It seems like just last week that ‘True Blood’s‘ third season began. Yet, here we are, a little over a week away from the finale. Twelve episodes is far too few for the show that combines graphic sex and violence with trenchant social commentary and whacked out humor. Since HBO is torturing viewers in a style that the Magister would appreciate, there will not be a new episode this weekend. To keep you satiated until September 12, here is a look back at the most memorable moments of the season.
10. Sookie Gives Alcide A Sponge Bath (Episode 304: 9 Crimes)
There are a lot of gorgeous shirtless men on ‘True Blood,’ but nobody makes an impression like Alcide, the 6’5″ werewolf played by Joe Manganiello. Viewers first saw him in all his glory in the fourth episode, when Sookie (Anna Paquin) gave him a lengthy and completely gratuitous sponge bath. They were having a serious talk about how Debbie left him and started using V, but who cares? The abs were so clearly defined they looked animated. Alcide’s chemistry with Sookie was immediate. Fans began questioning their loyalty to the Sookie-Bill pairing. The abs demanded their own trailer and a raise.
9. Sookie Is A Fairy (Episode 310: I Smell A Rat)
Sookie’s identity has been the subject of much speculation since the series began. She always thought herself as human even though she could read minds. Sure, every now and then powerful rays of light would shoot out of her hands, but, hey, it happens. Then she had a strange dream that looked like a shampoo commercial in which a mysterious woman named Claudine hinted that she was more than human. Bill (Stephen Moyer) learned the truth in a similar dream sequence. He broke the news to Sookie in a mundane conversation: she’s half fairy. It was her response that made it memorable: “That’s f—ing lame.”
8. Debbie Pelt Is Initiated Into The Wolf Pack (Episode 304: 9 Crimes)
It turns out that joining a pack of vampire blood-addicted werewolves involves an initiation that’s worse than any gang’s. When Debbie Pelt took the stage at Lou Pine’s, she drank a shot of Russell’s blood. Then she was stripped and branded as a crowd cheered. That was horrifying enough. Then her boyfriend Cooter shapeshifted into a wolf and licked her. For a moment, it appeared ‘True Blood’ was about to break the beastiality taboo. Fortunately, the camera cut away as the scene devolved into a wolf orgy.
7. Franklin Sends A Text Message (Episode 305: Trouble)
Texting, that most modern form of communication, does not seem like something that would be an area of expertise for a centuries old vampire. Franklin (James Frain) proved that he had skills to rival a tween when he used his super vampire speed to text Lafayette from Tara’s phone while she was tied to a bed. Convinced that his magic fingers would somehow make Tara fall in love with him, he speed texted again and again, saying “Watch how fast I type motherf*cker. It’s cool right?” Yes, Franklin, it was indeed.
6. Bill Twists Lorena’s Head 180 Degrees While They Have Sex (Episode 303: It Hurts Me Too)
Bill’s quest to protect Sookie took some strange turns this season. First, he had to pretend to change his allegiance from Sophie Anne to Russell. Then, his maker Lorena decided to force him to take his ruse to the next level, by coming on to him. It was shocking enough that Bill would sleep with someone other than Sookie, even if it was under extreme duress. But that was just the beginning. In a scene that the show’s creator Alan Ball termed “vampire hate sex,” an angry Bill twisted Lorena’s head 180 degrees as they made the beast with two backs. It was gruesome, and more than a little bit hot.
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5. Russell Marries Sophie Ann and Kills The Magister (Episode 307: Hitting the Ground)
Forget the bride tossing her bouquet. At Russell (Denis O’Hare) and Sophie Ann’s loveless wedding, it was the officiant’s head that flew through the air. Russell and the Queen of Louisiana decided to marry for strategic purposes. The Magister objected. But Russell, on the warpath against the Authority, tortured him until he agreed to perform the wedding. So commenced the least romantic wedding in television history. After the vows, when the Magister claimed the Authority would not recognize the marriage, Russell chopped off the Magister’s head with his own silver tipped cane.
4. Bill Attacks Sookie (Episode 307: Hitting the Ground)
Bill swore that he would do whatever it takes to protect Sookie. This scene turned that dynamic on his head. After enduring Lorena’s torture he was near death. Sookie, desperate to save him offered him the only thing that she had: herself. She cut her arm and let him drink from her. Her noble gesture had dark consequences. Bill could not control himself. He attacked Sookie, draining her until she lost consciousness. The dynamic of their relationship was forever changed. Sookie knows Bill can hurt her, and Bill knows he is capable of killing the woman he loves.
3. Eric Sleeps With Talbot – Then Kills Him (Episode 308: Night on the Sun)
Eric has slept with every vampire stripper at his club. He’s had numerous steamy fantasies about Sookie. But nobody realized just how fluid his sexuality was — or how far he would go to get revenge. When Eric witnessed a spat between Russell and Talbot he offered to be Talbot’s new lover. They had one of the steamiest gay trysts in television history. That was shocking enough. But the scene became a water cooler moment when Eric used the logistics of the situation to stake Talbot, killing the one person that Russell ever loved.
2. Eric Burns Himself Alive To Kill Russell (Episode 311: Fresh Blood)
In the penultimate episode of the season, we found out just how far Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) is willing to go to stop Russell — and protect Sookie. After learning that Bill was able to briefly daywalk after ingesting Sookie’s blood, he persuaded Russell to try it, and volunteered to be the guinea pig. They drank from a tied up Sookie, nearly killing her. Then Eric walked outside into the sunlight. As Russell watched the scene unfold via a security camera, Eric appeared to be having a great time. In fact, his skin quickly started to burn. When Russell joined him, Eric quickly handcuffed him. The king realized the terrible truth: Eric was sacrificing his own life to take his. Together, the two vampires were going to burn to death.
1. Russell’s TV News Meltdown (Episode 309: Everything is Broken)
This is the scene that you, or someone you know, quoted on Facebook. Despondent after Eric killed his lover of 700 years, Talbot, Russell did what any grieving widower would do: scooped his remains into a glass jar, forced his way onto a cable news set, removed the anchor’s spine, then went on an epic rant that outdid Glen Beck at his looniest: “The American Vampire League would like to perpetuate the notion that we are just like you. I suppose in a few small ways we are. We’re narcissists. We care about getting what we want no matter what the cost, just like you: global warming, perpetual war, child labor, torture, genocide. That’s a small price to pay for your SUVs and your flat screen TVs, your blood diamonds, your designer jeans, your garish McMansions.” Admit it: you would watch CNN more often if Russell were an anchor.
Did we miss any? What were your favorite moments of the season?