Welcome to the “True Blood” blog, the first time Premium Hollywood has deigned to tackle HBO’s top-notch vampire series on a weekly basis. If you’re a regular reader, then you know that I ventured into the first few episodes of the show and enjoyed what I saw, but other responsibilities kept me from delving any further into the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse and company until the Season 1 DVD was released. After absorbing all twelve episodes, I was definitely chomping at the bit to see the Season 2 premiere, so when the call went out for someone to blog the second season, I figured I’d accept. Hey, at the very least, it’s a series that my wife and I both love…and as I’m sure many readers know, it goes a long way toward maintaining marital bliss when both of you enjoy watching the same series.

So let’s get rolling, shall we?

For those who’ve been waiting in suspense ‘til the end of last season to find out whose body was in the car, the mystery is solved almost immediately…and it ain’t Lafayette. Of course, that was always gonna be a little too easy, anyway, but I still didn’t expect it to be Miss Jeanette, the exorcist from season 1. And based on her scream, Tara didn’t, either. She starts off in denial, claiming no knowledge of the woman, but with Sookie barely able to tune out her frantic thoughts, she eventually concedes and reveals who the woman is. “My mama’s gonna fall to pieces when she finds out,” says Tara. (Was I the only one who briefly thought that her mama might’ve been the one who did it? I thought maybe she’d figured out the woman was a fraud, gone on a bender, and killed her.)

Not long after the case gets underway, it looks like Andy’s going to call it a night, but after his protestations that he’s not overworked (nice lack of denial about his state of inebriation, though), he ends up sticking around, despite the sheriff’s annoyed reminder that, “at best, you’re a material witness to a homicide; at worst, you could be a suspect.” Yeah, but there’s one big thing keeping me from buying into Andy as the killer: does anyone see that hillbilly as the kind of guy who’d be able to pull off that kind of acting performance? Once the crew get back to the station, Mama Thornton comes by and gets the grisly details about Miss Jeanette’s demise, which she takes about as well as her daughter had expected. Still, she refuses to concede that the woman may have been a fraud, and as she and Tara are departing the station, Mama starts in on Tara…until Maryann Forester turns up. Man, talking about giving someone the verbal smackdown. Oh, snap! Well, if there’d been any doubt about whether Tara had fallen for Maryann’s schtick before, you can’t blame her for being squarely in her camp now.

Hey, everybody, it’s Bill Compton! And, look, there’s Jessica Hamby, the former goody-two-shoes who immediately went hog wild with her vampiric abilities after Bill was forced to “turn” her. Maybe it’s just me, but listening to a vampire rhapsodize about the importance of recycling seemed hilarious for some reason, as did the back-and-forth between Bill and Jessica. (“Can we eat her?” “You may not.”) I can imagine that Jessica would be a really annoying character in the real world, but in the series, I find her hilarious. Unsurprisingly, however, Sookie doesn’t necessarily share that opinion; she only gets in a little bit of snuggling with Bill before Jessica rears her head, wrapped in a towel, all dripping wet and acting coquettish. What an intro…and what a way to force Bill to explain her existence to Sookie. It was funny to have both of them denying that they’ve had sex. (“Ew, OLD!”) But, clearly, Sookie is uncertain enough about Jessica to wonder if she could’ve been the one who killed the exorcist. (I’m a little skeptical of that theory, though. Removing the heart seems a bit harsh for someone who’s only just getting the hang of her abilities.) And it’s also clear that Sookie is not going to accept the fact that Bill had to turn Jessica, especially given that he hadn’t bothered to tell her about her yet. “What else are you keeping from me?” “Nothing!” Suuuuuuurrrrrrre.

Lafayette appears to be on some sort of torturous merry-go-round from Hell when we first see him. Is that Royce down there, too? Clearly, there are a couple of members of the Redneck Trio – you know, the ones who featured in last season’s already-immortal “AIDS Burger” scene – who’ve been sharing Lafayette’s fate. Royce shares a delightful anecdote about his head being crushed between a woman’s tits, and the two share a lovely bit of bonding about letting his camp roommate blow him.

