"You Smell Like Dinner" gives a good sense of where Season 4 is going, and that mostly seems to be along the lines of the books (or at least one of them, which fortunately happens to be my favourite one of the series, Dead to the World). And what isn't from the books seems equally promising. Oh yes, this is going to be a good season.
We start off finding out the fate of Jason after he was locked into a chest freezer last episode. He wakes up tied to a bed, guarded by a couple of the kids who put him in the freezer in the first place. Just as he convinces them to help him escape who should storm in but Felton, last seen making off with Jason's beloved Crystal and a ton of V. He's not too happy to see Jason again and it isn't long before Jason--still helpless--is staring down the barrel of a shotgun. Maybe provoking Felton wasn't the brightest idea.
Meanwhile Sookie tries hard to get rid of Eric, who insists she needs to accept that she belongs to him. He doesn't skimp on arguments: she needs protection, he cares about her, he could take her blood anytime he wants but he isn't because he wants her to choose to be his.... Nothing proves convincing. He finally leaves but, of course, he'll be back.
While Eric is busy with Sookie, the rest of the vampires at Fangtasia are dealing with ongoing protests outside by post-Russell anti-vampire fanatics. The vampires are careful to leave the protesters alone (particularly since they come equipped with recording devices) but when one of them calls Hoyt a fangbanger and continues to insult him it's pretty much inevitable a fight is going to break out. Frustrated, Pam and Jessica can only stand by and watch.
Bill is discussing with witch Katerina what happened at the coven. He tells her it's time to get out (she was infiltrating the coven for him) right before he brings her into his bed. Bill sleeping with someone else saddens me. He really did give up on Sookie while she was trapped in the fairy realm, but even now that he knows she's alive he continues to help himself to someone else. So much for Sookie being the love of his life (yes, yes, I know sex and love are not the same thing but if you love someone and want to win them back I don't think sleeping with another person is going to help your cause or prove your sincerity).
I think Bill agrees with me because when Sookie shows up to ask him for help with Eric he looks somewhat abashed as Sookie sees what he's been up to. She's also trying to come to grips with the unexpected news that Bill is king. But king or not he can't do anything about her Eric problem. He gives her the somewhat lame excuse that Eric has friends in high places but promises he'll try to help. Meanwhile he suggests Sookie take refuge with another human. Sookie is less than impressed. She's also a little mean when she asks Bill how he became king and then tells him to forget it--every time she ever found out anything new about him she ended up wishing she hadn't. Sookie's got a mean streak in the books too, which makes me wonder how she can be so judgmental about the vampires and other non-human creatures. She might try to be all sunshine and Southern charm but inside she's just as much a monster as any of the creatures she scorns.
But her question does prompt a flashback, taking us to 1982 London and Bill's stint as a punk. I have to say that punk does not work for Bill unlike, say, Buffy's Spike.
Bill Compton (top) and William the Bloody
For one thing, a leather jacket and spiky hair do not a punk make. For another, Bill just isn't believable as a punk--unlike Spike who fits the persona perfectly (you can totally believe that Billy Idol copied his look rather than the other way around). Lastly--and weirdly--even though Stephen Moyer is English, Bill's English accent seems forced and somewhat fake. Not sure how American James Marsters beat the Brit in terms of accent but it might be best if True Blood avoids any more flashbacks to the 1970s or 80s.
Anyway, back to the scene itself--we find out that Nan Flanagan has been watching Bill for a while and appreciates that he doesn't kill his victims. She tells him a group of vampire scientists (including Louis Pasteur) are working on a blood substitute that would allow vampires to come out to the world and mainstream. Since there's no way the kings and queens will support coming out, Nan recruits Bill to infiltrate the Louisiana monarchy and plant the seeds of dischord from within (other vampires are doing the same elsewhere).
Back to the present, Sam seems to be in a better mood this week. This could be due to his burgeoning romance with shifter Luna or to a new commitment with Tommy to try to trust each other and be brothers again. Luna is an intriguing character. She's part Navajo and she tells Sam and the other shifters in their group that she grew up hearing stories of "skinwalkers," basically shifters who can turn into other people. According to legend shifters can only accomplish this if they kill another member of their family who is also a shifter. As it happens, Luna's mom died having her so she's got this rare ability. We haven't seen her use it yet but this could get interesting.
Sookie finally meets Arlene's devil baby and makes the mistake of saying the baby has an old soul. Of course Arlene flips out. Later when she's looking at the baby and a blood vessel bursts in her eye she really gets her crazy on. Who would have thought Terry would be the voice of reason and sanity?
When Sookie returns home she hallucinates a pack of fairies attacking her. Instead it turns out to be Tara. At first I thought it might be a fairy in Tara form but I'm fairly positive it actually is Tara, who apparently does care, after all (it seems she just doesn't want her girlfriend to know anything about her). As they enter Sookie's house, Sookie finds gifts from Eric, a carafe of blood in the fridge, and (my personal favourite) an armoire that hides a sleeping spot for a vampire. Sookie's enraged but I think it's funny. You've got to admit Eric's got style.
