Well, I have to say that I was quite impressed by the first season of True Blood, so it really wasn’t that hard to speed my way on through the second season. For anyone who missed my review of the first season—you can find it here and here—True Blood, based on The Sookie Stackhouse Novels, is about a telepathic waitress falling in love with a vampire named Bill, whose mind she cannot read. Two years before the start of the series, vampires have “come out of the coffin” and revealed themselves to the public, since a synthetic blood called “True Blood” can now satisfy all of their nutritional needs.
Though I can safely say that I love this show, it does something that I completely hate: it ends every episode on a cliffhanger, and that includes the season finales. The first season ended with Lafayette disappearing and Sookie and Tara finding a dead body that looks suspiciously like him. I think if I actually had had to wait months on end to find out what truly happened, I might have died a little inside.
Spoilers after the jump.
The dead body is thankfully not Lafayette. Instead, the body belongs to Miss Jeanette, the woman who conned Tara and her mother into paying hundreds of dollars for fake exorcisms. Lafayette, meanwhile, is actually a captive of the vampire Eric, who possibly wants to kill him for dealing V, vampire blood, which has addictive and aphrodisiac-like properties when ingested by humans. Right now, Lafayette is still alive because his source, the vampire Eddie, has gone missing, as well as a previously unmentioned vampire, Godric, and Eric thinks Lafayette’s connections could lead him to Godric’s location.
Lafayette knows nothing about Godric, and he tells Eric that he suspects that Jason, Sookie’s brother, is the one responsible for Eddie’s disappearance. Jason spends this season mulling over his guilt at Eddie’s death—he watched his lover Amy stake him after helping her kidnap him for V—and his depression over Amy’s murder. Eventually, in order to find meaning, and because Jason believes that God has a plan for him in this life, he decides to join The Fellowship of the Sun church, run by Reverend Steve Newlin and his wife Sarah. The church is the main anti-vampire organization in the U.S., and we eventually discover that they are the ones responsible for the missing Godric.
Eric suspects that the Fellowship is behind whatever’s happened to Godric. He enlists Sookie’s help for her telepathic powers in finding him, and has her infiltrate the church as a prospective new member. But all is not going well. Bill’s sire, Lorena, shows up to cause drama. Lorena wants to have Bill back and doesn’t approve of his relationship with Sookie. While Bill is forced into a confrontation with Lorena, Sookie is discovered by the Fellowship and finds herself in a perilous situation. Unfortunately, Bill cannot come to her rescue because Lorena has trapped him.
Sookie is instead saved by Godric, who was never actually kidnapped. The church had been planning on burning a vampire alive in sunlight, to show that they are not creatures of God. Because Godric knew that it would only be a matter of time before they got their hands on another vampire—and because Godric feels that he has lived long enough—he willingly offered himself to the church. Godric hoped that his sacrifice would help ease the problems going on between human-vampire relationships. But alas, it does not. Tensions build, and there ends up being a big showdown at the church. Jason, who had until this point been a part of the church, reunites with Sookie, and they all get away in the aftermath. The church ends up disgraced, as the knowledge of what they tried to do reaches the public, Lorena is sent away, Godric and Eric are reunited, and Lafayette knows the joys of freedom. All is well—or is it?
Now, here’s the thing with the entire Fellowship of the Sun Church: everything that I just said is not the main plot of the second season. The church is actually a subplot, and a much bigger and by far more dangerous issue is going on in Bon Temps involving the characters Tara and Sam. I once again realized when I sat down to write this review that there was way too much going on in this season to do just one post, so I have to get to the main plot next time. This season’s just so dense, especially in comparison to the first season, where the overall arcing plot was a string of murders that tended to take a backseat in importance to all of the characters’ personal baggage. This season, meanwhile, went all out with plots and subplots. And if I’m perfectly honest with myself, The Fellowship of the Sun storyline was rather painful to watch.
Watching The Fellowship of the Sun is like watching a very influential version of the Westboro Baptist Church, and only made a little less painful by the fact these characters are fictional and don’t actually exist. It got incredibly uncomfortable at times—these characters like to sing songs about how they were “bad kids” who wouldn’t go home after school right away until they found God, and anyone who disagrees with them is a “liberal nutcase” who will probably burn in hell—and I had to keep pausing my DVDs to help take it all in. If there had been one thing preventing me from fully enjoying the season, this was it.
I do appreciate that this show also has positive portrayals of Christianity, especially in characters like Sookie and Adele. And I especially loved Godric’s death, where Sookie comforts him and assures him that God won’t punish him for the all the murders and evil acts he’s committed over two millennia, because God forgives.
All that said, however, the Fellowship was still painful, and their members came across sometimes as stereotypical crazy-Christian assholes, who were portrayed as stupid for their faith. But at the same time, I cannot fault the show for treating these characters that way, because they’re all idiots. So of course, Jason fits right in. I’ve mentioned previously that Jason is really stupid. That hasn’t changed this season. In some ways it was almost fascinating watching this character’s interactions with the church, because the church is so obviously against what he believes.
Jason also only decides to join the church for a very flimsy reason. Last season, Jason had been arrested for the all the murders, and when he was found innocent and released, Detective Andy, who obviously wanted Jason to be the one responsible, snapped “It’s a damn miracle.” Yes, Jason being found innocent of a crime he didn’t commit is such a miracle that he joined a parody of the Westboro Baptist Church, because at the time, he couldn’t have possibly found God anywhere else.
Jason’s character never really makes much sense to me for another reason as well: everyone wants him, despite the fact that he is a complete moron. I understood his relationship with Amy from the last season, and his fling with Dawn. I was perfectly fine with those. However, this season, he has a fling with Sarah, who is married to Steve and extremely religious to boot. Sarah says that God approves of her union with Jason because she doesn’t like being with Steve anymore… until she discovers that Jason is Sookie’s brother, and she flip-flops on the idea. These were some of the more painful scenes to watch, if only because I was watching people use religion to further their own bullshit.
And I feel as if I have to mention something else as well, going along with using religion for bullshit. This paragraph has a trigger warning for rape, so you can skip to the next paragraph if you would like. When Sookie is discovered by the Fellowship and locked up in their basement, one of their church members attempts to rape her because she’s with a vampire, and he’s going to show her what being with a real man is like. By this point, it was just too much. I understand that there are terrible people out there who commit rape for similar reasons, and I understand that there are people who also take their faith too far. That said, by this point in time in the season, it was already well-established that these people are misguided. We didn’t need a “rape for Jesus” scene thrown in. Sookie is thankfully saved by Godric before the rape can go any further.
After this, Sookie and Jason are reunited, and they have a much-needed heart-to-heart with each other. Jason admits that he messed up and vows to do better in the future.
I admit that I haven’t been that fair to Jason’s character, so let me amend that. This season doesn’t really belong to Sookie at all. It belongs to the other characters, and this subplot is Jason’s. Jason is the one who starts to find himself and come into his own. He doesn’t have much of an identity before entering the church, but he knows who he is when he leaves. He wants to look out for his sister and be more responsible. In some ways he succeeds, while in others he doesn’t. Regardless, I can certainly respect his character growth, which we’ll discuss more tomorrow.