Without question, the scariest place in True Blood is inside Bill’s head. Gird your loins because we’re going deep to where even Bill fears to tread. We’re going even deeper than Sookie would if she could read vampire thougths. We are going straight to the most primitive animalistic part of Bill’s brain, the unconscious, unorganised part his personality that represent basic drives and acts according to the pleasure principle. If it feels good do it. If it hurts, avoid it.
Meet Bill’s id.
Liam is only concerned with three things food, sex, and violence and usually looks like he’s having trouble understanding what is going on aroun him. The insect tattoo that covers his back reflects his level of evolution. Bill is identified with Liam through his name since Liam is the Welsh form of William.
Here is Bill’s ego. She is the rational, logical part of his psyche.
At Bill’s orgy, Diane alone wonders how Sookie figured out that Jerry had Hep D. She alone is the one with a thoughtful look on her face when Bill leaves after warning the trio that they have to moderate their behavior. (Liam is just confused and Malcolm shows his feelings.) Bill has a bust of the goddess Diana in his office.
Malcom is the leader, the part of Bill’s brain who mediates between the id and the ego and puts a socially acceptable face on the privimite drives of the id. He is Bill’s superego.
This is reflected in Malcolm’s concern for social niceties.
“If you’re hungry you’re more than welcome to have some of Jerry.”
After Jerry’s treachery is discovered, Malcolm mediates between the id’s primitive drive to kill and the ego’s curiosity. He is the one who decides on a course of action and presents it in socially acceptable terms when he says, “This has been very illuminating, but we have a long ride back to Monroe, and I’m sure we’ll all want ot have a little talk with Jerry when he wakes up.” He tactfully omits what will happen to Jerry when they are finished talking.
The superego is closely connected to the id, channeling the id’s desires into socially acceptable behavior. This connection is shown between Malcolm and Liam with their similar mustaches and beards.
We can see how the trio relate to one another in their nest. Malcolm channels his feelings of loss over Jerry into socially acceptable terms for a vampire who has lost his pet, and Diane offers a logical way to make him feel better when she suggests raiding a frat house at LSU. Only then does Liam join the conversation since a raid appeals to his primitive nature.
When Bill comes to warn them that they must moderate their behavior, we see the dynamic of the tripartite psyche at work again. Liam does nothing but drink blood. Diane’s appeal for Bill to join their nest shows that she is thinking about the past and how it relates to the present, and Malcolm channels a vampire’s base drive to kill into a political discussion.
If Liam, Diane, and Malcolm are Bill’s psyche, where does Bill himself fit in? One of the things Star Trek is noted for is its personification of the psyche. The emo doctor, Bones is the id, the ever rational Spock the ego, and Kirk the mediating superego. In this example, there is no fourth man. That is because James T. Kirk wears no mask. He is the epitome of a healthy, well developed superego, the face the world sees.
Bill on the other hand, is nothing more than a facade. Sookie can see that Malcolm is trash, but when she looks at Bill, she cannot see beyond the surface. Malcolm is the real face of Bill, the one who will drain Sookie and enjoy doing it, the one who is gay and knows it, the one who doesn’t really like that vampires are expected to change their behavior since coming out of the coffin because he enjoys killing, the one who isn’t respectful of authority or afraid of Eric.
The one thing that Malcolm does that we see Bill do openly is throw around his position as elder. Malcolm tells Bill, ‘I am your elder,’ to put him in his place. Remember Bill’s comment to Gran about him being the eldest person in the room? He may have been smiling, but he was asserting his dominance in vampire terms, which was wholly inappropriate since the context of Gram’s remark to Jason, that she was the oldest one present, was understood to be in the context of her being the head of the family.
The night Sookie visits Bill to bring information about electricians and encounters the terrifying trio, she is seeing the real Bill for the very first time. The mask as been relegated to a dark corner of the room, and Bill’s true self has free rein of the house. Bill is only able to put the mask back in place and reassert himself when Sookie is in danger.
After Sookie and Bill have sex for the first time and Bill finally has more than a taste of her blood, he develops feelings for her and deludes himself into thinking that Sookie can remake him into her image, which is what the scene in the bathroom was all about when Bill looks into the foggy mirror and sess himself and an out of focus Sookie. The irony is that Bill can’t see any deeper into Sookie than she sees into him. She’s out of focus to Bill because all he sees is the sweet attractive mask that she presents to the world.
Just to digress for a bit, compare this image to what Bill sees when he looks at himself.
And to what and who he sees when he breaks up with Sookie over the phone.
Bill’s delusion is that someone else can turn him into something he’s not. He thinks that if he just represses his true self, he can start fresh with a clean slate and allow Sookie to make him a new and better man, a reflection of herself.
That leads directly to the deaths of Malcolm, Diane, and Liam. Bill received Sookie’s three warning messages, and he had Malcolm’s phone number. Why didn’t he pass on the warning that their lives were in danger? Bill allowed the terrible trio to be killed for the same reason Tara stabbed her younger self during her hoodoo exorcism. Tara and Bill were both trying to kill their pasts in an attempt to remake themselves. What they didn’t realize was that in killing their pasts, they were killing themselves.
Bill and Tara learn that repressing who you are leads to some very dangerous places. Tara drove off the road and right into Maryann’s web. For Bill, repressing his psyche leads to his own personal horror movie. Bill hasn’t learned that the monsters always come back. In Bill Compton’s Brain, The Sequel, his resurrected id, ego, and superego are bigger, badder, scarier, and more pissed off than Liam, Diane, and Malcolm could ever be.
Meet the new incarnation of Bill’s id.
His name is Super Size. Really. That’s this character’s name. He is Liam super sized . Not only is he brawnier then Liam, he makes Liam seem like a loquacious pussycat. Liam never showed any animosity to Bill, but after Bill tries to kill his id, it is furious and fights back.
Meet the new face of Bill’s ego. It has grown so much that the whole state of Mississippi is too small to contain it. Russell is exponentially smarter then Diane, who didn’t see Bill’s betrayal coming. Russell was expecting it and schemed to use Bill’s treachery against him.
Lorena is Bill’s superego, integrating the feelings of the id with the ego. She is the real face that hides the true darkness that is Bill Compton because Lorena made him into her image. The superego at work is illustrated in her struggle to kill Bill on Russell’s orders while fighting her overwhelming feelings for him. Head or heart, which one will it be?
What applies to Bill also applies to Eric. If Liam and the guard are Bill’s id, then Pam would be the incarnation of Eric’s id. She runs on blood and sex, and you really don’t want to get on her bad side.
Since Diane and Russell are Bill’s ego, the scheming 1,000 year old vampire so free of human feelings as to make the Vulcan Spock proud, represents the ego.
Bill’s psychological triumvirate is completed by the mediation of his superego, Malcolm and Lorena. Eric, however, is an ego in search of a superego. He is incomplete and needs someone to civilize the primitive feelings and drives of his id and integrate them with his rational ego.
Of course, we know the only person who can complete Eric in that way is that well mannered natural born intermediary who helps him get in touch with his human feelings, Sookie Stackhouse.
*Update: After the deaths of Super Size and Lorena, Russell becomes increasingly unhinged. He can no longer act as the rational id. Supersizes primitive urges overwhelm him and there is no longer a super ego to present a civilized face to the world.
**The idea of personifying Bill’s id, ego, and superego were not inspired by Star Trek, but by the movie Psycho. At the end of ‘Who Is the Psycho Now?‘ is a new paragraph explaining the connection.