12 July 2011

True Blood S4 E3 "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?"

Spoilers Ahead

I kind of loved this episode. There's something about amnesiac Eric that's just so sweet and likable--you have to wonder how Sookie can resist. And is it just me or is she a lot less annoying this season (again, aside from the first few minutes of the season premiere)? Someone in one of my newsgroups called this a "shark jump" of a season. If this is jumping the shark then set the tank up permanently.

"If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?" picks up where the last episode left off, with Eric confused (and semi-clothed) at the side of the road. When he pops fang at Sookie's enticing fairy smell she loses patience and drives off. She doesn't go far, though, before she stops to look back. Next thing we know Eric is grabbing at her through the driver's side window. Sookie runs, although I have no idea why she thinks that will help. Eric catches up with her effortlessly, at which point she punches him, breaking his nose. Suddenly Eric is even more confused. After some prompting he admits he knows what he is but not who he is and that he vaguely remembers a witch casting a spell on him but that's about it.

Being a basically decent person Sookie agrees to help him if he'll agree that he will neither touch nor bite her. He can live with that. She doesn't tell him it's actually his house when she takes him back to her place but that's a minor detail. Then again she later demands to be paid for her trouble so I guess a little fib isn't so bad. Either way her actions don't endear me to Sookie. While expecting to be paid for helping Eric is understandable on the one hand it's also kind of incredibly tacky. Talk about taking advantage of someone in trouble (of course book Sookie resented having to let a Katrina victim temporarily move in so maybe I should rethink that "basically decent" label).

There are a couple of points worth mentioning in the scenes with Eric. For one, Sookie washes Eric's feet, which I find rather odd and out of character (is Alan Ball going for some kind of biblical allusion here? And either way--why?) Although I thought it was cute that Eric was ticklish. And the way he suddenly tells her she's beautiful...sigh. It might have gone further if Pam didn't choose that moment to barge in (Sookie had called her earlier). Not only does Eric not recognize Pam but he throws her into the next room for threatening Sookie (all you see is his arm lashing out and her going flying). He then orders Pam to be nice. What made Pam get threatening was Sookie suggesting she might tell Bill about the situation. Pam believes that Eric is in serious danger and that Bill set him up with the coven in order to have an excuse to get the AVL (American Vampire League--the public face of The Authority) to sign off on assassinating Eric. So Sookie has to keep Eric hidden and can't tell anybody. It's at this point Sookie demands to get paid, which is how that's settled.

Sookie also tells Eric he "fang raped" her, meaning he bit her without her permission, which I thought was a nifty turn of phrase. It did ruin the moment for Eric, though, who was beaming at finding out that he'd tasted Sookie.

The coven that caused all the trouble in the first place, meanwhile, alternates between anger and panic. Tara is pissed at Lafayette because she's been in town only two hours and she's already been attacked by a vampire. Lafayette is terrified because Eric can and probably will kill them all. The other coven members, whether out of arrogance or ignorance, are angry at Eric in particular and vampires in general for thinking they can control humans. And Marni still has no idea what she did to Eric to make him leave.

No one seems too concerned about humans controlling vampires, though. Steve Newlin's anti-vampire brigade have taken to provoking and entrapping vampires then catching the results on video (side note: apparently Steve Newlin has been missing for six months). One such hapless vampire goes to see Bill about what happened. Bill agrees it is entrapment but it's also forbidden by The Authority to be caught on film feeding on humans. He has the vamp taken away to be put to death.

Strangely no one seems too concerned about our missing persons, either. Andy is looking for Jason and Bill is trying to get in touch with Eric, but both are annoyed rather than worried, believing that Jason and Eric are just avoiding them and/or shirking responsibility. Andy's more concerned about needing help with his worsening V addiction than where Jason might be.

I'm even less impressed with Bill this episode than I was last time. Hooking up with Katerina while Sookie (his big love, supposedly) was missing was bad enough. Hooking up with Katerina after Sookie turns up alive and well was pretty questionable. But starting a friends-with-benefits relationship with Portia Bellefleur days after Sookie's return is just stupid. Is he that desperate to get laid? Shouldn't he be trying to win Sookie back since she indicated it was a possibility? I did find it interesting that in the heat of things Bill didn't bite Portia; is that because he cares about her too much or not enough?

Back to Sookie for a moment. After getting Eric settled in the sleeping nook he built in her house (it's actually a pretty nice room) she goes to see Alcide. At first it seems like she's just there to catch up but within minutes she's asking him to take care of Eric. WTF? Did she miss what Pam said about Eric being in danger and not to let anyone know where he is? This scene seems out of place and I suspect it was only thrown in to reintroduce Alcide, as well as Debbie who looks much less skanky and is now living with Alcide (surprise, Sookie!) Debbie claims she's clean and is apologetic for everything she did. Sookie reluctantly accepts her apology and then leaves amid much awkwardness, telling Alcide not to worry about the situation with Eric.

