The First Taste
Directed by Scott Winant
Written by Alan Ball
Late at night in Merlotte's empty parking lot, the Rattray' savagely beat Sookie, kicking her twisted body with every intent to kill her. When the dog that hangs around the bar approaches, growling, Mack trains a gun on it, but before he can fire a shot, he flies up into the trees, snatched by some unseen force. Moments later, he lands on the ground, his back broken. A shape, moving too fast to see, finishes him off and also kills Denise. Sookie passes out, and when she wakes up with Bill kneeling next to her, she can't feel her legs. Bill slashes his own wrist and instructs her to drink his blood. She hesitates, and he demands, "Do you want to live or not?" She grabs his wrist and gulps deeply.
Jason - under interrogation at the police station for the murder of Maudette Pickens - also receives a rescue of sorts. Bud and Andy show him a sex tape the woman made of her encounter with Jason, and when the action ends with Jason's hands wrapped around her lolling neck, he freaks out and flees the scene, thinking he's killed her. The lens continues to focus on Maudette's limp body ... until she begins to laugh and walks over to turn off the camera. Shocked and relieved at the proof of his innocence, Jason tells the cops about the other tape he saw, featuring Maudette and a tattooed vampire, but it's nowhere to be found. Now that he's free to go, Jason heads over to Dawn's house, where his story strangely manages to earn her sympathy - and some sex. When he wakes up later, though, he's disgusted to notice healing fang marks on her neck.
Sookie wakes up to Bill licking the blood from her forehead. When she asks whether she tastes different from most people, Bill asks her again, "What are you?" She explains how she can hear the thoughts of others, prompting Bill to ask if that includes him, though once she fills him in on the details of her talent, he's sympathetic. "How do you manage a social life," he asks. At the end of this conversation, Sookie realizes all her wounds have healed. Bill walks her to her car, and before leaving, Sookie requests that he speak to her grandmother's Civil War group. He agrees and says asks permission to "call on her." Laughing at his formality, she agrees.
The next morning Sookie, Gran and Tara have breakfast and watch a debate between American Vampire League spokeswoman Nan Flanagan and Fellowship of the Sun leader Rev. Theodore Newlin, who is so incensed by a vampire's presence that he refuses to address his opponent directly. Sookie notices the sausage she's eating tastes "more complex" than usual, her heightened senses a side-effect of the vampire blood in her veins. But when Gran receives a call with the news that the Rattrays' trailer was hit by a freak tornado, Sookie's mood turns dark and she rushes to the scene. Bud and the coroner, Mike Spencer, find her there, and quickly segue from small-talk to questioning her about Bill, searching for a connection between the Rattrays and Maudette. Angry at the men's prejudice toward vampires, Sookie defends Bill, assuring Bud and Mike that he's "not that much different from you and me."
Back at Gran's house that night, Sookie waits with Gran, Jason and Tara for Bill to arrive. Once she grants him an invitation - after a bit of teasing - Bill is able to enter the house and meet the family, though Jason remains a bit hostile. Bill promises Gran he'll speak to the Descendents of the Glorious Dead, but when the Civil War discussion leads to Bill's admission that his father owned slaves, Tara is offended. After Sookie and Bill leave, Tara explains to Jason that she understands he's trying to protect Sookie, even if no on else does. The two connect for a moment - until Jason remembers he has to meet Dawn.
Outside, Bill tentatively answers Sookie's questions about feeding on humans - admitting he drained the Rattrays - and when he mentions his ability to "glamour" or hypnotize people, she goads him into trying it on her. His power has no effect, but Bill remarks that Sookie seems far more comfortable around vampires than most people. "Who am I to be squeamish about something out of the ordinary," she asks, briefly flashing back to her own struggles as a child. Bill leans in, kissing her, then pulls away, his offer to walk her home slipping past extended fangs.
Jason arrives at Dawn's house, where she promptly ties him to the bed. Turned on, he tries to convince her to skip work, but she leaves him bound - and angry - though she promises to be home around midnight. When she arrives at Merlotte's, Tara does a not-so-subtle job of feeling out the waitress's intentions with Jason. Sookie deals with her own invasion of privacy across the bar, when a drunk college kid sticks his hand up her shorts. Before she can even react, Rene has hold of the transgressor, nearly breaking his wrist before the kid apologizes to Sookie. Shaken and irritated, Sookie heads back to the waitress station, where Sam asks her whether it's true that she can't hear Bill's thoughts. "Must be very relaxing," he replies when she answers in the affirmative. When he asks if she can hear his thoughts, she recoils, telling him she'd never listen in on her boss. "You might be surprised what you hear," he tells her. She returns to the bar, where news on the television reports that Rev. Theodore Newlin was killed in a freak auto accident.
After work, Sookie drives over to Bill's house, but the calming atmosphere she's seeking has definitely evaporated. A car in the driveway - carrying a vanity plate that reads "Fangs1" - marks her first clue that something is wrong. Before she can even make it inside, she's surrounded by three evil-looking vampires: A female and two males, one of whom is the tattooed monster from Maudette's sex tape. When Sookie swallows her fear and asks if Bill is home, the female vampire replies: "Maybe."