“What are you?”
It’s a question that’s been asked over and over again in a series full of supernatural oddities and extraordinary beings. But giving the new circumstances that we find ourselves in with the stellar sixth season premiere of HBO’s popular vampire series, that question is left open to the mercy of an unknown and unbelievably powerful being that no one ever even knew existed. True Blood returns to inject some much needed blood into this mild Father’s Day weekend. And this is a new kind of blood! It’s darker, more fast-paced, more intense, and more intriguing. Some people don’t like change and are kind of worry about where this new season is going with a whole new showrunner. And I’m here to inform you guys not to worry. After two seasons that have been rather iffy to say the least, “Who Are You, Really?” might suggest a more involving season that utilizes what makes the series work so well. When True Blood is good, it’s pretty darn good, but when it’s bad it’s very bad. In the case of this pivotal premiere, there is quite a bit of evidence here to suggest this landmark sixth season has great potential…
Picking right where we left off, Bill has died and quickly resurrected as what we’ve all dubbed: Billith. And this…thing is a destructive monster. In a matter of minutes he (or maybe “it”) totally dismantles the vampire Authority headquarters in a hellish inferno that nearly takes Eric, Sookie and the others with it. And while this rather intense sequence transpires, Sam and Luna finally break out of the Authority with Luna’s daughter, Emma, only for Luna to predictably perish. I do have to say that Luna’s death was completely rushed over. And honestly I find it a bit disrespectful to the character and the development she was given in the past few seasons. Ideally, it would have been great to see a more well-involved send off that could have been as affective as Sam’s brother’s, Tommy’s death. It didn’t even take a minute for Sam to decide to leave her there. And I guess in the heat of the moment (getting chased down by the vampire SWAT team) is enough stress to gloss over a character’s death…I guess. And this all occurs just in the enthralling cold open.
So, what to do now? Sookie, Eric, Jason, Tara, Jessica, Pam, and Nora are all shaken and disturbed by this latest development but what can make the situation worse? A very public and passionate announcement from the Louisiana governor who basically declares open season on all vampires. Besides demanding the closing of all vampire-run businesses and giving already scared and riled up state citizens the incentive to take matters in their own hands with their own guns and ammunition of wooden bullets, this guy has the audacity to make more surprising political movements that involves being in charge of his own small and personal TruBlood factory. So far this Louisiana governor, Truman Burrell (Arliss Howard) has made the transparent impression that he wants all vampires to be eradicated…Holocaust-style if need be. Despite his inclinations that he wants the best for everyone, it’s obvious who this guy really is: A bonafide vampire-hater. I assume there is a story behind that hate which we are likely to watch develop later in the season. Governor Burrell’s address sets the tone for the human-vampire war that will be taking place and creating a lot of bloodshed as the season heats up. Keep your eye on this guy.
After the events that occurred in Season 5, Nora realizes they’ve fallen into a trap. Monumental self-sabotage that seemed totally unnecessary, but you know, when a crazy religion grasps ahold of vulnerable minds willing to be ruled by “the word”, you can bet on some unnecessary self-sabotage and some war…maybe even some genocide. All of which seems to be in the vampire population’s future. But which is worse? The end of times being brought upon by hate or a powerful mad god that can make the earth shake when angry or making simple demands. Tough call. Either way, one can assume that these vamps got themselves in this situation. It’s hard not to realize some points of Governor Burrell’s speech and point of view after knowing the things the Authority turned vampire Sangunists did in order to see their own religious word become reality. Now the consequences comes in human hate and a monstrous mad god bent on the destruction of both human and vampire beings…and most likely other sups.
It’s easy to be all “Kill Bill!” but what’s so special and scary about it is that this season’s storyline seems to be heading down a more exploitative road that looks into the huge corruptor that is power, as well as identity through such life-altering influencers that fall upon humans and vampires alike. Our dear Bill Compton finds himself in a disastrous identity crisis. What the hell has he become? From the cold open, he’s a destructive force of nature. But after Bill returns home, all cleaned up and clothed, he’s Bill again. Or is he? Sookie insists she felt Bill die and whatever was resurrected in his form is not Bill at all. Given the fact that Sookie has drunken a considerable amount of Bill’s blood, I’d say she’s a good one to make a judgment on that case. Who or whatever Bill is now is the season’s big mystery and it is already off to a great start. What does all of this new power bring to one of the series’ most morally conflicted characters? What does Bill’s change mean for the rest of our character’s identity. For Jessica, her identity is left open to interpretation as she is a direct extension of her maker. Still a baby vampire herself, Jessica’s identity is even further complicated as she discovers the bewildering and painful new connections she now shares with Bill 2.0, or Billith.
Bill survives a staking! By Sookie no less, which is kind of shocking in its own right. And she does it to protect Eric. Sookie’s affections for Eric and Bill still remain consequential, but Sookie is convinced Bill is gone and she has a right to protect her living friends. Still Sookie staking Bill is too big of a betrayal for Jessica. As Bill’s progeny, her allegiance is no doubt still linked to her maker, which is no surprise. Bill realizes he has this special fire simmering within him and growing more intense with every usage of his new powers and he’s worried he’ll loose control at some point. He elects Jessica to keep him in check. Will his young progeny be up for the challenge of wrangling a powerful, indestructible mad god? In retrospect to that, this premiere does well to quickly set up alliances. From Bill and Jessica to Pam and Tara, as well as Eric and Nora.