Jason Stackhouse is clearly still dealing with the loss of his beloved Amy, not that you can blame him for that. But, wow, this Sun Church thing just can’t be a good idea for a guy who’s as easily swayed as Jason is. So TBBN suggests that the verbal sparring between the Sun Church’s Rev. Steve Newlin and Nan Flanagan of the American Vampire League is the opening shots of the human-vampire war…? Ah, we can only hope. It’s so damned creepy to watch the reverend pitch Jason on the idea of joining with them, particularly when you know he’s going to get a sign to make him spend the money to join their cause. And what’s that sign? It’s when Sookie refuses to accept any part of the inheritance she’s received from her dead uncle Bartlett’s estate. (Not that you can blame her, given the history.) By the way, I enjoyed the discussion between Hoyt and Jason, where it indicated quite profoundly that they don’t see eye to eye about vampires. Hoyt plays the Christian card and Jason argues the point…? Yep, he’s suckered in. This can only come to ill.

Sam paid a visit to Maryann’s house, offering the hilariously casual observation, “There was a bit of a murder in my parking lot,” and spying a statute inspires him to have flashbacks to when he was just a wee shapeshifter, trying to break into her house many moons ago. So Sam and Maryann had some kind of fling in the past, but are we to presume that she’s a vampire? At the very least, she vibrates like one. When she shows up at the bar, he tries to give her back the money that he stole many moons ago, but she’s derisive of his efforts and assures him that it’s not about him.

Things seem to be moving along quite well with Tara and Eggs, her new boy at Maryann’s pad. He’s clearly been around the block a few times, having smoked pot since he was 10 and seen his share of dead bodies, and it’s obvious that Maryanne has a reason for wanting the two of them to get together. How else to explain the beatdown Carl received for interrupting their flirtation by offering them towels? Fortunately, Eggs gets a second shot when he visits Tara at work, and he makes the most of it.

After a downright hysterical sequence of Bill trying to help Jessica figure out her blood type of choice (apparently, the A-negative tastes “less like ass than the A-positive, but more like ass than the B-negative”), Sookie convinces Jessica to leave her and Bill alone, at which point she confronts him about her uncle’s death…and, to his credit, he admits it without hesitation. She immediately drifts into sad-Sookie-speechmaker mode, however, and bemoans the fact that he’s able to take someone’s life as easily as he does. He manages to come back with the most romantic monologue in all of Louisiana, and they proceed to kiss and get down to some good ol’ fashioned human / vampire love-makin’. Man, I’m still not used to seeing Anna Paquin nekkid, but nor am I complaining about it. With that said, however, I’m quite up to seeing anyone’s face smeared with blood in mid-coitus.

As usual, the episode ends with a moment that leaves you already ready for next week’s episode, offering a vicious battle inspires by the fire that went down last season. Royce gives it the old college try, going with the famous desperate-stab defense, but it’s ultimately a poor effort, leaving poor Lafayette coated in blood. We do, however, find out who’s responsible for the merry-go-round from Hell…and it’s District Sheriff Eric! Well, I’ll be…

Random comments:

As “Hello Walls” plays, Sookie dares to enter her grandmother’s room, a place which – to look at the state of things – she hasn’t touched since Grandma’s demise. It’s touching to watch her get a scent of the past from sniffing the unfinished knitting.
Daphne – last name possibly McHottie, but that’s still unconfirmed as of this writing – seems to be a nice addition to the staff of Merlotte’s, what with all that vaunted Cracker Barrel experience.
Tara’s expression when the square-dancers entered the bar was priceless, just as Terry’s moment of hair-sniffing was creepy but hilarious.
Andy sounds downright pitiful when, after the sheriff takes him off the case, he admits that his work is the only thing he has going on in his life anymore.