Posted by: April on Jun 27, 2011
HOLY SHIT! Truth: I yelled that while HBO Canada was giving me the 14A warning. Nothing had happened yet, but I was really excited, you guys. Fortunately, last night’s Season 4 True Blood première, “She’s Not There,” had “holy shit” in spades. It’s been over a year since Sookie stepped into the light with Claudine, and it has lead to a lot of delicious new developments for every single one of our beloved characters. Also, Eric tries his hand at growling. Result? Excellent. Now let’s do bad things.
WAIT: Before this season started, I read a number of things about how True Blood can get back on track after Season 3. I wasn’t aware that it went off-track in S3, but apparently people weren’t as into vampire politics as I am. Too bad, fools. Russell Edginton is a genius creation. Denis O’Hare, hats off to you.
No Offense, But You Suck
Claudine and Sookie trip the light fantastic up to Fairy Land, which my viewing companion informs me looks like a) it’s a really boring garden party and b) it’s on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I have a feeling that this is not a compliment. Claudine’s like, “I’m your fairy godmother,” and Sookie lets her know that she’s a piss-poor one. Aw, some things never change. Barry the Bellhop is there and Grandaddy Early and everyone’s munching on this glowing fruit, “lumière” (heh). Apparently after Bill told Sookie that he once read a book, he lent his Greek mythology tome to her because Sookie recognizes this as her Persephone moment: she is not eating that fruit, no way, no day. She also sees a green Gollum sneaking around that, to be honest, I initially mistook for that creepy little coroner’s assistant from way back in Season 1. Nick? Neil! That’s right, it was Kevin McHale. Take that, Glee.
Anyway, Grandaddy Earl thinks he’s been gone about 4 hours, not 20 years, so there’s that to chew on. Hilariously, Sookie tries to warn Grandaddy telepathically that they should skedaddle. Naturally, all the other damn telepaths hear her and don’t like her attitude. Queen Mab, who has a scary mouth despite the fact that everyone else is uniformly beautiful, shows up and tries to force the fruit down Sookie’s throat. Let me tell you the extent to which Sookie is not taking that: she blasts the Queen with her superlight powers so well that the entire illusion is shattered. It’s not a happy trippy fairytale land. It’s a desert hellscape, and all the fae look like the green Gollum dude. Sookie and Grandaddy Earl make a break for it (bye, Barry!) and are given safe passage by Claudine’s blue-eyed brother. Seems the fae are at war with one another since “the crown” wants to gather up all the half-breeds and close off the passage to the world of the living after Bill busted up in there. I get the historical precedent, Mab, but I already told you you have nothing to worry about on that account. If that secret gets out, it will be over Bill’s double-dead body. Also, Sookie promises that she’s staying away from vampires from now on, and I laugh and laugh at how quickly that promise will be broken.
So anyway, Brother leads Sookie and Grandaddy over to a cliff and tells them that have to jump to return to the world of the living. Well, Sookie does. Grandaddy’s screwed ‘cause he ate the fruit. Did I mention that while all this is going on, the fae are throwing light balls at each other and people are going up in shimmering bursts like fatal fireworks? Good, ‘cause that’s happening. Sookie balks at the jump, so Grandaddy grabs her by the shoulders, and both go over.
Bon Temps Cemetery. Sookie lands a little way off from where she started, only now it’s day. In their separate sleeping quarters, Bill and Eric both snap awake. This will be the first of many, many contrasts between the two this episode. I can’t help thinking the opposite way -- that they are more intrinsically linked that ever before. Being daylight and all, Sookie’s alone with Grandaddy as he wastes away, little light seizures shaking his body. Sookie brings him over to where the rest of the Stackhouses are buried as Grandaddy explains that he never meant to abandon them. Did we know that before? I just assumed he was dead because they talked about him in past tense, but I guess they never specifically said. He asks Sookie to give something to Jason. At first I think he means the ring that’s falling off his rapidly decaying finger, but he pulls out a pocket watch, saying that a man should have a real watch. Poor Jason never had a chance, did he? Sometimes the tragedy of Jason Stackhouse hits you anew. Sookie promises to give it to Jason as Grandaddy gives up the ghost and poofs into a cloud of dust. Sookie cries. Throughout all of this, we hear an instrumental version of Lisbeth Scott’s “Take Me Home,” which was featured in “Cold Ground” during Adele’s funeral. It’s a nice touch.