It's interesting to see Eric clash with Bill now that Bill is his superior. After a cursory attempt at getting Eric to give back Sookie's house or sell it to him (Eric won't), Bill tells Eric about the new coven in town. Eric couldn't care less until Bill mentions that the witches happen to be necromancers. Their magics control the dead, which is bad news for vampires everywhere. Eric says he'll go to the coven that night.
At this point we're treated to another flashback, this time going back to Bill's big fight with Sophie-Anne. It's clear she's going to wipe the floor with Bill--until his backup arrives equipped with guns loaded with wooden bullets. They execute Sophie-Anne and a moment later Nan Flanagan walks in and makes him king. So Bill doesn't have any special vampire abilities; he's just aligned with strong vampires. That's kind of disappointing. It looks like Bill is spending his eternal life being someone else's puppet. At least he has sense enough not to tell Nan about Sookie's fairy lineage.
Jessica and Hoyt are not doing so well, despite Hoyt's public declaration of love (maybe with a hint of protesting too much) outside Fangtasia. The next night Jessica gets offended at Hoyt's refusal to take her blood (he looks at it as a drug not a healing agent) and leaves in a huff. She's supposed to be going to the drugstore but instead heads to Fangtasia where she finds herself a tasty treat. Sookie walks in on Jessica (after visiting Pam and trying unsuccessfully to get her help with the Eric situation). Sookie tries talking to Jessica but Jess is having none of it. She tells Sookie off for hurting Bill and then turns her back on her. Wow--sucks to be Sookie.
Not as much as it sucks to be Jason, though. Just when Andy shows up in Hotshot and it looks like Jason might be catching a break, Crystal slithers into the room. She claims that Felton's got her hooked on V and that she's found a way for her and Jason to be together forever. Then she gags him so he can't call out to Andy. WTF? If Andy wasn't so messed up by V himself he might have noticed something was amiss. Instead he leaves when he's given a vial of vampire blood after Felton recognizes Andy's symptoms as a user. Once Andy is gone, Crystal and Felton return to Jason and inform him they're going to make a baby. Ew. As it happens it's Crystal's duty to propagate the species, but it just doesn't seem to be working out with half-brother/betrothed Felton (EW). So she'll use Jason and his fresh DNA to make a baby, thereby allowing them to be together forever. The catch is that to make sure they have a panther baby they've got to make Jason a panther. Which involves them shifting and biting Jason repeatedly. Okay, then. (By the way, how is it such sickly, inbred people turn into gorgeous, healthy-looking panthers?)
As for the coven, Jesus and Lafayette are having some disagreements about the nature of the resurrection spell. Lafayette is freaked but Jesus thought it was cool. He also refuses to believe there's such a thing as black magic, arguing that magic is good or evil depending entirely on the practitioner. It seems the argument is good enough for Lafayette because he and Jesus (and Tara) are back at the coven that night. This time leader Marni wants to bring a (human) body back to life. Some of the witches are horrified but some are all for it.
Suddenly Eric shows up. He offers Marni a deal that would disband the coven but also spare them. She refuses. He grabs her and bites. The other coven members start chanting. Tara tries sneaking up on Eric and he releases Marni in order to grab her. Marni starts chanting now. Within minutes Eric is frozen in place, looking shocked. His fangs retract and then he runs. Marni snaps out of her trance, unaware of what she's done. Witches--nothing but trouble.
The episode ends with Sookie driving home. Suddenly she sees Eric walking along the side of the road, shirtless (I know when I've been bewitched the first thing I want to do is start stripping!) As Sookie stops the car and starts talking to Eric it's obvious something is wrong. He seems dazed, possibly a little frightened, and he has no idea who Sookie is. But he does wonder why she smells so good.
It's the Eric amnesia storyline! And there was much rejoicing! If nothing else it should be a hell of a lot of fun watching Sookie and Eric "interact" this season. Here's to hot Vikings and reluctant fairies...
Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and long snakelike fangs that descend or retract at will.
Strengths: Super speed and strength. Ability to glamour (hypnotize) humans. Vampire blood can heal wounds. Some vampires can levitate or fly.
Weaknesses: Wooden bullets, stakes, silver, magic.
Mythology: Vampire blood (V) is a potent, addictive, and highly illegal drug with unpredictable effects. Not every vampire supported coming out to humans--many would have preferred to continue living in secret. Vampire society is strictly hierarchical. Vampires have an incredibly strong bond with their makers.
Sookie: You bought my house. The house does not come with me inside it.
Eric: Well, then I seriously overpaid.
Pam: Technology's taking all the fun out of being a vampire.
Sookie: [re: Eric] Psychopathic frat boy.
Nan Flanagan: [to Bill] You'd better not be lying to me. She [Sophie-Anne] did and look what happened to her.
Pam: [to Sookie] With what you are, Fairy Princess, you need to be somebody's or you won't be at all.
True Blood, Season 4 Episode 2 "You Smell Like Dinner." Written by Brian Buckner. Directed by Scott Winant. From HBO.