26 July 2011

True Blood S4 E4 "I'm Alive and on Fire"

Spoilers Ahead

Well, this episode was a strange one. Besides the usual (sex, blood, violence...) we're treated to rotting flesh, witch burning, frolicking vampires, incest, rape, and creepy messages from beyond. There's also some very fine eye candy courtesy of Alcide and Eric. Buckle up, kids--it's going to get bumpy.

"I'm Alive and on Fire" begins post fairy-draining (see last episode). That fairy blood must be good shit because Eric is acting all kinds of goofy. After briefly passing out he decides he wants more and goes for the nearest available source: Sookie. But when she tells him to stop or he'll kill her he immediately backs away and claims he'd never harm her. Then he smacks her butt and starts playing silly games, finally running off despite the coming dawn. You can't leave a bewitched, drunk vampire alone for a second.

While Sookie's off trying to find Eric in the woods, Bill is trying to find him everywhere else--starting with Fangtasia. He gives Pam a dressing down for not following procedure, snapping that it's not her job to think, but she doesn't give anything away regarding Eric's whereabouts. If Bill was a condescending jerk with Pam, it's nothing compared with how Nan Flanagan later treats him when he tells her about Eric's disappearance. Dismissive of the idea of necromancers (they haven't been an issue since the Spanish Inquisition) she's more concerned about getting vampires good PR after Russell's public rampage. She tells Bill to take care of the situation but not to spill a single drop of mortal blood. Yes, that'll go well.

Nan perhaps should have taken the witches more seriously. Marnie (incidentally played by Fiona Shaw, better known as Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter movies) has a vision of the Spanish Inquisition. She watches as her spirit guide, still alive and a necromancer, is burned at the stake. As she burns she chants a spell, which Marnie manages to pick up. Well that's going to be trouble.

Meanwhile, even though the sun has since risen, Sookie is still searching for Eric and she's enlisted the help of Alcide. He shifts and manages to track Eric to a pond where our favourite Viking is still acting goofy. He's high on fairy blood and sunshine and is grinning like a loon. But when Alcide shift back to naked human form Eric suddenly gets jealous and possessive of Sookie. There was one hell of an interesting fight in the making before Sookie stepped in and calmed the were and the vampire down. Alas. But it's probably for the best since a moment later Eric starts burning in the sun. Sookie covers him in a blanket and leads him away, but all traces of his previous joyousness are gone and he says he doesn't want to go back to the dark.

After refusing to let himself rest Eric asks Sookie to stay with him in his underground room. I don't know how she can say no to him--he's so sad (maybe I'm way too softhearted) but she tells him she has "human stuff" to do. The human stuff consists of having an argument with Alcide about the situation (which Eric can hear) and then making up with a flirty hug and promises that they're on each other's sides no matter what. Later, when Alcide returns home, he tells Debbie what happened. She claims to be fine with it but this is True Blood, so we know this is leading somewhere unpleasant.

Lafayette, Jesus and Tara go to see Marnie and try to convince her to undo the spell. At first she's less than interested but eventually they manage to impress upon her the severity of the situation (that is, Pam and/or Eric will fuck them all up for what Marnie's done). She finally tries to contact the spirit and goddesses to get the spell so she can undo it. Unfortunately they're not in a helping mood. Just when the witches are about to give up, defeated, a book falls off the shelf and happens to open to the counter-spell. Spirit witch has come through!

Once night has fallen again, Portia takes Bill to meet her grandmother. Is it just me or does it seem a bit much to make a person meet your family when the relationship consists entirely of work and sex? It seems like a very clumsy ploy on the writer's part to have Bill discover he and Portia are related (it turns out he's her great-great-great-great grandfather). I never liked this storyline in the book, either (come on--you're a vampire going back to your tiny hometown--wouldn't you make an effort to ensure you don't end up dating one of your descendants?) But the book did a better job with it than the show by far. I also like how when Bill tries to walk away Portia threatens to use her lawyerly skills to make his life hell. Wow--talk about not taking a breakup well. Honestly, who does that? The one part of this whole scene that I did enjoy was that Katherine Helmond is playing Caroline Bellefleur. Every so often I wonder what she's up to and now I know.

Anyway, after Bill leaves the Bellefleurs he goes to see Sookie. He seems to be happy to see her but the conversation turns immediately to Eric and his whereabouts. Sookie lies but Bill insists on searching her house. She's also just as insistent that he doesn't. She blocks his way and snaps that she's never lied to him and after a moment's hesitation he backs off. So what's going to happen when he finds out she did lie to him?

I missed something in the last episode. I thought a bunch of the Hotshot kids were watching as Crystal had her way with Jason. I somehow didn't notice they were all female and some of them not so young. I realized my error this episode when the women took turns trying to get impregnated by Jason (apparently they're really desperate for fresh DNA in their gene pool). It gets beyond creepy when Becky--who looks to be about 12--steps up to take her turn (Felton, aka "Uncle-daddy," told her she was old enough and that it was her duty to produce a cub). Jason convinces her that she deserves something better for her first time and since neither of them want Jason to die (he's still pretty sick) she cuts him loose and he makes his escape. When Felton realizes that Jason is gone he's furious, shifting into panther mode and beginning the chase (with intent to rip Jason apart).