Sookie heads back to the Stackhouse Shack, which is looking mighty fine, actually. Painted and pretty and not covered in maenad-related debris. There are movers in there, though, in a nice trick, it’s hard to tell if they are covering or uncovering everything with drop cloths. Some dude tells Sookie she can’t go in there, revealing that it’s not her house, so Sookie encourages him to call the police, as she’d like an explanation, and she slams the door in his face. Sometime later, Officer Jason shows up. Aw, Officer Jason! With facial hair and everything! He’s so delighted to be hugging Sookie again. When she asks after the date (October 21), she figures she’s been missing two weeks. But no, Jason tells her, she’s been missing 12 and a half months. Hard core, show! Given that the first 3 seasons took place over a span of 4 months, that is balls out! Respect. So anyway, Sookie’s like, “Why are you dressed like a cop and did you sell my house?” Answers: because I am one and yup. Sookie tells Jason all about Fairy Land, including the part with Grandaddy Earl and the watch. While Jason is touched, he also notes that they’re going to need a better lie to save Sookie from the loony bin. Look how grown up he is these days! Jason inquires after the time in order to set the watch, and Sookie realizes that 6:35 means sunset, which means . . .
Sookie’s out on the porch barely 30 seconds when Bill comes whooshing up with practically a sonic boom, he is there so fast. Bill looks . . . Bill looks fuckin’ hot is what he looks. His hair is darker and shorter and off his face, and, instead of looking sickly pale, he’s got some nice colour to him (for a vampire). In short, Bill’s workin’ in. He looks at Sookie like his heart’s about to explode, so naturally he tries to ruin the moment by saying one of those ridiculous Bill things, “I have not felt your presence for over a year.” Of course, the dance between them doesn’t get very far before Eric whooshes up (he did have a longer journey) and practically bursts into tears at the sight of her. Everybody thought Sookie was dead, you see; everyone save Eric. "Everyone who claims to love you . . . they all gave up on you. I. Never. Did," he enunciates in a way that makes me weak in the knees. Oh, hot damn. Show, it’s so good to have you back. Bill and Eric are about to have an overlapped convo wherein Eric is trying to get in good with Sookie and Bill is not having it, but the subtext (and episode ending reveal) is very clear from the blocking. The only way to miss it is to have your descriptive video not up to the task. The entire time Bill is sending up on the porch next to Sookie while Eric is a ways down the lane leading up on the house. Bill and Eric have a conversation over and above and around Sookie about whether or not Fangtasia needs Eric back, immediately, and Eric eventually looks pointedly at Sookie and says, “Apparently I have to go.” I mean, I’d be all, “Hmm,” but c’mon. It’s obvious. The very fact that Bill’s around to have this conversation makes it pretty damn clear. Anyway, Bill’s barely got time to get another word in before Sherriff Bellefleur rolls up and commences freaking out, Andy-style: despite his obvious relief to see Sookie safe and sound, he starts yelling at her about putting them through the shit when she voluntarily disappeared for a year. “We dragged the lake for you!” Sookie, ever the ingénue, wonders why, and Bill goes for a bit of black humour in his delivery of, “They thought I murdered you.” It’s funny ‘cause sometimes he does. Jason comes out and tries to drag Andy off, but Andy’s got too many questions about Sookie’s bullshit to be undeterred. Bill jumps in that he sent Sookie away on vampire business (again, obvious), and it wouldn’t have been dangerous for humans for anyone to have known the truth. He would, however, be happy to come on down on the station and repay them (CLUE!) for any debts incurred on Ms. Stackhouse’s behalf, following a full, public pardon. My, my, Bill Compton. When did you get so smooth? Thus mollified, Andy and Jason leave Sookie and Bill alone. Bill looks like he’d like to get his arms, at the very least, around Sookie, so she has to tearfully remind him that she may have been gone for over a year to him, but, for her, it was only hours ago that he broke her heart into “a million pieces.” Ouch, Bill looks down and nods, anguished, but perks up a little when Sookie notes that him wanting to make sure she’s okay, him being okay, and him covering for her are three good things. Bill accepts this and takes off.
