'True Blood' review, 'Beautifully Broken': Operation Werewolf and Eric, smooth operator

Bill biting the ear off a werewolf — that is a fine way to begin an episode of True Blood, you must admit. Continuing TB‘s new pattern of introducing as many new characters as possible per hour, we quickly got a good long look at Denis O’Hare’s Russell Edgington, the foppish, horse-riding Vampire King of Mississippi, who became angry when Bill told him Cooter had been sucking on him. 

“You drank from my guest?” said Russell to Cooter through clenched teeth, in a line that could have come from the mouth of another, much older in entertainment-years vampire, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula.

Then, in quick succession, a series of brief, energetic scenes: Tara trying to OD on any pill she could get her hands on; Eric explaining to Sookie about the ruthlessness and secrecy of werewolves (“Sounds familiar,” Anna Pacquin said with impeccable dryness), and then a priceless scene in which Pam schooled Jessica in some of the ways to drain, control, and dispose of any human a sweet little vampire might have fed upon. Pretty soon, that kid was renting a chainsaw.

That early Eric-Sookie scene was also choice. When Sookie choked up as she begged him to help her find Bill, Eric said, “Please don’t do that. It makes me feel disturbingly… human.” Nice line-reading, Mr. Skarsgard: A blend of the sincere and the poker-faced comic.

And then came the title-card that made my heart plummet: “Augsberg, Germany 1945.” Flashbacks in True Blood have proven to be as slow and tedious as the rest of TB is fast and clever. Previously in the series, Bill’s scenes during the Civil War era were syrupy and melodramatic. Nonetheless, there we were this week, having to witness Eric’s memory of himself and Godric dressed in Nazi uniforms, ready to battle Operation Werewolf, the secret Nazi commando unit in World War II. (You saw that on the History Channel once, didn’t you?)

The hour consisted of a neck-snappingly edited series of subplot visits. Back in the present day, Bill became the reluctant guest of Russell. Russell eventually made his pitch to Bill: He’d make Bill the “sheriff of Mississippi Area Two,” wherever the hell that is. Follow Russell’s logic (and unwitting foolishness) here. In return for sheriff-ship, or whatever the hell you call it, Bill would share information with Russell, who thinks Bill has the ear of the Queen, whom Russell dislikes intensely, and will help Russell to marry the Queen (part of his plan for conquest). Bill isn’t buying any of this, of course.

There was a Jessica-and-Hoyt scene, as she rejects him (still upset and confused about that mouldering corpse in the basement, y’know). There was a lot of Arlene-Terry stuff that has really outlasted its usefulness as comic relief. Sookie and Jason talked for what seemed like the first time in ages, and she told him there are such things as werewolves. When Jason asked if Bigfoot and Santa are also real, it seemed too corny even for him. (On the other hand, Sookie’s imitation of the way Bill says her name in an Elvis-ish growl — “Sooookie!” — was witty.)

No rest for the weary: On to Sam visiting his long-lost family, the Mickens, who were about as realistically portrayed as a Li’l Abner comic strip. They told him, regarding his shape-shifting, that he’s “special.” Cursed, is more how Sam felt. Pretty soon, Sam’s new little brother, Tommy, shifted himself, into a pitbull, and he and a doggy-shifted Sam go romping. It’s all quite jolly, until pitbull-Tommy tries to lure Sam into the path of a truck.

In a key moment meant to jolt Tara into wanting to live, Lafayette brought her to a convalescent home to meet his mother, Ruby, played with wonderful precision by Alfre Woodard.

As I said, this was a crammed hour, setting up many stories we’ll be following throughout the season. We met Franklin, the Brit vamp who helped Tara beat up some bad ol’ boys who insulted Eggs. (We like Franklin, don’t we? Rheumy-eyed, grizzled, yet somehow oozing a certain across-the-pond allure… )

Yet what, after all this and more (Lorena, in riding gear, with a lantern thrown at her, bursting into flames — sounds like a game of “Clue”), did we really care about, in the True Blood universe? For me, it was the scenes between Sookie and Eric, during which his horndog antics turned into something richer: a fierce protectiveness against werewolves who are “organized, well-funded, and fueled by vampire blood,” as Eric explains to Sookie shortly before his, “Invite me in” becomes a lot more than just the usual come-on. It was an urgent command to allow him to protect her in her own house, which was invaded by a werewolf. Eric bared fangs, Sookie shot a gun, and the evening ended. These minutes were the high point of the season so far. Why? Because rather than running through a lot of well-written, well-acted, well-edited expository material, True Blood was back to playing on our hearts and minds and throats.

