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True Blood chronicles the backwoods Louisiana town of Bon Temps... where vampires have emerged from the coffin, and no longer need humans for their fix.
Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin, Golden Globe® winner for True Blood, Academy Award® - winner for The Piano) works as a waitress at the rural bar Merlotte's. Though outwardly a typical young woman, she keeps a dangerous secret: she has the ability to hear the thoughts of others. Her situation is further complicated when the bar gets its first vampire patron - 173-year old Bill Compton (Steven Moyer, Quills) - and the two outsiders are immediately drawn to each other.
Delivering the best of what audiences have come to expect from Creator and Executive Producer Alan Ball (writer of Oscar® - winning Best Picture American Beauty, creator of the Emmy® Award-winning HBO® series Six Feet Under), True Blood is a dark and sexy tale that boldly delves into the heart - and the neck - of the Deep South.
01 - Love Strange
At night on a rural Louisiana highway, a frat boy driving his girlfriend’s SUV - while her hand works busily in his lap - notices a neon convenience store sign for Tru Blood and pulls into the lot. Inside, an evil-looking clerk watches Bill Maher interview American Vampire League spokeswoman Nan Flanagan, who deftly parries his questions about vampires’ historical violence. "We never owned slaves,” she says, “or detonated nuclear weapons. Since the Japanese perfected synthetic blood, which satisfies all our nutritional needs, there is no reason for anyone to fear us."
The frat boy steps up to the counter and smarts off about the vampires of New Orleans drowning during Hurricane Katrina, and the pale, angular clerk replies that vampires can’t drown “because we don’t breathe. Frozen in terror, the frat boy mumbles an apology, but a moment later the clerk breaks into a goofy cackle, dropping the act and saying how he “totally had them.” A camo-clad good ole boy in the back of the store isn’t amused, however, and when the frat boy asks the clerk about scoring some drug-like vampire blood, the real vampire in their midst reveals himself and his fangs. As the frat boy flees with his girlfriend, the good ole boy steps up to the counter, slams down a four-pack of Tru Blood and tells the clerk, “You ever pretend to be one of us again, and I’ll kill you. Got it?”
At Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, Sookie Stackhouse serves beer and burgers to her customers, hearing snippets of their private thoughts as she makes her rounds. For a moment, the vague, watery musings of everyone in the room seem to close in on her, but she takes a deep breath and banishes the noise. Sookie’s boss, Sam Merlotte, pulls her aside to let her know that her friend Tara Thornton is on the phone. Sookie takes the call, apologising to Sam, only to find out that Tara, a bit of a hothead, has quit her job and is coming to Merlotte’s. Another waitress, Dawn Green, catches up with Sookie to warn her that Mack and Denise Rattray - problem customers and even worse human beings - are sitting in her section. She takes their order, trying to ignore Mack’s perverted internal assessment of her.
In the kitchen, Sookie tells the cook, Lafayette Reynolds, that it would be perfectly fine if he served the Rattrays’ onion rings off the floor. He compliments her makeup, and she responds that it helps her tips - even though rumours about her “talent” have led the whole town to fear her. Back in the barroom, Tara has arrived and started complaining that she needs a new job. Just as Sookie steps into the discussion, she’s distracted by a strange force.
Looking up, she sees Bill, a 173-year-old vampire, step into the bar. Laughing nervously, she approaches his table. Sam looks on protectively as Sookie apologises that Merlotte’s is out of Tru Blood - they’ve just never had a vampire come in. Bill replies, “Am I that obvious?” As Sookie steps away to get him a glass of red wine, the Rattrays lean in to introduce themselves. At the bar, she gushes about Bill to Tara and Sam (who think she’s insane for not fearing the vampire) and wonders why “the Rats” are so interested in him.
Across town, Sookie’s brother, Jason Stackhouse, sits with a local girl named Maudette Pickens. He’s simultaneously turned on and revolted by the video she’s playing for him: A homemade porn starring Maudette, a vicious-looking vamp and a bondage hook hanging from her ceiling. The video is only foreplay, however, and as Maudette gets the main event started, Jason’s disgust takes a back seat to his libido.
As the Rattrays continue cosying up to Bill at Merlotte’s, Sookie listens in to their thoughts, only to realise that the couple plans on draining Bill’s blood for sale on the black market. Tara and Sam assure her that a vampire can take care of himself, but when she notices the Rattrays have left with Bill, she runs to the parking lot, grabbing a heavy chain to use as a weapon. Sure enough, Mack and Denise have snared Bill using fine silver chains, which have burned their way into his skin, and begun draining him a pint at a time. Sookie sneaks up on them and smacks Mack in the head with the chain. When he turns on her with a knife, the chain, as if by magic, wraps itself around his neck. Sookie, too distraught to notice a strange blue-eyed woman nearby vanishing into the night, picks up Mack’s dropped knife and focuses on Denise, who collects her wounded husband and leaves, promising, “This ain’t over.”
Sookie rushes to Bill’s side, and after freeing him from the chains, is shocked to watch his burns disappear before her eyes. Though he gruffly thanks her, Bill also probes Sookie’s boundaries, first mentioning the “juicy arteries” in her groin then offering to let her keep his drained blood. Both comments disgust her, which seems to please Bill, as if she’s passed a test. He asks her to keep his weakness to silver a secret, and she agrees before abruptly returning to work. Sam waits for her outside the bar, and inside, Tara has managed to bully her way into a new job pouring drinks. When Jason enters the bar, appearing nervous and looking for Sookie, Tara softens and says hello, but she immediately scoffs when Jason starts flirting with Dawn.
Sookie goes home and tells her Gran about meeting Bill, leaving out the part about the parking lot brawl. In bed, she has a dream that Bill waits outside her window, but when she comes down to see him, thinking they’ll have sex, he extends his fangs to bite her. Unsettled, she wakes up before his teeth sink in.
The next morning, Jason comes by the house to reprimand Sookie for fighting with the Rattrays: word is already making its way around town. She shoots back that they were going to kill Bill, and though Jason doesn’t understand why she’d want to help a vampire, this ends the argument. Over breakfast, Gran answers a phone call and hears that Maudette Pickens was found strangled in her apartment. Jason seems angry and frightened at the news. He leaves for work, but later the police pull up to his road crew to question him about Maudette. Sheriff Bud Dearbome and Detective Andy Bellefleur feel him out before eventually telling him they found a video tape of him having sex with the victim on the night of the murder.
As Sookie puts on her makeup before work, Gran asks her whether she thinks Bill was around during the Civil War. Her historical group, the Descendants of the Glorious Dead, would certainly love to hear a first-person account of the war. Sookie, amused, promises to ask. She gets to Merlotte’s just in time to hear all her co-workers discussing Jason’s arrest. Frightened and furious that she’s the last person to know she demands that Jason’s friends, Rene Lenier and Hoyt Fortenberry, fill her in on the details. Just as she becomes so worked up that the thoughts in the room start to overwhelm her, Bill walks into the bar. When she greets him, he asks, “What are you?” The vampire has picked up that she’s different, but only asks if he can visit her at her home. She consents and then remembers her Gran’s request and asks him, “Would you mind meeting me at the back of the bar when I get off at, probably around 1:30?” Bill agrees but, feeling uncomfortable under the gaze of everyone in the bar, decides to leave.
As soon as Bill is gone, Sam pulls Sookie into his office and admonishes her for associating with a vampire: “What do you have, a death wish?” Before she can finish her retort, Tara bursts through the door and delivers a similar message. Hearing their thoughts - Sam’s love for her and Tara’s concern for Jason - Sookie finally loses her cool and, yelling that she can take care of herself, slams the door on her way out.
Late that night, as she’s leaving work, Sookie notices a beat-up car in the parking lot, and just as she places her recognition of it, the Rattrays jump from the shadows and knock her down, kicking viciously. They have every intent to kill her, but all she can do is curl into a foetal position as she spits up blood.
02 - The First Take
Late at night in Merlotte’s empty parking lot, the Rattrays savagely beat Sookie, kicking her twisted body with every intent to kill her. When the dog that hangs around the bar approaches, growling, Mack trains a gun on it, but before he can fire a shot, he flies up into the trees, snatched by some unseen force. Moments later, he lands on the ground, his back broken. A shape, moving too fast to see, finishes him off and also kills Denise. Sookie passes out, and when she wakes up with Bill kneeling next to her, she can’t feel her legs. Bill slashes his own wrist and instructs her to drink his blood. She hesitates, and he demands, “Do you want to live or not?” She grabs his wrist and gulps deeply.
Jason - under interrogation at the police station for the murder of Maudette Pickens - also receives a rescue of sorts. Bud and Andy show him a sex tape the woman made of her encounter with Jason, and when the action ends with Jason’s hands wrapped around her lolling neck, he freaks out and flees the scene, thinking he’s killed her. The lens continues to focus on Maudette’s limp body ... until she begins to laugh and walks over to turn off the camera. Shocked and relieved at the proof of his innocence, Jason tells the cops about the other tape he saw, featuring Maudette and a tattooed vampire, but it’s nowhere to be found. Now that he’s free to go, Jason heads over to Dawn’s house, where his story strangely manages to earn her sympathy - and some sex. When he wakes up later, though, he’s disgusted to notice healing fang marks on her neck.