You’ll Start Part Time
Next day, Sookie’s getting the life squeezed out of her by Arlene, Terry, and whoever else can get in there over at Merlotte’s. Lafayette gets in a quick cuddle before heading back to his gumbo and mentioning that Sookie could save a whole lot of people a whole lot of worry if she just texted a motherfucker. Sookie looks genuinely touched by his concern. She inquires after Tara, who moved according to Sam, and who is a rolling stone according to Lafayette. Sookie remarks that it’s odd for Tara just to pick up and leave like that, and Lafayette gets in his first reality check of the season: “Wouldn’t you?” Aw! I would pour one out for Franklin, but, since he didn’t die of sexism, I’ll just raise my glass and promise him first go at the slots next time.
Sookie just kind of stands there waiting for Sam to offer her her job back (heh) and manages to get in a dig about how Sam’s gotten pricklier in the interim. Sookie, what boss in his right mind would put up with your crazy ass? You are constantly disappearing and needing time off and getting into all manner of vamp-trouble. Sam, who seems to be attempting to balance his murderous self with his doormat self, relents and offers to take Sookie back on part time, as Holly and Arlene have kids and need the money more than she does. Sookie accepts.
Bitches of Eastwick, NOLA-edition
It seems it’s been quite a while since Lafayette last had a vision (I heard two months, but I could have heard wrong), and Jesus is getting a little antsy about it. Jesus has been dragging our dear Mr. Reynolds all over the countryside to sweat lodges and pagan fairs trying to get Lafayette’s mojo back. Lafayette, as you can imagine, is less interested. He does, however, agree to show at Jesus’s coven (which he keeps swearing is not a coven, but it so is). Holly’s part of it. Once there, Marnie, who appears to be something of a leader to them, channels Eddie (another Season 1 call back!). Lafayette freaks out and takes off, accusing Jesus of having fed Marnie that information. The next day at Merlotte’s, Jesus begs Lafayette to give the witches another shot. While he only promises to think about it, he and his short Mohawk are there come sun down. Marnie’s bird, Minerva, has died, and she wants to do a spell to help ease its passage to the afterlife. Everyone dusts off their forearms and hands and settles into the circle, save Lafayette, who refuses to hold anyone’s hand. Smart boy. For reasons that only make sense dramatically and not at all in terms of the way people actually act, Jesus and the goth girl on the other side of Lafayette don’t just reach across him to complete the circle. Marnie moves pretty quickly from “have a safe trip on your vacation with Jesus” (the non-accented one) to “come back from the dead,” and the other witches start to wig a little because they didn’t practice this spell. Or even discuss it, from what I can tell. Still, Marnie must have a pretty strong hold on them that they don’t immediately bust that shit up. In fact, when Marnie sees that Lafayette is keeping her spell from working, she intimidates him into participating. As soon as they all link hands, a frisson goes through the group, and Lafayette starts shaking. Run, Lafayette! These people are nuts. Too late: Minerva’s up and flying. She heads over Lafayette’s head or at least over the bond between Lafayette and Jesus (I mention this in case it’s significant later), and plops down dead as soon as she exists the circle. Lafayette, I guess coming around on this whole witch business or maybe just playing it safe, tells Marnie he’s sorry the spell didn’t work and her bird is still dead, but Marnie says, “That’s okay” with such a crazed look in her eye that she might as well have said, “This is a test. This witch is conducting a test of the Emergency Necromancing System. This is only a test.” Eric is so fucked, you guys.
