Magical Mondays: V from True Blood

True Blood V_vilesAs I’ve mentioned before, I have a lot of issues with True Blood. It’s a good show, but it’s marred with problem after problem, and most of those problems are racist, sexist, or offensive in some regard. Unfortunately, the show also has a problem with consistency, at least when it comes to drinking vampire blood. While this problem is nowhere near as offensive as these others, it’s still a pretty big issue, since vampire blood is a central part of the story.

Spoilers for True Blood below.

Vampire blood, commonly known as V, is a recurring part of True Blood, and consuming it causes many side effects. One of those is hallucinations and the feeling of being high—it’s even been compared to a trip on LSD—and it’s addictive. As such, V is illegal, and quite naturally, the vampires themselves are also not too happy about humans hunting and harvesting their blood. V can do a lot more than make regular humans high, and that’s another reason vampires oppose its distribution. It grants humans super strength, speed, hearing, etc., and heals injuries. Its healing properties are so strong that it’s been known to bring people back from the brink of death—the vampire Bill saves Sam with his blood after Sam is stabbed and about to bleed to death. He also saves Sookie when she is attacked, brutally beaten, and almost killed by two V addicts.

We also learn that consuming V will create a bond between the human and the vampire the V came from. Through this bond, the vampires are able to sense when the human is in danger, and the human will start lusting after the vampire.

Due to the lusting issue, I have always viewed V as similar to a date-rape drug, yet I think its other uses in the story are interesting. We’re first introduced to V when Jason buys some from Lafayette, and through Jason, we can clearly see how drug addiction can ruin a person’s life. We can also see how the vampire Eddie—whom Lafayette uses as his V source—is dehumanized and treated as an object because of his blood. Near the end of the first season, Jason’s then girlfriend and fellow V addict, Amy, convinces him to kidnap Eddie with her. Eddie, while in their custody, is treated as little more than a blood bank. Amy constantly says that he’s not a person, and doesn’t even think to feed him.

true-blood-109Most vampires in the show are murderers and some of them are also rapists, but when it comes to V, we can clearly and easily see how vampires themselves are victimized. Using Eddie for this is particularly effective, since unlike other vampires, Eddie is an upstanding citizen who’s never killed or hurt anyone before in his life. Mostly, he’s like a regular guy—he owns a house, has a job. He’s just a random person who doesn’t deserve what’s happened to him, so we can see that it’s wrong to starve him, torture him with silver, or refuse to acknowledge his own autonomy, while draining him of all his blood. So adding V into the story makes the narrative a lot more interesting—it shows us another side to vampires, and it has a very heavy influence on its users. Though V is stolen from other vampires than just Eddie, Eddie is by far the most innocent. He’s also murdered before the season’s end. The V issue comes up a lot in the following seasons, but never to the same extent as it does with Eddie.

However, the show doesn’t use V consistently. Its side effects have a habit of changing from character to character. Lafayette explains to us that that’s just the way V is. It works differently on different people, and even regular V users will find that they also have numerous different reactions to V whenever they take it.

While this only adds to the danger of taking V, it is nowhere near as unpredictable as Lafayette makes it seem. V tends to only react the way the characters want it to react. Jason gets high on Eddie’s blood for a good long while in Season 1, and yet at no point in time does he ever start fantasizing about Eddie. He only gets high, has super strength, and his life goes to hell because he’s a drug addict. At no point does the vampire blood act as a cure for him, and it doesn’t even take that much for the effects he does experience to kick in. Jason only consumes a couple drops of V at a time. When he first consumes it, however, he drinks a whole vial, which leaves him with priapism—a persistent erection that he needs medical assistance at the hospital to take care of—and he has no addiction or drug-like effects whatsoever. This moment is written off for humorous effect, and three and a half seasons in, we never see V do that to another person again.

JasonTaraTrueBloodMeanwhile, characters like Sookie, Tara, Sam, and even Lafayette all drink copious amounts of V at one point or another in the story. With the exception of Tara, all of them start lusting after the vampires who supplied the V, and experience no other adverse side effects whatsoever. Lafayette, like Jason, is also a V user, but when he needs the blood to cure him from injuries, it cures him and doesn’t leave him addicted. The same is true for Sam. Sam drinks a good deal of Bill’s blood, has a wet dream about him, and that’s it.

If we go by what Jason went through, with the amount both Lafayette and Sam drink, they should both be experiencing the worst cases of priapism that hospitals have ever seen and they should be completely out of their minds. Instead, right after consuming V, Sam is perfectly fine and in such control of himself that he manages to kill Maryann, the main villain of Season 2. During Season 3, when Tara is Franklin’s captive, she tricks him into letting her drink his blood, knowing it will give her super strength, which she uses to help her escape. She does not experience any other effect from the V, and even her super strength is not that strong. All in all, it doesn’t seem to affect her at all.

It’s not a problem to make V unpredictable, but it is a problem that its unpredictable side effects only affect our characters the way they want to be affected. While watching True Blood, I always wondered what would happen if Sookie ended up addicted to V, since she drinks it all the time when she’s hurt. In another scene in Season 2, Eric tricks Sookie into drinking his blood as well, and again she experiences no side effects other than a few wet dreams about him. Why don’t characters hallucinate when they use V for medicinal purposes? Why do characters lack sexual attraction to the donor vampire when they get high on V, but not when they take it for medicinal reasons? V is supposed to have all these unpredictable side effects, yet the way it affects people seems to be based on what’s convenient for the plot and the characters’ personal situations. It only makes characters high when they want to be high and it only heals them when they want to be healed.

This is hardly True Blood’s worst problem. True Blood has a lot of failings, and its social justice issues are just some of the first things to come to mind. Sadly, though, we can see through its use of V that the story also fails when it comes to worldbuilding. Not only does an audience have to suffer through all the racism, sexism, and other -isms, it becomes a pain in the ass trying to wrap your head around why such an “unpredictable” dangerous drug-like substance is so damn convenient. I really wish that the show would be more committed to the problems V can cause and better explain why it works the way it does. At the very least, I could have done without the priapism issue it puts Jason through, especially since it never comes up again.

Jason would probably have appreciated that too. (via ONTD)

Jason probably could have done without that too. (via ONTD)


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This entry was posted in Magical Mondays, opinion, Reviews, Vampires and tagged , , , , , , by MadameAce. Bookmark the permalink.

About MadameAce

I draw, I write, I paint, and I read. I used to be really into anime and manga until college, where I fell out of a lot of my fandoms to pursue my studies. College was also the time I discovered my asexuality, and I have been fascinated by different sexualities ever since. I grew up in various parts of the world, and I've met my fair share of experiences and cultures along the way. Sure, I'm a bit socially awkward and not the easiest person to get along with, but I do hold great passion for my interests, and I can only hope that the things I have to talk about interest you as well.

2 thoughts on “Magical Mondays: V from True Blood

  1. I really enjoyed True Blood’s first three seasons and I liked it while it aired but after a while it began to suffer from its lack of focus. It will never be an all time favorite show. It’s just not as well written as it could have been. It lost many opportunities to tell a cohesive story in favor of focusing entirely on tawdry romances between all the characters.

    My all time favorite is still Buffy, which is also problematic (most shows are in some way) but it was good enough to overcome a lot its problems. True Blood is not that well written a show to be able to accomplish that.

  2. Pingback: Magical Mondays: V from True Blood | Fan Fiction After Dark

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