By Ken Tucker
Updated August 29, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

“Frenzy,” the second-to-last episode of True Blood this season, is almost here. UPDATE: IT’S HERE. READ MY REVIEW NOW. We know we’re going to see Evan Rachel Wood as Sophie-Anne, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. We know from this HBO clip that Tara is pretty distraught over something bad happening to Eggs:

As the season winds down/cranks up to a conclusion, let’s list the ways in which this second season surpassed the first, shall we? I’ll start with three, you take it from there:

• Producer-writer Alan Ball took the characters created by Charlaine Harris and, made bold by the ratings success of the first season, really ran with them — he’s made them his own.

• As a result, Ball’s True Blood has something in common with Ball’s Six Feet Under (something besides characters who spend time under the ground, that is): a predilection for embracing chance, love, chaos, desire, and possible self-destruction.

• Victims have taken control of their own destinties. Think about it: Sookie spent a lot of time last season at the mercy of her growing love for Bill without knowing how to harness her own powers. Her grandmother was murdered. Tara was put through the emotional wringer with her alcoholic mother and a lot of heartache when it came to men she was attracted to. Jason got suckered into the Fellowship of the Sun. But each of these characters has fought back, found reasons to become angry, cagey, and bursting with newfound power.

As we wait for “Frenzy,” please contribute below to the ways in which this season improved on the last. (That is, if you buy my premise. If you don’t, I’d like to hear why, too.)