Humans are Served, and WeDon’t Mean for Dinner
Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck’s in the opening credits now, hurrah!) is trying to guide a Chanel-suited Pam through a family-friendly commercial for Fangtasia. As you can imagine, Pam’s biting sarcasm breaks through at every turn, and Nan has to yell that they “are living in a post-Russell Edginton world!” and thus the AVL needs to court the humans more than ever. Eric rolls up just in time to see how badly his progeny is botching the job and, of course, gets it one: he delivers a speech about how Fangtasia might be a club owned by a vampire but said vampire is also a tax-paying American just like everyone else. What’s more, vampires were once human, so they get the whole human thing. Eric also gets in a dig about how you can’t trust politicians, which makes sense, as this entire monologue is cut with a speech that Bill’s delivering at the ribbon-cutting for the Caroline Compton Seniors Centre (or similar, basically a Compton old folks home) about how he’s just an old dude like them, and how his wife planted those trees as part of the Arbour Society, and basically, he’s just as Bon Temps as the next guy. It’s pitched at the exact same charm/smarm level as Bill’s Q & A with the Descendants of the Glorious Dead, which is a nice bit of acting, as well as a nice bit of contrast: Eric dials it down, and Bill dials it up. Of course, the scene hits the mark a little too hard when Bill snips the ribbon with some giant novelty scissors (or maybe just hedge trimmers) and Eric holds up his hand and makes a little snipping motion to indicate that they should cut the tape. Did I mention that Eric’s back in black these days? He is. And while that shit is hot, I shall miss that lovely sea foam cashmere sweater. And, since I mentioned my dear Nan, I should also point out that Portia Bellefleur is watching Bill hungrily from the sidelines at his presentation. In the books, she was his descendant, though I don’t know if that will hold here.
I Done Good This Time
Jason’s still taking care of the Hot Shot crew (they call him Mr. Jason), showing up with a truck load of groceries. Alabama Thunderpussy, you’ve come so far. He has to pry some of those mangy kids off the uncooked meat (they only laugh at the suggestion that they will get sick) and sends another one off to drop the barrel of ice cream (the kind the use at ice cream shoppes) in the “ice box.” Aw, the South. One of the kids mentions that she’d like Crystal to come home, and Jason agrees, as the kids need a “momma,” and he has some things he’d like to say to her and all. She’s been gone this entire time? Effed up. No sooner have they all agreed than the one with the ice cream comes back to report that the ice box is broken. Jason is muttering about how he just fixed it when he finds it propped open with a spray paint can and a plastic-wrapped head of lettuce inside. Aw, like they were trying to trap a rabbit! Jason’s down in there complaining that he’ll have to replace the cooling element, again, when hands come and shove him down, slam the door, and lock him in. Ice Cream Boy looks worried and upset, and I’ll bet Felton is behind this.
AKI and an Empire to Call His Own
Sookie’s determined to get her house back and hires Portia to help. It doesn’t seem like Sookie can afford to repay the above-market price, much less $50,000 in improvements that AKI put into Stackhouse Shack, but Portia will see that she can do. Sensing her reticence, Sookie reads Portia’s mind but finds it pre-occupied with Bill and generalized jealousy toward Sookie re: the same. Don’t know if that’s because they are actually involved or if she just wants to be. Well, Bill’s not a monk.
After the failed avian necromancing, red-head witch who’s name I unfortunately did not catch, walks up a path and gets stopped by a security guard. She’s there to see the king. Yes, an informant! I love this already. The house, which looks magnificent from the outside, is pretty clearly the Compton Plantation all fixed up once the doors open. Apparently Bill’s Chuck Bass-ification included the keys the kingdom. Take that, Sophie-Anne! Not that I didn’t like you, but I LOVE how badass that is of Bill. And yes, this is the obvious thing I have been referring to. Bill is Vampire King of Louisiana. Oh, friends, this is going to be amazing! Anyway, Red Head takes a seat, any seat she likes, and gets ready to sing like a canary. What, sometimes I feel gangster.