As Jason runs from the pursuing panthers, he's struggling. His breathing is ragged and he looks like he's about to pass out at any moment. He tries to put them off his scent but that doesn't slow them down for long. He finally shakily climbs a tree and carves a branch into a spear. When Felton shows up Jason drops on him and shoves the spear into his neck. Jason gets clawed in the process but at least Felton is dead. A second later Crystal shows up and is thrilled that Felton is dead (she's the alpha now). Crystal is completely delusional and insists that Jason will come back to Hotshot when he realizes no one else will want him. Right. Eventually Jason ends up collapsing on the road. Fortunately Jessica and Hoyt are driving by and see him. Jessica gives Jason blood and there's a strange moment there where he's gazing up at her. Looks like he might end up with a little blood-induced crush on Jess. Interesting.

In happier news Sam is becoming his sweet self again, even in the face of a belligerent Maxine who blames him because Tommy didn't come home the night before. Sam assures her that Tommy can take care of himself. I guess we can thank Luna for Sam's return to the character we know and love. He seems pretty smitten with her and when he accidentally discovers she has a young daughter, the rapport between him and little Emma is the stuff of any single mom's dreams. Of course there's always a hitch and in this case Luna admits to Sam that her ex (Emma's dad) is a werewolf and something of a stalker.

As for Tommy, he's gone to see his mom. Belinda claims she's left Joe Lee but is vague enough about the circumstances that you wonder how oblivious Tommy has to be not to notice that something is off. Instead they have a nice visit until Belinda starts defending Joe Lee. As Tommy gets agitated, guess who shows up behind him and throws a chain around his neck? Of course Belinda couldn't leave Joe Lee. She stands by uselessly as Joe Lee chokes Tommy, promising to teach him obedience and loyalty and claiming that Tommy's enjoyed his last free breath. Maybe Tommy won't be such a brat the next time (if) Sam saves him from those two.

And last (as well as least), Terry holds the demon baby as the rest of the family sleeps on the sofa. He tells the baby who everyone is, ending with himself (saying he's daddy). Terry leaves the room for a second and someone picks up a red marker and scrawls "baby not yours" on the wall. Terry comes back and freaks, which wakes everyone else up so they can freak too. The baby just smiles and plays with the marker. If it actually turns out that the baby is possessed/inherently evil I will not be impressed. At all. This is such a lame storyline.

The episode finishes off with Marnie, Tara, Lafayette, Jesus and Pam gathered together to perform the counter-spell. Pam is impatient and angry; really, she should know better. In the middle of the spell Pam snaps and aggressively approaches the circle. Suddenly the spirit takes over Marnie and she begins chanting a spell as Pam stands frozen and horrified. I expected a repeat of the memory-erasing spell, but I think this one is much worse. The spell is for a vampire to see their true self, that is, as an animated corpse. Pam's flesh starts rotting off her face as she screams. Then she runs. Can't blame her.

This was another relatively solid episode with several future storylines being set in motion. The creep factor was also high, if you're into that sort of thing. I love that in season 4 each episode leaves me excited to see the next one. And I can't wait until the vampires once again have the upper hand.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and fangs that descend or retract at will (and also involuntarily when the vampire is excited or aggressive).

Strengths: Super speed. Enhanced senses. Vampire blood heals humans.

Weaknesses: Fairy blood. Sunlight. Staying awake during the day (results in "the bleeds"). Magic. Shortsightedness and arrogance.

Mythology: Vampire society is strictly hierarchical with regular vampires at the lowest levels, followed by Sheriffs, Kings and Queens, the AVL (and Nan Flanagan), and the mysterious Authority running the show. Vampire blood (V) is a potent and illegal drug for humans.

Sound Bites

Pam: You like the feel of it, don't you, Bill? That crown.

Nan Flanagan: [to Bill] Don't fuck this up. How many retired Kings do you know?

Sookie: [to Eric] There's big gators in there, you crazy Viking, so get on out and let's go home before one of them chomps off your you-know-what!"

Eric: [to Sookie] I'll never swim in the sun again. Never feel the heat on my skin. Never see the daylight in your hair.

Marnie: How am I expected to repair the vampire if he isn't here?
Pam: That's your problem. Reverse the spell or I'll bite your fucking head off.

True Blood, Season 4 Episode 4 "I'm Alive and on Fire." Written by Nancy Oliver. Directed by Michael Lehmann. From HBO.

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.

06 July 2011

True Blood S4 E2 "You Smell Like Dinner"

Spoilers Ahead

"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...

Fang Files

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.

Sound Bites

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.