It sucks to be a Stackhouse right about now

By Mandi Bierly
Updated July 04, 2011 at 06:00 AM EDT
Credit: John P. Johnson

Note: Because the July 3 episode of True Blood was available to HBO GO subscribers on June 26, we published our recap of the episode early.

This is the episode fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels — and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) acting human in True Blood‘s second season — have been waiting for: amnesia has struck. But before we start fantasizing that Alan Ball will incorporate a certain shower scene from Harris’ Dead to the World into his tale (or was Eric walking in on Sookie post-shower in the season premiere the only homage we’ll get?), let’s analyze the reality of our situation.

We picked up with Eric and Sookie fighting over the fact that he’d bought her house thinking that she would come with it. What does Eric want from Sookie? Everything, now that he’s removed the only power she had over him (which was the ability to keep him out of her home). What is he going to get from her at the moment: Nothing, other than a saucy retort when he suggested there are two Sookie Stackhouses, one who wants to cling to the idea that she is just a human and one who is coming to grips with the fact that she is something better. “And what do you think’s gonna happen when I do come to grips with it?” she asked him. “Do you think my legs are just gonna magically open for you?” That was fairy Sookie talking, and Eric liked it. I agree with him: She’ll live longer the more she lets that side of her personality speak. She’ll also be more entertaining.

I’ll be honest: I don’t see the point of spending time trying to decide what Sookie should do in this situation. It’s a supernatural summer TV show, so I’m pretty much open to whatever answer results in her having sex. Therefore, as a viewer, Eric makes some sense when he said that once others find out that Sookie’s blood tastes like freedom (“like sunshine in a pretty blonde bottle”), she will need protection that he can provide. If he just wanted to drink from her again, he could have done that already. Instead, he is asking her to be his because he cares about her. Of course the question here is similar to the one Russell had posed about Bill last season: Is he being a true gentleman, or does he just want to ration her blood to prolong the high he’ll get off of her? At what point does a woman in Sookie’s position admit that a man calling her his not only angers her but also makes her feel safe? I feel like that’s one reason the vampire genre is so appealing to females: We get the rush of tangling with the dark side, but also the security of knowing that our beloved bloodsucker will stop anyone else in his world from harming us.

Sookie eventually went to see Bill to ask him to do something about Eric being her new landlord. Her “Yeah, y’all, stand down” after Bill’s armed guards let her through the perimeter was priceless. I’m pretty sure Bill could have used his super vampire speed to dress Katerina, the redhead member of his security team he’d been having sex with and feeding on, before Sookie got to his bedroom. Or, you know, he could have met Sookie downstairs. So he must’ve wanted her to see that he’d moved on.

NEXT: “Shame for you then. He pulls good string.”

At first, Bill told Sookie there was nothing he could do: Eric has friends in high places. Then, he told her he’d try to come up with a work around but it would take some time. He recommended she stay in another human’s home for now, but Sookie said no: What good would that do when Eric could just buy that house, too? Actually, Sookie, you could stay with someone like your brother since Hoyt moved out, but I get what you’re saying. Sookie asked Bill how he became King of Louisiana, but then she decided she didn’t want an answer because she always ends up regretting knowing whatever she learns about Bill. Sookie left, and we got a flashback to London in 1982 anyway. A punk rock Bill befriended a male bartender and took him into the alley to feed on him. He closed the guy’s neck wound, glamoured him into forgetting he’d been bitten, and told him to take an iron supplement and B vitamin. Out walked Nan Flanagan, who said she’d been following him for weeks. She wanted to know why he didn’t kill the humans he drank from, and he said they may be dinner but they don’t deserve to die. Nan wanted him to join the AVL, which had scientists (including Louis Pasteur) working on synthetic human blood so vampires could go mainstream. She was looking for like-minded vampires to infiltrate the monarchies and plant seeds of discord from within. So that’s how Bill ended up working for Sophie Anne. Her fate had been sealed long before she sent Bill to Bon Temps to procure Sookie.

