True Blood (HBO): Season Two Holy War is Unleashed

by JoHarrington

A spoiler-free review of the second season of True Blood. Learn more about the world of vampires living openly in the American South; brace for the backlash against them.

In season one of the HBO television show 'True Blood', we watched as vampires emerged from the shadows to integrate into society. A synthetic blood substitute meant that they no longer had to hide.

Bill Compton became Bon Temps's first blood-sucker out in the open. His love affair with Sookie Stackhouse raised some eyebrows. But more deadly was a human serial killer picking off 'fang bangers', or the women who associated with the Undead.

In season two, the scariest thing of all out there are the religious people. The men and women who will sacrifice lives in the name of their God.

True Blood: The Complete Second Season on DVD

True Blood Exposes the Dark Side of Religion

We expected the villains to be the ones with fangs and blood dripping from their chin. The reality was much more human than that.

Image: Fellowship of the SunThere were moments of real horror in the second season of True Blood.

To my mind, it rendered blasé the tired scenes of vampires lunging for the throat with fangs extended. Those things, no matter how realistically portrayed in shows like this, belong to the realm of fiction. The human inspired cruelties do not.

The sight of happy-clappy Christians preaching genocide with a smile brought goose-bumps to my arms. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, as terms like 'race traitor' were hurled, alongside the exhortation that Jesus wanted you to kill. God above had ordained Holy War against the vampiric spawn of Satan. Not only they, but the humans who sympathized with them, had to die in the glory of the Almighty.

True Blood hit very close to the bone with such things. It reminded you how often preachers and priests appear on the television railing against gay marriage. Some of the speeches appeared almost lifted from the similar fire and brimstone sermons supporting racial segregation in the days of Jim Crow.

In Season Two of True Blood, Christianity suddenly felt very evil. The extremists within it were the real monsters here.  It was left to the more quietly spoken prayers of people like Sookie Stackhouse to redeem the religion, and to remind us that Jesus Christ probably wouldn't have advocated anything like this.

And just in case any Pagans, like myself, felt any modicum of smugness over this portrayal, the second major story arc involved us.  What began as hints of dark witchcraft in the woods exploded into orgies of Bacchanalian proportions.  Sex, violence and sacrifice, all coupled with a very blatant metaphor of brain-washed adherents, hammered the message home.

Religion, at its best, can be family. It can provide a sense of belonging in a world where isolation is rife.  It can produce very clear guidelines for your actions, when society exerts so much pressure to get things right.  But at its worst, religion can harbor deadly intolerance and hatred. It can unleash a murderous mob.

Trailer for True Blood Season 2

Exploring the World of American Vampires

One of the more delicious aspects of the second season of True Blood was glimpsing further into vampire society.

It had all been hinted at in season one, when Eric was introduced as Louisiana's sheriff. There was also a throwaway line about a female who out-ranked him. 

We meet Queen Sophie-Ann in this season. We also travel to Dallas to meet the Texan sheriff there, and to be exposed to a whole region's vampiric administration.

Watch True Blood Season 2 on Amazon Instant Video

We've already seen, in season one, how vampires punish their own miscreants. We've witnessed trials overseen by the Magister, who was trained during the Spanish Inquisition. Now Eric, as Sheriff of Louisiana, demonstrates his horrific approach to humans, who have wronged his vampire community.

The brutality, both implied and open, will sit almost as uncomfortably as the trouble wrought by religion.

It's not just through law and order wherein True Blood reveals more about its vampires. Season two gives us several flashbacks, spanning the centuries, so we discover where Bill and Eric came from.

I cheered at a most unusual aspect here.  Eric is Scandinavian. He was once a Viking warrior. His making did not happen in the American South. It did not even happen in English. Ordinarily shows like this will by-pass details like that by putting it all in English anyway. To me that breaks the fourth wall, though I've become resigned to it over the years.

