Sucks So Good: True Blood 4.1, "She's Not There"
IT'S BACK, YOU GUYS, TRUE BLOOD IS BACK!
After a nine-month hiatus that can only be described as excruciating, True Blood returned last night and brought JOY back to my Sunday nights. I was walking around today with an extra spring in my step, which did not go unnoticed by people I encountered (although I felt silly sharing the true reason for my glee--"Oh, it's because True Blood is back! What's True Blood? Um, a show, about vampires. And fairies. And witches. So..."--and tried to play it off as though I was extremely excited about the weather, which I actually was, since it was the first totally sunny day in a while, but that is beside the point). But can you blame me?! So many delicious cliffhangers we needed resolutions on!
You know the drill: spoilers obviously abound after the jump, so hurry up and get yourself caught up on any episodes you've missed and join us for discussion of "She's Not There"!
First, let's begin with the traditional part of any of my True Blood recaps: the frenzied list of hysterical questions. Bill is KING?! If I sell my house to a dummy corporation, will ASkars show up in my bedroom all brooding-like?! What the hell with the fairies, seriously?! How fucking fierce is Lafayette's mohawk?!
I only know the answer to the last question and that answer is DEAR LORD, NO!
Let's start where the episode did: Fairy Land! I have no idea why I have such a hard time with the fairy thing. Like, how are vampires and werewolves and witches/aliens (I'm sorry, Lauren Bowles still looks like an alien to me! I am anxiously awaiting that plot twist and then I will crow "TOLD YA!") not offensive to me, but fairies fill me with shame? Anyway, we're in fairy land and it's very pretty, and fairies are passing around citrus fruits filled with gleaming light, and Barry the Bellhop is there!
Sookie catches a glimpse of a familiar face: it's Gary Cole, from a whole bunch of awesome things!
But she recognizes him as her grandfather, who thinks he's only been gone for a few hours, not the, you know, 20 years that he was actually missing. Sookie sees the decay taking place in fairy land and tries to telephathically warn her grandfather to escape, forgetting that fairies can hear each other's thoughts. Smooth move, Sook! Queen Mab of Fairy Land lets Sookie in on her plan to harvest humans, they spar, Sookie's lightning fingers come back, and Fairy Land turns from pristine to decrepit, and then there was this prolonged battle amidst freaking mountains and sand, and the fairies threw light all over the place, and eventually Sookie and her grandfather jumped back to earth and then he died almost immediately, and I was like "???!!!??" Because, really. That...was bad.
Luckily, things picked up with a quickness when Sookie went back to her house, that wasn't her house anymore and learned from her uniformed and well-built brother that she was missing for over a year, not just a few minutes! I loved that--I feel like a substantial jump in time does really good things for a show's creativity and after a few seasons here where the action picked up immediately after the events of the prior season's finale, it's definitely something different. I'm intrigued to see how certain characters got to where they are now. Specifically, Maxine and Tommy! I know she's aching for another son, after Hoyt estranged himself from her with hatred and disgust, but still, that is a match made in hell! She used the phrase "tushie cushion", for fuck's sake! If that doesn't send shivers down your spine and intrigue you all the same, I don't know what will.
And what's the deal with Bill becoming King?!
Color me excited! I'm not sure what to make of his story--or, rather, the brief bits and pieces that could be his story--but he is a natural politician! I really enjoyed watching him work the crowd at the ceremonial ribbon-cutting with charm and smarm.
And is he moving on with Portia Bellefleur? And how is he connected to one of Jesus's witch friends? It's all very interesting, and that means a lot coming from someone who started to roll her eyes whenever she saw him even approach the camera last season!
I love, love, love Lafayette (and his new mohawk!) and Jesus together. Lafayette being introduced as Jesus's partner, their affectionate squabbling: so cute! That's the extent of their cuteness this episode, though, because everything about the witch coven was vaguely horrifying and upsetting. Marnie (I'm glad the Dursleys are such minor characters in the Harry Potter films, because I'd hate to not be able to watch them without giving them a serious side-eye. Aunt Petunia, why so scary?!) channel Eddie and then harness the power of the coven, and Lafayette in particular, to bring her bird to life again was just...egads.
I know someone who's sleeping with the lights on tonight...
Andy is addicted to V, which we all saw coming. But what that reveal lacked in shock value, it made up for in hilarity, because his rage-filled outburst when he realized that Sookie was alive and well and on "vampire business" was amazingly funny.
Terry Bellefleur? Adorable. He invented new animals, people! Which is creepy, but he explained it so adorably! Watching Arlene struggle with her inner conviction that her infant is a baby psychopath? All sorts of hilarious.
Her horror upon finding him on the floor surrounded by decapitated Barbies was amazing ("Mikey? Momma loves you so, so very much, but you have got to understand: killing is wrong!") and her inability to tell Sookie anything remotely positive about him ("He's uh, he's really, uh, smart") made me laugh and laugh.
Tara is cage-fighting in New Orleans.
File that under "Things That Make Complete Sense And, When You Think About It, Are Long Overdue". She's also in a lesbian relationship with another cagefighter who thinks her name is Toni, and that she's from Atlanta. She was super rattled by the news that Sookie is actually alive. It's one more thing to add to her My Life Is, For Real, Bizarre list.
The tension between Hoyt and Jessica distresses me.
So, at the end of last season, when Sam took aim at his (admittedly, horrible little shit of a) brother? He really did shoot him, paralyzing him! I thought the writers would clumsily opt for a fake-out there, but Sam's downward spiral just kept going downward. Tommy's now in physical therapy on Sam's dime, which he cheerfully reminds him of, and Sam is in anger management. Or some sort of anger management that includes hanging out with other shapeshifters.
It's not therapeutic in the traditional sense, but he at least is bottling up his thirst for violence so far this season, so I consider it its own sort of success! I mean, it's bubbling under the surface in an obvious fashion, but still.
Pam's robotic and completely disinterested advertisement for vampire friendliness tickled me.
Eric taking over and putting his own, smoldering spin on it?
The man could sell me anything. If deposed Nigerian princes had ASkars film a YouTube video requesting financial assistance, I'd send in all of my bank accounts and the bank accounts of my loved ones.
"I wonder what is happening in HOTSHOT?", wondered nobody as we approached the end of the episode without a glimpse of the, as Lafayette deemed them, Deliverance extras. So I groaned like a groaning thing when an obviously overwhelmed Jason went to deliver them food. He was sweet and patient and what happens to him? He gets knocked into and locked into a freezer by a mystery hillbilly for his troubles.
Sunday cliffhanger: Eric suddenly (and sexily) appears in Sookie's bedroom while she changes, and happilly (and sexily) informs her that he owns her house...which means that he owns her.
Let's ignore Fairy Land (is the phrase "Where the point goes to die" printed on the money?) for a moment, which I realize is basically impossible, since it took up a quarter of the episode. But put your secondhand embarrassment aside: the premiere set up a bunch of stories that could be really, good, right? I am legitimately entertained by almost everything that is percolating right now...
...although I worry about Fairy Land looming behind me, taunting me with its cheese. Do you think Gary Cole left the set in a huff when he was finished? "I played Cotton McKnight! I'm BETTER than this!"