Racist and story-stupid is no way to go through life, Jason. How come Sookie was able to drop Jessica off at Bill’s, talk with Bill, go back to her home, and later on chat with Eric… yet Jason was stuck in a car for the whole hour? And also? Getting into a car with Rutger Hauer is like the dumbest thing you can do! You’re gonna tell me a good ol’ Southern boy like Jason never watched The Hitcher? Between Rutger Hauer and Governor Burrell, the former had at least a much better dramatic introduction. Is Hauer really playing the infamous Warlow?

Pam and Tara

Poor Pam. You know you’re fucked up when Tara Thorton gives you self-help advice. And it makes sense. “Love doesn’t have to be competition between you and everyone else.” Whoa. I think it’s time for Pam to start a new chapter with Tara. She may believe that she can’t start a new epic love story, but Tara loves showing people they can be wrong. And this cute, cussin’ couple with a fantastic wardrobe is going to need to stand together against the human discrimination. I can’t stand to watch these two be in pain.

Andy

Eh, not quite ready to yawn, but any story involving Arlene tends to be the worst storyline. Demon babies, Iraqi fire curses, and now faerie quadruplets. Andy’s storyline was perfectly timed for Father’s Day. I would’ve thought that since Andy looks like a giant infant himself, kids would love him. Guess I was wrong. So, will these fey kids be teenagers before mid-season?

Alcide

Got nekkid. His #1 Were-bitch and former pack leader Marcus’ mom know what’s up. “Power is a drug.” Even Alcide isn’t immune. Some people might say Rikki’s sexy power play was insecure and desperate, but I think she’s watching out for her main interest and won’t give him up to any old group that comes along. Let’s see how that works out for them.


Next on True Blood: The human-vampire war heats up. Jason still sees dead people. Also, boobs.

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


Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci

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