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'True Blood' recap: Season five premiere ('Turn! Turn! Turn!')

Tara's fate is revealed, Jason still loves Jessica and we meet Eric's sister

Nelsan Ellis and Anna Paquin in 'True Blood'

Nelsan Ellis and Anna Paquin in the season five premiere of 'True Blood'

Credit: Lacey Terrell/HBO

We’ve pretty much given up hope on “True Blood” being a really great show, right? Ever since the high point of season two it’s basically devolved into a nutty, sometimes fun, always overcrowded mess.

But season premieres are always about new beginnings and fresh starts. So even if the fifth season premiere -- titled “Turn! Turn! Turn!” like the catchy ‘60s pop song by The Byrds, with lyrics adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes -- didn’t exactly bring a sense of unity or nail-biting excitement to the sprawling saga of Bon Temps, it did set a whole slew of new storylines in motion.

Let’s revisit the three key threads before a quick breakdown of the rest:

BILL AND ERIC

The former foes are awfully chummy these days. As they’re cleaning up the mess left over from the slaughter of Nan and her guards, they simultaneously sense Sookie is in danger (from her encounter with Debbie Pelt, more on that below…) Eric’s reaction: “F--- Sookie!” He’s still pissed she blew them both off. But Bill can’t help himself and rushes out to help her, running right into a Vampire Authority trap. They nab Eric too and toss both vamps in the trunk of a car and speed off.

As Wings’ “Silly Love Songs” blares in the front seat, Bill and Eric share some quality “Out of Sight”-style time in the trunk. They manage to smash the gas tank and cause the car to explode (a neat trick if you’re a vampire and can survive it). A momentarily incapacitated Bill tells Eric to take off, but in another sign of their suddenly burgeoning friendship Eric won’t leave Bill behind.

They’re approached by the woman from the front of the car who stakes the driver and reveals herself as a double agent. She also has a history with Eric. He rushes to her immediately and they passionately kiss. Bill asks what’s going on and Eric announces that this is his sister.

Her name is Nora and she’s a chancellor on the Vampire Authority council -- but she’s actively working against the Authority’s “out of step current agenda” from within. Eric calls her his “sister” because they were both made by Godric, but no one Eric knows is aware of the relationship -- or that Eric has such close ties with a member of the Authority -- not even Pam. Nora explains that the Authority still wants Bill and Eric dead for the roles they played in getting rid of Marnie, but she’ll help them get away. Once they’re gone, they can never return to their current lives. If anyone found them, Nora would be toast.

As they hide out on a dock, Eric and Nora have sex inside a large shipping container while Bill waits outside. The show really tries to play up the whole incest angle with Eric calling Nora his sister during sex and telling Bill, “We fight like siblings but we f--- like champions!” It’s supposed to be shocking or funny or something, but I wonder if anyone on staff realized how tame it would seem following fellow HBO hit “Game of Thrones,” which featured an actual incestuous relationship and not just a vampire imitation.

Bill and Eric learn their new aliases -- Marcellus Clark and Ike Applebaum -- but just as they’re about to escape with Nora’s accomplices, they’re ambushed. The lesser vamps are slaughtered by Authority soldiers who surround Bill, Eric and Nora.

JASON AND JESSICA

We find Jason right where we left him: standing stark naked at his front door, face to face with former Fellowship of the Sun reverend Steve Newlin. He begs Jason to let him in, claiming he has nowhere else to go and doesn’t even understand his vampire powers yet. Jason tries to avoid eye contact so Steve can’t glamour him, but Steve convinces Jason he hasn’t learned that trick. Jason believes him, and Steve immediately glamours him.

Once Steve has Jason tied to a chair believing that he invited Steve in and asked to have his mouth duct-taped, Steve releases Jason from the spell. He’s got something very important to declare: “I’m a gay vampire American and I love you Jason Stackhouse!” Yeah, we saw that one coming back in season two, but apparently now’s the time to go there.

Jason tries to let him down gently, “I gotta be honest with you rev, this dog don’t bark that way,” but it’s Jessica who arrives to assert her dominance as the older vampire, throw Steve out of the house, strip down to her sexy lingerie and ravish a ready and willing Jason.

The next day, Jason tries to make amends with Hoyt, but it’s not going to be easy. Hoyt’s buddies all refer to Jason as the “girlfriend-f---er” and freeze him out.

Meanwhile, Jessica has been hanging out with college kids. Jason shows up to talk to her, thinking Jessica declared her true feelings of love when she threw Steve out. The truth is Jessica still isn’t ready to commit, she’d much rather explore her newfound independence. So Jason joins right in for the drinking games.

