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Now that’s more like it. After getting off to a less than stellar start last week, True Blood rebounds with the second episode of season six. “The Sun” manages to lay out the storylines for the season, introduce new characters, and find the sense of humor that's been missing from the show.
It appears that the season’s main storyline will be the escalating vampire-human war. While the story only involves our vampires (including the still creepy Billith - more on him later) and the Governor of Louisiana (and his glamoured daughter) at the moment, I can certainly see the season’s other storylines eventually dovetailing with this one, thus creating a supernaturals versus humans endgame.
This story is also the most interesting out of the season’s three most prominent stories (Warlow and the Sam/Alcide/shifters being the other two), as it not only uses the largest number of permanent cast members, it also has the highest stakes of any on the show. If True Blood were to kill off Sam or Jason, fans would mourn, but would likely still come back to the show. If someone like Eric were to be killed, fans would riot in the streets. The sense of danger is heightened when the show’s core characters (save Sookie, who is pretty much guaranteed safe passage) of Bill and Eric are in danger.
The season’s next storyline, the Warlow versus the Stackhouses, looks to be a bit more interesting than it appeared to be in last week’s premiere. As suspected, Rutger Hauer is not playing Warlow (unless he is doing double duty as both Niall and Warlow), but is portraying Niall, the Stackhouses' fairy grandfather. A fount of knowledge, Niall explains that Warlow has hunted the Stackhouse line for generations, killing all those he can. While the dearly departed Claudine managed to send him to an alternate dimension after he killed the Stackhouse parents, he has escaped and will be heading out to find Sookie. But Niall explains there is a way to destroy him: Sookie must simply create a supernova light bomb with her fairy power and throw it at Warlow. However, Sookie can only use this once, and once she does, all her fairy power will be gone (which, if we’re following Chekov’s “gun on the wall” plan, means we can expect this to happen later this season).
There is a great deal of potential with the story, as it will allow Sookie a chance to exist outside of the Sookie-Bill-Eric triangle for the first time in years. Granted, it looks like the show is introducing a new love interest in Ben, the half-fairy guy who was attacked by a vampire (how much do you want to bet it was Warlow?). But giving Sookie her own storyline (and allowing her to reconnect with Jason) is a great decision, even though we all know she’ll end up embroiled in the vampire war by season’s end.
Finally, and most disappointingly, the Sam/Alcide/shifter storyline looks to be the clunker of the season. While the vampire war and the quest for Warlow are new and have some serious potential, it seems Sam will once again be chasing after Emma, who was kidnapped (wolfnapped?) by Alcide. Yes, Sam does have Nicole and her friends pestering him to come out as a shifter, but the last thing I want is to spend another year with Sam dealing with the weres and trying to get Emma back.
In addition, the story has, so far, served to turn Alcide into a quasi-villain. Whether it’s the lingering effect from the V he drank or just that he is drunk on the power of being packmaster, this new Alcide is not the sweet guy who made Sookie fall for him. While I’m all for character development, this new personality has shown up way too fast. I’m crossing my fingers that the old Alcide we know and love comes back ASAP.
-- Thank goodness Niall talks some sense into Jason. While we still don’t know why he keeps hallucinating his parents, it's great to have the clueless, yet loveable, Jason back. The show needs to keep his levity, especially if his story will align with Sookie and her cartload of drama.
-- Speaking of levity, I absolutely love Eric as the game and wildlife representative. Alexander Skarsgård’s Eric spends so much time brooding and staring at Sookie that it is easy to forget he possesses keen comedic timing as well.
-- It's nice to see Pam and Nora bury the hatchet. Those two better decide to team up this year - the results would be amazing (and full of stellar one-liners).
-- How incredibly creepy is the scene with Billith draining the woman? And, conversely, how poorly done is the CGI when he sucked the blood from her body through her mouth?
-- I have a hard time figuring out the day/night break down in the episode. It seems like a large chunk takes place during the day, yet Jessica seems to be awake and fine while other vampires sleep.
-- Why is Patrick’s widow showing up? I thought we all agreed to pretend the smoke monster story never happened and move on?
-- Finally, I absolutely love Jessica’s prayer montage. She pretty much nails everything each character needs, and once again, Deborah Ann Woll is utterly fabulous in her delivery.