Over at Stackhouse Shack, Sookie comes out of her en suite and drops her wet towel on her bed. Ew. Also, I just remembered her poor cat. So anyway, Sookie goes over to some clothes that Jason had boxed up, pulls out a teeny pink nightie, and throws her robe over her shoulder. Instead of hitting the ground with a thud, it’s suspended in mid-air because . . . Eric’s holding it. And he is looking at her with such undisguised lust that TV screens all over the Eastern seaboard burst into flames. Seriously, he even growls. He’s gone complete animalistic. It’s way hot. After confirming that “this is no dream” brought on by drinking his blood, Eric says some blah bliddity bloo about how rad it is Sookie looks exactly like he always pictured her to look naked. Uh, gorgeous? Sookie, still clutching her teeny nightie, finally uses her head and wonders how Eric even got in here, given that she rescinded his invitation. Eric holds up his key because, of course, he is AKI. And there are, like, 8 fucking awesome ideas going on here. It speaks to him never giving up on her since he maintained and even improved her home. A vampire owned house is accessible to other vamps, so either he’s so cross-eyed with lust that he can’t see how much he’s put her in danger or else he’s setting her up to need his protection. Plus it gives him something to lord over Bill, as Bill is unlikely to dispute Eric’s property rights, BUT Bill can be there in nano-seconds if his Sookie-sense tingles. Fucking genius shit, and totally Eric. Well played, writers. Eric’s advancing toward her while explaining that he wanted to own her house because he wants own her, which is gross and wrong and not conducive to a healthy relationship. Or, to break it down into terms we all understand, “You. Are. MINE.” The fangs pop out as we crash into black.
In other news:
- Jessica and Hoyt are living together, relatively happily. She’s not as understanding of his human needs, like food, as he’d like, but she’s also a denial, per Pam, about her hunter nature that will always chafe against monogamy. The show does a nice misdirect where a fangbanger comes onto Jessica at Fangtasia, but, instead of Hoyt and the guy getting into a fight, Jessica just tells him that she has a boyfriend.
- Sam shot Tommy after all but in the leg, necessitating a brace and extensive physical therapy, for which Sam is paying. Tommy is paying in his own way, I would guess, given that he has been taken in by Maxine Fortenberry and has his hair all slicked back with a precise side part. I wonder if he can still shift when he’s broken like that.
- Maxine shot at Jessica and missed. She is now dead to Hoyt.
- Arlene and Terry’s toddler, Mikey, is ripping the heads off all his toys, worrying the bejesus out of Arlene. Terry is more nonchalant about their burgeoning Damien.
- Tara’s an MMA fighter going by Toni, involved with a lady, and maintaining a level head when guys act like pigs. She does not, however, come home or even get into contact when Lafayette texts that Sookie is back.
- Sam has found a little club of other shifters (two hot ladies and a gentleman). Looks like they get together for delicious meals, shift, and go off frolicking. Tonight it’s a small herd of horses.
- Andy’s hooked on V and trying to intimidate Lafayette into turning it over, but Lafayette hasn’t touched the stuff since Eric saved him in Hot Shot. Jason’s trying to keep Andy clean, but it clearly isn’t going so well.
- Did Eric’s fangs seem bigger to you? Thicker, somehow?
- Loving the Season 1 call backs.
- As well as Pam’s amused giggling at the very idea of monogamy. Aw, get a progeny, Pam. You could have so much fun!
- Grandaddy Earl asked if Adele passed “gently,” which I thought was an odd question. Wouldn’t he just want to know if she had passed at all?
- Let's give an aw to all the couples who have stayed together over this time: Jessica and Hoyt, Arlene and Terry, Jesus and Lafayette. That's sweet.
Next time: who knows because HBO Canada doesn’t play the previews game. It does, however, inform me that as a subscriber, I can watch next week’s episode online. So . . . tempted . . . must . . . resist?