HBO's True Blood aired the second episode of its fifth season Sunday night, following up on last week's uber-eventful season premiere that saw Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) turn Tara (Rutina Wesley) into a vampire, Eric and Bill (Alexander Skarsgard and Stephen Moyer) fall into the hands of the Authority, and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) facing a decision whether to assume his rightful leadership of the pack or to remain a loner. Sunday's episode also marked the highly anticipated debut of actor Chris Meloni, who joins the show as new villain Roman, a religious zealot who believes, along with the Authority, that humans are nothing more than vampire food.

First off was the biggest cliffhanger — Tara as a vampire. Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Sookie (Anna Paquin) were at their wit's end as to what to do with the speed demon, who seemed at once angry, scared and confused. Tara's maker Pam was her usual, bitchy self in the face of the dilemma. When Lafayette asked her why she wasn't doing anything, Pam responded, "I am. I’m laughing.” But before jetting off to let Lafayette and Sookie clean up the mess, Pam at least forbade Tara to harm her friends.

It was a big episode for Pam in another respect. Via flashbacks we learned that before becoming a vampire she was a 19th Century brothel owner who couldn't seem to catch a break from the filthy paws men were always shoving her way. In walked Eric to show her how a real gentleman treats a lady, and you might say it was love at first bite.

Meanwhile, in Bon Temps, the werewolf packmaster drama continued to unfold at a snail's pace, with Martha informing Alcide that he must eat Marcus' body. Alcide refused, declining interest in becoming a packmaster. Later, when Sam (Sam Trammel) and Luna (Janina Gavankar) make their way out of the woods, Luna puts Sam in his place by telling him he's not really part of her family, even if she and little Emma could use some protection from Martha' grandchild lust.

In the end, Bill and Eric escaped the true death (again!) and we caught our long-awaited glimpse of Russell's (Denis O'Hare) mutilated body — if that's what you call a pile of bloody body parts, scaly skin and a darting tongue. Ick!

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