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Strange Love

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"Strange Love"
Season 1, Episode 01
Air date 7 Sep 2008
Written by Alan Ball
Directed by Alan Ball
Episode Guide
"The First Taste"

"Strange Love" is the first episode of Season 1 of True Blood and the pilot episode.

Two years after vampires have "come out of the coffin," the life of 25-year-old waitress Sookie Stackhouse is changed when 173-year-old Bill Compton walks into Merlotte's Bar and Grill in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Meanwhile, Sookie's friend Tara Thornton comes to work at Merlotte's while Sookie's tom-catting brother Jason finds himself on the wrong side of the law.


Two years after vampires have "come out of the coffin", the life of 25-year-old waitress Sookie Stackhouse is changed when 173-year-old Bill Compton walks into Merlotte's Bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Meanwhile, Sookie's friend Tara comes to work at Merlotte's while Sookie's tomcatting brother Jason finds himself on the wrong side of the law.


"Bill? I thought it might be Antoine, or Basil, or-or-or like Langford, maybe. But, Bill? Vampire Bill!"- Sookie to Bill

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A college age couple races down a deserted road, the girl driving finds something to do with her free hand. They pass a sign that says "We Have Tru Blood" and they stop the car pulling into the store. On TV, a woman representing the American Vampire League defends herself to Bill Maher, saying that now that the Japanese have perfected synthetic blood, there's no reason to fear them. The couple tumbles into the store, looking for vampires. The store cashier pretends to be a vampire scaring the couple and once he is revealed to be human the man asks for V Juice. The good ol' boy in camou at the cooler listens, not finding it funny. He walks up carrying a six pack. The kid tells him to buzz off and Billy Bob makes his case: fangs grow suddenly from his teeth. The couple runs off. He tells the clerk if he ever pretends to be one of them again, he'll kill him.
Sookie serves customers, walking around hearing their thoughts. She takes a deep breath and seems able to quiet them. A customer pesters a customer service woman at a Home Depot-like store. Tara gives the customer lip then quits, but not before she threatens to have her baby daddy beat up the manager for patting her ass. When the manager balks at this comment, Tara retorts that she doesn't have a baby daddy and calls the people in the store "pathetic racists."

At Merlotte's, Lafayette the sassy gay cook leads a raunchy sex talk that all the waitresses join in while Sookie looks totally freaked out.

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In a house, a young man has his way with a woman, but notices bite marks on her thighs. She tells him a vampire offered her $1,000 once to let him bite her. He wants to know what it's like. She says it was way too rough. He's about to leave when she tells him she video taped it.

Back at the restaurant, Tara and Sookie talk to Sam the owner. He has a crush on Sookie. She's distracted when a mysterious man walks in and the lights dim. It's clear that he's a vampire. Sookie goes to wait on him, flirting and giggling to have her first vamp since they "came out of the coffin" two years ago. A slimy couple sitting nearby ooze over to talk to the vampire, hot for him.

Back at the house, the young man watches the vampire sex tape as the woman keeps him occupied. The vampire starts to shape shift.

At the bar, Sookie hears the thoughts of the couple planning to drain the va
Vampire sex tape
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mpire of blood. She wants to stop them, but they disappear with him. She runs out after them. She grabs a length of chain from the back of a truck, vigilante waitress.

After watching the vampire sex tape the man is ravishing the woman, calling her dirty vampire-sex related names. He wraps his hands around her neck as a camera records everything, throttling her as he finishes.

Outside the bar, the couple, also known as the Rattrays, has pinned the vamp to the ground and is draining him. He sees Sookie coming up. She whacks the man, Mack Rattray, with the chain and it knocks him down for a second but then he stands up with a knife. Sookie throws the chain and it wraps around his neck. She runs the woman, Denise Rattray, off with the knife Mack dropped as she threatens to kill Sookie. 

Bill Sookie and the neighbor hood dog
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Sookie lets the vampire up, slowly lifting the small silver chain that held him in place, burned into his flesh. A dog runs up and licks Sookie. She thinks the vampire is not happy to have been rescued by a woman. She tries to hear what he's thinking and is excited to realize she can't. He offers her his blood, to sell or drink (it makes humans feel healthier and improves their sex lives), but she declines, since she has no sex life to speak of. He's intrigued. His name is Bill. She starts laughing because she didn't expect such a normal name. She says good-bye and goes back to work.

Sam is waiting for her, nervous. Tara wants a job, but he doesn't want her to run off his customers. She bargains with him as it being a way to watch out for Sookie. He agrees.

The young man who was having the violent sex enters Merlotte's and is revealed to be Sookie's brother Jason. Tara flirts hello but he's not interested. On the other hand, he's excited to see another waitress, Dawn. She turns him down but he follows her out.