What did you think of this week’s episode?

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Comments (207 total) Add your comment
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  • Kevin

    Did Bill really throw the lantern at Lorena or did he dream it?

    • Dee

      He really did throw the lantern at her.

      • nodnarb

        No, it was just his imagination.

    • TBFan

      I think he was imagining it.

    • Lili

      He did it.

      • ugh

        hopefully he really did, i can’t stand her

    • Barry

      He must have dreamed it since he never did it in the book. Sookie killed her by staking her.

      • Carla

        For shame on you, giving spoilers, even when they will prolly change it for the series. Now you’ve incurred the wrath of the bottom-feeders :)

      • Emmalynn H.

        You haven’t noticed that there are alot of things happening on the show that never happened in the books? I read the series during the off season and WOW! other than the players it seems the books are irrelevant. I would have never dreamed there would be that much of a difference. I have to say I truly enjoy both though. They seem to be laying great foundation for season three. OMG and seeing Eric in a totally different light. I’m wishing my life away waiting for Sunday night to hurry and get here.

      • jessesgirl

        Maybe in the books Sookie killed her but since when has AB followed anything in the books correctly? I do like the show and understand he is making TB his own only loosly based on the books but I really would like to see the book characters come to life. I for one would appreciate a series exactly like the stories in the books since I think the books are far superior to the show, except that Alex makes the most remarkable Eric. If ever a show was done that truly followed the books Alex would still have to play Eric there just is no other like him.

    • Carla

      It seemed imaginary, but I kinda really hope he did it. I don’t think so tho. Depending on the series storyline for the show this season, Lorena has a way to go.

      • Brad

        A. If Bill had thrown it, the King would have caught it.
        B. Lorena is Bill’s MAKER. She would have caught it.
        Both things would have made him impotent. Most likely he imagined it.

      • Brad

        Plus, on this show, they are following up on all actions. We will probably see what really happened next week.

    • catolina

      yeah thats what i was wondering as well i dont know if his “majesty” would really let him get away with it or not, they’ll probably will show what happen with bill next week…this week stuff is way to long for me to wait…it kills me lol

      • Ervin

        Unfortunately, we did not parpere to record the discussions this year. We’ll attempt live streaming and recording of those streams next time around.

    • Kaelyn

      I hope he did it, I hate her. She is the most annoying, unsympathetic woman to ever be depicted on tv.

      • Robert

        Kaelyn – I must disagree. That would be Tara – she’s by far the most annoying and unsympathetic person to ever be on TV – I was rooting for her to die, but I knew it wouldn’t happen. Sigh.

  • LonnyB

    You’re crazy, the flashbacks are some of the BEST parts!

    • Zune

      ITA! Anything that might give us some Godric is a good thing!

    • Chris P.

      I was so glad to see Godric again ,and Sookie’s impression of Bill saying her name……priceless.

      • Linda

        “for floppy-haired, hgoadng Sam Merlotte” AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*ahem*To be honest, the parts with Sookie’s point of view are for the most part very true to the books, with the exception of Tara. Surprisingly so. I’ve not seen anything else stay that close to the original work. Anyone else’s pov is invented or expanded a bit, but still sort of true to the books. All things having to do with Tara aside (and I do love the show’s Tara… I do)And…I won’t spoil it for you. BUT… I will tell you that you have been shown and told who is responsible for the murders and who isn’t. Just brief glimpses, but you have been shown, and could probably figure it out if you pay CLOSE attention. Jason’s scenes always make me giggle. And you are feeling exactly the way you are supposed to feel about him, Miss Cleolinda.

    • amj

      I agree, it was a fantastic flashback that will give us material for a season and brought back our fantastic Godric!

    • Jon

      The flashback scene was great, but was it just me or did it look like Eric and Godric were dressed like kids on Halloween? The uniforms were so ill-fitting and fake-looking that there was something silly about it. Godric in particular looked like he was wearing his father’s clothes. There was a phoniness about it, but thematically the flashback was very important.

      • Jen

        I agree! Godric especially looked about as convincing as my 8 year old in that Nazi getup. But the flashback was really provocative as it sets up a mystery of who is the vamp behind the Nazi werewolves. Is it the King of Mississippi? What will be Eric’s plan of attack? Really interesting detour from the book.