When Bill summoned Eric to half-heartedly talk about the Sookie situation (of course Eric wouldn’t sell the house to Bill), we got another flashback after Eric accepted his assignment to deal with the necromancers, Lafayette’s new witch coven, and bowed to his “King.” We saw how Bill had earned the crown. That fight with Sophie Anne, which started in the season 3 finale, finished with the AVL guards firing wooden bullets with silver cores into her. Sophie Anne had lied to Nan and this was her punishment. Nan reminded Bill of that when he insisted to her that his battle with Sophie Anne hadn’t been personal and there was nothing special about Sookie Stackhouse after all. So many interesting questions remain: What would the AVL do if it found out fairies still walk among vampires? Would the organization respect the fairies’ right to live as it does humans, or would it use Sookie as a lab rat and try to synthesize her blood so vampires can truly go mainstream and walk in the sun? (I assume it’s that lab rat scenario that worries Bill. That, and perhaps weak AVL members turning into Russell Edgingtons.) Why did Bill send Eric to deal with the witches? Was it because he’s the local sheriff and it was his job, or because Bill was hoping something would happen to Eric, thereby keeping his promise to Sookie to rid the world of all those who have tasted her and know she’s part fae and saving his own ass (Bill doesn’t need Eric telling Nan he’s keeping Sookie’s identity a secret)?

How exactly did Eric lose his memory? It’s a long story that starts with Tara coming back to surprise Sookie. Before they could actually catch up, Sookie had to leave because she couldn’t wait a day to yell at Eric for fixing her door, buying her a new microwave, leaving a bottle of blood chilling in her fridge for himself, and building a cubby in her home. I understand she was upset, but she hadn’t seen Tara, her best friend, for a year. Eric could’ve waited. But then we wouldn’t have gotten to see Sookie try to girl talk with Pam and ask for her help with Eric. I’m with Pam here: Did Sookie really expect Pam to side against her maker? I suppose she was counting on Pam, who’s never warmed to Sookie, wanting her out of Eric’s life. But Pam said Sookie should consider his offer: He’s handsome and rich, he cares about her (in his own way), and with what she is, the fairy princess needs to be someone’s if she wants to be at all. Sookie said she’d never be Eric’s puppet, and Pam’s response was the line of the evening, “Shame for you then. He pulls good string.” Sookie couldn’t argue. She’s seen him in action.

NEXT: Eric loses his mind.

While Sookie waited for Eric at Fangtasia, Tara was hanging out with Lafayette, who’d been convinced by Jesus to return to the coven again. Anyone else find it strange that when Jesus first found out that Lafayette sold V, he told him it was dangerous for him to do that because his power could easily turn dark, but now, he’s telling Lafayette he’ll never be a part of black magic because it’s not the magic that decides whether it’s good or evil, it’s the person using it, and Lafayette will always be good? I want to trust that Jesus has good intentions and doesn’t know that Marnie is apparently possessed by a powerful witch, but I reserve the right to say “I told you so” if it turns out he’s in cahoots with Marnie’s witch within (hereby referred to as MWW until we find out her true identity). Tara had been content to sit outside the circle reading Good Housekeeping‘s cover story on clean freak Nan Flanagan until Marnie announced that the coven was going to resurrect a human next. Then, she went outside to call her girlfriend, who thinks she’s at her grandmother’s funeral in Atlanta. Where was Marnie going to get a dead body? Cue Eric’s entrance. To his credit, he tried for a peaceful resolution — he told Marnie this was the last time her group would meet. But she dared to stand up to him. He started to drink from her and the other witches joined hands to begin chanting to save her. Everyone but Lafayette that is, he knew better than to go against Eric. But that’s when Tara made her entrance and tried to stake Eric from behind. He grabbed her then, and Lafayette had to join the circle. Marnie chanted in a foreign tongue, and as the room went dark and breezy, her eyes lit up and Eric saw flashes of MWW in her face. Finally, Eric fled, and Marnie remembered nothing. As it turns out, neither did Eric…

Sookie had waited at Fangtasia long enough that she needed to use the restroom, which is when she ran into Jessica, who had gotten into another fight with Hoyt and returned to feed on the fangbanger she’d been eying on the dance floor in the season premiere. When she and Hoyt had left the bar that night, they were greeted by protesters who beat Hoyt up after he defended his relationship with Jessica and claimed that he was more of a Christian than them because he had love in his heart not hate. How frustrating was it to watch a protester keep a camera on Jessica and Pam so they couldn’t help Hoyt, while no one captured those good Christians kicking his ass? Jessica wanted to feed Hoyt her blood to help him heal, but he said he didn’t “need that s—,” to which she took offense. He meant he didn’t want to drink from her for every stubbed toe and become addicted to V, but the alleged insult was all she needed to rationalize turning the car toward Shreveport instead of the drugstore to fetch him some Advil. When Sookie heard Jessica with the fangbanger in the bathroom stall, she tried to ask Jessica if Hoyt knew what she was doing. Jessica didn’t need Sookie to act like her ex stepmother and said she could eat who she wanted to and went back for seconds. Presumably, that’s when Sookie left and started home.

