The Best of 'True Blood': The Darkest, Sexiest Moments From Bon Temps and Beyond - Rolling Stone
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The Best of ‘True Blood’: The Darkest, Sexiest Moments From Bon Temps and Beyond

True Blood Moments

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Five seasons later, the great thing about True Blood remains the show's ability to combine campy fun, social commentary and a who's who of the supernatural world into one deliciously good time. The best moments are the ones that combine all three elements – from meeting Eric Northman to Tara's entrance in Season Five. Here's to the best of True Blood

By Erica Futterman and Sarene Leeds

Meeting Eric - Season 1, Ep 4

Courtesy of HBO

Meeting Eric Northman (Season 1, Episode 4)

True Blood's love triangle was a go from the second we saw Eric skulking in his throne at Fangtasia the night Bill first brought Sookie to meet the sheriff of Area Five. As compared to Bill's relatively innocuous entrance into Merlotte's in the pilot, Eric's debut defined everything about his character: the power he held, the reverence he demanded of everyone around him and the shameless sex he exuded (of course, we'd later learn that Bill's entrance that night was a total ruse, but that's besides the point). There would only be a few major cracks in Eric's facade: when his maker, Godric, met the sun in season two and in season four, when he suffered amnesia brought on by a witch's curse. Even though Eric retained some of the curse-induced tenderness after the spell was lifted, he was never far away from the leader we saw in Season One. 

Gran’s death - Season 1, Ep 5

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Gran’s Death (Season 1, Episode 5)

Sookie's indisputable rock was her "Gran," Adele Stackhouse, who had raised Sookie and her brother, Jason, since their parents' death when the two were kids. Gran had a strong will and an undeniable Southern charm, and was fiercely protective of her granddaughter. So it was all the more heartbreaking when she was murdered in her kitchen midway through Season One. Though Gran's memory served as a kind of inner moral compass for Sookie in the episodes that would follow, one has to wonder how much Sookie's life would have changed if her grandmother had remained alive. Gran did reappear at the end of Season Four to offer guidance, when her spirit called for the witch Marnie to return to the grave. Despite Sookie's pleas for her to stay, Adele remained steadfast and told Sookie that she knew in her heart what to do – a vote of confidence that helped Sookie resolve her Eric and Bill drama (for the time being, at least).

Sookie and Bill’s first time - Season 1, Ep 6

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Sookie and Bill’s First Night Together (Season 1, Episode 6)

Sookie maintained the original reason she was attracted to Bill was that she couldn't hear his thoughts – it was hearing the thoughts of other potential suitors that had severely limited her romantic options. When they finally slept together, the moment was more significant than just the fact they had sex: Sookie was officially set on a path that would lead her towards further involvement with vampires, and then the larger community of supernatural beings (of which she herself would learn she was one). She was also officially on a path towards heartbreak, as she would come to learn in a soap opera-standard plot during season three that Bill's initial reason for interacting with Sookie was an assignment for Louisiana's vampire queen who had learned of Sookie's powers from Sookie's cousin (also the queen's lover).

Jason’s V dream with Amy - Season 1, Ep 9

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Jason and Amy’s V Dream (Season 1, Episode 9)

Amy (the excellent Lizzy Caplan) was a free spirit that happened to be addicted to V and attracted to Jason. When the two of them had a joint V trip, it was the first time we saw the wonders of what such a thing could entail. Vaguely hippie, full of lush green surroundings and an airy, magical quality, it was the aftermath of the trip – ultimately killing their vampire blood "donor" at Amy's demand – that set the tone for the consequences of V that would continue to play a role in the series, and also the moment that reminded viewers of Alan Ball's multilayered treatment of True Blood. Beneath the campy fun, there's always a darker reality.

Godric’s death - Season 2, Ep 9

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Godric’s Death (Season 2, Episode 9)

Eric had been all badass and no heart, until his maker showed up. Godric was a 2,000-year-old vampire who had spent much of his immortal life hating humans and enacting violence upon them . . . until he experienced a change of heart and sought to repent for his ways by offering himself as a sacrifice to the Fellowship of the Sun. Godric's plan went awry when Eric intervened, but Godric still chose to "meet the sun" with hopes his sacrifice would set an example for peace amongst the species. Despite an intimidating start, Godric's compassion at the end of his life made his death one of the most upsetting moments to date, and his arc on the show was a testament to the range and depth a vampire's life could have. Like Gran for Sookie, Godric would serve as Eric's moral compass in later episodes, both encouraging him not to commit suicide while captured by Russell in Season Three and egging him on to drink Sookie's blood in a dream state in Season Four.

