I really used to like True Blood at one point in time—or at least I liked it a lot better than I do now—but Season 3 has to be the worst season thus far. I wasn’t happy with Season 2 and its portrayal of religion through an extremist group, but at the very least I didn’t hate everything that was happening. That’s not true of Season 3. The Tara storyline made this season painful to watch, and though it was by far the worst storyline, it was hardly the only awful thing happening. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the writers purposefully went out of their way to make Season 3 the most offensive, difficult, triggering season possible. And Tara’s rape plot is sadly not its only devolution into straight up misogyny.
Spoilers and trigger warning for mutilation, slut-shaming, mental issues, rape, and abuse up ahead.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a lotof 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.
Well, after months of putting it off, I finally got around to finishing True Blood’s third season. Once again, I found myself absolutely adoring this show, while simultaneously hating a great deal of its themes. Last season put me off by its portrayal of religion, and it even featured a religious fanatic who attempted to sexually assault Sookie, because why the fuck not? This season also put me off by its gratuitous rape themes that existed for no damn reason. Despite being a really good show with an awesome female protagonist, True Blood’s biggest problem seems to be offensive clichés, and that is no more apparent than how the show treats both Tara and Eggs’s characters and their misogynistic and racist plotlines.
I typically start watching a show years after it debuts, and then catch up in binge-watching bursts. True Blood is no different, so while Season 5 is new and fresh for me, it actually aired two years ago. As someone who enjoys thinking critically about religion, this season really stood out for me because a main plotline was the role of religion in the vampire community. The show posits a sort of vampire ethnic religion, complete with scriptures and its very own divinity, Lilith. The name “Lilith” has been given to approximately three bajillion various characters in genre media, but Lilith on True Blood was pretty specifically delineated. She is an ancient being who blurs the lines between messiah and deity, worshipped by a segment of the vampire population who call themselves Sanguinistas. After the jump, I’ll get more in detail about the rich religious parallels this season offered. Major spoilers for Seasons 5 and 6 of True Blood.
I still have not finished the third season of True Blood. I don’t hate the show, but a lot of its content disturbs me greatly, and that makes continuing on with it a little difficult. The Fellowship of the Sun Church subplot in the second season is one such disturbing thing. I talked about it before in my Season 2 reviews, but what I didn’t mention is that the church, as crazy anti-vampire and homophobic as it is, is actually shown to be in the right, even though the narrative tells us it’s in the wrong. And that’s one of the main reasons why I’m having trouble continuing on with the series.
I don’t like this church. I daresay that I hate everything about it—and Lord knows that I still could have done without the “rape for Jesus” scene we had—but the more I stop to think about it, the church’s stance on vampires is completely founded. Except for the whole rape thing that happened, because what the fuck, True Blood?
Spoilers and a trigger warning for rape after the jump.
This season of True Blood introduced two cases of PTSD with the characters Lafayette and Eggs. I wouldn’t call Lafayette’s case subtle, but Eggs’s was much more apparent as the show progressed. I think this may be because Lafayette is a recurring character for multiple seasons, so the show will have more time to deal with his issues; however, I don’t foresee Eggs coming back after this season, and his character in some ways seemed to be defined by his PTSD and relationship to Tara.
The second season of True Blood has left me with a lot of mixed feelings. I really liked the Maryann plot, while loathing the Fellowship subplot. Sam’s character even started to grow on me for a little bit, and I no longer completely detest Jason either. However, my opinion of Eric dropped dramatically this season, and Bill kind of bores me. But my feelings are most torn on Tara’s and Egg’s relationship with Maryann and how she manipulates them.