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.
Yesterday, I talked about a subplot in the second season ofTrue Blood and bad Christian representation. That subplot was much more prominent than it probably should have been, since in some ways it distracted from the main plot of the second season, which had more stakes. The main plot could have had potential life-or-death consequences for not only our main characters, but also for the entire town of Bon Temps as a whole, whereas the subplot focused on a group of more minor characters.
The main plot for the second season involves learning about Sam’s past and a Maenad moving to Bon Temps. The Maenads are as of yet previously unmentioned immortal servants to the god Dionysus from Greek mythology. This Maenad in particular, named Maryann, has come to Bon Temps looking for Sam. She plans to sacrifice him in order to summon Dionysus so the two can be married, while all simultaneously driving the entire town insane—people start running around naked, engaging in ritualistic orgies they otherwise would want nothing to do with, and viciously hitting one another. Maryann is convinced that Sam is the person she needs to sacrifice, because, not only is he a shapeshifter, but while at her house one day he was drawn to a fertility statue she owns. Maryann also seems unnaturally obsessed with Tara, who ends up taking the brunt of all the psychological hurt.
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.
A couple days ago, I started reviewing the first season of True Blood, a popular TV series based on The Sookie Stackhouse Novels. I went into Sookie’s relationship with the vampire Bill, and talked briefly about how Christianity is portrayed, something that I’m going to talk about more in-depth in a later post. However, True Blood has a lot of characters and brings up a lot of issues through them, so I was unable to properly discuss everything I wanted to last post.