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'True Blood' recap: More complexity, less clothing (thank you)

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Trueblood-shirtless-guy_lAfter the heaving sigh of relief that was last week’s season premiere of True Blood (Lafayette lives! Thanks Alan Ball!), the second episode of the HBO drama’s sophomore season brought a little more complication, a little less clothing, and a lot more guts ‘n’ blood than I ever really wanted to see. With Sookie and Bill helping Jessica acclimate to her new vampire life, Jason integrating himself into the Fellowship of the Sun, Tara continuing to delude herself into thinking the mysterious Maryann is helping her out of the goodness of her heart, and Lafayette begging for his life, the season’s off to a much faster start than last year’s slow-building mystery.

Last week, Sookie forgave Bill for turning Jessica into a vampire. This week, Sookie struggled with her feelings of guilt about the whole situation (Jessica’s creation being a punishment for Bill defending Sookie’s honor, after all), and tried to get Bill to treat the new vampire with a little more sensitivity. Sookie asked Bill, ”Parts of your former self are still in there, right? I wouldn’t be with you if they weren’t.” Bill’s response was brusque and blunt: ”When a vampire is as new as Jessica is, she has no humanity.” Still, Sookie was suckered into taking Jessica to visit her family, which culminated in a fang-bearing standoff at Jessica’s parents’ house (more on that next week).

Meanwhile, the dim-but-lovable Jason happily settled into his born-again life, joining in bus ride sing-alongs and capture the flag games (wait, is this a church leadership seminar or summer camp?), and unknowingly striking up a rivalry with his bunkmate, the Lukeinator. I can’t decide which part of Jason’s storyline mesmerizes me the most: Ryan Kwanten’s magnificent shirtless torso, or the Pantene commercial-volume and bounciness of the female Fellowship campers leaders’ hair.

Maryann is still creepy, we still don’t know where she came from, and we still don’t know what the crap is up with her. We do know that she’s back to screw with Sam for some reason, and that she uses sex to her advantage (seducing a young Sam in a flashback we saw last week, hypnotizing the customers at Merlotte’s into all but boning each other on the dance floor). And poor Tara is still under the impression that Maryann is helping her out just for funsies.

I don’t understand why Tara’s been so implicitly trusting of Maryann from the get-go. Her character has always been so cynical about everything that it seems completely out of character for her to just accept Maryann’s help. So when she told Sookie, ”Something inside me says ‘This is weird Tara, don’t trust it,”’ I was glad we finally heard her voice of reason. Here’s hoping she listens to her instincts.

As a final note, I hereby move to instate the Shirtless Law upon Mehcad Brooks, who plays Hot Dude Macking on Tara (his name is Eggs, but that is a silly name). This law has clearly already been enacted on the aforementioned Kwanten, who appears bare-chested as frequently as possible. Shirtless Law section 2A would mandate both Brooks and Kwanten to remain free of the constricting garments known as “shirts” for at least 75 percent of future True Blood episodes.

I would move to include the brilliant Nelsan Ellis in the Shirtless Law amendment, but his scenes were so incredibly gory and disturbing this week that I’d rather not envision Lafayette digging through the entrails of his less fortunate vampire prisoner (i.e. this week’s vom-inducing moments) in my fantasies, thanks. Maybe next week.

Speaking of next week: OMG Lafayette as a vampire?!?!?! His impassioned plea for Eric to spare his life (sort of, because turning into a vampire would technically make him dead) was 100 percent true — Lafayette’s powerful, convincing, and damn sexy, all characteristics Eric prides himself on. Lafayette’s survival has already strayed far from the books, and turning him into a vampire would add a fascinating layer to the story.

What did you think of last night’s True Blood? Ken Tucker thought the second episode was a solid addition to the strong foundation laid in last week’s premiere, to which I say: hells yes. Also: sorry to focus on all the shirtlessness, but half of my notes are “Ryan Kwanten shirtless THANK YOU” and “PLEASE MAKE TARA’S BOYFRIEND SHIRTLESS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE K THANKS” so I’m just going with the moments that stood out for me. I’m sure you understand. And by “sorry” I mean YOU KNOW YOU LIKED IT TOO.

addCredit(“John P. Johnson/HBO”)

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