'True Blood' recap: 'Who Are You, Really?'

"True Blood" is back, and Season 6 picks up right where Season 5 left off. We're watching bloody Billith rise, but this time from his red-tinged perspective.

I’ll be honest — I’m approaching Season 6 a little nervously. What will a "True Blood" without Alan Ball at the helm look like? But before I get ahead of myself, here’s what you need to know about what went down in Episode 1.


Billith has Risen

We spend the bulk of the episode trying to figure out just what Bill has become. As Eric, Sookie & company speed away from the exploding scene, Sookie and Eric agree that Billith let them go. But a little later, Nora helpfully points out that if there's any chance that Lilith is walking the earth, they must to destroy her. And Billith does seem pretty evil as he tortuously summons Jess toward wherever he's hiding out. Sookie jumps in the car to protect Jessica, with Eric and Nora close behind.


Sookie and Jess pull up to an appropriately creepy mansion, where they find an unbloodied Bill in a rocking chair on the porch. He tells the girls he "just wants to talk." Before he can say anything else, Nora whizzes down from the night sky with cheesy-special-effect speed and Bill swiftly takes her down. He attempts to do the same to Eric, but then SOOKIE comes up from behind and STAKES BILL. Remember when these two were happily married?

After a quick stumble, Billith yanks the stake out. He's fine, if somewhat surprised about it. "Now can we talk?" he growls.

Sookie: "What are you?"

Nora: "Are you Lilith?"

Bill: "I am Bill Compton. Though clearly, I am something more. I see that now. I see everything so differently now."

Sookie protests that Bill Compton is dead, and that whoever this person is ought to just leave them all alone forever. Unfortunately for Sookie, Jess disagrees. She jumps to her maker's defense and insists that he's staying, she's staying and everyone else can just get out.

Alone, Jess and Bill share a sweet moment as Bill brings a tired Jess some warmed-up True Blood and tucks her into bed. It's very cozy until Jess spills the mug, and Bill suspends the liquid in the air (without even trying!). He tells Jess that he needs her now more than ever, because he has powers even he cannot fathom and power turns men mad. He needs her to keep him honest. After all, "Surviving a staking is some heady f---ing shit."

Bill seems very much like the Bill Compton we've known all along as he walks out of Jess's room, until he starts hearing a woman's voice whisper his name. He follows the sound into his office, where he finds multiple Liliths waiting to rush into his body.


Guess he's not himself after all. Time for Bill to get in touch with his feminine side(s)!

So has Alcide:

Bill isn't the only one gaining power. Alcide makes his status as packmaster official by chowing down on the remains of his challenger. The pack begins a raucous celebration of Alcide, including a proposition from a nude werelady named Danielle. Alcide and Danielle run off into the woods for a quick makeout session, until Rikki finds them. Alcide is sheepishly apologetic, but Rikki turns the tables and initiates a werewolf threesome. Afterward, she reminds Alcide that she's his "number one b-----" forever.

Faerie Babies Grow Up So Quick

Finding himself saddled with a litter of newborn faeries, Andy is seriously stressed out. And he hasn't even had time to "take a goddamn poop class!" Arlene and Terry pitch in and lend a hand, teaching Andy how to change a diaper and reassuring him that all good parents are scared out of their wits about parenthood.

Andy seems to be calm, even content. He catches a quick nap on the couch...and is woken up by his rapidly-aged daughter. She's grown at least three years in less than a day. Andy is understandably freaked out by this new development (pun intended).


Rights for (Tax-Paying) Humans!

Governor Burrell presides over a Human Rights rally, complete with signs reading slogans like, "Gooey Vamps are Good Vamps." The governor acknowledges the recent vampire murders due to the shortage of True Blood, and institutes a statewide vampire curfew. He'll also be closing down all vampire businesses. Embracing the Southern hillbilly stereotype, he urges his citizens to get guns and defend the ones they love. He just wants to protect human, "tax-paying" members of society!

Louisiana state revenue is so important to him, in fact, that he takes a 4 A.M. meeting at a closed-down bottling plant with an executive at a True Blood supply company. Turns out that Governor Burrell has an empty facility that she can use to run her operations, so long as she keeps their arrangement quiet. He tells her that he just wants the fangers to return to being loyal "tax-paying" members of society (like I said, he's very focused on collecting those taxes). Also, like any politician, he just wants to get reelected. They strike a deal.

