True Blood’s second season is picking up speed and episode four gathers the storylines and shows us where they are heading. And that appears to be on a collision course. This series is just spoiled for choice in regard to funny fascinating characters, and the writers manage to serve up enough of each to keep me wanting more—with the possible exception of Maryann, whose storyline has been mired in the mud for a while. Now that the mud has popped out her claws, that should change, especially as those claws seem to match the scars on more than one woman’s back.
Sookie’s earlier encounter with a clawed, bull-human hybrid results in a trip to Dallas for her and Bill—and their unruly teenager. The vampires’ story thread is still by far the most interesting and the addition of Jessica to Bill and Sookie’s relationship was a stroke of genius. This episode we saw a lot less of the bickering between Bill and Sookie and more of what keeps them together. True Blood has always worked as a metaphor for a number of very human issues. Last season offered a great exploration of the role of the outsider and how fear plays into prejudice. This season so far has focused on the role of family, as Bill and Sookie try to find common ground not only as lovers but also as parents. The role of “Maker” has not settled easily on Bill’s shoulders and Sookie is determined to be the best step-mom she can be to her newly acquired step-teenager.
Bill’s reaction to finding Jessica with fangs bared pouncing on half-dressed Hoyt is to assume the worst and throw Hoyt out for his own good—and maybe just a little because he’s feeling daddyish toward Jessica. As Bill roars threats at the young man, Sookie tries to calm the situation, with a very Southern admonition to Bill that he’s being rude. With Hoyt calling to Jessica that he doesn’t believe a word of Bill’s warnings, Bill feels the situation getting away from him as his efforts at control simply seem to widen the generation gap he feels. With a sigh and like many a parent before him, he admits to Sookie he envies the choices on how to live Jessica has, because he had no choice when he was made.
The scene works beautifully on a number of levels. Bill’s difficulty in finding the proper parenting tone with his teenage ward rings true enough to be poignant, as do his occasional clashes with his girlfriend over parenting styles. And of course, it’s often hilarious as the writers parody modern self-help manuals and venerable vampire lore at the same time. When Sookie tells Eric that Jessica may help him like vampires better, which means he’ll learn to like himself, he ironically points out that he’s a vampire and meant to be tortured. But he still books Jessica a ticket to Dallas, so the family can have some quality time.