Why True Blood Bill Is On My Hit List (or “It Hurts Me, Too!”)

Boy, what a difference a week and a different script writer makes….

Ever since the Second Season of True Blood premiered I have been puzzled.  I found myself disliking to the point of disgust a character I actually was fond of in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries.   I  just didn’t understand.

Finally last night I figured out why I hate Bill Compton so much on True Blood

My hatred for him and his self-loathing over his loss of humanity is in direct correlation with how corrupt they make Eric Northman’s character.  At this point in the story (in the books) I was  hoping Sookie WOULD find Bill.  Poor guy, held and tortured by his maker.  But in the series, he is painted so decent, no matter what he does, and Eric so Machiavellian, that I hope with every scene for Bill’s doom.

My hatred for Bill has made me want Eric and Sookie’s relationship to escalate at a much faster rate than it should.  They should have a friendship that is growing slowly, but I want her out of Bill’s clutches.

Instead of me thinking, “Awwww poor Bill, he loves Sookie so much,” I think,” Look how smug he is in his rightousness.”   And then we have the “puss.”

Or the Emo face.

Bill has a constant disregard of authority.  For some reason  he doesn’t have to live by vampire laws.  He threatens Eric at Godric’s party.

He decks Eric right after it is clear that Eric’s maker is going to voluntarily meet the sun.

I await the reveal of the Queen’s edict with such anticipation and evil glee.  I so want Bill to get his.  Funny in the books, I was happy not knowing until the 6th book when it is actually revealed and even then, I felt sorry for Bill.   I want Bill to fall hard off this pedestal that Alan Ball and the writers have put him on.   Do I feel I’m  going a bit far in my wish?   Yes, I do.  But I can’t help myself.

Now,  let’s look how was Bill treated in this episode?  Poor old Bill.  Here we see him in flashback.  Making his way to his house in the 1800’s looking for his family.  Here comes his wife.  Shocked that he’s actually alive.  He’s been gone for 3 years you see.  His son is dead of the pox, daughter sent to Tennessee with relatives and his wife almost crazy with grief.  See Bill cry blood tears over his dead son.

Don’t turn back Bill.  DON’T!  Your wife will see you are no longer human.

Of course he does, she sees the tears and loses it.

Lorena must step in and glamour her to forgetfulness.

Then Bill and Lorena bury his son.  Lorena reminding Bill why she told him to stay away from his family.

By showing us this flashback, the writers have vindicated Bill and excused him from everything he does that night at Russell’s:  declaring his loyalty to the King and the silly but violent twisty rape-like sex he has with Lorena.

It was a totally gratuitous graphic scene, completely unnecessary and many people were horrified by it.  It reminded me of “Death Becomes Her,” so, though I thought it was disgusting, I was more put off by the ridiculousness of it all.    I’m just not sure what the writers were trying to say here, except “see we shocked you.”  That’s not good storytelling.

In fact, I feel much more sorry for Lorena.  She loves him and is willing to subject herself to that kind of violence just to have a little piece of him.  I guess some attention is better than none.   Poor old Bill can’t be held responsible for anything he’s done in the last 140 years though.  It was that evil maker of his.

What did we see of Eric in this episode?  Well, he protected Sookie, took a bullet, killed the werewolf who was there to attack her,  buried the were, and then walked her home to make sure she was safe.

Pretty decent huh?  However, lest we begin to like the Viking,  we are reminded he “tricked” Sookie into sucking out the bullets and, therefore, ingesting a little of his blood (please viewers forget she had gallons of Bill’s blood only weeks before and Bill has fed on her numerous times) and now she’s tied to him (though that will come in handy if she’s in trouble, and at least she acknowledges it).  He mysteriously CAN’T go to Jackson with Sookie.  We could deduce it’s because of this nastiness with the Queen’s V.    There could be other evil things Eric is involved with though, look, he’s giving a very expensive car to Lafayette!

I didn’t like what was suggested during that interaction.   It seemed to me this was more than about selling the Queen’s V.  It hints that Eric is actually selling something else illegal and he wants Laffy to deal it.   Why can’t Lafayette just be his henchman?  Help him get to the were’s and the guy who has been controlling them for centuries.   Does Eric HAVE to be a drug kingpin?  Can’t he just be a savvy businessman?  Maybe I’m just uber sensitive because of what they’ve done to Eric’s character, but something seemed off to me.

I’m disgusted at the way Eric has been written.  He has been manipulated by Queen Sophie Ann,  just as it appears Bill has been, yet somehow what Eric is doing is being portrayed as far worse than what Bill is doing for her.

