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After last week’s season opener introduced us to a wealth of new information as far as Bon Temps and the canon of True Blood goes, this week’s “You Smell Like Dinner”, followed suit. Continuing to fill in the gaps of Sookie’s missing year as well as fleshing out the present day story line to a thoroughly interesting point, Sunday’s True Blood just about perfectly set up the remainder of the season, leaving several avenues for it to follow (Or not, if it follows the books). The episode essentially revolved around two main themes: Sookie (as always) and the vampires. Sookie’s plot points largely center around the vampires as well, so at its core, it was a fang-packed week. Following on from last week’s unfinished plot threads, Jason remained a captive of were-panther Crystal’s family, and Eric had laid a claim to Sookie.
Jason’s story wasn’t touched upon nearly as much as I’d have liked, especially given how the episode opened, but in essence - Crystal is once again hooked on V thanks to her abusive boyfriend and they’re failing to have a child. Needing to carry on the were-panther bloodline, their plan is to turn Jason into one of them and then he and Crystal can be together in every sense of the word. By the culmination of the episode, Jason appears to have been turned, and as a result, one would imagine that another bizarre sex scene involving Jason Stackhouse is soon to appear on screen.
Eric’s claim to Sookie was also brushed over fairly quickly, being used mostly as a way to get Sookie to go and talk to Bill. When our faerie heroine learns of her former love’s new title, she asks Bill as king, to command Eric to return her house and her ownership. In yet another brush over, Bill claims to be unable to issue such a command, as his sheriff has “friends in high places”. The crux of basically everything that we have seen thus far in the season - and the series as a whole - is then laid out, when Bill looks back to how he became the king after the question is posed by Sookie. Although to this point we have believed Bill to have been a servant of the queen, a flashback to 80’s London reveals that he has actually been working for Nan Flanagan and the American Vampire League to disrupt the monarchy and allow for the possibility of “mainstreaming” to arise within vampire culture.
Whilst not a thunderous reveal by any means, given his affinity for the mainstream lifestyle, Bill’s association with the AVL does make me, as a viewer, reassess everything that has come before. Not having nearly enough time to go back and watch the first three seasons again, I couldn’t pinpoint many specifics, but I’d have to imagine that there have been moments throughout the series that Bill’s allegiances have shaped his actions - entombing Russell Edgington and helping to kill the queen to name some. Whether all of this was pre-planned and woven into the story - given that the books had already been written - I cannot be entirely sure, but if it has been, I really have to commend the team behind True Blood. Bill’s ascendency to the throne is one thing, but a well crafted and strongly executed narrative overall is what takes a show from good to great.
With the history lesson over, we returned to strengthening the present day story. As I predicted last week, at Bill’s command, Eric goes to investigate Lafayette’s coven. With his woman on the inside, Bill has learnt that the witches are necromancers - those with the ability to control the dead - and in turn, vampires also. With the threat of that possibility looming over him and Bill, Eric sends a threatening message of his own to the coven - to stop, or die. When their leader refuses to listen, Eric chows down, but the other witches bring themselves together to stop him. The motionless Marnie is then possessed and casts a spell before Eric flees. After looking for him to try and get back ownership of her house, Sookie then comes across a half-naked and confused Eric in the street, and whilst he is clearly still the same handsome vampire, he appears to have no recollection of who Sookie is.
There were a plethora of other plot points in the episode, most notably the growing discontent of some humans for vampires in the wake of Russell’s outburst, but Eric’s condition and the power of the coven are undoubtedly going to be the focus of the next episode - perhaps even the season as a whole. The scope for things to come right now is pretty exciting and with an abundance of questions. Who are Eric’s powerful friends? Will Eric be back to himself anytime soon? When will the faeries come back? What exactly is up with the witches? I’m really looking forward to Sunday rolling around once more. Even ignoring the driving forces of the show, Sam, Tommy, Arlene, Terry, Jessica, Hoyt and Tara have all had interesting enough parts to play so far that they could carry entire episodes by themselves as well. The ensemble cast and the expansive story has certainly paid off leaving me guessing to what exactly is coming week-to-week.