‘True Blood’ Recap: She’s Not There

S4:E1“If your job is to look after me, then can I just say that you suck!” – Sookie

Welcome back, True Blood fans! (Blooders? Blans? Bluddites?) I would say that it’s been a long year without the TB crew to keep us company, but honestly, it’s pretty simple to duplicate the effect of the show by listening to a Twilight audiobook while watching porn and intermittently spraying fake blood at the screen. Though to be fair, it is hard to find porn stars as attractive as Alexander Skarsgard.

Season 4 picks up right were 3 left off, following Sookie’s sojourn into fairy land. For the majority of her trip into the great, soft-focused beyond, I was distracted by how low-budget and fake the sets looked, and was prepared to complain ad-nauseum in the recap. It turns out, however, that the crappy sets were all a product of fairy magic, so the suck may have been stylistic rather than an act of set designer rebellion. Yes, to the shock of everyone who has never heard of a fairy tale before, Sookie’s fairy godparents aren’t on the up-and-up. Sookie and her newly rediscovered grandfather escape from the magical trap and make it back to the real world barely past the opening song (which it is great to hear again, to be sure), but Sookie’s grandad dies in a way that I’m sure would be very dramatic if we hadn’t just met him four minutes ago. Sookie heads back to her house, only to discover this season’s shocking plot twist- she’s been gone for over a year! I’ll just leave this here for appropriate dramatic effect.

“We figured a vampire must a did it! Like Bill, or maybe that crazy tall one…”- Jason

Yes, True Blood has decided to jump forward a year. I’ll come out in tentative support of the idea- it helps get some distance from some of the stupider plots of last season, and it was getting kind of ridiculous that the last three seasons have taken place over the course of about two months. But on the other hand, it means that we’re probably going to have to spend half of the season watching flashbacks of the stuff that we missed, but don’t care about. And now that we know how it turns out, I especially won’t care about it.

Most of the episode was spent reintroducing the characters after their year haitus, and not too much has changed. Bill is his usual whiny self, but as a result of his season-closing fight with Sophie-Ann, is the new vampire King of Louisiana. And, hilariously, was accused of murdering Sookie during her disappearance. To the credit of the Bon Temps police department, it’s usually the victim’s significant other, but I know some particularly tenacious gerbils that could take Bill in a fight.

Jason has apparently matured during Sookie’s disappearance, going so far as to get a regular job as a babysitter. When he’s a cop, he spends all his time babysitting Andy and his burgeoning V addiction, and off-duty he works babysitting the inbred meth compound. Jason’s maturity doesn’t translate into intelligence, however, as he gets himself captured and locked into a refrigerator. Also babysitting, in a far more literal way, are Arlene and Terry, who’ve been taking care of Arlene’s evil hell spawn. For the moment, his only symptom is a hatred of Barbie dolls, which indicates that he’s either going to grow up to be the demonic source of all evil, or a feminist.

“My name is Eric Northman, I’m a  tax-paying American, and small business owner in the great state of Louisiana. I’m also a vampire.” – Eric

Eric is basically still up to his old tricks, but is putting a friendlier, or less openly homicidal, face on the vampire rights movement. It’s good that the cameras weren’t around at the end of the episode, as Eric pulled an Edward Cullen and surprised an undressing Sookie in her bedroom. According to Eric, he owns her because he bought her grandmother’s house. I know that Eric’s old, and it’s hard to keep track of things like that, but we have some very specific amendments that discourage the whole “people-owning” thing. As amusing as Bill and Eric’s sundown race to proclaim their love was, both vampires have started to slip in the creepy to cute ratio away from “lovesick puppy” and towards “guy in the bushes with binoculars.”

The other residents of Bon Temps have also gotten on with their lives. Lafayette and Jesus are still together, (and still adorable) and have joined a hippie magic coven in the Bon Temps’ equivalent of Giles’ magic shop. Things may not be all that they appear, however, (ain’t that a shock) as their group leader seems to be able to channel the dead, and is delving into necromancy. A necromancer in a town full of dead folks? Looks like I just found the season’s villain!

Sam is back at the bar, and apparently didn’t kill his pain-in-the-ass brother at the end of the last season. He just shot him in the leg so hard that he found Jesus. Sam’s also started “anger management”, which is another word for “fun shapeshifting party!” Tara, who I was pretty sure got written off the show last year, is back as a bisexual cage-fighter in New Orleans. And because there’s no possible way to top the absurdity of that sentence, I’m just going to stop the recap here.

Best Moments:

Sookie uses thoughspeech to talk in secret with her grandfather, in a room where EVERYONE CAN USE THOUGHTSPEECH. Maybe copious blood loss isn’t good for the IQ score.

“You owe me a plaque!”

“Everyone is welcome at Fangtasia. Vampires, Humans, men, women, families, pets. Everyone is welcome, come on down. The blood is warm, and so is the service.” Damn, have I ever missed Pam.

“Who would you rather trust? A politician or a vampire?”

“And then it turned out to be a boy, and their ain’t no boy version of Sookie.” Good point, Terry. What kind of name is Sookie, anyway?