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‘True Blood’ returns with plenty of sex, trouble

Man, it ain’t even three seconds into this here new season o’ "True Blood" and I’m already writin’ with a Southern accent. Does that mean that season three is gon’ be good, y’all? Let’s found out. Y’all. When we last left our undead Southerners and the ladies what love them, Sookie had decided she would accept Vampire Bill’s wedding proposal. Then he done got kidnapped by parties
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Man, it ain’t even three seconds into this here new season o’ "True Blood" and I’m already writin’ with a Southern accent. Does that mean that season three is gon’ be good, y’all? Let’s found out. Y’all.

When we last left our undead Southerners and the ladies what love them, Sookie had decided she would accept Vampire Bill’s wedding proposal. Then he done got kidnapped by parties unknown.

There was also an evil Maenad running around in season two, eating hearts for brunch and making everyone have sex. The Maenad befriended Tara and hooked her up with a guy named Eggs. They loved each other, but it turned out that Eggs was rotten, and he was killed by Jason Stackhouse. Ex-cop Andy Bellefleur insisted on taking the rap for the killing.

Eventually the Maenad got killed too, which is sad, because she was played by Michelle Forbes, who makes every series awesomer.

A red-headed teenage vampire named Jessica (age 25 in actress years) arrived on the scene and raised serious Cain. And Shape-Shiftin’ Sam fell in love with one of the Maenad’s devotees, but eventually the Maenad offed her.

At one point there was a vampire king or something, too. He had lived for a long time and decided he was ready to die, which broke the heart of his devoted vampire sheriff Eric Northman. Still, Northman had the presence of mind to continue masterminding a V-dealing operation, which was secretly spearheaded by the vampire queen and fronted by Lafayette.

Follow? Of course you do.

As we open onto Season Three, Sookie is desperate to see where Bill has been taken.

Day player Deputy Jones interviews Sookie about the circumstances leading up to Bill’s kidnapping, which Deputy Jones does not think is a kidnapping — because, see, she is racist against vampires, and she’s black, which, in Hollywood, is known as irony.

Meanwhile, over at Merlotte’s (the T ain’t silent), various people are milling about, giving statements to the cops about what went down at the Maenad’s place. Arlene the Self-Obsessed Red Headed Waitress is recalling her own mealy-mouthed version of events when Tara overhears her and butts in. A fight ensues, in which Tara chews out Arlene for only pretending to care about Eggs’s death.

“I am sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, but really, who here hasn’t?” Arlene reasons, in the night’s best line. Arlene follows up her argument in a way that only she can: with some bigoted afterthoughts. (Are we back to the vampires-as-African-Americans allegory this season, or is it vampires-as-stand-ins-for-gays? I forget. Someone help me out here.)

Back at Vampire Bill’s house, Jessica is crying and watching some dude die of Jessica-inflicted vampire wounds when Sookie arrives. Sookie demands that Jessica keep an eye out for Bill, but Jessica is of course distracted, what with there being a dying guy in the other room. As soon as Sookie leaves, Jessica checks on the guy, who is now dead. But not for long; looks like Jessica is about to turn her first vampire.

Now we see Bill in a car full of kidnappers. Seems that said kidnappers are all addicted to V. When one of them demands a hit — off of Bill’s cold flesh — another kidnapper bites into Bill and feeds the blood to his friend in what can generally be filed away as Quasi-Gay Moment No. 1. But the kidnappers are draining Bill too fast. He warns that he may die.

Let’s check in with Jason Stackhouse, still reeling over the murder he committed. Bellefleur sneaks through Jason’s window to remind him to stick with the cover story: Bellefleur did the killing, not Jason.

“We are both gonna get through this so long as we both act like everything’s perfectly normal,” Bellefleur warns. That means that Jason has to act like his typical, horny self. Jason really wants to turn over a new leaf, but Bellefleur thinks that such pure behavior will lead to suspicion, and jail for both of them. In other words, Alan Ball needs Jason Stackhouse to be horny because it makes for topless chicks and better TV.

Sookie arrives at Fangtasia and demands that Pam (nasty pink-clad vampire enforcer) produce Eric Northman. Pam obliges and takes Sookie to a basement, where Eric is getting busy with a naked, horny Estonian dancer chick. Sookie accuses Eric of nabbing Bill. Nope, Eric says. Wasn’t me. Still, as the local vampire sheriff in these here parts, Eric is duty-bound to stop pounding it out with that hot Estonian dancer and get on the case.

Meanwhile, Bill escapes his captors by finally realizing that he has vampire strength. About damn time. He tries to horn in on Jessica through his vampire mental telephone, but Jessica apparently hasn’t yet developed vampire caller ID.

Sookie arrives over at Lafayette’s place, where Tara is lying on a couch still weeping over Eggs. For the record, Sookie seems to be making very good time running all over town with no visible means of transport. Sookie reluctantly tells her best friend about her inadvertent role in Eggs’s death. Tara freaks out for very weak reasons — it’s not like Sookie knew that Eggs (and can I say: stupidest character name on premium cable) would die, but again, the writers need conflict.