      • mae

        regarding the ill fitting uniforms…my thought was they aren’t actually Nazis, they took the uniforms off dead soldiers so they could assimilate better in order to fight the secret Nazi unit, operating werewolf.

    • Brian

      Yeah, every flashback in the series so far has been awesome. I think the fans like seeing the vampires’ histories. Sorry, Ken!

    • Bud

      If Mr. Tucker is so bored with most of the show, why bother watching? Simple mind. It was fabulous to see Godric again and I wish they had not killed him. I love the flashbacks. They are part of the story. You need to settle back in your easy chair and live in the moment, Mr. Tucker. You are rushing tv shows and possibly your own life.

  • Rob

    AMAZING!!!!!! Cannot wait for next week

  • T

    James Frain!!! At first when I heard he was playing Franklin Mott I was a little worried, but I actually liked his him. Yes not exactly the way the character is written, but he is a great actor and I think his character is going to be really interesting.

    • Scobes

      Anything that gets James Frain back on my TV is a good thing.

    • Helen

      He has very big feet

      • Nathalia

        […] Country California’s C.M. Wilcox on the Byron Hill album Stay a While: Given that Hill’s poiuervs albums spent about half their time dealing wonderfully in the problems of love, it’s a little disappointing to find that everything is suddenly going so terribly right. While most of these songs are fine and even enjoyable on their own, the album sags a bit under the weight of so many of them. […]


      Lord, I am loving this Franklin Mott & Tara storyline…………….YES!! He seems so bad, and we know how bad Tara can get!!

      • Tiffany

        you’re soo right, one of the biggest storylines i’m looking forward to as well. Also, those hot steamy sex between them, and those fangs yowswers

    • Carol

      The Franklin and Tara pairing is brilliant, especially given the skills and appeal of the two actors. I’ll watch James Frain in everything he does!
      Facebook Fans of James Frain


  • Austin

    This week was a little haphazard. I’m looking forward to really digging into some of the storylines they’re laying down.

    • Daniela

      Hey, hey!! The cmonet about vitamin D consumption sholud be in front page for Runner’s information. Most of us train very early when the sun is not yet awake (and us, of course), or train indoors. We should specially hear this advice.Keep flowing information.

      • Ray

        Bonjour on m’a baeocuup parle9 de toi. j’aime baeocuup ton blog aussi. Je suis content que ton cadeau t’ai plus. J’ai du tuer mon fils pour le faire. je lui ai tranche9 la teate. M’a femme m’a quitte9 Enfin bref. Je suis d’accord avec la jeune Flore: ce n’est vraiment pas tre8s gentil de ne pas avoir mis son dessin. Bon, je retourne dans ma bogue pour passer l’hiver. Je suis aussi che2taigne e0 mes heures perdues. Comme e7a tu as un blog et moi j’ai une bogue. Marrant, non? oui, je sais, on me le dit souvent. Bon, j’arreate de dire des e2neries, excuse moi e0 Bientf4t Melek.

  • shdrew

    First of all, Sam’s parents are named “Mickens” not “Mickel”. Second, I’ve got the same complaint about TB that I had about the premiere last week: they’re trying cram way too many subplots in an episode. Slow down a bit please! The Sam subplot especially needs to pick up; frankly, I think the Tara subplot would be way better if Sam had been around. Good things about season 3 so far are that we’re seeing a LOT more of Eric and Jessica!!!! Also, I loved that Godric was in this episode, even if it was in flashback. I really hope they find a way to bring him back for real because I think he’s a great character. Lastly, this is two episodes in a row where they’ve shown a young, nubile, female restrained and fully frontally nude. Yet I notice we have yet in the history of this series to see a young, nubile male fully frontally nude. It’s only fair that they also show some hot young men fully frontally nude. A little reciprocation for your female viewers, please!

    • Lanny

      I thought we saw a lot of Eric in all of season 2. Its to be expected now he’s a main character. If they bring Godric back for real I think it would be incredibly stupid and I might lose a little respect in the show. Keep it in flashbacks..

      • Murilo

        The donelepmevt progress of Hula has been disappointing. When was it announced, maybe two years ago? It still is in ALPHA and doesn’t sync with anything, not even evolution. It seems that Hula is not a priority for Novell.

    • Dee

      How I felt about tonight’s episode? It was a little less satisfying in that there were trying too hard to cram the story lines into a single episode. For me, I thought that was one of the biggest problems from last season as well. Tabot and Russell have been wonderful so far, and Lafayette has really step up his skills since last season. It was great to see godric return in a flashback scene. I’m looking forward to see Eric’s father appear in the coming episodes as well.