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Sookie goes home and tells her grandmother about the vampire that came into the bar. She goes to bed but wakes up in the middle of the night. She looks out the window and sees Bill standing on her lawn. She puts on a robe and goes out to see him, like any young girl would when finding a strange blood-sucker on her lawn. He's gone when she gets out there but then reappears behind her. She says hello and he starts undressing. She says she never thought she'd be having sex with him. "Who said anything about sex?" he says menacingly. And then she wakes up.

The next day, she's sunning on the lawn when her brother Jason walks up, having heard about what the Rattrays pulled last night. When he learns she was defending a vampire he warns her to stay away from their kind. He checks to make sure it's not the one from the sex tape, not bald, no tattoos.

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Inside, Grandma gets a call that Maudette Pickens has been found strangled in her own home. Jason reacts like it might be the woman he was with last night. He calls her a "fang banger," someone who likes to have sex with vampires. They wants to know why he knows that. He fills them in on vampire hookers. And then says good-bye to his grandmother.

Sookie walks over to him and tries to listen in. She hears: "How could this be happening to me, how could I lose control?" before he realizes what she's doing and stops her.

He sits on a lawn chair later, at work supervising on a road crew. On the phone, he tries to talk Dawn into meeting up with him later when two sheriff's deputies pull up. They ask him about Maudette. He denies knowing her or knowing that she was murdered. Then he says he did know. He denies ever having been there, but then says he was there last night. They ask about the nature of the sex, but then tell him they've already seen the tape. They ask him to come with them.

At Sookie's house, her grandmother wants her to invite the vampire to come talk about the Civil War at the library. Sookie promises to ask him if he ever comes in again.
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At the bar, Tara is giving a customer lip when Lafayette tells her Jason was arrested. Dawn tells Sookie, who isn't pleased to be the last to know. Dawn starts to say they figured she'd know, but stops. Sookie angrily blurts that she's not psychic and storms off.

Sookie finds two guys from the road crew in the bar and asks what happened. They tell her.

She turns around and sees Bill. In her head she hears Tara judge her, Sam thinking that he wants to protect her and customers mock her as she floats over to say hi. He takes her hand and the voices silence. He asks her what she is. She tells him again, a waitress. But he says she's something more than human. He asks if he can call on
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her. She says she has a favor to ask for her grandmother. They make plans to meet after work. He scoots closer and asks if she realizes that every person in there is staring at them. She doesn't care what they think. He says he's going to make Bon Temps his home, so he cares. He walks away and the voices resume.

Sam grabs her arm and takes her to the back room, telling her not to act like a vigilante. He makes her cry, which has the added benefit of meaning he gets to comfort her. She hears his dirty thoughts and then Tara busts in, reading her the same riot act. She tells them she's a grown woman and can make her own decisions. After work at Merlotte's, she waits for Bill. She hears a noise in the woods and goes to investigate -- and it's the Rattrays. They knock her down and start kicking her, violently. As the episode ends, Sookie lays there, helpless and bloody.



  • "Tru Blood" takes its name from the brand of synthetic blood that the Japanese have patented in Harris' novels. Vampires can actually drink it, thereby bypassing their need for human blood.
  • In the first scene featuring Sookie's grandmother Adele Stackhouse (Lois Smith), Gran is reading the novel Last Scene Alive by Charlaine Harris, creator of the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series of novels that inspired True Blood.
  • In the opening credits, there is a brief glimpse of an old Victorian house. It is actually the "Florentine", an over 100 year-old former club and home in Shreveport, Louisiana. Gas Light Players did a fall haunted house there in 1999, called "House of Terror".


  • Michael Ruscio & Andy Keir won an award from American Cinema Editors for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television for the year 2009
  • The scene in which Sookie meets Bill won the Emmy Award for Breakthrough Performance


  • When the couple drive to the all-night garage they see a sign reading "We Have Tru Blood". In this sign, the letters R, E, D are highlighted in red, spelling the word Red. Red is for blood. True Blood.
    True blood sign
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  • The pilot was shot in the Summer of 2007. Actress Brook Kerr originally played the role of Tara Thornton, but when the show was ordered to series she was replaced by Rutina Wesley.
  • An unidentified woman is seen in the woods watching over the fight between Sookie and the Rattrays. It is implied that the unidentified woman is responsible for the telekinetic choking of Mack. This is confirmed in Season 3: the woman is Claudine, Sookie's fairy godmother.
  • About 2.1 million viewers tuned into the premiere episode, with 1.4 million coming from the original 9pm broadcast and an additional 700,000 viewers from a 10:30pm rebroadcast.

