The Maenadian reign of terror may be over, but Sookie Stackhouse and the townspeople of Bon Temps face a new calamity that makes the bacchanalian evils of Maryanne Forrester seem tame by comparison. In Season 3, Sookie desperately tries to locate her fiancé, ending up in a netherworld of human and undead interlopers, among them the powerful Vampire King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington.
The 12 episodes composing True Blood: The Complete Third Season
are either the best yet or the most ridiculous, depending on one's opinion of the increasing number of monsters entering the scene. As last season saw an onslaught of pagan and ancient Greek-derived "supernaturals," as they're called by Bon Temps' citizens, this season welcomes everything from werewolves, to vampire royalty, to that surprise-being that Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) finally discovers she shares genes with. While the first two seasons centered on the spicy love affair between Sookie and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), this season branches out once again from the vampire-human cultural blender. From the first episode, "Bad Blood," when Bill is whisked off to meet the King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare), whose villainous scheme will inform all ensuing episodes, one gets less of Sookie and Bill, and more of everything else.
For example, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) reveals himself this time around, starting in the episodes "Beautifully Broken" and "It Hurts Me Too," in which he tracks down members of his past and in turn meets some new family, like his mischievous brother, Tommy Mickens (Marshall Allman). Following up on Eggs's death at the end of season two, Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) and Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) have multiple police dramas, especially in later episodes like "I Smell a Rat" and "Fresh Blood." This season, too, presents some of life's greatest challenges to Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), as if she hadn't suffered enough after her new love Eggs was shot. Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), as a foil couple to Sookie and Bill's vampire-human coupling, have enormous hurdles to jump over simply to continue dating. While all of these dramas make the characters in Bon Temps come alive like never before, the silliest of the plots continues on, unfortunately, as Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq (Evan Rachel Wood) has to battle King Edgington for Vamp-Blood sales territory. On the up side of that chess-game narrative, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) and his femme fatale, Pam De Beaufort (Kristin Bauer), play much larger roles this season, and in the finale, "Evil Is Going On," Eric not only discovers his deep past history but struggles through his rockiest present dangers thus far.
Interestingly, though Sookie is still the protagonist, True Blood appears to be shifting to a wider view, emphasizing the overall community and the effects supernatural warfare has on Bon Temps collectively. Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), still one of the most charming characters, discovers more about his past, thanks to nurse Jesus Velasquez (Kevin Alejandro), and Jason too discovers a new calling, thanks to Crystal Norris (Lindsay Pulsipher). If anything, this season of past recollections and the realizations of future callings will allow for this excellent series to carry on into infinity, as magical creatures continue to grace this setting enriched with full-fledged characters. Vampires were, as the cast confirms this time around, only the beginning. --Trinie Dalton