Sookie saw Eric walking on the side of the road, shirtless. Not that I’m complaining, but what part of that witch’s spell made him lose his shirt? He didn’t remember Sookie — or why she smelled so good. This is going to be so much fun.

NEXT: We try to find the positive in Jason becoming a werepanther.

The opposite of fun is what’s happening to Jason in Hot Shot. He came to, and that kid Timbo was licking the gash on his forehead because they had no Band-Aids. Ewww, but sweet? Jason was tied to the bed, and he convinced Timbo to free one of his hands. Only Felton came in with a gun before Timbo did it. Eventually, Andy showed up at Hot Shot — not to look for Jason, but to take a vial of V into “evidence.” Lafayette had told him he’d given his stash to those folks, and addict Andy needed a hit. Crystal, who Felton had hopped on V, could have used that time to rescue Jason, but instead, she tore off a piece of his shirt (not foreplay, Jason) and used it as a gag. She said she had a plan for them to be together, and if he screamed now, he would ruin everything. Turns out, Felton has been shooting blanks (they assume, since Crystal hasn’t conceived), and to continue the bloodline, he has agreed to help Crystal turn Jason into a werepanther so the two of them can reproduce. Crystal promised Jason it would only hurt in the beginning, and then she and Felton started munching on him in panther form. On the plus side, if Jason is a werepanther, he should be naked more often — before and after transforming. On the down side, I’ve seen next week’s episode, and this story arc gets uncomfortably twisted.

But speaking of nakedness, it’s a good segue into Sam’s story line. He and his new shifter friend Luna lounged naked on the ground mid-run. Sam wants to get to know the teacher, but she’s holding back. She showed up at Merlotte’s, in a tight dress, to apologize and promise that she would try to open up to him about the things that she’s not proud of. That night, she told their shifter group that she had shifted into her mother, who died giving birth to her. She was raised by her father and grandparents, Navajos who told her bedtime stories about the legend of the skinwalkers — horrible evil witches whose powers allowed them to transform into any animal on earth including people. To activate the powers, the skinwalker had to kill another shifter who was also a member of his or her family. I’m confused about what we’re supposed to take away from that: Did her father and grandparents not know that she was a shifter and growing up thinking that she could be evil? Or, did they know she could shift into people and were raising her to fight against skinwalkers?

The conversation was cut short when they smelled another shifter. It was Tommy, who’d seen the beautiful Luna visiting Sam and followed him into the woods. Tommy shifted into a bird, as did Sam, who eventually caught him. Sam figured out Tommy’s limp was fake, and the two had another argument over who had it tougher: Tommy, whose sins were erased when he got shot, or Sam, who was now known as the guy who shot his own brother. Tommy said he followed Sam because he wants them to be brothers, and though Sam laughed — they don’t trust each other. But Sam’s a good enough guy to try. Their plan: try to not trust each other a little less each day. Solid. Even with all this drama, it feels like Sam is still in too happy a place, right? Is he going to get dragged into Jason’s mess because he’s a shifter, or Sookie, Eric, and Lafayette’s mess because Luna might know something about witches. (Is MWW a skinwalker?)

What else went down this episode: Sookie, who’s back working part-time at Merlotte’s, promised to tell Sam what she was really doing during that year she went missing when it was safe. Will that day ever come? Sookie met Mikey, Arlene and Terry’s baby, and Arlene freaked out when Sookie referred to him as an old soul. He’s “brand f—ing new,” Arlene insisted as Terry put hand earmuffs on Mikey. Arlene later stared long and hard into Mikey’s dark eyes, and a blood vessel in her eye broke. She blamed it on Mikey. “You ain’t right. You’re rotten to the core, just like your daddy was,” she said. Fortunately, Terry is running for father of the year: “I’m your daddy, and I ain’t rotten and neither are you. You hear me?” he told Mikey. “Your mama just gets a little crazy sometimes, which means we just gotta love her that much harder.” And so begins my now annual fear that good-hearted Terry won’t make it through the season…

Your turn.

Episode Recaps

True Blood

Sookie, Bill, Eric, Lafayette, Sam and the other residents Bon Temps deal with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shape-shifters—not to mention romance and drama

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