Bloopers and continuity errorsEdit

  • When Lafayette and Tara are talking at the bar Lafayette has a coffee cup. In one shot the handle of the coffee cup is facing left and in another it is facing right.

Featured musicEdit

  • "Bad Things" - Jace Everett

(True Blood opening credits theme)

  • "Y'all'd Think She'd Be Good 2 Me" - C. C. Adcock

(Intro scene where couple in truck see Tru Blood sign)

  • "Goodbye, Good-Lookin" - Robbie Fulks

(Inside Merlotte’s, Sookie's first appearance)

  • "Soulful Garage" - Southern Culture on the Skids

(Sookie talks to Sam while leaning on the bar)

  • "Until I Wake Up" - Dishwalla

(Plays when Sookie sees Bill for the first time in pre-air screeners only, not in broadcast episode)

  • "The Dreaming Dead" - Jesse Sykes & the Sweet HereAfter

(Sookie turns around, as Vampire Bill sits down at a table)

  • "Strange Love" - Slim Harpo

(Sookie talks to Tara as she drinks her margarita)

  • "Lake Charles" - Lucinda Williams

(After fighting off the Ratray’s, Sookie and Bill get acquainted)

  • "Still Beating" - Josh Ritter

(Jason comes into Merlotte’s looking for Sookie, wants to go home with Dawn)

  • "Dang Good Stuff" - Kim Lenz & Her Jaguars

(Jason interrupts Sookie’s sun-bathing)

  • "Bill’s Entrance" - Nathan Barr

(Plays when Sookie is walking to Bill’s table during their second meeting at Merlotte’s)

  • "Stumble & Pain" - Joseph Arthur

(Plays while Sookie & Bill are talking at table)

  • "Bones" - Little Big Town

(Plays over end credits)

Continuity Edit


The episode title and the song is probably a reference to the mysterious chemistry between Sookie and Bill the first time they look each other.

Memorable quotesEdit

Dawn GreenEdit

  • "I'm sorry to break it to you, baby, but you are not my only source for a good time."


  • (Seeing Bill for the first time) "I've been waiting for this to happen ever since they came out of the coffin two years ago."

"I'm not so sure you even have another side; you no account backwoods trash!"

  • "Hey, you just shut your nasty mouth, mister! You might be a vampire, but when you talk to me, you will talk to me like the lady that I am!"
  • "No, it makes me sick that they're getting a thousand bucks to lay there and do nothing while I bust my ass for ten bucks an hour plus tips."


  • "That boy is sex on a stick. I don't give a good damn how stuck up he is."
  • "They ain't scared of you, honey child. They're scared of what's between your legs."
  • "Shit. Sam must've lost his damn mind 'cause you should not be allowed to work in no situation where you actually gotta interact with people."
  • "I know every man, whether straight, gay or George mother-fucking Bush is terrified of the pussy."


  • "You know, I read in Hustler everybody should have sex with a vampire at least once before they die."

Sam MerlotteEdit

  • "You willing to pass up all your favorite foods and spend the rest of your life drinking slim-fast?"

Adele StackhouseEdit

Bill ComptonEdit

  • "What are you?"
  • "Oh, but you have many other very juicy arteries. There's one in the groin that's a particular favorite of mine."
  • "May I call on you sometime?" [to Sookie]
  • "I can bring you back to life."


  • "Oh, this ain't rude. This is uppity. (slaps manager) That's for pattin' my ass too much!"

Good Old Boy VampireEdit

  • "Fuck me? I'll fuck you, boy. I'll fuck ya and then I'll eat ya."

Memorable DialogueEdit

Sookie: "Oh, they’re just staring at me because my brother’s in some kind of trouble with the police. But Bill, did you know Maudette Pickens?"
Bill: "I did not. They are staring at us, because I am a vampire, and you are mortal."

Lafayette: "What are you doing here?"

Tara: "I work here."

Lafayette: "Oh no the hell you don't!"

Tara: "Oh yes the hell I do too you ugly bitch. You need to make peace with that."



Also starringEdit



  • Ken Kobus as Man at bar
  • Retson Ross as Riot boy

True Blood Season 1
Season 2 >>Season 3 >>Season 4 >>
#01 "Strange Love"#07 "Burning House of Love"
#02 "The First Taste"#08 "The Fourth Man in the Fire"
#03 "Mine"#09 "Plaisir D'Amour"
#04 "Escape from Dragon House"#10 "I Don't Wanna Know"
#05 "Sparks Fly Out"#11 "To Love Is to Bury"
#06 "Cold Ground"#12 "You'll Be the Death of Me"
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