Later on at the party, Jessica belts out “Cherry Bomb” in a game of “Rock Band” as Jason plays guitar. She’s getting a lot of attention from one of the guys and Jason doesn't like it, so he grabs one of the coeds and takes her outside. When the coed suggests going somewhere to have sex, he doesn't want to. He can’t explain why, but Jason Stackhouse has finally reached a point where he’s sick of using girls for sex.

SOOKIE, LAFAYETTE, TARA AND PAM

Season four ended with Tara bleeding out on Sookie’s kitchen floor, shot in the head by a crazed Debbie Pelt (who was trying to kill Sookie, only to wind up killed by her). But this is “True Blood,” and death isn’t always the only option…

Having heard the gunfire, Lafayette races downstairs and sees Sookie cradling Tara’s body. He’s not the only one to enter the scene: Pam shows up looking for Eric (since Eric owns Sookie’s house) and Lafayette immediately demands Pam turn Tara into a vampire to save her life.

Pam isn’t even sure it will work, Tara’s head wound is massive and she could have permanent brain damage, but Sookie pleads with Pam to help. Pam considers it and spells out her terms: Sookie has to use her “magic hands or super snatch” to make Eric forgive Pam *and* still owe Pam an unspecified favor. Desperate to save Tara, Sookie agrees. Pam feeds Tara her blood.

The next step is overnight burial to heal Tara’s wounds, so Pam slips into a Wal-Mart sweatsuit (to demonstrate her “team spirit”) and Lafayette and Sookie bury Pam and Tara together.

When she’s cleaning up the blood-splattered kitchen later, Sookie explains to Lafayette she can’t go to the police about Debbie’s death: “I decided to pull the trigger... I wanted to kill her! Does that sound like self defense?”

Sookie and Lafayette are both grieving, but Lafayette’s pain is doubled because he’s still reeling from killing Jesus. While he uses Sookie’s bathtub, he eyes her razor… But Lafayette’s not giving up yet. He interrupts a conversation between Sookie and Alcide just as Sookie is about to confess what she did to Debbie. Alcide dropped by Sookie’s to tell her that Russell Edgington escaped from the prison Bill and Eric buried him in. Sookie didn’t even know Russell was still alive, but Alcide offers to protect her. Sookie refuses to go, and Lafayette throws Alcide out.

That night, Sookie and Lafayette wait for Tara and Pam to emerge from the dirt. Pam crawls out first, and Sookie digs through the ground to uncover Tara. She digs the dirt off Tara’s head enough to reveal that Tara is still lifeless. It seems that Pam’s attempt to save her failed. Tara is still dead.

Pam and Lafayette look on as Sookie weeps over the body. And in a flash Tara is up out of the grave, giving Sookie a death stare and lunging straight for her neck.

EVERYONE ELSE

— Sam and Luna spent the hour dealing with fallout of Marcus’ murder. Sam was confronted by a wolfpack who make it clear they hold him responsible. Even though Luna tells Sam to explain that Alcide actually did it, Sam won’t, so the pack drag Sam away to torture and interrogate him about the location of Marcus’ remains. Eventually Sam relents and just as the wolfpack unearth the corpse, Luna arrives to Alcide who confesses to the crime. The wolves have some important business to handle first: devouring Marcus’ corpse.

— The mysterious past of Terry and his military buddy Patrick is still a mystery, but we have a few clues. When Arlene tells Patrick their house burned down, Patrick ominously observes, “Fire’s not something to be taken lightly.” Terry is clearly on edge over Patrick’s arrival -- he doesn’t want to be reminded of old times. But Patrick later confronts him and informs Terry that several other members of their crew have also experienced house fires: “This is about what happened that night in Iraq and you know it!” Arlene steps outside of Merlotte’s just in time to see Terry lunge at Patrick.

— If you were waiting for the big Sheriff Andy Bellefleur nude scene, this was your week. He’s apparently sleeping over at Holly’s place now, and her two sons discovered them in bed together -- Andy’s rear end out in the open. Later on, Andy is approached by a judge who asks him to help his son out of a speeding ticket and Andy obliges.

— The quick flash of a room where something that feeds on blood is hiding must be Russell, but we still haven’t seen him yet.

What did you think of the season five premiere?

Everything: True Blood

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Geoff-berkshire-sm
Geoff Berkshire
Contributor
Geoff Berkshire lives in Los Angeles and writes about film and television. His work has appeared in Variety, the L.A. Times, and Premiere, among other publications. He is the former national entertainment editor and film critic for Metromix.com.
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