It’s that time of year again, folks. Where has the time gone? I have to say that I’ve gone into this season a bit underwhelmed. The last finale left me feeling lukewarm and even HBO seemed underwhelmed a bit when it comes to promoting the school – they didn’t even start up on Twitter until about a month before the show. By comparison, in Season 4, the very first promo came out in March. So yeah. Not too excited.

Did the episode change my mind? Eh. It was a solid episode. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. Let’s break it down.

[Oh, and it should go without saying: Spoilers Abound. Don’t read until you’ve seen the episode.]

Eric – let’s get this out of the way. He’s not going to around much this season (they filmed around his Tarzan filming schedule) and he’s not in this episode. Moving on.

Bill/Andy – Where’s Bill? His lack of presence in the premiere of season 6 made sense, and helped to build up tension. I did like what we got with Andy and Bill, I just wish he’d been around more. I do like what we got with Andy, that although he hates Bill’s guts, he recognizes that it’s better to have a vamp he hates on their side than no vamps at all.

Sookie – This is one of those things that I get where they were going, but didn’t like how they were executed. From what I could tell, her scenes were intended to do two things: 1. start driving a wedge in her and Alcide’s relationship. 2. start driving Sookie towards Bill. In regards to point one, I do like that Sookie called Alcide out for his thought. If there was anyone in that town that should have known that Sookie wasn’t to blame, it was Alcide. And even though she did later apologize to him, it’s not going to go away. 2. I have a feeling that the town is going to reject Sookie’s offer, causing her to seek out Bill: even if Bon Temps turns on her, she won’t turn her back on Bon Temps. That said why the fuck are they blaming Sookie? Sookie has been dating Alcide for at least six months now. They would know this. How was any of this her fault? Hell, even if she still with Bill it still wouldn’t have made sense to blame her for that. I get that humans often need scapegoats in time of crisis, but Bill or Sam make way better ones. So while I get what they are doing, it just doesn’t make sense.

Jessica/Adelyn – This existed. Clearly they are setting up for a friendship (or more…) between the girls, but we didn’t need as much time spent on it as we got to get what we got.

Jason/Violet – I’ve never minded Violet and I like how Violet was finally like thank you for finally just manning up and taking me. She said from the get go that he’d get some when he earned it, and earning it this case was actually wanting it, not just doing it out of necessity or for protection. I also like how she so sees Jason as hers that it’s clear that she doesn’t see him as human in the way she sees others as human. I think they could make a good team going forward.

Tara – Her death was a bit low-key. It just kind of happened. Sookie did kinda argue me around that it wasn’t a bad thing to not see her die again, and it was nice to see her possibly have that upper hand on the Hep V vamp. I will say that it was okay that she lost the fight. Tara wasn’t even a year old as a vampire. A sick vampire of any age is still going to be stronger just by the rules of this universe.

Lafayette/James – I thought Lafayette’s reaction was perfect. This is a guy who, in the space of less than a year lost his boyfriend, his cousin, then his cousin again. Some numbness is going to be expected. I do think he’ll grieve again, in his own way, but I thought it felt well. As far as James, I am loving the recast. I’ve liked Nathan Parsons on The Originals and I think he’s even better here. I don’t think his storyline will have a huge impact on the show as a whole, but I think I’ll enjoy his time on the show, which is about all I can ask for, and isn’t something I always get (see: wolves S6)

Pam – No reaction to Tara’s death? Like none at all? Did the writers forget she should have felt it? Is she that callous? Beyond that, the problem I had with her Russian roulette scene in that for her to neglect her child for six+ months I’d like to have seen more vulnerability out of Pam. There’s coldness and there’s dead inside, and it came off more the latter for me than the former. I did like that she didn’t eat the child, though she was clearly starving though.

Willa – Poor Willa. She’s lost the one person who tied to her to Bon Temps. And she was one of the few who clearly miss Tara. Not sure what else she’s going to be doing in this season, and I hope she finds a storyline stat.

Lettie Mae/Rev. Daniels – it was nice seeing him be nice to Willa, but why is she still around? Adina Porter is awesome, but one of the great things about Tara’s death was that it got her away from Lettie Mae. She may be the Arlene of the season: i.e. the human storyline that I give no fucks about.

And speaking of humans, they are the other example of good idea, iffy execution. How did they get to both nesting sites before both Andy and Jason? It’s such a small thing, but a larger group of humans would have solved the problem. You could have had the second group show up where Jason and Violet where because the important part of that scene really was Jason/Violet and the second group show up with Andy and Bill. Plus the leader of the group is annoying as all hell and I was sad that he didn’t get killed.

If I forgot someone, it wasn’t intentional.

So as a whole…like I said, it did it’s purpose, and it wasn’t awful, but I also don’t think it was memorable. I don’t think that when people look at premieres as a whole that people are going to have anything from this episode that really stands out. And a premier needs to get you excited for the season ahead and I don’t think this quite managed that.

So for that reason, I give this episode a C.