Sookie wakes up to Bill licking the blood from her forehead. When she asks whether she tastes different from most people, Bill asks her again, “What are you?” She explains how she can hear the thoughts of others, prompting Bill to ask if that includes him, though once she fills him in on the details of her talent, he’s sympathetic. “How do you manage a social life?” he asks. At the end of this conversation, Sookie realises all her wounds have healed. Bill walks her to her car, and before leaving, Sookie requests that he speak to her grandmother’s Civil War group. He agrees and asks permission to “call on her.” Laughing at his formality, she agrees.
The next morning Sookie, Gran and Tara have breakfast and watch a debate between American Vampire League spokeswoman Nan Flanagan and Fellowship of the Sun leader Rev. Theodore Newlin, who is so incensed by a vampire’s presence that he refuses to address his opponent directly. Sookie notices the sausage she’s eating tastes “more complex” than usual, her heightened senses a side-effect of the vampire blood in her veins. But when Gran receives a call with the news that the Rattrays’ trailer was hit by a freak tornado, Sookie’s mood turns dark and she rushes to the scene. Bud and the coroner, Mike Spencer, find her there, and quickly segue from small-talk to questioning her about Bill, searching for a connection between the Rattrays and Maudette. Angry at the men’s prejudice toward vampires, Sookie defends Bill, assuring Bud and Mike that he’s “not that much different from you and me.”
Back at Gran’s house that night, Sookie waits with Gran, Jason and Tara for Bill to arrive. Once she grants him an invitation - after a bit of teasing - Bill is able to enter the house and meet the family, though Jason remains a bit hostile. Bill promises Gran he’ll speak to the Descendents of the Glorious Dead but when the Civil War discussion leads to Bill’s admission that his father owned slaves, Tara is offended after Sookie and Bill leave, Tara explains to Jason that she understands he’s trying to protect Sookie, even if no on else does. The two connect for a moment - until Jason remembers he has to meet Dawn.
Outside, Bill tentatively answers Sookie’s questions about feeding on humans - admitting he drained the Rattrays - and when he mentions his ability to “glamour” or hypnotise people, she goads him into trying it on her. His power has no effect, but Bill remarks that Sookie seems far more comfortable around vampires than most people. “Who am I to be squeamish about something out of the ordinary,” she asks, briefly flashing back to her own struggles as a child. Bill leans in, kissing her, then pulls away, his offer to walk her home slipping past extended fangs.
Jason arrives at Dawn’s house, where she promptly ties him to the bed. Turned on, he tries to convince her to skip work, but she leaves him bound - and angry - though she promises to be home around midnight. When she arrives at Merlotte’s, Tara does a not-so-subtle job of feeling out the waitress’s intentions with Jason. Sookie deals with her own invasion of privacy across the bar, when a drunk college kid sticks his hand up her shorts. Before she can even react, Rene has hold of the transgressor, nearly breaking his wrist before the kid apologises to Sookie. Shaken and irritated, Sookie heads back to the waitress station, where Sam asks her whether it’s true that she can’t hear Bill’s thoughts. “Must be very relaxing,” he replies when she answers in the affirmative. When he asks if she can hear his thoughts, she recoils, telling him she’d never listen in on her boss. "You might be surprised what you hear,” he tells her. She returns to the bar, where news on the television reports that Rev. Theodore Newlin was killed in a freak auto accident.
After work, Sookie drives over to Bill’s house, but the calming atmosphere she’s seeking has definitely evaporated. A car in the driveway - carrying a vanity plate that reads “Fangs1” - marks her first clue that something is wrong. Before she can even make it inside, she’s surrounded by three evil-looking vampires: A female and two males, one of whom is the tattooed monster from Maudette’s sex tape. When Sookie swallows her fear and asks if Bill is home, the female vampire replies: “Maybe.”
03 - Mine
Outside Bill’s house, Sookie meets some of his less-than-welcoming vampire friends: Diane, Malcom and Liam (the vamp from Maudette’s sex tape). The three circle her, making suggestive comments and baring their fangs, then follow her into the house, where Bill seems unnerved by the situation that’s developed. When Diane and her cohorts threaten to feed on Sookie, however, Bill steps in, declaring, “Sookie is mine.”
The vampires step back, and the lapse in immediate danger gives Sookie a chance to notice the other humans in the room - a man and woman, both glamoured - who are serving as the group’s playthings. As a young man named Jerry offers his neck for Bill to feed, Sookie hears his thoughts: "... get infected you f**king vampire a**hole ...“ She shrieks out a warning that Jerry has Hep D, a virus that only affects vampires, and stops Bill in time. But Jerry - robbed of his chance at revenge for the murder of his boyfriend - turns on Sookie. The attack ends almost before it begins when Bill breaks Jerry’s wrist, leaving him unconscious on the floor. Diane wants to know how Sookie discovered the traitor, though Bill manages to deflect her questions and usher the group out the door ... with Jerry in tow.
At Merlotte’s, Tara and Sam close down for the night, neither of them in a hurry to get home. After cracking a couple of beers, their conversation turns to Sookie, who’s been worrying them both. Tara tells Sam his affection for the waitress is obvious and prompts her new boss to make his move quickly, before things with Bill heat up any more. Sam explains how he already told Sookie he didn’t mind if she read his thoughts, and Tara stops him: “She doesn’t want to listen to anybody’s thoughts ... Man, you don’t stand a chance.”
After Diane leaves with the other vampires, Sookie steps out onto the porch, shaken. Bill explains that when vampires live together in a “nest” they become more vicious. He also cops to having had sex with Diane - back in the 1930s. Pushing a folder into Bill’s hands, Sookie says she arranged for some electricians to renovate his home at night. With that, she leaves.
Dawn comes home from work, expecting to find Jason still tied to her bed, but instead a stranger is waiting for her. Grabbing her from behind, the robed and masked man tells her, “I need to taste you again.” Dawn becomes terrified when he tells her that he’s already “drained Jason - and she’s next. Just as she starts to really lose it, the man pulls the stocking from his face, revealing Jason. Laughing, he kisses her deeply, telling her, “Just think of it as foreplay.”
When Sookie gets home, Bill startles her by appearing out of nowhere. Once she gets over the shock, she asks why she can’t hear his thoughts. “Because I’m dead,” he replies. The weight of the past few days hits her all at once, and she tells him they shouldn’t see each other anymore. As she steps inside, Bill voices her own deepest fear: “You’ll never find a human man that you can be yourself with.”
Tara and Sam continue their after-work drinking at his trailer, with Tara explaining how she can’t stand to go home to her alcoholic mother. Changing the subject, she asks him why he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and after a few minutes of his sputtering, continues with, “Don’t you ever get horny?”. They’re both aware of where the conversation is headed, though Sam drags his feet out of employer-responsibility. Until they start kissing.
Over at Dawn's house, Jason has already skipped ahead to aggressive sex; unfortunately his guilty conscience has started playing tricks on him. At one point, when he looks down at Dawn, he sees Liam’s face looking back up at him and immediately loses his “mood.” Dawn asks him what’s wrong, and he replies, “I hate that you’ve been with vampires.” The moment escalates into an argument, which escalates to Dawn chasing Jason out of her house with a pistol, firing warning shots as he struggles to get his pants on. When he gets home, it’s as if the television has read his mind as he flips through channels: A vampire attacks in an old movie. Steve Newlin, son of the recently deceased Fellowship of the Sun leader Rev. Theodore Newlin, blames vampires for his father’s “assassination.” A vampire bat feeds on cattle.
Bill visits Diane at her nest to demand that they leave Sookie alone. Hinting at powerful allies they would do well to heed, Bill seems to accomplish his task. The evil vampires don’t miss the opportunity to criticise him for mainstreaming, though, and when Bill spots the draining corpse of the human woman who’d been at his house, their point is underscored.
Tara comes home to her drunken mother, who rises from the couch ready to fight - literally. After calling her daughter a whore, Lettie Mae smacks her with a liquor bottle, drawing blood. Tara flees, heading to Lafayette’s house, where she finds a state senator (who her cousin has some sort of “arrangement” with) in the shower. After the guest leaves, Tara shares the news of the previous night, adding that Sam barks in his sleep. “Damn,“ Lafayette says. “White people are f**ked up.”
Later, Jason comes to see Lafayette, too, but for a different reason: Viagra to combat his newfound shortcoming. Lafayette does him one better, offering to sell him a vial of vampire blood. Disgusted, but desperate, Jason takes the deal, but he can’t come up with $600 - and Lafayette doesn’t do credit. In lieu of cash, Jason agrees to dance in his underwear for Lafayette’s gay porn website - wearing a mask, of course. Tara emerges from a backroom just in time to secretly catch Jason smacking his own ass.
