"True Blood" Season 3 Premiere Rapid Reaction

First things first: last night's season premiere of "True Blood" had one of the longest "previously on" segments I'd ever seen and did very little to change my feelings on the disappointing Season 2. And while the ensuing hour was itself uneven at times, it eventually made me feel more optimistic toward Season 3.

"Bad Blood" picked up right where Season 2's finale left off, and for long portions of the hour seemed more like an epilogue to Season 2 than a beginning of Season 3. More frustratingly, there were so many characters in some many different places, both physically and plot-wise. Sookie is looking for Vampire Bill, Bill's off in Mississippi having escaped from his kidnappers, Eric and Sophie-Anne are dealing with the fallout from their selling of V, Tara's still mourning the death of Eggs -- which Jason is still trying to cover up, poorly -- Jessica is confused about what to do with the guy she just killed and Sam's still on his quest to find his birth family. That's a lot to take in, but to be fair, "True Blood" has always asked a lot of its viewership.

There were two stories that did nothing for me last night: Sam's and Tara's. Sam's quest is off to a slow start, so I'll let that slide, plus his dream about Bill was just off-putting enough to be great (especially once it was revealed to be a dream). Tara on the other hand is quite possibly the most annoying character on television, and her entire storyline just drags the whole show down.

Also, I feel like Jason and Andy are just needlessly complicating things for themselves (and I'm not sure why Jason's guilt is manifesting in sexual inadequacy, but I'll give the writers a pass on that one, since it did lead to some girl-on-girl action).

Otherwise, I actually really liked many of the developments last night. Sookie was seriously concerned about Bill's well-being, but rather than jump to her rescue (like many characters would have done on less ambitious shows), the people around basically told her that Bill could handle himself, and that they had bigger things to worry about. In particular, Eric and the Queen weren't concerned about Bill because of Bill, but because he's the only one who could blow the whistle on them. Also, since I'm on the topic of Sophie-Anne (aka the Queen), I should mention that I thought Evan Rachel Wood did a much better job in this episode than in her previous appearances. I thought she conveyed the vicious streak of the character much better than before.

I'm also really enjoying Jessica (played by Deborah Ann Woll). I know some fans of the show just want her to "grow up", but I find her immaturity and confusion enjoyable. It's not like she just instantly knows how to be a vampire, and she's just as lost without Bill as Sookie is, but in a different way. She's just a fun character, and her and Sookie working together should be entertaining.

As for the star of the episode, well, there's no doubt in my mind that it was Pam, Eric's assistant played by Kristin Bauer. It'd be one thing if she was just smokin' hot, which she is, but she easily had the best lines of the episode. I love how she just has no time for anyone else's shenanigans, and how she wouldn't take Lafayette's shit at all. She wasn't around much last season, but hopefully she'll be a bigger factor in Season 3.

Of course, the person connecting all of these stories is Bill, who at the end of the episode encounters a werewolf (shortly after Jessica and Sookie found a dead body with a rune connected to "Operation Werwolf"). This serves as an obvious way to connect Sam's story to Bill's (which is connected to Eric's), and it's nice to see these pieces falling into place early, as opposed to last season, where there was so much disconnect that it became hard to follow (plus, the Maryanne storyline just got stupid). It looks like this season will be more clear about its intertwining plots early on, which can only serve to make the show better.