      The ending was great. When Franklin Mott entered Merlotte’s, my first thought was Tara is about to get into some deep trouble, but fortunately, it’s one of the plots that I’m most excited about. Can’t wait. Episode three looks like a blast.

  • javi

    the best part was the snoop dog video and the dancing sookies.

    • Carla

      Except that Snoop needs to remember to speak to Sookie like the lady that she is :)

    • Alvin

      Les me9dias ont un pouvoir qu’ils refuesnt d’utiliser. Car ils pourraient bassiner les foules contre les corridas, pour la plane8te Tout e0 fait d’accord avec Patrice, mais leur pouvoir ils l’utilisent e0 vendre, et leur pouvoir est le reflet de leurs patrons milliardaires.Je me suis souvent dit que ces massmedias seraient la prochaine Bastille e0 investir, il est curieux d’ailleurs que nul mouvement de citoyens n’ait revendique9 de se mealer des programmes, En meame temps, on sous entend tellement que certains ont le droit de parler et pas les autres: les lambdas! je ne veux eatre le lambda de personne! Si il ya une valeur en chute libre c bien la LIBERTE et la conside9ration humaine et plutf4t que la mode qui a toujours existe9, je mettrais en cause le star system ; par liberte9, je ne veux pas dire le droit de fumer ou de dire n’importe quoi sans e9tude pre9alable. Ma che8re liberte9, de vivante et mortelle sur cette plane8te, ma premie8re et irre9ductible noblesse, opposable e0 n’importe qui…mon avis n’est pas ne9gligj’ai le droitrme9dias ont un pouvoir qu’ils refuesnt d’utiliser. Car ils pourraient bassiner les foules contre les corridas, pour la plane8te, pour que des enfants mangent bien chaque jour. Ils le pourraient, ils en ont les moyens, ils sont la religion moderne partout dans le monde. Pauvres enfants de Dom Quichotte qui n’ont e0 peine eu quelques secondes au plus

  • shdrew

    Oops, one more thing I’m loving: Denis O’Hare!!!! He’s a fabulous character actor (any Law & Order junkie knows that :), and I can’t wait to see what he does with his character this season. I think he’ll be just as exciting as MaryAnn was last year!

    • Hen

      I totally agree with you. I just rewatched the Law and Order episode “Pro Se”. He’s absolutely brilliant in that role. And he’ll bring that same intensity to his role here. Can’t wait to see more.

  • javi

    the snoop dog video was at the end i think you can see it on hbo.com for those of you who turn it of when the show was over.

  • Peter

    This season is so much better than the 1st 2 seasons combined.

    • MCS

      What show were you watching? Clearly we get different HBO

      • Giulio

        il y a e7e0 aussi qui est pas mal: LES MARCHES DES VEUVES ET DES VICTIMES DE DUNKERQUEToutes les 3 semaines, le meerdrci et ce depuis le 15 de9cembre 2004, une marche est organise9e autour du Palais de Justice de Dunkerque. Cette action, organise9e par l’ARDEVA Nord Pas-de-Calais, avec les veuves et les victimes de Dunkerque, a e9te9 depuis cette date soutenue par l’ANDEVA et son re9seau d’associationsL’objectif premier de ce mouvement e9tait de de9noncer le non lieu dans les plaintes de9pose9es au pe9nal par plusieurs veuves et victimes de l’amiante e0 Dunkerque et d’obtenir un vrai proce8s pe9nal de l’amiante en France. Et bien c rate9: ce sont les italiens grace e0 la volonte9 d’un procureur tenace que le proce8s s’est ouvert le 5 de9cembre 2009. et les mis en cause? 2 milliardaires; quoi? Et oui ge9ne9ralement des personnes intouchables! baron belge et je ne sais plus quoi suisse ; une de9le9gation frane7aise est le0 bas. Ici on aime le peuple gentil et poli:: abMonsieur le pre9sident, je suis une veuve de l’amiantebbc9CO-TERRE Ce sera demain matin, comme e0 l’issue de chaque marche des veuves de l’amiante e0 Dunkerque. Une veuve remettra au sous-pre9fet une lettre au pre9sident de la Re9publique, les mots d’une e9pouse en cole8re. Demain, la douzie8me lettre est signe9e Monique Robbe, de Saint-Pol-sur-mer. Extraits .abEntendez la voix des veuves et des victimes qui marchent pour la 19e8me fois en ce mardi 15 de9cembre 2009) autour du palais de justice de Dukerque..Demain avec la suppression du juge d’instruction, un procureur de la Re9publique aux ordres du pouvoir et des lobbies, vous pourrez organiser un enterrement de premie8re classe au proce8s pe9nal de l’amiante. Ni coupable, ni responsable, deviendrait e0 jamais la loi des empoisonneurs.abOui au proce8s pe9nal de l’amiante comme e0 Turin. abNon e0 la suppression du juge d’instruction.abNous vous prions d’agre9er, Monsieur le pre9sident, l’expression de notre conside9ration distingue9ebb.Monique Robbe