Sookie, relaxing at home on her day off, takes a call from Sam, who asks her to swing by Dawn’s house for him. She was supposed to work lunch at Merlotte’s and hasn’t come in yet. “She probably just overslept,” Sam says, promising Sookie she won’t have to take over the shift. Sookie goes to her house, but when she knocks, there’s no answer. After a few tries, she lets herself in ... and finds Dawn’s lifeless body strewn across the bed.
03 - Scratches
Bill, behind the wheel of Sookie’s car, speeds back toward Bon Temps with his girlfriend and Jessica. Sookie begs him to slow down so he skids to a halt at the side of the road, furious at the women for endangering Jessica’s family. Sookie apologises repeatedly, but Bill admonishes her, demanding that she grow up. Hurt and angry, Sookie springs from the car, vowing to walk all night before she spends another moment with him.
Her 20-mile hike back to town is cut short at a few hundred feet though. After rounding a bend, Sookie becomes aware of something in the darkness. No sooner can she make out its shape - something humanoid with the head of a bull - the creature is upon her, shredding her back viciously with its talons. Bill bolts from the darkness at superhuman speed, and though he manages to scare off Sookie’s attacker, the damage is done. He tries to feed Sookie his blood to heal her, but she chokes after the first swallow, spitting up mouthfuls of white foam.
Daphne walks into Sam’s office at Merlotte’s to tell the boss that she’s short by more than $60. Frustrated - not just about the money - Sam tells her she’ll have to pay it back. He’s running a business after all. Close to tears, Daphne pushes her night’s tips into his hands, adding that she’ll have to pay him the rest later. As she takes off, Tara steps into the office, informing Sam that he needs to give Daphne “positive reinforcement.” But hearing Maryann’s words come out of Tara’s mouth just aggravates Sam further.
Jason snaps awake in the middle of the night, disturbed by a dream in which Eddie appears in his bunk at the Light of Day Institute and attacks him. Beside himself with guilt and horror, Jason starts to pray, begging God for a sign that he’s on the right path. Luke answers from across the room, winging a pillow at Jason and growling at him to shut up.
Bill brings Sookie to Fangtasia in hopes that Eric can save her. The older vampire summons for help. A female dwarf called Dr. Ludwig ascertains that Sookie has been contaminated with a potent poison. Fighting against the clock, she pours some liquid into the wounds and digs in with her gloved fingers in an attempt to clean the gashes. As she works, Eric and Bill move to another room, where they try to determine what attacked Sookie. Eric dispatches Pam and Chow to search the forest but they come up empty-handed. When the doctor is finished with Sookie, Bill returns to her side. With the poison treated, her body is able to accept his blood, which heals the deep wounds on her back. After Sookie fades into relieved unconsciousness, Bill awkwardly thanks Eric for saving her life.
Tara wakes up find Maryann in the kitchen along with giant platters of food and Karl ready to serve it. Maryann explains that she’s having some people over, but Tara is more curious about the tension that is become apparent between her new host and her former lover. Maryann says she barely knows Sam but instinct tells her that he’s jealous of Tara finding fulfilment elsewhere. Tara’s not convinced, but a large joint that Maryann has rolled is enough to end the conversation.
In the parking lot of his bar, Sam packs up his truck with labelled boxes holding all his possessions. When Terry pulls up, Sam asks the cook to look after the bar while he’s 'away.' Terry isn’t thrilled with the idea - he can barely handle the stress of flipping burgers - but he supposes he has no choice in the matter. Sam thanks him, but Terry responds by accusing him of running away. Sam gets defensive, and Terry calls him a coward.
Jason sits in a circle of LODI recruits, listening to a former fangbanger describe how she was used up and discarded by the vampire she thought loved her. When Sarah prompts Jason for his thoughts, he says that his sister dates a vampire and admits that he doesn’t see things as being so black and white. Convinced he doesn’t belong, Jason leaves the room, but Sarah follows him outside. She tells him how at first she supported vampire rights ... until her sister was hooked on V and murdered by vampires. She consoles Jason, saying it’s his goodness and humanity that make him vulnerable to these creatures’ lies. She asks him to pray with her and now in tears, he falls to his knees.
Sookie wakes up the morning after her ordeal, not only healed but feeling fantastic from the dose of vampire blood. Ginger, the strung-out daytime caretaker at Fangtasia, strikes up a conversation with her. Sookie hears in the woman’s thoughts that Lafayette is locked in the basement - and there’s a gun behind the bar. Racing to the weapon, Sookie trains it on Ginger and demands to see Lafayette. In the dungeon, she’s unable to free him from the chains but promises to get him out somehow. That night, once the vampires have awakened, she makes a deal with Eric: She’ll travel to Dallas to search for his lost friend if he frees Lafayette and pays her $10,000.
Back in Bon Temps, Jessica wakes up at Bill’s house and heads to Merlotte’s, where she sits down and notices Hoyt alone at another table. Summoning his nerve, he walks over, compliments her smile and offers to buy her a drink. When she asks for Tru Blood, Jessica worries that he’ll be scared off, but she’s pleasantly surprised. “You’re a vampire - that’s awesome,” he says.
Tara and Eggs talk over their personal struggles as the party at Maryann’s house builds around them. The folks of Bon Temps are really letting loose, with unlikely couples like Mike Spencer and Jane Bodehouse forming in the crowds. Andy Bellefleur shows up in his official capacity to ask Maryann to keep the noise down. As he tries to find her, he notices a large pig in a dollhouse in the backyard. At this point, Maryann spots him and convinces him to stick around and have a drink. He agrees, but when he asks Maryann if she has a livestock permit for the pig, the animal has disappeared.
In Dallas, Jason has dinner with the Newlins, who go out of their way to make the recruit feel comfortable in their home. While Sarah prepares dessert, Steve explains to Jason how he believes that vampires murdered his father. In fact, he says, everyone needs to prepare for the war going on out there.
Jessica and Hoyt leave Merlotte’s in favour of hanging out at Bill’s house. Some 'making out' on the couch turns embarrassing when Jessica’s fangs pop out involuntarily. She tries to cover her face, but Hoyt stops her, telling her she’s beautiful. Flattered and aroused, Jessica tells Hoyt how long she’s waited for this moment ... before diving onto his neck.
Sookie and Bill drop Lafayette off at his house, and although they offer to take him to a hospital to treat his leg, he refuses. Once inside, he collapses on the couch, covering himself with a blanket and weeping, totally overcome by what he’s been through. Outside, Sookie and Bill talk in the car. After having witnessed the evil that vampires are capable of, she says she’s not as trusting as she used to be. She hates Eric for his brutal torturing of Lafayette, even if he did save her life. She knows there’s darkness in Bill as well, though she chooses to see the good…
Maryann’s party continues to get more and more hedonistic, with drunken men and topless women everywhere. Tara and Eggs lounge in the hot tub, maybe the only two people at the house making an honest connection until a half-naked sorority girl climbs in between them and starts rubbing Eggs’ neck. Tara gets out, put off, and notices for the first time the strange scene unfolding around her. Eggs follows her into another room to talk, and outside both their views, Mike and Jane writhe together on the grass, their pupils blacking out their entire eyes, as if by some supernatural force.
Sookie and Bill arrive at his house and open the door to find Jessica, fangs extended, inches from Hoyt’s throat. Enraged, Bill flings Jessica off of him, and when Hoyt protests, turns on him with his own fangs on display.
His truck packed, Sam prepares to leave. But when Dean the dog whimpers at him in the Merlotte’s parking lot, Sam smiles and agrees to go on one last late-night run with his four-legged friend. The two identical dogs dart through the forest until they come to a lake where one dog leaps off of the dock - and emerges from the water as Sam in human form. “Come on in,” he calls to the other dog, but it stares back blankly. A moment later Daphne emerges from the woods, telling him that she’d also been thinking of taking a dip. They make small-talk and smooth over their earlier argument before Daphne slips off her shirt to come in the water, revealing a series of deep, gangly scars on her back, identical to the wounds Sookie just suffered the previous day.
04 - Escape From Dragon House
Sookie stands in Dawn’s apartment, shocked and terrified as she looks at her friend’s limp body. The sound of breaking glass startles her, and she turns to find Jason in the doorway, standing over a broken bottle of booze and holding flowers. Jason tries to comfort Sookie, but they’re both interrupted by Faye LeFebvre, a neighbour who witnessed Jason’s argument with Dawn the night before. Jason insists the fight - and gunfire - had nothing to do with her murder, but as the police arrive and a crowd gathers outside, things aren’t looking so good for him.
Andy and Sheriff Dearborn arrive and take a statement from Faye about the incident, while Sookie’s horrified to hear thoughts ranging from the coroner’s appraisal of Dawn’s breasts to Jason’s worrying that there’s “no way they’re gonna let me walk again.” Sure enough, Andy cuffs Jason, leads him to a waiting cruiser and locks him in the backseat, where he quickly remembers he’s carrying a flask of vampire blood. Digging the vial from his hip pocket, Jason quaffs the contraband.
Sam, who happens to be Dawn’s landlord in addition to her boss, pulls up and walks over to check on Sookie. She assures him he should open the bar - on a day people will need a stiff drink - before he has to rush off to open Dawn’s storage area for the police.