Back at Fangtasia, Eric is still pretty much naked, but he’s gotten on the blower (the telephonic blower, that is). Reveal: Eric had wanted to kidnap Bill himself, but someone else got to Bill first. Drat! Eric is all kinds of pissed as he paces back and forth with his robe flapping open. It’s righteous. It is also heavily implied that the Vampire Queen hired Eric to kidnap Bill, because Bill knows all about the queen’s V business.

Speaking of Bill, welcome to Quasi-Gay Moment No. 2. Newly freed Bill arrives at Shape Shiftin’ Sam’s place. For some reason, Bill is also naked. Sam says come on in. Bill asks to use the shower. Sam says sure. They stare at each other for a while. Sam offers Bill the shirt off his back, literally. Now they’re both shirtless. They agree to get in the shower together. Things are getting very strange. Turns out it was a dream, but still, Sam is gay now? Or is Russell T. Davies now producing this show?

Sam gets a call from someone who is trying to help him track down his backstory (you know, the family that still mentally torments him). He springs out of bed — again, naked — and heads out on the fresh trail.

Tara’s mom arrives at Lafayette’s. Lafeyette insists that Tara’s mother do a better job of, you know, being a mother. There is no love lost between them. Still, Tara’s mom does her best to be supportive to her daughter. She brings over a reverend to comfort Tara, which seems selfless, until we realize that Tara’s mom is macking on the preacher man.

Sookie has once again changed location in record time. Now she’s at the cop station (did HBO install a bullet train in Bon Temps this season?). She’s hammering Sheriff “My Other Brother Darrell” Dearborn about tracking down Bill. Dearborn rightly points out that last season left him with, like, a town full of dead bodies and he may need to see about that first. Sookie is not pleased.

Sam shows up at a tire place and half-flirts/half-chats with a dude who may or may not be his brother. This time it’s not a dream. Sam then makes a comment about how he might come back to buy some tires. It doesn’t sound like he’s talking about tires. Again: confused. Definitely Quasi-Gay Moment No. 3.

Hoyt broke up with Jessica last season, but he’s having second thoughts (which seems to have cost him some poundage). He gives his ex-vamp sweetheart a call. Jessica could use some good news; that dead guy that she tried to convert didn’t quite vamp up like she wanted him to. Instead he appears to be merely a corpse. It’s kind of sad. And stinky.

Hell is still poppin’ over at Fangtasia. The Queen walks in with her “magister,” which is apparently Southern for “short chinless dude.” She orders everyone out so that she can talk to Eric. (The Vampire Queen also seems to want some lesbian action with the Estonian dancer, but the chinless buzz kill shuts it down. Quasi-Gay Moment No. 4?) The magister suspects that V-dealing is going down in the area; he’s not clued in to the fact that said V-dealing is being masterminded by the Queen sitting next to him. Eric juggles the two parties nicely, until the magister leaves, and the Queen reveals she’s broke. She needs Eric to move more V.

Whoops: Arlene is preggers again. Dang.

Good to his promise to Bellefleur, Jason Stackhouse goes to Merlotte’s and courts two hot young ladies in a booth and recruits Hoyt as a wingman. The two girls very quickly volunteer that they’re in vet school “with an interest in canine psychology.” If you’ve seen any of the teasers or trailers, you know this is not only Quasi-Gay-Moment Season, but also, the year of the werewolf.

The girls are also, apparently, in heat. Lovelorn Hoyt doesn’t want to join in, but Jason gets his way. Back at his place, Jason starts engaging in a threesome with the vet students, but he keeps having flashbacks to the night of the shooting and can’t get it up. (Either that, or this is Quasi-Gay Moment No. 5.)

“Every time I see you I keep seein’ these big ol’ bullet holes in your heads,” Jason confesses. The girls pad off.

Pam, on a mission from Eric, stops by Lafayette’s place to demand that he step up the V dealing or else. Sookie gets busy soon afterward, recruiting Jessica to help her find Bill.

Oh dear: Vampire Bill is naked again, this time for real. He finds the house of a nice old lady and asks to use her phone. He uses her neck instead. To his credit, he’s seriously hungry. To prove he’s a good guy, he doesn’t drain the ol’ broad but instead gives her some cash money, you know, for her inconvenience.

Back at Tara’s place, Lettie Mae is reading a magazine while Tara is locked in the bathroom trying to OD on pills. Lafayette arrives just in time to save her.

Cut to Shape Shiftin’ Sam, who has followed his maybe-brother home. Now maybe he can see which cool animals they turn into.

In the final scenes, Snookie and Jessica go out into the night, looking for Bill. They discover the wrecked car with Bill’s dead kidnappers pinned underneath. On one of the kidnappers’ necks is a mark that indicates they are somehow connected to werewolves.

And — ha, funny story. Just as that’s happening, Bill finds himself alone in the wilderness — surrounded by, why, yes! Werewolves!