By Ken Tucker
June 29, 2009 at 06:06 AM EDT

This week’s True Blood picked up exactly where last week’s left off: Sookie, Bill, and Jessica in car, squabbling. Then: Sookie leaves car, is chased by what Eric will later refer to as “this bull-man,” is attacked and left with supernatually poisonous, bleeding scars on her back. That shut up Jessica for a few minutes, didn’t it? (“Petulant, dangerous, afraid,” Bill describes Jessica, as who among us is not?)

Loved Dr. Ludwig and her grumpy ministrations. Loved Sookie going to Fangtasia, reading Ginger’s mind, and finding Lafayette. (In fact, it was good in general to have a Sookie-centric episode this week, wasn’t it?)

Did not understand why Sookie now owes Eric a favor for helping save her and Lafayette. I mean, going to Dallas to hunt wayard vampires? Who does Eric think Sookie is, Buffy Summers? All suggestions/obvious reasons I’m missing in this regard are most welcome. (Seems like she should have prevailed favor-free, given the righteousness of her argument plus the back-up strength of Bill, who really should have stepped up and supported her, but was curiously, wimpily passive in this scene with Eric. What’s up with that?) But, but: best exchange of the night: Eric to Sookie, “Perhaps I will grow on you.” Sookie to Eric, “I’d prefer cancer.”

Meanwhile, Jason got a revealing earful from Light of Day boss Steve: “Hate is good” when it comes to vampires, he asserted. I haven’t read beyond the first Charlaine Harris novel, but this season’s religious-camp scenes are very much in keeping with series mastermind Alan Ball’s view of organized religion as we know it from Six Feet Under.

I suspect EW readers who’ve complained about the unbelievability of usually skeptical Tara falling for Maryann’s blandishments did not find comfort in the way Maryann soothed Tara with more positive-life-coaching (“Value yourself”). Me, I think Tara has struggled to overcome her usual dubiousness because, after all she’s been through with her mother, she wants Maryann’s affection and interest in her to be good and real. Poor Tara, eh? Besides, by the end, when she witnessed yet another near-orgy at Maryann’s place, the seeds of doubt have definitely been planted in her.

And finally (oh, hell: spoiler alert!) we got a literal glimpse of what’s behind the heretofore-just-silly Daphne: the final shot of the hour was of the scars on her back. Looks as though she is truly poisoned/possessed by “this bull-man,” whatever that means. What do you think it means? Where are things headed?