By the time Jason arrives at the police station for questioning, the vampire blood has kicked in, giving him an unnaturally vigorous erection. With Andy grilling him from across the table and trying to cast him as a murderous necrophiliac, all Jason can think of is escaping to the men’s room for relief. Bud gives him permission to “pee,” and the sight of himself is horrifying. While he struggles to deal with the problem quietly, Tara shows up outside and demands that Bud and Andy release Jason from custody. She knows enough to be sure they can’t hold him without charges, but ends up having to lie, anyway, telling the police that she’d been with Jason the previous night and asked him to keep it a secret. The plan works, though, and Tara and Jason head over to Merlotte’s.
At the bar, Sookie is following Gran’s advice and using her “talent” to try to find clues to the murders. Mostly, she just hears perverse and mean-spirited opinions of Dawn. When Tara and Jason arrive, Sam wants to talk to her about the night they spent together, but she warns him not to tell a soul about it because she’s Jason’s alibi. At the moment, however, the prime suspect is far more concerned about his penis than his legal troubles. He hustles to the kitchen, hoping for a cure from Lafayette, but the cook tells him only time can tame the effects of V.
Later, Tara finds Jason in the walk-in cooler, holding a steak over his crotch. Assuring him it can’t be that bad, she tells him to show her. “You’re not the first ex-jock to overdo the V and wind up with an acute case of priapism,” she says. But when he removes the meat, she gasps in disgust and takes him to the hospital, where the doctor asks him whether he’s been taking any drugs. Reading between the lines of Jason’s denial, the physician refuses to give him any sedatives or anaesthetics then breaks the news that the only treatment available is to drain the blood from his penis with a (very large) hypodermic needle. Tara turns to leave, but Jason begs her to stay. “I ain’t never gonna be the same after this,” she says, taking his hand.
Sookie’s investigation out in the bar isn’t going anywhere, so when Bill shows up, she asks him to take her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia after work so she can find some answers. When Bill picks her up, he worries that she’s dressed as “vampire bait” and reminds Sookie that he promised her grandmother he’d look after her. She accepts the strange compliment, though when they arrive at Fangtasia, she understands that the danger is, in fact, real. A bartender named Longshadow agrees to look at photos of Dawn and Maudette, except he refuses to provide any specifics aside from admitting to seeing them at the bar.
Across the room, sitting on a throne, a Nordic vampire named Eric takes notice of Bill and his guest and invites - more like commands - them to join him. Eric and his associate, Pam, take a brief look at the photos and tell Sookie that they’ve seen the women - and Eric has “tasted” Dawn. Sookie tries to thank them and leave, but Eric tells her he’s not finished with her yet. But just as he starts to “catch up” with Bill, an image appears in Sookie’s mind: A female vampire is feeding on a man in the bathroom, while an undercover police officer across the room waits anxiously for a raiding team to arrive. Sookie warns the vampires of the danger, and no sooner can Pam and Eric start to question her than the police barge through the door. “Follow me,” Eric tells them, and with Sookie in tow, the vampires fly out through a secret door. Outside, before they part ways, Eric tells Sookie that it was a pleasure meeting her and that she will come again. It’s not a request.
Sookie asks Bill for a few minutes of silence to collect herself as they drive home, but her peace is interrupted when a cop pulls them over. Aiming his flashlight in their eyes, the officer asks whether they were at Fangtasia, but when he asks to check Sookie’s neck for bite marks, Bill loses his temper. He glamours the officer and asks him to hand over his gun, which he does gladly. Bill terrifies Sookie by aiming the weapon right between the cop’s eyes and warning him to have more respect for vampires he pulls over. “And I’m keeping your gun,” Bill says before driving off. The officer watches Bill’s car go, a stream of urine trickling down his leg.
05 - Sparks Fly Out
After watching Bill’s frightening ordeal with the police officer, Sookie is shaken and irritated when the vampire drops her off at home. The vampires, the fangbangers, Bill’s weird music - it’s all gotten to be to much for her. “You cannot be frightened by all the things you don’t know in the world,” Bill tells her, but she’s had far too long of a night to embrace adventure. Bill leaves, promising not to call on her again. The next morning, Sookie shares her dilemma with Gran, who suggests that Sookie enjoy the opportunity to meet someone who’s different. Never mind that Gran’s been answering hateful phone calls all morning from townspeople who don’t want Bill to speak at her Descendents of the Glorious Dead meeting.
Tara, also dealing with vampire complications, bursts into Lafayette’s house in a whirlwind, ripping knick-knacks from the shelves and throwing them around. She’s furious that he’s been selling V, particularly that he’s been selling it to Jason. After hearing the news of her emergency-room visit with Jason, Lafayette apologises and promises to check on their friend. When Jason stops by, though, Lafayette talks him into trying V again - this time the “right way.”
When Sookie arrives at work, too much prodding over her date with Bill, she admits that she won’t be seeing him again. Seizing the moment, Sam asks her out - to go hear Bill talk at the DGD meeting. With the entire bar watching, Sookie agrees, but she also finds out, by way of Andy Bellefleur’s thoughts, that Tara lied to provide Jason with an alibi. When Tara arrives at work, she explains her reasoning (Jason’s innocent - and dumb enough to make himself look guilty), but Tara also raises Sookie’s suspicions when she takes a pointed interest in her date with Sam.
Later at the church, a crowd gathers for Bill’s address, with Maxine Fortenberry hustling to remove a giant cross from the altar. Public opinion ranges from supportive to disgusted, but everyone shares the same curiosity. Mayor Norris asks Gran whether she thinks enough “precautions” have been taken, a comment she quickly rebuffs. A group of mid-20s rednecks - Chuck, Wayne and Royce - have settled into a pew, mocking all the old folks who have turned out. Sookie and Sam join Tara, making for an awkward moment, which is dispelled when Jason shows up, high on V and feeling “strong, alive.”
Gran steps onto the dais and introduces Bill, who notices Maxine’s attempt to cover the cross with an American flag. He begins by placing the colours properly on their pole, eliciting gasps as the audience sees him touch the cross. Beginning the story of his Civil War service, Bill explains that the politics and ideology meant little to the soldiers - they had no choice but to fight. At this point, Wayne and his hick buddies make show of holding up garlic cloves, trying to get a reaction from Bill, but the vampire continues, painting a picture of horrifying wounds and destitute conditions. When a man asks whether Bill knew Tolliver Humphries, the vampire explains they were friends, and tells the story of Tollivers death - how he was lured out into sniper fire by a screaming boy, who survived despite his would- be-rescuer’s death. The evening ends when Mayor Norris presents Bill with an archival photo - of the wife and children from his human life. In a rare show of emotion, Bill dabs his eyes with a handkerchief, careful to conceal that his tears leave blood stains on the cloth.
On the way out, Bill approaches Sookie, so Sam wraps his arm around his date, prompting Bill to remind the bar owner that he’s “legally” still her employer. Regardless of the human- resources implications, the pair grab coffee, which goes well until the conversation turns to the topic of Bill. Half jealous and half concerned, Sam asks some pointed questions about how far Sookie has gone with the vampire, and insists that he’s inherently dangerous.
Awkward love is in the air, apparently, because later at Merlotte’s, a V-stoned Jason professes his love to Tara, who is smart enough to ignore his drugged-out babbling (though obviously holds out some hope). Across the bar, red-neck Royce and his buddies send a burger back to the kitchen - telling Lafayette the sandwich has AIDS. Enraged, Lafayette stalks out of the kitchen and up to Royce’s table, telling him off before slamming the burger into his face. It’s obvious by the good ole boys’ reactions that they did not expect this from a man who wears eyeliner.
At Bill’s house, Andy and Bud stop by to ask the vampire some questions about the murders, and are surprised - but still terrified - to find him hospitable. After grabbing the officers some soda, Bill explains that a vampire could not be responsible for the crimes because both bodies would have been drained of blood - there’s no way a vamp could resist. After the men leave, Bill’s thoughts drift to the night he became a vampire. Battered, lost and exhausted, he stumbled upon a woman’s cabin, but after accepting her hospitality - and then excusing himself to get home to his family - the woman’s fangs extended and she attacked him. Bringing him within an inch of his life, she offered him the “choice” to live on as a vampire, which he accepted, drinking from her open veins. Later, she allowed him one last chance to lay eyes on his family, and he’s never seen them since.
Sookie arrives home - taking a cab from her failed date with Sam - but as she steps into the house, she immediately feels something wrong. Heading toward the kitchen, she slips in a trail of blood, only to see Grans body strewn across the kitchen floor. Deep gashes in her throat, blood everywhere.
06 - Cold Ground
Sookie stands next to Gran’s body, paralysed by the sight of blood splattered across the kitchen. She opens her mouth to scream but can’t make a sound, and a pale hand clamps onto her shoulder ... It’s Bill. He comforts her for a moment then hears a creaking floorboard and attacks its source, which turns out to be Sam, saying he came to make sure Sookie got home safe. At this point, she’s in a state of total shock, and they move her to the living room while waiting for the authorities to arrive.
