[EDITOR’S NOTE: Pop Culture Zoo welcomes Morgan Glennon to our ranks with this review. Morgan will be recapping True Blood for us each week and possibly some other things as well. Please join us in welcoming Morgan to the Zoo!]
Welcome back to the world of True Blood, where the blood flows freely and everyone is mostly naked. After a particularly over-the-top third season, the fourth season premiere seems to signal a return to form for the campy, vampy drama.
Unfortunately, the episode is forced to deal straight away with one of the more absurd elements of last season: fairyland. You’ll remember that at the end of last season our Southern heroine Sookie Stackhouse followed her literal fairy godmother into the realm of the fae. This realm is full of beautiful people in togas voraciously eating day-glow fruit in a sequence so full of cheese it looks like one of those squiggly dream scenes in Saved By the Bell. Everyone in fairyland is more soft-focused than Barbara Walters. This dream world doesn’t sit right with Sookie either, who refuses to eat the fruit and quickly runs into two familiar faces who do: Barry, the telekinetic bus boy from season two and her long missing grandfather. Her grandfather looks exactly the same as when he disappeared and thinks he’s only been gone a few hours, not twenty years.
Soon, the glamor of fairyland has run out and all the beautiful people have reverted into troll-creatures who chase Sookie and her grandfather to the edge of a cliff. Seems there is a rebellious faction of fairies that want to keep a portal open between fairyland and the real world. Viva le fairy resistance! They advise Sookie to jump, since she hasn’t eaten the fruit, but tell her grandfather he can’t go with her. Darn, we hardly knew ye Barry. Her grandfather jumps with her regardless and soon disappears into dust, but not before bequeathing a family timepiece to Jason.
Sookie has a good cry in the cemetery and then heads home, where her house is looking remarkably spruced up. Turns out that’s because it’s been sold. Sookie’s been missing a whole year, during which time all our favorite characters have moved on (or not) in interesting ways.
An Office and a Junkie
Seems like Jason has used his year sans-Sookie productively, becoming an official officer of Bon Temps. He’s the one that answers the breaking and entering call after Sookie refuses to leave her house and is shocked to see her alive. Everyone, he explains, just sort of figured she got eaten by a vampire. Their bad! After an exhaustive search the police gave up on finding her and Jason sold the house.
Real estate isn’t the only thing on Jason’s mind, as it turns out he’s still taking care of Crystal’s cousins (and brother-cousins) in Hotshot. He’s also dealing with Andy, now so desperately hooked on V that he’s hitting up Lafayette for product. But since no good deed goes unpunished on True Blood, Jason ends the episode locked in a malfunctioning freezer by the Hills Have Eyes-esque Hotshot residents.
A King and a Deed
What have Sookie’s two most ardent suitors been up to? Both are working full time to ingratiate themselves to humans in this “post-Russel Edington world”. Bill immediately finds Sookie at nightfall and the two share a tense moment. He gives her a cover story for her absence: secret vampire business. But they have little time for much more, because Bill is now the King of Louisiana. Sookie meets with lawyer and Chamber of commerce member Portia Bellefleur to get back her house and eavesdrops on her thoughts enough to hear that Bill never mentions her. Does Portia have a crush on Bill? Did Bill forget about Sookie in the intervening year?
Eric most certainly did not, as he immediately tells her in front of Bill. While her family and friends gave up on her, Eric never did. As the episode closes Eric walks in on Sookie getting changed and banters with her seductively. While she wonders how he got inside with her lack of invitation he drops a bombshell on her: he bought her house. He says that owning her house gives him power over her and goes in, presumably, for a bite.
Different Forms of Anger Management
Meanwhile, Sam and Tara work out their anger issues in different ways. Tara is now living in New Orleans as a lesbian cage-fighter named Tony. She gets a text from Lafayette about Sookie’s return, but seems none too eager to return to Bon Temps. And Sam? Seems he did shoot Tommy, leaving him in a leg brace but alive. Now he meets with what at first appears to be an anger management group but soon reveals itself to be a group of shifters, who commiserate over wine and then gallop in horse form into the night.
Looks like there’s trouble in paradise for Hoyt and Jessica’s formerly syrupy sweet relationship. Living together for the past year has strained their love. Hoyt is angry about Jessica’s less than stellar cooking skills while Jessica spends an outing at Fangtasia eyeing fresh meat. Pam, noticing, advises her to ditch the boyfriend and live like a hunter but Jessica protests that she loves Hoyt. Can their relationship survive?
Also dealing with problems in the home front are Terry and Arlene. Arlene is convinced that her Barbie decapitating new born has too much of his serial killer father in him.
Lafayette, still happy with Jesus, is less happy at Jesus’ continued attempts to get him to get in touch with his powers. The latest attempt has them joining in on waitress Holly’s coven where Lafayette is promptly freaked by their witchy leader, who summons the spirit of former client and staked vampire Eddie. On their next visit coven leader Marnie is mourning the loss of her parrot familiar. As they all join hands to see him off into the spirit world, Lafayette rolls his eyes. Then something starts to happen; Marnie’s voice changes and she demands Lafayette complete the circle. When he does the coven gets a power jolt and the bird briefly springs back to life. As Lafayette apologizes for the second death of her feathered friend, Marnie smiles in a way that can mean nothing good.