Not so Eric's making.  It's all in Old Swedish. There aren't even sub-titles. Yet you can piece together with glorious realism what's going on.  I have no Swedish at all, but I stared rapt at that scene and didn't feel like I'd missed a second of the story.

(Bit of trivia:  None of the script-writers have any Swedish either. Whenever it's called for, actor Alexander Skarsgård, who plays Eric, takes the script in English and translates it. He then coaches whoever shares those scenes in their lines too.

Most often that is his right hand woman Pam, from Fangtasia, played by American actress Kristin Bauer van Straten. She doesn't speak Swedish. Alexander records her lines onto a tape. She listens until she can repeat them. When she asked him if her accent was correct, Alexander told her that she speaks Swedish 'like a Russian prostitute'. But that's all in character, so they stuck with it!)

Poster of Eric Northman

The Second Season of True Blood is Very Good

Color me a fan. This is one of the best vampire stories in a very, very long time.

Image: Bill and Sookie in True BloodMy life has been on hold these past couple of days.  I sat and watched twelve episodes of True Blood's second season in two days. As each episode is just short of an hour long, that shows how much this series has a hold of my imagination just now.

Still there were a couple of things which annoyed me about it.  Season two has much more romance in it.  It isn't just about Bill and Sookie anymore. There were people falling in love and pairing off everywhere. Which meant many more scenes with dialogue like, 'I love you!' 'No! I love you more!'

I think I preferred the one night stand sex fests from season one. This was all a little too honey-coated for me. Though if Twilight fans can deal with the sex, violence and cussing, then they might like this aspect of True Blood.

The other thing was that Allan Hyde, who played Godric, seemed too wooden for his immense role. He wasn't in the show a great deal, but his appearances denoted moments of great profundity and emotion. I didn't feel that he carried it off.

Otherwise, True Blood still owns my soul. I'm already watching season three.

More Articles about True Blood on Wizzley

A spoiler-free review of the first season of True Blood. Explore a world where vampires have integrated with society in 21st century USA.
Hosting a vampire themed party to watch True Blood? There are loads of costumes and supplies to bring Bon Temps to your home.
... or, at least, the actors who play them. I know that my jaw gaped, when I learned a few of these. Not to mention a certain amount of delighted cheering.
Updated: 05/15/2013, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 05/04/2013

Yes, I recommend that. Watching True Blood is eating up a lot of my spare time. But in a good way. :)

So Arrested Development is Reddit humour? This is going to be like the time when I finally watched Black Adder, to discover that all of my Uni friends did nothing but quote it. Or when anyone else has watched Withnail and I, then confronted me about my lack of originality...

(*makes a note about American Horror Story*)

Ember on 05/03/2013

I might look it up, but I might wait until I have more time on my hands.

More than one person tried to get me to watch Arrested Development but each time I never seemed to get past the pilot, really. Not sure why. It was when my friend was over and we got a few episodes in that I got hooked. I feel like the humor is really very different to typical sit coms, and the show itself was supposed to be like a "documentary" but not. It really likes to make fun of things, and I think when the writers realized they had a pretty big audience British as well, they decided to poke fun of that too. I also came to realize that there isn't a single original joke on reddit either, xD

(PS- if you haven't seen American Horror Story, that one is really really good too.)

JoHarrington on 05/03/2013

I don't know, I'm not on Netflix. But I recommend it, if it is.

I'm already halfway through watching season three and loving every minute. It sounds like I'll have to look up Arrested Development too. I only know them as a band!

Ember on 05/03/2013

Haha, finished season 2 already? Pfft, it's like when my friend introduced me to arrested development. She watched the first two episodes with me, and the next time she'd over, maybe close to 2 weeks later, I'm nearly finished with season two. She was like "what the heck!?" LOL

But now I've watched all of the current episodes and I'm waiting for next season ;-; and I'm going through the same thing with Breaking Bad, and even though it is out, I can't find the next season of American Horror Story anywhere xD

Is this on Netflix?

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