Bud Dearborn, Andy Bellefleur and Mike Spencer begin their investigation in the kitchen, so Sam sits with Sookie on the front porch, taking a shot at apologising but succeeding only at irritating her. She asks for Bill, and though Sam leaves to find him, he then warns the vampire to stay away from Sookie. “This isn’t the time or the place to ... mark your territory,” Bill replies.
The investigators, examining the evidence, discuss the case again. Andy regrets releasing Jason, though Bud doubts the man could have slaughtered his own grandmother. At this point Bill enters the room, agrees to answer their questions and explains that he thinks the killer had come looking for Sookie. Out on the porch, Sookie tries to reach her brother with the news, but when his phone rings on Randi Sue’s nightstand, he grabs it and hurls it against the wall. So, when Mike and the police officers bring Gran’s body outside, Sookie has only Sam and Bill to stand with her. Still, she refuses to leave the house and immediately heads into the kitchen to start cleaning up the mess.
The next day, the house is filled with concerned/nosey neighbours and the various casseroles they’ve donated. Sookie does her best to be civil, but the din of everyone’s thoughts - most blaming Sookie for her Gran’s death - has only added to her edginess. When Maxine Fortenberry pulls one of Gran’s pies from the freezer, Sookie loses it, and Tara and Lafayette drag her upstairs before the townspeople get anything more to gossip about.
Jason, oblivious of everything that’s happened, shows up at work just long enough to hear the news from Rene. He races over to Sookie’s house, charges up the stairs and slaps her across the face, screaming: “It’s your fault!” Tara chases him off immediately, but Sookie’s already crushed.
On Jason’s way out, Andy stops him for questioning, curious about his whereabouts the previous night. Jason sees where this is headed and pushes the detective with everything he’s got - which happens to be superhuman strength, given all the vampire blood he’s been using. Andy flies through the air like a sack of rocks and crashes into the side of Jason’s truck. With half the town looking on, Jason jumps behind the wheel and tears off.
As the sun goes down, Bill wakes in his hidden lair, tortured by a dream that Sookie was being attacked in her home. He waits impatiently for the last of the light to fade from the sky then bolts across the field to the Stackhouse home. He finds her sleeping peacefully in her bed, dosed on one of Lafayette’s Valiums. Relieved, Bill heads outside to stand guard through the night.
The next day at Gran’s funeral, Sookie’s enraged to find that her Uncle Bartlett, who’s been ostracised for some unknown transgression, has turned up. Turning away from him, Sookie begins a eulogy, though as the crowd’s thoughts start to intrude on her own, she drops the last of her composure, shouting, “Shut up! All of you - just shut the f**k up!” With the onlookers aghast, Sookie steps away, but Tara’s mother, Lettie Mae, decides to say a few words - a serious concern for Tara and Lafayette. But, it turns out she only wants to thank Gran for “taking care of my baby when I couldn’t.” Tara knows better than to be touched by the sentiment, but she’s at least relieved - until her mother speaks to her after the service. “I have a demon inside me,” Lettie Mae explains, then asks her daughter for the money to have it exorcised. Tara walks away as her mother screams after her, “I need you!”
Jason has his own demon to deal with - namely a mounting addiction to V. Sweaty, disoriented and off-balance, he fishes through his truck’s glove box for a piece of blotter paper with his last drop of the drug. Momentarily disgusted with himself, he throws the slip to the ground, but once he comes to his senses and decides to swallow it, he can’t find the paper in the dirt.
Sam catches up with Sookie at Gran’s graveside and walks her home, but when he wants to come inside, she rebuffs his offer. He leaves, heading down the driveway where he finds Tara, walking barefoot with her heels in hand. He explains that Sookie wants to be alone, and Tara tells him, “Well, I don’t.” They go to the shady motel where Tara’s been living since fleeing her mothers house. Sam can’t believe she lives in this place, but when she offers a beer, he accepts, and it’s not long before they’re in bed together. But the odd pair’s pillow talk doesn’t last long - still conflicted over her mother, Tara leaves Sam alone in the room, with no explanation.
At the Stackhouse place, Sookie finally manages to cry over a piece of her Gran’s pie. But when she gets ready for bed, a different kind of hunger takes over. She steps into the evening wearing her nightgown and heads immediately toward the Compton house. Bill picks up the sound of her footsteps from a distance and runs to her, sweeping her off her feet and carrying her inside. In front of a crackling fire, they slowly undress, and as Sookie lets Bill take her virginity, she also bares her throat, allowing him to drink.
07 - Burning House Of Love
After Sookie experiences her two “firsts” with Bill in front of the fireplace at his house, she soaks in a hot bath, still giddy with the experience she’s shared with the vampire sitting next to her. Comfortable in the moment, she takes the opportunity to tell Bill one of her deepest secrets: Her Uncle Bartlett molested her as a child. She’s relieved to get it off her chest, though she doesn’t notice the glare of violent revenge that creeps across Bill’s features.
Jason drops in on Lafayette - interrupting the cook’s work on a rapidly escalating video for his porn site - in hopes of picking up some more V. Lafayette recognises Jason’s sweat- drenched desperation as a liability and reminds him of the screw-ups he’s already made. Lafayette tells him to leave, but Jason makes a run at the mini-fridge. Big mistake. Lafayette grabs him in a choke hold, applying enough pressure to make it very clear what he’s capable of, before throwing Jason out of the house. He heads over to Sookie’s, where she soon catches him rounding up Gran’s most valuable possessions to hawk. Sookie strips him of most of it, but he manages to get away with a pair of silver candlesticks.
At Tara’s house, Lettie Mae explains to her daughter that she needs $445 to pay a woman to remove the demon from her body. Flippant as ever, Tara suggests the demon get a job of its own, but when her mother spills the booze-spiked coffee she’s drinking - and licks the mess off her own clothes while weeping that the demon has control of her - Tara seems less assured that her mother is just making more excuses. She heads over to Sam’s place to try to smooth things over with him and finds the bar owner in a foul mood while he tries to fix up his dilapidated trailer. She offers a hand, understanding for the first time that the two of them both yearn for the same thing: A real home. But before they can settle into the moment, her cell phone rings with a call from the local bank. Lettie Mae has come in for money and thrown a fit when the loan officer wouldn’t give her any. Tara arrives just in time to see her mother call the man a bigot, offer to sleep with him and then begin screaming about the demon inside her. Demon or not, Tara sees that her mother’s suffering is real, so she agrees to pay a woman called Miss Jeanette to heal Lettie Mae.
At Merlotte’s, Sookie’s exuberant mood screams, “I got some,” and it doesn’t take long for Arlene to extract the news from her co-worker, who’s hidden Bill’s fang marks behind a scarf. But when Arlene brings the gossip to Sam, he loses his cool and rips the scarf from Sookie’s neck, condemning her in front of the whole bar. “What I do on my own time is no concern of yours,” she shouts at the group.
Jason’s search for vampire blood leads him to Fangtasia, where Pam uncovers his intentions and allows him inside to find out exactly the kind of mistake he’s made. But a girl named Amy overhears Jason’s clumsy - and deadly - attempt to buy V from Longshadow and steps in to save him. Posing as his girlfriend, she drags him aside and intimates that she has some V but if he mentions it in the bar, he’ll get them both killed. They end up at Jason’s house, where he has to sit through Amy’s speech about Gala and oneness with the Earth before snorting up a crushed aspirin laced with vamp blood. Once the trip starts, though, it’s not long before the two of them are in bed together.
Tara and her mother walk out into the wilderness to meet Miss Jeanette, who takes their money and leads them to the abandoned school bus where she practices her trade. As she places a series of rocks on Lettie Mae and begins chanting, Tara’s skepticism begins to subside, and by the time Miss Jeaneatte exorcises the demon and places it into the body of a screaming possum, things are feeling pretty real. After the healer drowns the possum, and Tara and her mother prepare to leave, Miss Jeanette tells Tara that she, too, has a demon. Indignant, Tara laughs her off, but the strange woman asks her, “You have trouble keeping a job? Do you have your own place? Do you have a boyfriend?” Despite herself, Tara considers Jeanette’s words.
At Merlotte’s, the cruel vampire nest of Diane, Liam and Malcolm barge in, purposely starting trouble. The locals try to stand up to them - with Sam going so far as to snap a pool cue into a makeshift stake - but the vampires are too strong. Just as Sam and Sookie are about to be bitten, Bill shows up, as if summoned by Sookie’s fear. The vampires want Bill to join their nest; in fact, all this had been staged purely to get his attention. He leaves with them, telling Sookie he needs to be with his own kind, though it’s obviously just a ploy to end the conflict. The locals, however, are not willing to let things go so easily.
Royce, Wayne and Chuck decide to torch the vampires’ house, and as they fill beer bottles with gas and drive over, Sookie searches desperately for Bill in his crypt at home. But by the time the makeshift mob strikes at dawn, she still hasn’t located him. The three men launch their Molotov cocktails through the house’s windows, running off as the vampires shrieking screams pierce the morning. By the time Sookie arrives at the house, she’s far too late - the rescue workers are already pulling four charred coffins from the extinguished blaze.
