There is more to True Blood then meets the eye and often scenes require a closer look after we have recovered from the first shock and awe to really understand what we just saw. Black and white don’t exist in “Bon Temps”, only various shades of grey and the controversial Bill and Lorena scene that the True Blood team presented to us in “It Hurts Me Too” is without a doubt one of those scenes that spark discussion because there was so much going on in just a few short minutes.
The season 2 flashback scenes of Bill and his maker Lorena left us wondering what their relationship was really like. Bill is a young vampire, turned against his will and suffering unimaginable under the burden of his fading humanity and the loss of his beloved wife and children. He had no other teacher and companion than his maker Lorena to whom he was bound by blood and simply because she was the only one he had left in the world. Although Lorena obviously lacks any leadership skills I do see a certain similarity between her and Armand from “Interview with the vampire”. Armand tells struggling vampire Louis: “We must be beautiful, powerful and without regret.” Louis declines Armand’s invitation to stay with him, Bill, unfortunately, did not have that choice and sees the last remains of his humanity slowly stripped away from him by his maker who fully enjoys being a vampire and who has no respect what so ever for human life.
Considering the enormous differences between Bill and Lorena it is no surprise that their scenes together are so powerful and filled with a great contrast of motivations and emotions. Although they come from completely different places in both vampires, remarkably, emotions seem to be the only thing Bill and Lorena do have in common. Having feelings is considered a great weakness in vampire society, but both vampires let their emotions decide where their feet will take them. In Bill’s case it is not an easy path and has led to the violent outburst we witnessed in “It Hurts Me Too”.
What do we see exactly in that scene? Bill is about to retire for the day, Lorena comes to his room. He tells her that he will never love her; she kisses him and from that moment on it becomes violent. Bill throws her on the bed, tears off some of her clothing while screaming that he will never love her and penetrates her forcefully. Lorena is obviously turned on and groans in pleasure; Bill grabs her head and turns it 180° breaking her neck while he keeps thrusting. Blood drips from her mouth as she says: “Oh William, I so love you.” Bill screams in agony.
Reading back what I just wrote I am like WTF!? Kudos to Bill’s creativity though for inventing a new Kama sutra position that will be known as “Twisted Bamboo”.
But how much does this twisted sex scene really have to do with sex? Not all that much in my opinion. In several interviews Alan Ball has said that they might as will hang a sign in the writers’ room that says: “It’s the emotions, stupid!” And it’s the emotions that rule this scene, all the rest is a mere expression of all the bottled up feelings that led to this explosive turn in the relationship between Bill and Lorena.
Good-Ole-Bill has left the grey bathrobe behind in Hotel Carmilla where he was more than happy to just cuddle with Sookie and he has been replaced by Bad-Ass-Bill who, tormented to the bone, desperately tries to find a way out of the lose-lose situation that he has been maneuvered in by king Russell. But in the end Lorena is (again) fully to blame for this situation, it was she who recommended Bill to the king and pointed out to him how important Sookie is to Bill. As a reward for Bill’s cooperation obtained by threatening Sookie’s life, she planned on forcing Bill to watch while she killed his human lover. Bill sees no other way out to protect Sookie and himself then to renounce his queen and pledge loyalty to the king of Mississippi.
If he didn’t understand Lorena’s lesson the first time about how vampires only bring suffering to the humans they love, I can assure you that he got the message this time, loud and clear. The circle is complete: again he is stripped from whatever humanity he has left and again he loses the woman he loves and it is again all because of Lorena. Lorena who claims to love Bill, but wouldn’t recognize love if she got staked by it.
The picture season 2 painted of Bill made us almost forget that he is not human, but vampire. There is light in him, but also great darkness just beneath the surface and Lorena has the capacity to bring out the darkest darkness in him.
I wasn’t surprised when the word “rape” was mentioned in the reactions to this particular scene. But a violent sexual act isn’t automatically rape. The definition of rape is: forcing another person to submit to sexual acts without his/her consent. Lorena wasn’t forced; she initiated it and accepted everything that Bill dished out to her. Don’t forget that she is physically much stronger than Bill and could easily have snapped his neck or turned any of his body parts 180° around had she chosen to do so. Except for the re-adjustment of her neck, her body wasn’t violated. To me it felt, even though it was Bill acting out, that his body was violated and I doubt that he will ever feel clean again.
So why did he do it? Pure and total frustration, anger, complete disgust and loathing and a “pinch” of hate towards Lorena and him as well to complete the cocktail. That is the recipe that sent him over the edge and made him lose all reason and self control.
Bill obviously did not enjoy the act itself. So how come he was physically capable of penetration? Well, vampires are very sexual beings and get easily aroused for various reasons, violence being one of them. He was probably thinking: “If this is what you want, this is what you’ll get, you bleep bleep!”
To underline that this scene has very little to do with sex, there is hardly any nudity: no bare breasts or butt. The lack of naked skin symbolizes the detachment: Bill has no interest in her breasts, lust is not the catalyst of his arousal and he doesn’t remove his clothing to avoid the intimacy of skin against skin. He cannot bear to look at her face and after hitting her over the head with a plasma TV and burning her to crispy bacon, he turns her face away from him as the cherry on the cake of her humiliation. The contrast with his tender, passionate love making with Sookie couldn’t possibly be any bigger.
And that brings us to Sookie, the woman he loves and would give his undead life for. Saying that he cheated on her with Lorena is simplifying the situation to black and white again. I don’t see it as a betrayal towards Sookie. Firstly because this act had nothing to do with love or sex, secondly because Bill doesn’t consider himself to be Sookie’s any longer, she is lost to him. She just doesn’t know it yet.