By Ken Tucker
Updated June 15, 2009 at 06:14 AM EDT

What a great way to get a second season of True Blood going. Sookie, Bill, Jason, Tara, Sam — all the major characters charged into new story-lines with some fresh-blood supporting characters to jump-start the action.

I liked the way that bratty, new-vampire Jessica has returned and is already getting in the way of Sookie and Bill’s relationship. “I had to create a vampire as reparation for the one I destroyed to save you,” said Bill to Sookie, coming perilously close to adding, “Don’t blame me, girlie — I did it for you.” Good thing he didn’t, because our Sookie would have given him a piece of her mind.

Meanwhile, one of the most heartening aspects of True Blood‘s new season is the way Tara has become a more fully-rounded character. She’s not just the angry, grumpy gal she was most of last season. Grappling with her mother’s alcoholism and coming to terms with her own unhappiness has made her more vulnerable. And thus susceptible to the charms of Maryann. Who also has a past with our beastie-boy Sam. (By the way, how great is it to see Michelle Forbes in a role that really shows her range?)

As for Sookie’s brother, I’ve seen the first few episodes of the new season, and I can tell you: the subplot about Jason getting religion in the Light of Day church that started off so cracklingly tonight only gets better. This story-line enables the series to use actor Ryan Kwanten’s babyface-devil expressiveness very effectively.

Finally, regarding Alexander Skarsgard, who plays Eric as one of the most egotistical, vain, purely enjoyable vampires since Bela Legosi’s, and a heck of a lot sexier: Give this man a raise. His increased visibility this season can only help.

Oh, and really finally: Tell me what you think about Lafayette in the dungeon. Freaky-scary or what?

What did you think of True Blood‘s season opener?

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