08 - The Fourth Man In The Fire
Sookie stands shocked and inconsolable at the scene of the vampire nest fire, and then she breaks free of Andy’s grasp and darts to the row of burned coffins. The gruesome sight - four bodies reduced to boiling blood and tissue - immediately drives her back and she runs home in anguish.
Tara, however, wakes up to a strangely idyllic household, with her mother cooking breakfast and throwing out a monstrous stash of booze. Still somewhat shocked, Tara sits down to eat, allowing herself for the first time to believe things might be different. But when she heads over to Sookie’s house - unaware of what’s happened to Bill - she finds herself arguing with her closest friend over the fang marks on her neck. Sookie shoots back at her: “Do you have any idea what I’ve been through today? A friend would ask!” Then she kicks Tara out of the house. Later though, when Sookie goes to place flowers on the grave from Bill’s previous human life, the vampire bursts from the dirt - safe and unscathed - and makes love to her on the spot.
At Jason’s house, he and Amy lounge in bed, still luxuriating in the afterglow of V. Neither has felt such a strong connection with another person, though it shocks Jason to learn that they never even had sex. Amy’s stash of vampire blood is gone, but Jason opens up to her nonetheless, explaining how his parents died in a flash flood and that he feels responsible for his rough relationship with Sookie. Amy takes him in her arms.
Outside Merlotte’s, Terry helps Sam carry some taxidermy animals into the bar. Terry asks Sam why he was running naked through the woods, but the bar owner dodges the question, guiltily allowing the PTSD-suffering vet to think he’s been seeing things again. Once the bar opens and Sookie shows up for work - in a fantastic mood, no less - Sam’s faux sympathy at Bill’s death turns to irritation at the vampire’s reappearance. Jason turns up to eat with Amy, who jumps in to help Sookie with a swarm of waiting customers and earns herself a job as Dawn’s replacement - exactly the role Sookie expects her to fill for Jason. But when she tries to warn Amy off of dating her brother, the girl tells Sookie she shouldn’t judge him so harshly.
Tara returns home to find her mother’s clean laundry hanging in the back yard, and Lettie Mae soon materialises - dressed in full Sunday finery - with a woman from her church. They discuss what a miracle Lettie Mae’s transformation is, but as soon as the women suggest that Tara start attending services, she loses her patience and flees, spewing a cloud of profanity - laced insults behind her. Tara turns up at Merlotte’s and pulls Sam aside before jumping into his arms. But after they finish the greeting in bed, she can’t stay relaxed for long; she quickly morphs one of his comments into a criticism then the criticism into racism. F**k you and F**k everybody,” she screams as she slams the door behind her.
In the bar, Arlene approaches Sookie and apologises for all the bigoted things she’s said about vampires, though Sookie’s sharp enough to realise her friend is just trying to butter her up before asking her to baby-sit, no telepathy needed. Sookie agrees to watch the kids while Arlene and Rene go to a concert, but when they later drop the children at Sookie’s house, Arlene is shocked to find Bill there as well. Rene defuses the situation by reminding his girlfriend that Bill raised a few kids of his own, and sure enough, after the couple leaves, the vampire turns out to be a big hit with the little ones. Arlene suffers another shock on the way home, when Rene fakes a flat tire in order to propose to her on the side of the road. Overjoyed with her fourth engagement, Arlene exclaims, “Why didn’t you say anything at Red Lobster?”
Andy and Bud identify the fourth body from the fire as Mike Spencer’s assistant, Neil, who turns out to have been quite the fangbanger. With that small mystery solved, they head over to Sam’s to question him about the brawl that broke out at his bar and sparked the whole incident. In barely veiled contempt for the vampires, Sam explains he has no information to offer and really hopes the police can solve the human murders that have plagued the town. When Andy asks him about his nude run through the forest, Sam replies that his parents were nudists and that he honours their memory once a year by streaking through the woods, but the detective’s checking up on the story reveals it as a lie.
In the kitchen at Merlotte’s, Tara explains the previous night’s exorcism to Lafayette, who says it looks like she managed to get her money’s worth from a scam artist - not a bad deal. “This world is filled with things we’ll never understand,” he says, which is enough to send her out to the crossroads to have her own demon banished. Lafayette, however, has his own business to attend to: A re-up of vampire blood. He grabs his cooler and hits the road, not noticing that Amy and Jason are tailing him, slightly strung out.
Lafayette visits Eddie - a lonely, suburban vampire - and exchanges sex for two vials of blood, promising Eddie that it’s more than a business transaction; he’s special. After Lafayette leaves, Amy and Jason knock on the door, but when Eddie answers, Amy unexpectedly throws a silver net over his face, paralyzing him. Jason, horrified by the violence even though he considers Eddie a monster, takes orders from his new girlfriend, binding Eddie’s feet with silver wire before throwing him in the truck bed.
Bill and Sookie are also drawn into some shady business when Eric “asks for a favour” at Fangtasia. Someone at the bar has stolen $60,000, and he wants Sookie to use her telepathy to ferret out the culprit. After extracting the promise from Eric that anyone she discovers will be handed over to the authorities, Sookie agrees to “interview” the bar’s employees - a process which ultimately incriminates Longshadow as the thief. Realising that he’s been caught, the vampire lunges at Sookie, fangs extended.
09 - Plaisir D'Amour
Longshadow pins Sookie to the table, preparing to tear into her throat. Eric and Pam look on almost curiously, but Bill springs to action, plunging a makeshift stake through Longshadow’s back. Vomiting a torrent of blood onto Sookie, the vampire quickly dissolves into a puddle of gore. When Sookie leaves to clean herself up, Eric asks Bill why he’d commit such a serious crime - in front of vampire witnesses, no less - just to protect the girl. “You’re not in love with her,” the amused vampire asks, “are you?”
In Jason’s basement, he watches, anxious and sickened, as Amy taps a vein on Eddie, the vampire they kidnapped. At first, Jason balks at the idea of drinking the blood right in front of its owner, but once Amy downs a thimbleful and starts to descend into a V-trip, he follows suit. Before long, they’re having sex right in front of Eddie, navigating together through a shared hallucination.
Tara, finally decided about exorcising the demon that may or may not be living inside her, pays a visit to Miss Jeanette, who actually manages to give her an explanation that she’s willing to swallow. The price tag however - nearly $800 - doesn’t go down as easily. Miss Jeanette explains that different demons pose different risks, and Tara’s is more dangerous than her mother’s. The girl leaves with one more thing to be angry about.
Bill takes Sookie home, assuring her that he won’t face any serious consequences for staking Longshadow, but Sookie’s already worrying over some remarks that Pam made. The topic evaporates, however, when a splatter of blood falls from the ceiling and hits Sookie in the face. Looking up, they find her cat, Tina, decapitated and swinging from the ceiling fan.
The next morning, Jason and Amy lounge in the yard, enjoying the nature sounds reverberating through their post-V glow. Amy feeds Jason natural foods and explains that a clean diet makes for a clean soul. Their moment is interrupted by Eddie’s screams wafting from the house, but Amy rebuffs Jason when he expresses sympathy for the vampire. Everything will work out, she promises him before saying, “I love you”. Intoxicated by her - and the V - Jason repeats the words back to Amy.
When Jason goes to work, though, his newfound bliss nearly gets him and Rene killed. The Cajun starts to take a jackhammer to a knot of roots, and Jason pounces on him, trying to save the tree’s life. Rene, furious and terrified, explodes on Jason, screaming that he’s about to become a family man and has people relying on him.
Sam, swinging by Tara’s house with a bouquet of flowers, also gets some rough treatment. “We were clear about it from the beginning that this was just gonna be us f**kin,” she says. But Sam pushes through the antagonism, telling Tara that he wants something more with her, regardless of how screwed up she is. Even after she explains the dilemma of her exorcism, he stands by her. Then she tells him off and goes inside.
At Merlotte’s, Sookie tries to work but can’t shake the shock and rage of having her cat murdered. Amy pulls her aside, trying to comfort her by explaining that Jason loves her and feels terrible about the way he’s behaved. “You’re way too good for him,” Sookie says, warming up. “You know that, right?”
Jason also tries - inadvisably perhaps - to make amends with Eddie by repositioning the vampire in the chair they’ve tied him to. Soon, Eddie tells Jason the story of how he came out of the closet, then became a vampire, just a few years ago. As Eddie details his struggles, Jason’s guilt over kidnapping him starts to morph into all-out empathy. But their camaraderie hits a wall when Eddie warns Jason to stay away from Amy, calling her a psychopath. Angry but unnerved, Jason flees the basement and the vampire’s implications, but later returns, sneaking in a Tru Blood to make Eddie more comfortable.
