11:31am PT by Jethro Nededog
'True Blood' EP Defends Bill: 'He was Sookie's First Love'
In many ways, the last episode of HBO’s True Blood made some pivotal plot turns. At the top of that list of developments includes the return of Eric’s (Alexander Skarsgard) memory and what that means for the love triangle involving Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer).
“It felt like a good time because Sookie and Eric have gotten as close as… well, probably as they can get in this short period of time,” executive producer and writer, Alexander Woo, tells The Hollywood Reporter about the choice to restore Eric’s memory.
“This was the time for this roadblock where he gets his identity back,” Woo continues. “And the fun of it for the viewer, I hope, is to see how that affects the relationship they had established while he didn’t have his memory.”
When we spoke to Woo, he gave us an idea of the challenges that lie ahead for Eric and Sookie’s relationship, as well as how it will affect not only Bill, but also Eric’s relationship to Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten).
The Hollywood Reporter: Can you explain Eric’s sadness as a result of his memory returning?
Alexander Woo: Alex Skarsgard did an extraordinary job of conveying that. He was an innocent again, but all of the things he had done as a vampire kind of vanished, and we saw at his core this kind of humanity that I think Sookie fell for. I think the way Alex has played Eric is very moving and very touching. Both he and Sookie kind of know that that can’t last forever. As we’re getting toward the end of the season, this builds us towards the climax of what’s going to happen between Eric and Sookie, because now they’ve fallen for each other and the person he was when they fell for each other is now gone again. And whether they can last will feed their story line at the end of the season.
THR: Eric behaved very coldly to Pam after getting his memory back. Is that forming another triangle involving Sookie and Pam for Eric’s attention?
Woo: You’ll see that there’s a very explosive struggle within Eric between the vampire that he was, and then he doesn’t forget how genuinely happy he seems to have been when he didn’t have his memories. He doesn’t want to admit this to himself, but there’s a part of him that was happier, and he won’t admit necessarily his feelings for Sookie now that he has his memories back, but it’s tough because he was so content and so happy with who he was, and then he was a different person and was so content and happy with what he was then, too. Now that he’s on the other side of this, there’s a struggle with Pam pulling him one direction and Sookie pulling him in the other. We will have that to look forward to in the last two episodes of how Eric decides to negotiate the struggle.
THR: This season, Bill has changed a lot and seems to have come into his own. Did you and the writers feel like you were writing for a different Bill this season?
Woo: We wanted to show how he has changed with this mantle of being the king of Louisiana. There are certainly a lot of responsibilities, so we thought it would be certainly fun to watch… interesting, and he seemed to be really good at it. An accomplished leader and a bit of a politician. But he has this gift. Part of it, I’m sure, comes from when we’ve seen Bill be charming, and so wonderful and so delightful. It reminds Sookie of why she was drawn to him in the first place.
THR: Some fans have still not forgiven Bill for all that he has done to Sookie in service to the former queen. Do you and the other writers believe you’ve done a good job of portraying Bill as someone Sookie can still be in love with?
Woo: I still think we feel very strongly that he was Sookie’s first love, and there’s something always very special about your first love. It wasn’t all that long ago either. It’s a very recent first love that was very, very deep. Even though there are all these things that have happened in the interim in the time of the show, we’ve had four seasons since they first met -- but in their world, a little over a year. I think it still resonates that there is this awakening that came about in her life with Bill, and he will always be a very special part of her life. I think in the world that [creator Alan Ball] has created Bill is certainly going to be a part of that world.
He doesn’t necessarily have to be Sookie’s lover, but he’s always going to be a huge part of her life. I can’t say for certain that we’ve made any hard and fast decision, but to me it feels very strongly that Bill is always going to be a presence and always going to be a candidate for her affections.
Eric, by the way, in the world that we’ve created is also now, as much as he sometimes hates her and as much as she sometimes hates him, he’s always going to be under her skin for the life of the series as well. I don’t think that can go away either.
True Blood airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro