True Blood came back Sunday with Nathan Parsons (ex-Ethan, General Hospital) as a recast James. James has been dating since Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) since last season, but he met Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) in the premiere, and sparks flew. Will there be boyfriend stealing? First, let’s review.
Luke Grimes debuted in Season 6 as James, a soulful vampire who refused to rape Jessica when they were both being held at a government testing site. He chose torture over committing sexual violence and shouted the iconic line, “I’m a vampire, not a rapist!” All HBO characters should live by James’ example (Looking at you, Jaime Lannister!).
The chivalry made an impression, and later he and Jessica did embark on a romantic relationship. When last year’s finale flash forwarded six months, the couple was still going strong.
Late last year, fans were shocked by Grimes’ sudden departure, due reportedly to creative differences. A source told TVLine, “[Grimes] initially joined the show because he wanted to work with Deborah Ann Woll. But when he started reading the scripts for Season 7, he was disappointed to learn that they were going in a completely different direction with James.”
Around the same time a casting also went out for “Drake,” a 20-something, hunky brooding vamp who would be a love interest for Lafayette. He was described as a cross between Jim Morrison and James Dean, and called for an actor comfortable with nudity and simulating sex scenes with men.
Then, news broke General Hospital alum Parsons had landed the role. Judging by Sunday’s premiere, all of these things seem related, and it looks like James will be Lafayette’s new lover.
So where does that leave Jessica? That remains to be seen, but she and James were both busy protecting their humans from H-vamps, and interacted via a phone call only, in the most recent episode. However, you can watch Jessica interact with nuJames on the character’s vlog, below.
Lafayette and James spent the majority of their scenes together. There was a lot of back story revealed when James and Lafayette had a heart-to-heart after Lafayette’s cousin Tara (Rutina Wesley) met the True Death.
James was turned into a vampire in the late-‘60s or early-‘70s. He was (and still is) a pacifist, who dodged the Vietnam draft, while all of his friends served and died. James got really personal when he mentioned one of the causalities was his best friend Danny Moynihan, and hinted they had been more than friends.
When he went to offer condolences to Danny’s parents, Mr. Moynihan called James a “hippie faggot” then beat him to the brink of death with Danny’s old baseball bat. James was left bleeding in the streets and a kindly vampire turned him that evening.
James also got philosophical and told Lafayette it was okay to feel or not feel emotions like grief, since no tragedy matters to the universe. Lafayette seemed very into everything James was saying.
The evening ended with Lafayette giving James his blood in turn for James’ protection from the rabid vampires. Lafayette held out an appetizing wrist, which James caressed then tenderly tore into. The moment was overflowing with homoeroticism. Since this is True Blood, it does not seem like it will be a long wait for the sexual metaphor to turn into the real thing.
Since the show is ending soon, it is time to think about happily ever afters. Because this is TV, that means One True Pairs! Lafayette has been unlucky in love, since the cook-construction worker-prostitute-drug dealer-witch-medium prefers to focus on staying alive. His one serious relationship with witch Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) ended with his murder in Season 4.
Jessica has had successful pairings with many True Blood heartthrobs. Most recently, her relationship was left unfinished with Jason (Ryan Kwanten). He was claimed by an old vampire named Violet (Karolina Wydra) late last season. This pairing is definitely not a love match, and it’s mostly just creepy. If things with James did end, that would free Jessica up for a reunion with Jason, as the supernatural sudser nears the finish line.
Personally, I want James and Lafayette to happen. I really like James, and Lafayette is great so it would be nice to see him get more screen time if he mixes it up with the vamps. James and Jessica care about one another, so if he also falls for Lafayette that would definitely make for some delicious drama.
I love that True Blood has a new male bisexual character, and that Lafayette’s got a new love interest, and especially that this required no new characters. The cast is already pretty bloated, and needs to make sure all of their characters get satisfying closure.
Both couples are great and have chemistry, but I lean more towards Lafayette and James since that human is in major need of a happy ending. No one wants to see Jessica hurt either though, so maybe True Blood could endgame Jessica, James, and Lafayette as a polyamorous threesome and everyone’s happy.