Bill hangs out at home - playing video games, of all things - when Eric and Pam show up with a new vampire named Chow. Before Bill will leave Bon Temps with them to attend his hearing for killing Longshadow, he insists on seeing Sookie at work. Once he gets to the bar, he asks Sam to watch over her, which the bar owner agrees to do “for her, not for you.” Sookie herself is even less understanding about Bill’s departure, especially after he’d told her that he’d get just a slap on the wrist. Eric ushers Bill out the door, but not before warning the bar patrons that he knows that some of them burned the local vampire nest. Menacing, he makes a vague promise of retribution.
After the vampires leave, Tara pulls Sam aside to discuss an envelope with $800 that he left with her personal effects. She refuses to take it, but he insists, telling her, “I’ve seen a lot of scary, messed-up s**t in my life that I can’t explain. And if someday asked me to stake my life on the fact that demons don’t exist, I don’t think I could.” She starts to thank him, but he stops her with a kiss. After she leaves, Sam steps out of the office and finds that Sookie has left work alone, but when he leaves to catch up with her, Andy stops him outside. The detective wants to question Sam because his “nudist parents” story didn’t check out. Sam agrees, but goes back in the bar to take care of something first. A few moments later, the dog that has been hanging around comes trotting out the door, past Andy.
When Sookie arrives at Bill’s house - a safer place to stay, she figures - the dog is there, too. She brings him inside, undressing as she decides to name him “Dean” and invites him into her bed. She falls asleep with the animal at her feet but wakes up when she realises she can’t move her legs. Kicking her feet, she senses something is wrong and looks down - to see Sam Merlotte sleeping at the end of her bed, naked.
10 - I Don't Wanna Know
Sookie wakes up to find Sam at the foot of her bed - naked - and immediately starts kicking him. Convinced he’s the murderer after all, she flees to the bathroom, where a moment later, the familiar dog trots in then morphs into Sam. After Sookie gets over her astonishment, Sam explains that he’s a shapeshifter and can transform into any animal he sees. At first she listens, interested, but as the depth of his lie dawns on her, she becomes angry and sends him away.
Tara, with Sam’s $800 in her pocket, meets Miss Jeanette in the woods to have her demon exorcised. After drinking a vial of “snake juice” and rubbing the woman’s spit across her face, Tara sees herself appear nearby as a young girl, but with black pupil-less eyes. Miss Jeanette tells her the demon can take any form and gives her a knife to stab the creature, which disappears when the blade touches it, leaving the knife covered in blood. Tara, overcome, falls to the ground weeping out of shock and relief.
In Jason’s basement, Amy hooks an IV up to Eddie, who tells her he knows that she plans to kill him. Amy prefers not to accept moral judgment from a vampire, but when she finds the stash of Tru Blood that Jason has been feeding him, she realises her relationship is at stake. Going upstairs, she tells Jason that she thinks they should be nicer to Eddie, treat him like a pet. The vampire could get Stockholm syndrome and maybe come to love them.
At Merlotte’s, Sam stands on a ladder to hang lanterns for Arlene’s engagement party. As she corrects his work, his mind drifts back to his childhood, to the first time that he shifted forms - into the family dog - right in front of his adoptive parents. Terrified, he runs off into the night on all fours.
Tara and her mother celebrate freedom from their demons by driving to Keachi for crawfish. On the way home - still munching from a bucket - Lettie Mae feels ill, so Tara offers to pull over at a pharmacy. But when she goes inside to buy some Pepto, Tara finds Miss Jeanette, wearing a wig and stacking shelves ... with no trace of her thick accent. Screaming at the charlatan for robbing her, Tara reverts back to her former, furious self, but Jeanette interrupts her. She admits that she gave Tara peyote to make her hallucinate during the “exorcism,” but she also says that faith is a powerful thing and asks about Lettie Mae: “Is she still sober?”
Jason, back in the basement with Eddie, says how glad he is that Amy came around, but Eddie’s not so trusting. He tells Jason that she already found the stash of synthetic blood and kept it to herself, and now she’s playing him. “She’s a psychopath,” Eddie says. But Amy interrupts their conversation from upstairs, pulling Jason away to Arlene’s party and promising to get a TV for Eddie. The vampire’s disappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed, however; Lafayette, who’s been trying to call him, finds the suspicious scene at Eddie’s house and realises the danger they’re both in.
At Merlotte’s, Sookie is still giving Sam the cold shoulder, while Jason hangs out with his buddies, who really like Amy. Jason admits, though, that he’s afraid he’s given her the upper hand in the relationship. Rene advises him to man up and tell Amy how it is. “Even if she don’t like it? Deep down she’ll respect you,” he says.
Bill, on trial for the murder of Longshadow, appears before the vampire Magister in an impromptu court at a junkyard. After watching another vampire suffer the punishment of having his fangs wrenched out with pliers, Bill does his best to explain the circumstances of Longshadow’s destruction, and Eric actually backs him up. The normal punishment would be five years buried in a coffin chained with silver, the Magister explains, but tonight he’s feeling “creative.”
Sam’s evening at the party hasn’t been good, and it only gets worse when Andy approaches to continue questioning him about his past - and why he lied about it. The exchange sends Sam into another reverie: The day after his first transformation, when he returned to his parents’ house to find they’d packed up and abandoned him, leaving all his belongings behind. Snapping out of it, he manages to dodge a few of Andy’s questions, but the detective won’t relent until Tara steps drunkenly into the conversation to defend Sam, basically telling Andy to go to hell. She then drags Sam off to his office and starts to kiss him, but he’s in no mood. “You’re not the only one who has demons,” he screams at her, and the conversation ends with her stumbling out the door.
Outside, Lafayette approaches Jason, pushing him to the ground and blaming his big mouth for the disappearance of Eddie. Unaware that Jason kidnapped the vampire himself, Lafayette warns him to stop being so naïve: The danger is real, and people are dying. Sookie, in fact, comes close to dying inside the bar when the serial killer tries to attack her, stalking her from room to room. But Sam comes in the door just in time, frightening off the assailant.
Jason and Amy go home, but when they start arguing over Eddie’s fate in the basement, there’s no one to step in and save them. Jason refuses to let Eddie die, but Amy is convinced he’ll kill them both if set free. When Jason takes a stern tone with her and starts to unchain the vampire, Amy reacts, grabbing a stake and plunging it into Eddie.
At the junkyard, the Magister has decided on Bill’s penance. Because the vampire destroyed one of their number, he’ll have to create a new vampire, something Bill’s never done before. A car pulls up with a young woman in the trunk, and while Bill does his best to avoid what he knows is inevitable, he ends up biting the girl while the rest of the vampires watch, enthralled.
11 - To Love Is To Bury
With Jessica’s limp corpse strewn beside him, Bill digs a hole while Pam looks on coldly, present only to make sure he doesn’t destroy the girl before she can rise as a vampire. Bill laments that he’s taken away everything Jessica loves, but Pam sees it more as setting her free from a pathetic human existence. When the grave is finished, Pam kicks the corpse into it and Bill follows, wrapping his arms around Jessica. “I’ll tuck you in,” Pam says, shovelling dirt onto them to begin Jessica’s transformation.
At Sookie’s house, Sam talks her down from her brush with the murderer at Merlotte’s. As frightened as she is to have been in such close proximity to the killer, it’s sharing his mental space that really bothers her. She caught a glimpse of one of his victims - an unfamiliar waitress - but couldn’t read her nametag. Sam asks if Sookie wants him to call Bill, but she tells him no.
Tara, after crashing her car into a tree, talks to a police officer named Kenya, who knows Tara but also knows she’s intoxicated. After listening to a story about how a naked woman with a pig caused the accident, Kenya settles on arresting Tara for drunk driving.
At Jason’s house, he and Amy clean up the gelatinous mess that used to be Eddie. Fighting over whether or not they ever could have trusted Eddie - Amy stands by her emphatic “no” - their argument escalates to name-calling before Jason heads upstairs and destroys all the V they’ve stockpiled in the refrigerator. “We are done with this s**t,” he yells as he leaves for work.
Sam and Sookie eat breakfast at her house, and she focuses on the images she picked up from the killer’s memories, trying to parse the details. The girl’s name is Cindy, she says, and she worked at a pie restaurant, which rings a bell with Sam: Big Pattie’s Pie House. The pair drive a ways south to the restaurant, where they find a regular named Buster, who tells them that Cindy was murdered a couple years ago, and her brother, Drew Marshall, disappeared before police could question him. She and Sam follow up on the lead at the local police department, where the lone officer on duty graciously decides to help them - after Sookie reads his thoughts and threatens to tell his wife that’s he’s cheating, that is. He agrees to fax the Marshall file to Andy in Bon Temps, so Sam and Sookie hit the road.
At Merlotte’s, Lafayette watches one of his johns, State Senator David Finch, spew a rousing vilification of vampires, drugs and homosexuals to a TV news reporter. He’s decided to run for Congress. The hypocrisy doesn’t sit well with Lafayette, who throws on a sharp suit and drops in on the new candidate at a political function. Shaking hands and posing for a photo, Lafayette jovially tells Finch, “I applaud your work against the poor and disenfranchised - especially vampires and the gays. So many things can happen to bring down a fine person such as yourself. You be careful, hear?”