Speaking of the Eric-Pam-Nora-Tara situation, Godric’s family is seems to be having a tough time getting along. Eric has bigger concerns than Pam’s squabbling and annoyance with Nora, which seems to harm the easy roads one might have thought Pam and Tara might be going down. An easy relationship for them? Not so much, and it even goes so far as to make clear distinctions about both Pam and Tara’s identity, especially based off of their past relationships. Tara’s past in relationships has left her kind of broken and Pam’s relationship with Eric has become a bit one-sided. Pam needs to find her own identity without having Eric by her side and Tara is right in this case. Tara has found a strength and identity within herself due to Pam and seeing her at the mercy of a maker that doesn’t really hold her to much importance as she does is ridiculous. Tara knows Pam can be her own vampire, but she’s too stuck on Eric to realize it. And Eric and Nora definitely have quite a puzzle to sort out concerning Billith and doing so within the confounds of Governor Burrell’s new laws. That’s quite a conflict within itself…
Alcide is discovering his own new power. After devouring the past corrupt pack master, Alcide is king now. And he’s liking it so far. Actually he’s loving it, contrary to Rikki and Maratha’s worry that it might go to his head. Alcide’s identity is altered greatly now and how he’ll manage that is yet to be seen, but we do get to see the confidence in who Rikki believes herself to be to Alcide. A were threesome occurs and Rikki takes full control of it. She’s not kidding around. It’s a sexy, but mostly sleazy moment and one where Rikkie establishes her position next to her pack master and boyfriend. Whether Rikki’s identity next to Alcide will be challenged is yet to be determined. I assume it will. And maybe, just maybe the werewolves won’t be so lame this season. I don’t think I’m alone in my opinion when I insist that the werewolves are the most uninteresting sups on the show. Will the sixth season change who they are? And what will happen to Emma’s identity now that her mother is dead? Sam will be her protector now while our lovely Lafayette tends to the child like a sassy black nanny. Well…okay then. And all of that while the world is wondering who or what other supernatural creature has made itself known. After Luna’s fifteen minutes of fame on live television, Sam’s species and maybe even Emma’s are at risk to the same hate as humans have directed toward vampires.
We drop in on the hot mess that is Andy Bellefleur. He’s a father now. But what does that really mean when one is a father to four fairy baby girls? We’ll find out. In the meantime, Jason Stackhouse is losing whatever semblance of a mind he‘s got. As of this moment, he’s on the side of the ignorant vampire haters, and with somewhat of a good reason. It’s not like Jason has a wholly understanding mind. Far from it. In fact, the fact that an ancient vampire has killed his and Sookie’s parents is enough to make him turn on every last one of them. It doesn’t help that he’s still seeing visions of his parents egging his hate on, which I’m assuming is a direct consequences of that fairy blast to the head. Watching Jason nearly kill Nora simply for glamouring him says it all. The idiot is confused at this moment. Just like Sookie, Jason may not be entire clear of himself, but he knows what he’s not. Jason’s not a vampire-sympathizer anymore. He only sees them as monsters. His idiocy leads him to a mysterious stranger portrayed by the great Rutger Hauer. Warlow? I think not. But he certainly spooks Jason enough to think he is. Keep your eyes on this guy too! And just like the danger Jason finds himself stuck in, Pam and Tara are caught off guard by a mysterious group agents that mean business and demand Pam to shut down Fangtasia. Tara’s feistiness gets her shot with…a silver bullet? Or something more insidious?
Eric gives Sookie back the deed to her house in an honorable deed to protect her now that things have reached a devastating conflict. Contrary to the wants of many fans, Eric and Sookie doesn’t look to really be happening this season. Still, it is refreshing to at least see Sookie stand up for herself. Sookie goes ahead and rescind her invitation to allow Eric or any vampire into her home, southern hospitality be damned. This is an understandable move. She isn’t such a fan of being involved with vampires anymore, all it has led to is death and loss. Sookie might not exactly know what she is anymore (apart from being part-fairy), but she knows what she isn’t. She’s making a conscience decision not to hate vampires, but just to separate herself from unbelievable stress. It shows a maturity in her and Eric’s relationship. And I certainly love the delicate way Eric is lightly pushed out of the door. It is much more loving than most other versions we’ve seen on the show. It displays an affection and caring nature. Sookie’s not upset, she’s just ready to move on with her life. Sookie is ready to find herself again, in all the blood and muck that has surrounded her since vampires and other sups came into her life. Eric is understandable of this decision; however, Nora doesn’t seem satisfied. Surely, she’ll be stirring the pot. And surprisingly, Nora is tolerable in this episode. I assume she’ll bring about a new bout of trouble onto the Stackhouse clan.
This season of True Blood already feels more ambitious than the last few, which some have considered a pair of the worst. Actually, this might be the most ambitious season of the show yet. It sets up an intense, cinematic bloody war. There are many developments made in this premiere, but probably the most interesting is that Warlow is Lilith’s progeny. Between Lilith fully binding herself to Bill within the last moments and Andy’s baby girls quickly developing into young toddlers over night, this season seems to be full of much more involving storylines than last season, which had a few that really dragged. Given the fact that this season will only have ten episodes instead of the usual twelve, the story will surely be on a faster track to its goal, whatever that goal is this season. I’m not really sure about the hubbub about the season premiere some fans are squabbling about. Yes, there are some substantial changes but so far they seem to be enhancing the series and updating a great HBO series that could have fallen into an aging trap. What the show has become–its new identity–is still riddled with question marks. But it is a daring and fun-tastic bloody mystery and change that should be embraced if anything! For setting up a thrilling new season full of promising and dark new storylines, “Who Are You, Really?” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013