Sookie Unleashes the Power within - Season 2, Ep 10

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Sookie Unleashes the Power Within (Season 2, Episode 10)

Everyone knew there was Something About Sookie: we'd heard her hearing other people's thoughts since the pilot and she had managed to gain the attraction of two very powerful vampires without seemingly any effort whatsoever. But it wasn't until the very end of Season Two that we got a glimpse that there was actually something there. Something in her blood, that is: Fairy blood. It was Maryann who first realized what Sookie was: as Maryann approached the height of her maenad power over Bon Temps and the two got into a conflict, light shot from Sookie's hands as she pushed Maryann off of her. The behavior would only expand in its influence as the seasons progressed – after taking a year off to recoup with her fairy godmother, Sookie returned to Bon Temps in season four to encounter an amnesia-riddled Eric (suffering due to Marnie's spell). Despite the many witch and vampire attempts to break the curse, it would be Sookie's fairy power that would emit the light that would shock Eric and shake off the curse during the witch/vampire showdown at the end of the season. The best part: Sookie still doesn't know the full extent of her powers. And neither do we.

Sam Kills Maryann - Season 2, Ep 12

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Sam Kills Maryann (Season 2, Episode 12)

The villain of season two was the maenad Maryann, who had come to Bon Temps after being romantically burned by Sam. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, indeed: maenad literally means "raving one" and this Greek creature lashed Sookie; cast a spell over the locals that turned their eyes black and forced them into raucous, orgy-filled parties; and threatened Tara's wellbeing all in the name of seeking revenge on Sam. The shifter's nobility gave way to his animal instinct when he ultimately realized it had to be him that killed Maryann. This inner conflict – just one of many faced by the show's supernaturals – would come into play when his parents and shifter brother reappeared, and again when Sam fell in love with a fellow shifter whose ex happened to be the leader of the local wolfpack.

Eric Stakes Talbot - Season 3, Ep 8

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Eric Stakes Talbot (Season 3, Episode 8)

Sure it's one of True Blood's more gruesome, twisted scenes (the image of Eric literally stabbing Talbot through the back mid-coitus stayed long after the episode ended) – but this moment also reinforces the longstanding and intricate relationships centuries-old vampires create. Talbot, the King's lover and progeny, was merely a pawn in Eric's plot for revenge; the King had killed Eric's family 2,000 years ago. It's easy to exact the perfect revenge when you're immortal, but karma's a bitch: we would come to learn Eric's move to bring the feud to present day didn't exactly tie things up with a bow, since Russell's back with a vengeance.

Eric tries to kill Bill - season 4, ep 9

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Bill Tries to Kill Eric (Season 3, Episode 12), Eric Tries to Kill Bill (Season 4, Episode 9)

"All's fair in love and war" came to define the power struggle between the show's primary vampires, which was further complicated by their shared love of Sookie. Bill got the girl, while Eric got the power – until the end of Season Three. While on a mission for the queen to kill the king of Mississippi, Bill saw his opportunity to exact revenge on Eric, and shoved his sheriff into the cement-filled construction site after the king. Eric then got his revenge in two parts: first, by surviving and revealing to Sookie that Bill had been employed by the vampire queen of Louisiana all along, despite his claims of genuinely loving her, and second by unintentionally attempting to kill Bill at the end of Season Four (unintentionally only because he was under Marnie's curse). When season five started, the two were united because neither had the power nor the girl – and it's only a matter of time before that changes again.

Lafayette’s Power is Revealed - Season 4, Ep 6

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Lafayette’s Power Is Revealed (Season 4, Episode 6)

The human population of Bon Temps lost another member midway through Season Four when Jesus' grandfather used his witch power to detect "the magic" in Lafayette. More specifically, Lafayette is a medium. And for once, the sassy cook wasn't able to escape what was going on around him. Like Sookie, he still hasn't figured out how to harness his powers – he's at the mercy of those whose spirits he possesses (Marnie, Jesus' uncle) more often than not. But the revelation that Lafayette had this within him all along means there's likely other undiscovered magic lurking in Bon Temps.

Tommy as Maxine Fortenberry - Season 4, ep 8

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Tommy Shifts Into Maxine Fortenberry (Season 4, Episode 8)

There weren't very many likable things about Sam's conniving younger brother – it was even hard to feel pity for Tommy even though his poor-as-dirt parents forced him to shift into a dog so they could enter him into dog fights (and thus financially benefit from his wins). Sam was the one who always dug him out of trouble – until he, too, had enough and Hoyt's overbearing mother, Maxine, took the lead. It seemed like things were on the upswing for Tommy until he simultaneously shifted into a skinwalker (by accidentally killing his mother) and let his old ways get the best of him. The sight of the generally unpleasant Tommy struggling to handle Maxine's large lady ways as he skinwalked as her to con a salesman was one of the lighter moments of Season Four. Maxine didn't hold the moment against him, though, and was the only person besides Sam to show at Tommy's funeral when the younger Mickens boy met his end after getting into a brawl with werewolves while skinwalking as Sam.

