See? SEE?? True Blood is back, baby, and better than ever! Tonight's premiere of Season 4 was not, as many truebies feared, a lame departure into airy-faerie land. Once the initial glowy-fruit and gremlins phase of the much-maligned sneak peek was out of the way, it was back to business as usual ... and then some.
Here's the deal: Sookie thinks she spent all of ten minutes with Claudine in the faery realm before escaping from twisted tinkerbell Mab with her grandpa Earl (who unfortunately disintegrates shortly after returning to the mortal/vampire/shape-shifter world). Turns out Sookie was actually gone for over a year, which she figures out when she goes back to the Bon Temps home she shared with her late grandmother and brother Jason only to find that a different family is taking over the house.
When the freaked-out family calls the cops, who should show up but an officially-uniformed Jason? Sibling Stackhouse just about bursts a blood vessel in his brain upon realizing that Sookie isn't dead, as he (and apparently everybody else) had feared.
Jason is reluctant to believe Sookie's tales from the faerie realm at first (I don't see why, considering he has a were-panther for a girlfriend), but he seems to come around when Sookie passes along a pocket watch their grandfather gave her for Jason shortly before dying. At this point, Sookie realizes that night has begun to fall ... and sure enough, Bill shows up within seconds, followed closely by Eric (sigh!). Bill begs for Sookie to forgive him like the little girly-vampire that he is; Eric, on the other hand, states simply that he never believed she was dead. Bill gets his fangs out of joint and orders Eric back to Fangtasia (why does he listen? More on that later), but before he disappears, Eric reminds Sookie that while everyone else gave up on her while she was gone, he never did.
Next on the scene is Sheriff Andy Bellefleur, who's more annoyed that Bill didn't actually murder Sookie (as he alleged) than he is relieved to see her alive. He presses Sookie for details about who "kidnapped" her, but Sookie tells him no one did -- that's when Bill jumps in, explaining that Sookie was on away on some kind of top-secret vampire mission. This REALLY pisses Andy off, who stalks away to his patrol car, where he is accused by Jason of using again (aha! Now Bellefleur's a V addict, too.).
Alone again with Bill, Sookie tells him that since it feels like she was only gone for a few minutes, she feels like he just broke her heart yesterday and isn't ready to forgive him. Bill graciously expresses his gratitude for Sookie's safe return and wishes her a good night. Snore.
Suddenly we're in Shreveport with Lafayette and Jesus, who are bickering because Lafayette doesn't want Jesus to drag him to a Wiccan group meeting. Once there, it becomes obvious that Lafayette's sense of foreboding was not for nothing: The head of the coven, a witch named Marnie, scares the hell out of him by first channelling Lafayette's dead trick Eddie (the one who traded his blood for sex) and then tapping into Lafayette's supernatural talents to bring a dead bird back to life. (Hmmm. Witches have the ability to control the dead ... this can't be good news for certain immortals.) Later we see one of the witches reporting back to vampire king ... Bill! So that's why Eric was forced to do his bidding. And what of the queen??
The second half of the premiere served as a tidy re-introduction to several sub-plots that frankly look like they're going to be a hell of a lot more interesting than I was expecting. Highlights:
Arlene's baby is old enough to be yanking the heads off of Barbie dolls, and while Terry tries to convince her this is normal "boy stuff," Arlene sees shadows of her deceased babydaddy, serial killer Renee.
Tara has made a new life for herself as a cagefighting lesbian on Bourbon Street, and both roles seem to fit her exceptionally well -- until a mid-coital text from Lafayette declaring Sookie's return makes it obvious that Tara will end up going back to Bon Temps soon.
Jessica and Hoyt's co-habitating honeymoon phase is over, as evidenced by a silly spat over cooking (why should Jessica cook when she doesn't eat, she wants to know?). They make up, but later at Fangtasia Pam calls Jessica out on lustfully eyeing a fangbanger while dancing alone (Hoyt is at the bar). Jessica insists she's a one-man vamp, but Pam, knowing better, just laughs.
Speaking of Pam, turns out she sucks (ha, ha) at filming a PSA intended to bridge the gap between humans and vampires. No worries, though, as Eric is on the premises to step in and step up the charm. Meanwhile we see Bill at the ribbon-cutting of a senior center named for his Confederate-era deceased wife with Portia Bellefleur, Andy's sister (are sparks flying between those two? Hard to tell.)
Sookie revisits Merlottes to find everyone is happy to see her except Sam, who's obviously holding an unrequited grudge ... though he's clearly also bummed out about his seemingly born-again little brother Tommy (who's now hanging out with Hoyt's mom??) and the anger management classes he's being forced to take as a consequence of shooting Tommy in the leg (oh, it did hit him!). Sam's anger management class doesn't seem too bad, though: Getting drunk with a couple of hot girls and one guy who also turn out to be shape-shifters, then morphing into a team of horses and galloping off into the night?
Okay, I really want to get to the last (and BEST) scene, but first I should probably mention that Jason goes to Hot Shot with food for Crystal's abandoned kinfolk and ends up getting locked in an icebox by one of the inbred varmints. Oh, silly Jason.
NOW!!! Sookie is back at her family home, having talked real estate agent Portia into helping her track down the house's mystery buyer so she could buy her home back. She's fresh out of the shower, towel-drying her hair in her familiar pink bedroom when she slips off her robe and turns around to find ... gasp! Eric is standing right behind her, eyeing her like ... well, like only Eric can.
Sookie does not run naked into his arms (to me, the likelihood of werewolves and faeries is more realistic than that choice, but whatever), instead reminding him that she rescinded his invitation. How did he get in her house without being asked? Simple! Eric holds up a key, explaining that he's the mystery buyer ... which means he now owns the house ... which means he now owns Sookie. "Sookie, you are mine," he says before flashing his fangs.
I was having fairly severe heart palpitations at that moment so I might have lost consciousness, but I'm pretty sure that was the end.
What did you think of the True Blood Season 4 Premiere?
Image via HBO