I’d forgotten how much I enjoy True Blood until I sat down to watch the season three DVD set and heard the opening strains of Jace Everett’s song, “Bad Things,” the theme for the series. Last year I reviewed season two of Alan Ball’s show and quickly declared the supernatural drama a guilty pleasure. As the first episode of season three began, I was immediately sucked back into the humid horror that takes place in Bon Temps, Louisiana, the setting for the show. Preposterous as some of the situations are (I laughed out loud at some of the plot twists), True Blood is wonderfully written and expertly acted. Still, with this season the producers seemed to be having more fun with the show’s campiness, making True Blood even more fun, that is if you enjoy plenty of sex, blood and things that go bump in the night.
Season three opens with plucky waitress/mind reader Sookie Stockwell (Anna Paquin) stranded in a restaurant after her beloved, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a vampire, has just proposed marriage. After taking a moment to collect herself in the bathroom (just what any guy, living or dead, wants to happen- a running joke throughout the first hour), Sookie returns to the dining room to find Bill missing. Immediately she fears for the worst. As viewers, we know that her suspicions are correct. Bill has been kidnapped by four vampire blood (aka “V”) addicted humans who also happen to be werewolves. That’s right, during season three, True Blood deals with lycanthropy in full force, including the introduction of another sexy, brooding man who hasn’t shaved in days, Joe Manganiello as Alcide, a werewolf indebted to protect Sookie. Bill’s been taken across state lines to Mississippi where he is held captive by Russell Edgington, played with wicked glee by Denis O’Hare. Russell wants to rule the word by defying the truce between vampires and humans. To do so he needs Bill’s help.
Back in Louisiana, Sookie reluctantly seeks the help of Erik (Alexander Skarsgard), the Swedish hunk who is Bill’s rival. Erik has a thing for Sookie (she also has an attraction to him) and feels a need to protect her (that’s where Alcide comes in). Russell and his quest for power, plus how he ties into the lives of the main characters, is the central storyline of season three. The revelations delivers and the ramifications of the actions by Sookie, Bill and Erik should be felt for the rest of the series. Needless to say, the bond of trust between all three is broken, in particular that between Bill and Sookie. The two may have begun the season deeply in love, but by season’s end there is question as to whether Sookie will ever be with Bill again.
Elsewhere in season three, V dealer, short order cook and all around most enjoyable character on the show, Lafayette (Nelson Ellis) falls for the nurse of his mother, Jesus (Kevin Alejandro). Sookie’s best friend, Tara (Rutina Wesley), grieves over the lover she lost in season two, and then gets abducted by a vampire serial killer played by James Frain. Shape shifting good guy, Sam (Sam Trammell) locates his long lost family and uncovers a dark side to the family history. This also stirs up some nastiness from Sam’s past that sends him reeling. Finally, Sookie’s lunk- headed, kind-hearted brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), tries his hand at law enforcement before he decides to rescue the woman of his dreams, the daughter of the ringleader of hillbilly, incestuous meth dealers.
Wrapping up thirteen hours in a couple paragraphs really doesn’t do the show justice. True Blood is as murky and creepy (and sexy) as the swamp town where the action takes place. You never know who or what is around the corner or behind that tree. Still, the horror and camp aspect can only take you so far. Fortunately, the characters and the inventive plot twists keep the show as addictive as V, the drug of choice on True Blood.
Bonus features in the DVD complete third season of True Blood include Anatomy of a Scene, a ridiculous Snoop Dogg video, plus six audio commentaries with the cast and crew including Executive Producer and Creator Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Joe Manganiello, Kristin Bauer Van Straten (Pam), and Denise O’Hare.