Trying to deal with the problem of Eric his own way Lafayette gets the bright idea to go to Fangtasia and beg for mercy. Pam is not impressed. Enraged for what he's done to her maker she drags him to the basement (where he was locked up way back in season 2). Luckily for him Tara and Jesus guessed what he was up to and show up with a gun full of wooden bullets. They try to make a deal, offering to reverse the spell if Pam and Eric will leave them alone. Pam gives them 24 hours to bring Marni to her or she will personally "eat, fuck and kill" all three of them. Pam is definitely in the running for best vampire ever.

Speaking of Marni, she's at home trying to invoke the spirit that came to her when she cursed Eric. Getting increasingly desperate she cuts herself (as a sacrifice) and begs the spirit to come. Finally she slashes herself badly, although whether it's intentional isn't clear. As she goes to the sink to clean up we see the spirit has been there all along, sitting silently, watching. I wonder if she'll get involved when Tara, Lafayette and Jesus show up looking for Marni.

In other happenings, Jason remains tied up in Hotshot, bitten, bruised and feverish. As the shifters tell an interesting tale of the first panthers, Crystal and Felton are happy to see their efforts at turning Jason are working. Jason has zero interest in fathering baby panthers, being more preoccupied with surviving. He begs Crystal to help him and she responds by telling him he's not dying--he's being reborn. She then gives him what Jason assumes is medicine but turns out to be "Mexican" Viagra. Once the drugs start working Crystal gets busy making a baby, much to Jason's chagrin. He calls her every name in the book but she's lost in her own world and doesn't hear (or care). The weirdest part about this scene? Why are there kids in the room watching?

Jessica and Hoyt continue to have problems--at least until Jessica glamours Hoyt and makes him forget all about them. I wonder how many times she's already done that. It's still not entirely clear whether those two really love each other or whether they love the idea of loving each other. More intriguing to me is the new storyline involving a creepy doll that keeps turning up at their place, even after Jessica threw it in the lake. Yes! I don't want to know the person who's not excited about a creepy possessed doll storyline. Of course why Jessica decides to give the thing to Arlene's evil baby is beyond me. 'Hey, kid--enjoy this dirty, broken doll. And oh yeah, it's probably haunted too.' The shot of the baby looking eerily like the doll was a nice touch, though.

Tommy's goody goody act is coming to an end. Despite the fact that Maxine's been nothing but good to him (even if she does just want to replace Hoyt) when a prospector comes to the door offering a whole lot of money for the leasing rights to the natural gas on Maxine's land Tommy sees an opportunity to cash in. He goes to see Sam and proposes they buy Maxine's land out from under her and then make a mint on the natural gas money. Sam is disgusted and tells Tommy that if he doesn't tell Maxine about the man's offer that Sam will. So much for regaining each other's trust.

The episode ends with Sookie sitting at home trying to read (after discovering that Eric is gone). Suddenly a flash of light draws her outside where Claudine tries to convince her to return to the fairy realm. Claudine claims the fairies are Sookie's true family and that only they can keep her safe from the vampires. When Sookie doesn't budge Claudine orders her to come with her. Yeah, that'll work. Just as Sookie snaps at Claudine to stay away from her, Eric lunges out of nowhere and bites Claudine. He's gluttonous as he drinks and doesn't stop until Claudine is dead (I don't like that the fairies are so ugly on the show). As Sookie looks on in horror Eric apologizes.

I love Eric like this--we get to see a deeper side of him for the first time and not just the vampire persona. Sadly it won't last so I'd might as well enjoy it while I can. The subplots are also interesting this season (other than Arlene's baby) and a bit more subtlety is being utilized (thank the TV gods). All I know is that for the first time since season 1 I'm actually excited to see each episode. As far as I'm concerned True Blood is back.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and long snakelike fangs that descend at will (and sometimes simply due to excitement).

Strengths: Super speed & strength. Heightened senses. Fast healing. Ability to glamour humans.

Weaknesses: Tasty fairy blood. Wooden bullets/stakes. Daylight/sun.

Mythology: All vampires answer to The Authority, a mysterious governing body with an unknown agenda. Vampire blood (V) is a highly addictive, illegal and unpredictable drug. Vampires need an invitation into a private residence.

Sound Bites

Sookie: You know perfectly well why I smell...the way I smell.
Eric: Like wheat...and honey and sunlight.

Eric: I know I'm a vampire, Snookie.
Sookie: It's Sookie.

Vampire: So I'm being punished now for being what I am?
Bill: No. You're being punished for being stupid.

Jessica: I hate my life.
Bill: Jess...vamp up.

Andy: God grant me...the serenity...fuck it. [grabs for vial of V]

Sookie: You just killed my fairy godmother!
Eric: Sorry.

True Blood, Season 4 Episode 3 "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?" Written by Alan Ball. Directed by David Petrarca. From HBO.

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