True Blood: If you love something, set it free…

Jess here, taking a look at the Bill-Eric-Sookie love triangle after these past two episodes.

Holy True Blood, batman. Two episodes have flown by–one without a dedicated blog post, sorry about that folks, beach got the best of me last week–packed with drama. Every week you can say, “Man, it’s getting good now!” and then when you think about it, you realize it’s just been getting better.

There’s a lot you can learn from True Blood. For instance, gators love marshmallows – which helps when you’re throwing dead bodies into the swamp (Tommy and Sam, looking at you). If you’re a werewolf, and you don’t register with the local pack when you move to a new place, the master werewolf comes to cajole you into joining (which happens to Alcide, and Debbie). Drugs are bad (Andy, lay off the V, would you please?). And, most importantly, we have learned that there is good in everyone, and power is often the root cause of the evil in everyone.

The Bill Compton versus Eric Northman feud has been, up to this season, a fairly even match of good versus evil in competition for Sookie’s affection. In fact, I’d say that Bill often had the upper hand. We learned about the sordid details of his past much more slowly than we learned about Eric’s, and I can’t imagine that’s an accident. Bill Compton, genteel southern gentleman, a distraught Civil War soldier fooled by a lonely southern woman offering shelter to lost soldiers – a thirsty vampire in disguise. We saw him as the victim, one who carried on with his unchosen, irreversible future by fighting the impulse to feed on humans and maintaining a grip on the human compassion he no longer feels naturally. It’s a theme we see in many vampire books, movies, and television shows: finding a balance between your new monstrous nature and being human.

On the other hand, there was Eric Northman, viking. Vikings have a reputation that precedes them, and Eric perpetuates this reputation upon the death of his father. Killed by werewolves, Eric’s father declares before his dying breath that Eric is now king, and must avenge the death of his family. Eric is soon wounded in battle, and, facing death himself, urges his viking comrades to leave him be. This is where he meets Godric, his maker. Promised with the gift of life, Eric willingly meets his vampire destiny and greets his everlasting life with gusto. A bit too much gusto, perhaps, because his taste for human blood gets the better of him (although we should give him credit for his loyalty to his Progeny Pam).

Two men, so many differences, and one thing (thirst for blood aside) in common: Sookie.

After three seasons of the on-again, off-again, almost-engaged-but-then-derailed Bill and Sookie relationship, this season is finally taking to task the attraction between Sookie and Eric. Bill has always been fueled by jealousy over this attraction, and intimidated by Eric’s unabashed advances toward Sookie. The difference now is that he’s in a position where he can do something about it that’s more effective than merely shoving Eric into wet cement.

The true death is the only thing that will eliminate Eric from the picture, and with the Wiccan intervention, Bill found a way to put Eric in the path of danger. But, like all calculated plots in this show, something backfired. The Wiccan’s spell over Eric erased all the ill will he had. He’s repented for the sins of his past lives. And there’s the rub – I thought that once he learned about who he once was, he would snap out of it. Perhaps try to rebuild that life. But in this new start, the only thing that his remained true is his obsession with Sookie. Except this time, it’s in the form of a tender, innocent passion.

While Bill now has another chance to off Eric, he’s now doing it after Sookie has had a chance to experience Eric. Had he been able to remove Eric from the picture before, he would have saved his own reputation with her, and possibly lived happily ever after. We can’t feel too much pity for Bill, especially since he’s taking the approach of the scorned lover bitter than his ex has moved on. Although the power may be going to Bill’s head, it hasn’t halted his compassion, which leads him to see that Eric’s memory loss has turned him for the better. With a few tortured glances, Bill’s stake hovers over Eric’s heart for mere seconds before he lets him walk. Eric returns to Sookie. And then they consummate their relationship under a full moon in  the woods. Which is a bit more romantic/hot/sexy than the floor of Bill’s rundown mansion, wouldn’t you say?

If this were to launch into a full-blown Bill versus Eric rant, I’d be writing until the next episode. Eric fans have been dying for this episode, the chance to say, “See! I was right!”. Bill fans have dreaded it, but can still find solace in Bill’s actions, a hopeless romanticism that this tortured lover will not suffer for long. The tables have turned, and it really just makes for great TV.

I see the Bill versus Eric as the grown-up Edward versus Jacob debate (except no one will laugh at you for watching True Blood. Win! And Sookie isn’t annoying like Bella. Double win!). But, like the Edward/Jacob debate, I’m torn and cannot seem to choose a side. Does Bill see something in Eric– and innocence, a rebirth– that he wishes he could offer Sookie? Does the potential for Sookie to find happiness (even if it’s not with Bill himself) lead him to release Eric? Or does his newfound position of power prohibit him from reverting to the kind Bill Compton we once knew? I’m sure his true motives will be revealed. As they say, if you love something, set it free…if Sookie was truly his, she’ll go back to him. The question is—do you want her to?

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