Alan Ball and the True Blood writers have given Eric the bad end of the stick.  Taking away every heroic thing he’s done and sometimes even giving those things to Bill (the staking of Long Shadow, saving Sookie from the poison she was exposed to from the maenad, gently taking  the glass out of her arm after the FOTS caused her car to go off the road, truly saving her during the FOTS attack, helping/protecting  her at the Bon Temp orgy).  They demonize the things he does do: the aforementioned bullet sucking; banging Yvetta in the Dungeon of Doom;  they are even hinting that he MIGHT have kidnapped Bill if given the chance.  Evil, evil, horrible Eric, but Bill?  Hey, what a good guy!

I was floored at the coming attractions for episode 4!  I know the previews are edited deceptively, but Bill wants to KILL Eric?  For what reason?  He’s attracted to Sookie?  That’s just wrong.  Do Alan Ball and the writers expect us to excuse this behavior because all poor Bill wants is to be human again?  Hogwash!

My enjoyment of Bill Compton and Eric Northman  in Harris’ books was, in part, because they had to work together and didn’t particularly like each other.  They had a healthy respect for each other and the woman they were both competing for.  It endeared me to them both, but when I watch True Blood I am cheated of that pleasure and I see no logical reason behind it.

Thanks to http://fractured-simplicity.net/daydreaming/ for the screen caps.


6 Responses to “Why True Blood Bill Is On My Hit List (or “It Hurts Me, Too!”)”

  1. June 29, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Ok, time for some posting! Although I totally agree with your points against show Bill, I have to say I got the impression they are starting to redeem Eric in the show. They are finally starting to show a gentler side of Mr. Viking, you know? Actually, even though they do show him giving away the car (well, selling it for 1 buck) to Laff, I did not get the impression they are demonising him even further. As a matter of fact, if someone caused me discust, during the whole episode, that someone was Bill Compton.
    In my opinion, what the writers team is trying to accomplish now (and do not yell at me, Kathy, it’s just an idea) is to start slowly demolishing Mr. Compton’s pedestal. If you look at it carefully, unlike the books, Eric did not tell Sookie about how possible it is that Bill left her and about Lorena and whatnot (k, it’s still early in the season, but anyway) and he agreed to help her, cuz, you know, give the guy a break, he wants Sookie and he is starting to show signs of that interest, like really.
    On the other hand, you say u see that they are making Eric look worse than he actually is on the books… Idk… I have to disagree… First to books, right until the pink spandex scene (hehe) or even after that, I absolutely loathed this character. It was in Club Dead that I started falling for him, and of course, totally lost my mind for him in book 4. So, it’s only fair that A. Ball and his team are making him look like a douchebag, that’s the impression u get when u first meet him. And, after all, now is the time to see all his many wrongs. Unlike Bill, who can’t go any higher, we got no expectations for scumbag Eric, so whenever he does something nice, it;s only natural that we appreciate it the double. And, on the contrary, Bill is so high up in his pedestal with the stick up his #%#$, that the moment he starts doing things wrongly, we r gonna hate him the most. Or at least that is what I hope will happen. You know… Mr Ball has a tendency to disappoint me, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the season ended up with Sookie marrying Bill, EWWWW! After all “the show is something totally different from the books,” right?

    • June 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm

      While I do agree they’re starting to redeem Eric, I wonder how long this redemption will continue. No matter how bad they make Bill, they make excuses for him.

      Eric didn’t tell Sookie it was possible Bill had left her for good because the situation is totally different. In the book, Bill willingly went to Lorena (she definitely could have been threatening Sookie, though, as far as we know, she merely commanded Bill return to her and he did). This put Eric in a situation. He had to find Bill before the Queen knew he was missing. Eric knew Bill was doing something for her and would have been in danger if it had come out he had misplaced Bill. There was no indication, at that time, that Eric knew about the edict. He just knew Bill was working on something for the Queen. On the show, the Queen told Eric to let Bill rot, so he’s not going to be looking for Bill, to protect himself, Pam, or his area.

      Also on the show, Eric brought Lorena into the picture (to, by his admission, take Bill out of the picture so that he could get to Sookie). Sookie wouldn’t have been on her radar (probably) had it not been for Eric. The Russell told Bill had it not been for Lorena suggesting him, the King would not have procured him and remember RE said Lorena wanted Bill to watch as she killed Sookie.

      This whole situation, therefore, is Eric’s fault. We also have been told that Eric was planning to kidnap Bill himself. We know, that though Eric is starting to care for Sookie, his interest in the werewolves comes from a wrong done to him centuries ago. They’ve said over and over again, Eric is about vengeance for an ancient wrong this season.

