When we last left Bon Temps, Louisiana, things were getting pretty out of hand for our beloved characters of True Blood.
Sookie is a fairy, Bill put an end to Russell Edgington, Eric put an end to the Bill and Sookie’s relationship, Jason joined a crew of hillbillies, Sam shot his brother, Lafayette had someone new in his love life, who was “a dude, who’s a nurse, who’s a witch,” Jessica and Hoyt are moving in together, and Tara had escaped Franklin, cut off her hair, and seemingly left Bon Temps for good. Also, there were werewolves.
Season three of True Blood was clearly its weakest. While the fascinating vampire-politics storylines were at their highest, so was Sookie’s annoying behavior. Fans are going to hit the aggravation threshold with Miss Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) in almost any episode. The side stories – Sam, Tara, Jason, etc. – were more farfetched than ever and Bill (Stephen Moyer) apparently learned to fly and got in a cheesy vampire fight with the Queen (Evan Rachel Wood).
Thankfully, the season four premiere already feels completely different.
Sookie had given up on Bill and went toward the light at the end of the season three finale, and so, the new episode opened in some kind of fairy land. While it was kind of silly, with its “lightfruit” and fairies that predictably turned into evil orc-like creatures, it introduced us to Granddaddy Stackhouse (Gary Cole).
Turns out that Sookie’s telepathic behaviors are genetic; Granddaddy is a fairy too. He thinks he’s only been in fairyworld for a few hours, but Sookie knows that he’s been gone for twenty years. Too bad he ate the lightfruit.
His consumption of this demon fruit leads to his immediate death when the two escape to Bon Temps, only for Sookie to find that the twenty minutes she spent in the miracle realm was twelve and a half months in human-time, over a year where all of her loved ones perceived her dead. During this time, things changed.
Jason (Ryan Kwanten), having realized he was the last member of the Stackhouse clan, became a police officer and sold Sookie’s house to a mysterious buyer who paid in cash. He informs her of the time passage, and then the sun sets. Of course – Bill shows up immediately at Sookie’s door.
Something seems different about Bill, who’s kind of cocky and snarky when he tells the police his cover story about Sookie’s absence. We find out later that he killed the Queen, and he now reigns king. This is hinted at when Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) also shows up, and Bill has the power to make him leave.
Fortunately for most True Blood fans, also known as “Team Eric,” the ominous figure who bought Sookie’s house was a tall, blonde, beautiful Norse God named Eric Northman. Sookie is now, in vampire terms, “his.”
Other side stories are sort of wrapped up, but they are thankfully not dwelled on so painfully like in season three. Sam (Sam Trammell) joined a clan of shapeshifters, and his brother, Tommy (Marshall Allman), is still alive. Instead, he now weirdly lives with Hoyt’s mom, who hates vampires but apparently likes taking in shapeshifting orphans.
Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Hoyt (Jim Parrack), the most adorable interspecies couple in Bon Temps, are going strong and Tara (Rutina Wesley) accomplishes the incredible feat of being a lesbian boxer while remaining the most boring character on the show.
Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), who is normally a comic relief type character, had way more to say in this episode, as he and his boyfriend, Jesus (Kevin Alejandro), are now involved in the show’s newest twist: witches. Or should I say necromancers? This kind of magic spells trouble for our new vampire king, Bill Compton.
The episode ends with a typical cliffhanger. Jason, who we learn is still hanging out with his pseudo-family of werepanthers (yes, werepanthers), is bringing them gifts of plentiful food, when they lock him in an icebox.
Season three ended with a serious disappointment. Bill, the vampire we had grown to love, had tricked Sookie into falling in love with him. The side stories were depressing and previously admirable characters (like Sam) were seemingly weak. This episode turned those feelings around and kicked off season 4 in a strong way.
Most importantly, King Bill assumes the role of a jerk that we now identify him as, and fan favorite, Eric, is now seeming like Sookie’s new protector.
What will happen in episode two? Will Sookie become Eric’s? Will Jason fight some scrappy werepanthers? Will Tara become relevant? Thanks to HBO’s magic, you can find out this very second. Both the first and second episodes of True Blood season four are on HBO On Demand.
We’ll be back next week to recap the second episode.