Sookie’s Fever Dream with Bill and Eric - season 4 ep 9

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Sookie’s Fever Dream with Bill and Eric (Season 4, Episode 9)

The Bill-Eric-Sookie love triangle finally came to a head near the end of Season Four: Sookie had had time to both process Bill’s betrayal and realize she still loved him, and also realize her love for Eric now that he was a defenseless, curse-addled vampire. Her subconscious dealt with this the only way that made sense: a Sixties-style vaguely Mad Men-influenced dream in which she declared her love for the two vampires, and wondered why she couldn’t, in fact, have them both? So she did. And then she didn’t, because by season’s end, she had decided she couldn’t have either because her love for them both was so strong. It was fun while it lasted, though!

Jessica and Jason hook up - Season 4, ep 9

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Jessica and Jason Hook Up (Season 4, Episode 9)

It was a turning point for both characters when Jason and Jessica finally hooked up in the back of his truck after weeks of sexual tension: Jason had, to this point, been known for his good heart and penchant for attachment-free sex. His attempts to turn his relationship with Crystal into something more led to his being kidnapped, forcibly made a part of a mating ritual and possibly turned into a were panther (though his worries were abated when he didn't shift at the next full moon), so he didn't exactly have the best romantic track record. But now he's stuck in an even worse dilemma: it seems like Jason is, in fact, falling in love with his best friend's ex-girlfriend, who is also his sister's ex-boyfriend's vampire progeny. Meanwhile, Jessica, who was turned into a vampire at the age of 17 against her will (as Bill's penance for staking Fangtasia employee Longshadow), has been struggling with her now permanent-teen emotions and her newfound vampire hypersensitivity, and all she wants after ending her old-married-couple relationship with Hoyt is to have some fun. It's a match so wrong it's right – and one that undoubtedly will challenge both characters.

Tara turning into a vampire (season 5 premiere)

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Tara Turns (Season 5, Episode 1)

To say Sookie's best friend had it pretty rough is an understatement: alcoholic mom tried to exorcise her, crazy overbearing vampire boyfriend tried to make her his bride, one true love was killed after a vengeful maenad took over the town . . . the list goes on and on. So when season four started, Tara was adament about starting anew – a plan that, naturally, went awry when she came back to Bon Temps against her better judgement and got swept up in Marnie's coven. But it was shewolf Debbie Pelt who would ultimately give Tara her biggest hardship to date: the mortal wound that caused Sookie and Lafayette to make the decision to turn Tara immortal. At the beginning of Season Five, Tara was not only turned into very thing she hates most in the world, but she's now directly related to the one vampire she hates most – Eric, by way of her maker and his progeny, Pam. To see how Tara channels her sarcastic, fiercely loyal nature into being a vampire will be one of Season Five's best rides.

true blood moments

John P. Johnson

Russell Stakes Roman (Season 5, Episode 6)

Guardian Roman Zimojic's True Death was a major turning point for Season Five because it ushered in the Sanguinistas' Authority coup and a new, bloodthirstier vampire era. It also marked the welcome return of Russell Edgington as True Blood's most deliciously diabolical vampire, who fiercely called bullshit on Roman's stringent mainstreaming regime ("Peace is for pussies!"). But Roman's death was the most shocking because it came so soon after much-anticipated cast addition Christopher Meloni made his first appearance as a series regular. His story arc wound up lasting only a total of five episodes, proving once again that no character, however powerful, is safe on True Blood.

true blood moments

John P. Johnson

The Vampires Drink Lilith’s Blood (Season 5, Episode 7)

With mainstreamers no longer standing in their way, Sanguinist Authority chancellors Nora and Salomé implore the remaining vampires under their jurisdiction to sample the blood of Lilith in a pseudo-religious service. What follows is a bizarre acid trip through New Orleans' Bourbon Street that culminates in a naked Lilith manifesting herself as the vamps devour a bunch of karaoke-ing engagement-party attendees. While the vampire goddess compels Bill, Nora, Salomé, Kibwe, Steve, Russell, Rosalyn and Nigel to continue draining the bodies, Eric is visited by another spirit: his maker Godric. Godric positions his progeny as the potential savior of civilization by beseeching him not to succumb to Lilith's commands.

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