    • Lili

      Season 1 so far is still my favorite

  • Lanny

    Effin amazing episode. True Blodd always kills it with the cliffhangers and amazing characters. I laughed my head off at the flame to Lorena, Sookie’s “i’m waiting for Billy to come in and say Suuuuuukiiiee” and Jessica’s chainsaw caper.

    • Sudarashan

      Oh dear… is this another show I have to start winahctg? Dammit.LOST: What are you doing? You have no more room in your mind for this! I’m already crowded enough as it is, what with namby-pamby little Heroes prancing around in here.HEROES: LOL I’m pretty! *flail*HOUSE: If you guys don’t all shut up I’m shoving my cane up your collective asses.DEXTER: … and then I realized… if I killed all of them, there would be a lot more room for me to stretch my legs. Is that bad? Am I bad? Who am I? I don’t care…. huh. It would appear I’ve gone crazy.

  • MaryAnnisDead

    Mott getting turned on by Tara beating the s–t out of the redneck was great. I also enjoyed all the scenes with Eric. I am beginning to warm up to Bill; Torching his maker was great. Actually, it seems to me that any scene that had a vampire in it was good.
    I can’t wait for next week’s show.
    Oh yea, Snoop Dogg was so effing Funny!

    • Kelsey

      Glad I’m not the only one who noticed Mott’s fangs coming out! :-D
      I liked tonight’s episode, but agree that they’re trying to do too much in not enough time.

      • dede

        I am glad we noticed the fangs coming out. He is hooked by tara. I find that I am most interested by Tara and Franklin

      • Antonio

        Yay, you’re capping True Blood!A frneid of mine kept trying to get me to read the series, and I started the first book just before the show started. The series seems to be sticking to the first book (Dead After Dark, fyi) pretty closely, and that *always* pleases me immensely when people realize that they’ve got some great stuff on their hands and that they should stick to the material they’ve got. Tara, by the way, isn’t in the books. She was created for the series. Sookie just needed a best frneid, apparently. I won’t spoil anything, but they’ve given more screentime to some of the peripheral characters, which I like a lot.


      You know what, when Mott first walked into Merlotte’s I felt sorry for Tara, but when he got turned on by her kicking ass…. Well let’s say… They’ll be a bit obsessed with each other.

      I am liking that pairing, there is something utterly dangerous… Notice how us ladies are drown to the bad bad men : Eric and Franklin.. LOL

  • Patrick

    I loved it. It was even better than last week, and it was fun. I wish they’d push the Arlene pregnancy storyline. I know it’s only been the second episode, but still. The Lorena part was actually really funny. Jessica is in some deep ****. All the vampire delicacies were fun to see. What’s with the Mississippi King’s plan to “marry” the Queen of Louisiana. Lafayette’s mother was fun. Alfre Woodard was great. Ruby really is disturbed. I can’t wait for Lafayette and Kevin’s relationship. Tara and Franklin have a brief and entertaining start. Eric and Sookie were fun in this episode. I actually don’t like Jason and Andy’s plot right now, but at the end it looked like it will get better. Sam is in for some trouble. Liked the werewolves as well. Everything is getting better. Can’t wait for last week.

  • Michael

    The ear did not belong to cooter it belonged to the other werewolf.

  • @KenTucker

    Correction: Bill ripped off another werewolf’s ear, his name was Louie, played by Bryan Becker, who eventually gets shot by the King of Mississippi. Cooter was the werewolf played by Grant Bowler.

    • april

      I don’t see where he says that it was Cooter’s ear Bill tore off. He mentioned Cooter’s name when he was talking about Bill telling the King that they drank from him. BTW, it was hilarious when Bill made fun of Cooter’s name.

      • celticgal

        The author must have revised his article. The original article this morning stated Bill bit the ear off of Cooter.

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