Jason, still fuming from learning at the close of Season 5 that his parents were murdered by a vampire named Warlow, jumps on the fanger hate train. Jason tells Sookie that she's crazy for continuing to protect vampires. She's as dead to him as they are. He storms off to hitch a ride.

Rough Night for Pam & Tara

Poor Pam is rebuffed by Eric when she gets angry that he hasn't shared Nora's existence with her. "Get over it and have my back, or get out of my face," he bluntly tells her, then orders her to take Tara and go back to Fangtasia. Once there, Tara tries to comfort Pam. She reminds her that it's them against the world now. Pam isn't having it, and slaps her across the face. Pam breaks it, and not gently, to Tara that Tara can't ever replace Eric: "This isn't going to be some f---ing epic love story."


Before they can wallow in their mutual misery, there's banging at the door. It's state troopers, enforcing the governor's order to close down vampire businesses. A trooper orders Pam down onto her knees and Tara gets loud with him. The trooper shoots Tara with some kind of non-lethal, futuristic laser gun that knocks her temporarily out.

Much Ado About Warlow

Right before Jason leaves the group, Nora glamours him into telling her what he knows about Warlow — that he killed his parents and also showed up in Sookie's bedroom floating in the air that one time. After Jason comes to and angrily heads into the night, Nora informs Eric that Warlow is in book of Lilith, and is one of Lilith's progeny.

A strangely attired, grey-haired gentleman picks up the hitchhiking Jason. Jason is stupidly trusting, as per usual, but I immediately suspect that this could be Warlow. Jason tells Maybe-Warlow that maybe he was too hard on Sookie. Maybe he should stop listening to what the hallucinations of his racist dead parents tell him. "You cannot keep Warlow away from Sookie," the old man thunders. When Jason asks how the man knows Sookie's name, all is made clear. The man is Warlow, and as Jason tries to shoot him with a wooden bullet he vanishes into thin air.

Body Count

It wouldn't be a "True Blood" season-premiere without at least one dead body. Sam, Luna and Emma try to escape the Council compound, but Luna is just too weak. She begs Sam to promise to care for Emma, gasping for air, and dies as he agrees to do so. Sam takes Emma to Merlotte's, where Lafayette informs them that footage of Luna shapeshifting into Steve Newlin is all over the news. Sam lets Lafayette take Emma into the kitchen for a snack while he figures out their next move.


Romance Report

Early on in the episode, Sookie tells Jess that she will always love Bill. She reminisces: "Bill was my first everything. Loving him is just in my blood now."

That love doesn't seem to have much impact on the still-very-present romantic tension between Sookie and Eric. As the two stand on Sookie's porch discussing the implications of Billith, Sookie reminds Eric that Bill can always find her if he wants to. She drank all that blood of his. Eric shyly shares that he never expected Sookie to save him over Bill. To him, she'll always be that girl in the white dress who walked into his bar.  AWWWWW.

He walks her into her house, where she thanks for him for taking her home. Eric then asks for pen and paper, and dramatically punctures his wrist with the pen. He tells Sookie he's giving her back her home. He'll put the deed (written in his blood) in the mail. He warns her to stay away from Bill. She says she will, and that she wants to be that girl in the white dress again. She wants her life back. Which is why she's rescinding Eric's invitation to her house. After Eric is thrust outside, they stare at each other longingly through the glass-paned door. These two aren't finished with each other just yet, methinks. "

Nora is sitting on Sookie's porch, waiting for Eric. He tells her that Sookie is to be kept out of what is going on, and that they are to stay away from her. Nora gloats that he is in love with Sookie and she's found his weak spot. Eric warns her not to "stir this pot," guaranteeing that she will do exactly that.

All in all, it was a packed first episode and offers a few different tangents to be pursued this season. Still, I'm left a little cold. Gone are the days where an episode concludes with an image that just rattles my brain. Instead, it seems like we're in for more of the same campy melodrama minus the real feels. I'm not giving up on "True Blood" just yet, but we're going to need to meet some new characters quickly to spice Bon Temps up again.


'Til next week!