At work, Jason tells Hoyt and Rene that he’s having problems with Amy, that she’s addicted to V and he doesn’t know what to do. He craftily leaves his own involvement out of the story. Rene asks, “She sleep with vampires, too?” Jason says that she denies it, but he’s not sure he can believe her. Rene and Hoyt promise him things will work out. When Jason gets home that night, he finds dinner waiting on the table for him. Admitting to Amy that he was afraid she’d left him, he takes her in his arms. Their bliss doesn’t last past the end of the meal, however, because Amy pulls out a vial with a few drops of V. Jason initially loses his temper but then agrees to take it once last time with her “to close the circle.”
Lettie Mae goes to the jail to visit Tara, who assumes her mother is there to bail her out. Instead, she tells her daughter that the best thing anyone can do is let her follow her own choices. Tara is furious - and feels betrayed after she’d bailed her mother out countless times - but Lettie Mae leaves, telling her, “I’m finally doing right by you. You’ll see that when the clouds roll away.” Tara essentially disowns her mother on the spot, but later, a mysterious woman named Maryann comes in to post her bail. She runs “an informal halfway house” and says Tara is welcome to stay with her as long as she wants. At first Tara declines - until she realises she has nowhere else to go.
Bill’s first conversation with a vampiric Jessica doesn’t go much better. He tries to explain what’s happened and apologise, but the girl is actually relieved to be free from her overbearing parents. She just wants to swear ... and kill. The last thing Bill expected was a petulant teenager, and he realises he’s created a monster.
At Jason’s house, he and Amy sink into a deep V-trip, indulging in their typical nature hallucinations. But as they fade even further from reality into a trancelike sleep, the killer breaks into the house. Sneaking into the bedroom, he removes his belt and quietly wraps it around Amy’s neck, choking the life from her while she runs with Jason through an imaginary world.
Unable to deal with Jessica for another moment, Bill takes the girl to Eric and all but begs him to take her off his hands. “I would be in your debt,” Bill tells him. After Eric agrees, Bill rushes back to Sookie’s house, but he arrives just in time to see Sam kiss her. Enraged, Bill extends his fangs and attacks the shifter, taking him to the ground while Sookie screams for them to stop. “I rescind your invitation,” she screams at him, forcing the vampire to leave.
Jason wakes up to find Amy’s lifeless body next to him. Crushed, he immediately assumes he must have killed her, though he obviously has no memory of it. He calls 911 and tells the operator that he’s killed the woman he loves. Later, in an interrogation room with Andy and Bud, he still can’t figure out how he’s responsible for all the murders, but he’s so despondent that he doesn’t even care to make sense of it. Bud is sceptical of the young man’s confession, but Andy is just happy to have been right all along. No one seems to notice as a photo of Rene comes over the fax machine under the heading of Drew Marshall, not even the secretary who throws a pile of papers on top of it.
12 - You’ll Be The Death Of Me
Rene visits Jason in jail, the two of them talking through the bars of his cell. Jason still cant figure out how he could have done all this, but he sure feels guilty enough for it. “They were all fangbangers,” Rene tells him. “If you hadn’t done it, it was just a matter of time” Jason immediately cuts him off, insisting that his Gran was not a fangbanger. Rene backs off, just as Sookie bursts in, forcing herself past the deputy to Jason’s cell. She reaches through the bars, holding Jason’s hand as she tells him the story of Drew Marshall, with Rene listening intently. Andy comes over to ask what’s going on, and she asks him about the fax that came from the police department in Bunkie, which he’s heard nothing about.
Tara wakes up to a royal breakfast at Maryann’s house, and when she puts on a robe and explores her temporary home, realises it’s more like an estate. On the patio, she meets Maryann, who tells her that she should take this time to figure out what she wants in life - not to mourn what she’s already lost. “Maybe your life has been cleared of all the things that weren’t working for your,” Maryann suggests. She says she wants to help Tara simply because the young woman deserves it. Upstairs, as the servant Karl makes Tara’s bed, he notices her phone ringing with a call from Sam, turns off the ringer and slips the phone into his pocket.
Jason receives another visitor in jail, this time a representative from the human-purity movement Fellowship of the Sun, who tells him that a legal defence fund has been set up for him. Not that the Fellowship can condone murder as a means of ending human fraternisation with vampires, but Jason’s actions were still “a service to your race and to Jesus”. The man, Orry Dawson, leaves Jason with a pamphlet and tells him the church will save him.
Tara finishes her breakfast and goes inside, where she finds an attractive young black man (nicknamed “Eggs” after his real name, Benedict) playing guitar. Embarrassed to even be there under the circumstances, Tara does loosen up after Eggs explains that he was in even worse shape. Outside in the back yard, Maryann sits in a lawn chair, vibrating magically. In front of her rests the giant pig.
Merlotte’s is abuzz with news of Jason’s arrest, to the point that Sookie can’t concentrate with all the horrible thoughts floating into her mind. She tells Sam that she’s leaving, but when she gets to her car, it won’t start. Rene offers to take a look at the car - which he sabotaged himself - then tells Sookie he can give her a lift home.
Arlene, at home with the kids, catches them watching a porno, more specifically the sex tape that Maudette made with Liam before she was killed. The kids say they found it in the garage, along with some other items Rene had been hiding, including a cassette tape titled “Cajun Dialect for Actors”. Back at Merlotte’s Sam finds an orange work vest that Rene left behind and immediately recognises the scent of the murderer. He bolts out the door toward Sookie’s house.
But Sookie is already making the same realisation. Standing at the refrigerator about to pour a glass of iced tea for Rene, she picks up his last memory of her kitchen - when he was killing her grandmother. She makes her way to the living room “to get a mop,” where a shotgun leans against the wall. Rene follows, and when she grabs the weapon and whirls on him pulling the trigger, the gun clicks harmlessly. Rene holds up the shells he removed from the shotgun, but when he lunges at her, she swings it like a club, striking him in the head. As she runs out the door, she sees his first murder flashing through his mind: His sister Cindy, who allowed a vampire to bite her. Then Maudette, and Dawn ... and all the others.
As Sookie flees, Bill feels her terror and wakes up in his hiding place. Forcing himself to step into the sunlight, he trudges toward her, ignoring his sizzling skin. Rene corners Sookie at the cemetery, where he overpowers and strangles her. As she struggles to breath, Sam arrives in dog form and jumps on Rene, buying Sookie enough time to attack him with a shovel, which she drives into his throat as soon as he hits the ground.
Sam - who’s transformed back into his human form - embraces her, but then she sees Bill, horribly burned and lumbering toward them. She runs to him as he collapses, whispering, “I’m sorry,” to her. Sam hoists the vampire from the ground and buries him in an open grave to protect what’s left of him from the sunlight.
That evening, Arlene, Tara, Lafayette - even Jason after he’s released - come to the house to visit Sookie, who’s battered but alright. All Arlene can do is apologise for not seeing Rene for what he was. Jason tells Sookie that he’s realised his life was meant for greater things, and now that he’s been saved by the Fellowship, he can do something good with himself. Sookie’s sceptical but at least glad that he’s alright. When Tara leaves, Sam walks her out and gets a nasty surprise when he sees Maryann, who he’s met before. “What, you didn’t think I’d find you, you silly dog,” she asks him before driving off with Tara. After everyone leaves, Bill appears on Sookie’s doorstep - without a mark on him. “I’ve fed,” he tells her. He offers her his blood as a healing agent, but she declines. She just needs to feel human. Sookie deflects Bill’s apology for failing her, telling him how much his self-sacrifice means to her and pulling him into a passionate kiss.
When Lafayette gets back to Merlotte’s that night to "make sure Terry ain’t PTSD-ing all over my clam chowder,” he takes out the trash and gets ready to close up shop. Noticing that the garbage is scattered all over, he complains to himself and starts to clean up until something unseen bursts from the woods. Twirling around toward it, all Lafayette can say is, “Holy s**t” before it takes him down.
A couple weeks pass, and Lafayette still hasn’t turned up at Merlotte’s, though Tara tells Sam that unexplained disappearances are not uncommon for him. With Rene dead, the town has already started to move on: Tara pursuing a quest for self-improvement, Arlene showing a newfound interest in Terry and Sookie noting the legalisation of human-vampire marriages. Andy, however, isn’t so thrilled to be living in the wake of his failed investigation into Jason. He sits at the bar, slowly getting hammered. Jason, on the other hand, has found Jesus through the Fellowship of the Sun and attends a service in Shreveport where the Rev. Steve Newlin speaks out against the perversion of vampires.
Bill’s outlook is not so sunny. Eric and Pam - fed up with Jessica’s annoying behaviour - drop her off at his house. “There are favours, and then there are favours,” Eric tells him before leaving the irritating girl in her maker’s care. At Merlotte’s, Andy displays some annoying behaviour of his own, demanding to drive home even though he’s inebriated. Tara and Sookie walk him out, trying to talk some sense into him, but when he opens his car door, a lifeless foot - black, with brightly painted toenails - slumps out.