      Laffy and the car. There is something off there Claudia, unless it was just clunky writing, and it could be. It just seemed the the car was for something beyond selling off all the Queen’s V. It seemed to me like Eric was trying to persuade Laffy to sell something equally illegal. I don’t like Eric doing illegal things to get money. Eric in the book, I’m sure, has other interests, but CH has never given me the impression they are illegal. Eric is a sheriff, for Goddess’ sake, CH has portrayed him as an astute businessman.

      Perhaps I’m over reacting because I do believe AB will continue to bring Bill and Sookie back together, continue to find ways to forgive Bill of every wrong. I’m waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under us where Eric is concerned. Eric is becoming too popular with the audience to suit Alan, who still refers to Bill and Sookie as “the main couple.”

      What AB keeps doing on the show, as one of my favorite bloggers, Sookieverseblog said of the flashback yesterday:

      “I felt like Alan Ball was holding my face and saying YOU WILL FEEL BAD.
      And it just made me resist Bill’s character even more.”

  2. 3 walgigi
    July 3, 2010 at 1:23 am

    I’m so glad you wrote this post Kathy!! I almost felt that people prefer to ignore the devious way that AB is also portraying Eric (you know how mad I am about it!). And very few persons have the courage to called it by it’s name as you did here. Thanks for this excellent post!!


  3. July 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    My enjoyment of Bill Compton and Eric Northman in Harris’ books was, in part, because they had to work together and didn’t particularly like each other. They had a healthy respect for each other and the woman they were both competing for. It endeared me to them both, but when I watch True Blood I am cheated of that pleasure and I see no logical reason behind it.

    Like you, what I enjoyed about Bill and Eric’s “frenemy” relationship in the books was that yes, they hated eachothers guts – but they were always able to put that aside when it suited their purposes to do so. And that sort of self serving approach fits perfectly with what you’d expect from a vampire. I am not at all happy with the way TB seems to be setting them up to be arch enemies. It’s so very soap opera.

    I’m going to repeat my mantra again, and I know you’re all sick to death of it prolly, but…


    What makes Bill and Eric’s relationship so complex and interesting in the books is that fact that we know they hate each other but we also know that if the shit hits the fan, they are bound by two things to help each other out: duty (something which doesn’t seem to exist on any level of TB), and Sookie.

    I’m disgusted at the way Eric has been written. He has been manipulated by Queen Sophie Ann, just as it appears Bill has been, yet somehow what Eric is doing is being portrayed as far worse than what Bill is doing for her.

    I’m feeling a total shit fit incoming about this, I posted about it on the forum but I’ll paste it here….

    Book Bill, even after he fell in love with Sookie, never did a damn thing to protect her from Sophie Anne. NOTHING.

    One of the biggest reasons I’m all about Eric, and I’ve said it alot on the blog, is because Eric is the one who has had the BRASS BALLS to stick his neck out – repeatedly – to keep his higher ups away from her.

    Bill was sent to secure Sookie under orders….that’s the big excuse that’s always trotted out for his betrayal. Yet Bill never did anything, ever to so much as warn Sookie about Sophie Anne. In fact, he made it pretty clear through his inaction that while he may have loved Sookie, he didn’t love her ENOUGH to even give her a clue so that she could try to save her OWN ass. And he certainly did nothing in her defence that would have put him in head to head conflict with his Queen.

    Yet Eric has put Sookie’s interests ahead of his higher ups twice. When he found out about Bill and Sophie-Anne’s arrangement and forced Bill to tell her – Sophie Anne was still in power then, even though she’d basically kicked Bill to the kerb for being useless as far as the “mission” went. And later, Eric took on Felipe de Castro and Victor with the pledge – which was the vampire equivalent of a total cock-block. He knew there would be consequences for that, and those consequences are continuing to fall upon his head. This action brought him into direct conflict with the new regime. He knew it would, but HE DID ANYWAY.

    While TB is not this far into the storyline yet, I’m not happy about Bill trying to take on RE in defence of Sookie either. Regardless of the outcome (which, let’s face it will be complete fail), book Bill would never in a million years have stood up to his King over Sookie like that.

    I’m trying very hard to remain optimistic about this season but the last episode really threw me for a loop.

    TB is on notice with me this season, and if by the end of season 3 I don’t see some true semblance of the book dynamic between Eric, Bill and Sookie I’ll be done. *sulks*

    • July 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      I feel the same way SVB. This is it for me. If they fuck up this season what the hell are they going to do to our beloved “4?” My blood pressure won’t be able to take it. I’ll just be screaming at the TV for an hour each week and, on top of totally messing with the story, I fear they will make Eric bald. I KNOW you and I won’t be able to take that! LOL!

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