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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

True Blood: Faeries and Witches and Vamps, Oh My!

True Blood
Season 4, Episode 1
"She's Not There"

Listen, I love Sci-Fi and horror and epic fantasy novels, television and movies but, I. DO. NOT. LIKE. VAMPIRE. STORIES. I didn't like Anne Rice's Chronicles in the '90s, nor have I read the Twilight novels. I don't watch Vampire Diaries; I haven't even read the Sookie Stackhouse novels. but I like True Blood. I like it a lot. Due to my anti-vampire bias, I was a latecomer to the show but I spent last spring becoming a fan before Season 3 started and now, I'm hooked. Its not because of the vampires per se; its because this world of Bon Temps, Louisiana is gritty, and nasty and corrupt and filled with complex people (living and dead). At the end of Season 3, we learned (finally) that Sookie is of the fae and she followed Claudine down the rabbit hole.

"She's Not There" picks up with Sookie arriving in the FaeryLand section of the Greek Parthenon or wherever the fuck this is (or whatever dimension this is). A few things happen in quick succession. First, Sookie runs into Barry the Bellboy (you'll remember him from the strange trip to Texas where Eric, Bill, and Sookie tried to free Godric from the clutches of the Fellowship of the Sun (a cult like organization that had just taken on Sookie's brother, Jason, as the newest God warrior). Anyhoo, Barry was the bellboy in the Vamp hotel they stayed at and was unique for having the same telepathic powers as Sookie. However, he was much less comfortable with his abilities. Here though, in FaeryLand, Barry is super psyched to not be a freak and is totally digging his male Faery Godmother, Lloyd (gender labels be damned!). Second, Sookie is wary of this trippy light fruit everyone is eating, even though it tastes like pure happiness ... sounds like a box of Mallomars on a winter night. Third, Sookie sees Rocky Bobby's daddy standing around, eating light fruit. Oops, here Gary Cole is playing Granddaddy Earl, Sookie's long lost grandfather. Once Earl gets over his initial confusion as to why this hot chick is hitting on his old geezer ass, he is even MORE confused to learn he has been sucking on the light fruit for Twenty Years! He only thinks 2 weeks have gone by so we've quickly established that time pretty much stands still in this FaeryVerse.

Credits. These credits always ... disturb me. I don't know its just a feeling. Okay, fast forwarding the credits.

We pick up with Granddaddy Earl and Sookie playing catch up as Sookie relates all the dead family members that have come and gone during his absence. Sookie's spidey sense is on high alert and she puts out the telepathic rays to Earl that this place is not Kosher. but, duh Sookie, your surrounded by fucking faeries that have the same telepathic power you have and they totally heard your ass. This is why Sookie is always in so much fucking trouble, she doesn't think. She also bones Vampires; that also leads to trouble. Anyway, Sookie's blabber mind mouth leads to Mab coming forth to explain she is the one that summoned Sookie to this FaeryVerse. Wikipedia tells me that Mab is a hat tip to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and other 17th century literature, which references a faery queen named Mab "who drives her chariot into the noses and into the brains of sleeping people to compel them to experience dreams of wish-fulfillment. She would also bring the plague in some occasion." So, kind of a hit and miss thing with good ol' Mab. Let's see how this plays out with Sookie.

Mab starts pushing the light fruit on Sookie who forcibly refuses, throwing said fruit to the floor where it changes into something, I dunno, less light and fruity. Mab is getting a little pissed and says that Vampires sucking on the necks of faeries almost led to their extinction one time and because Sookie did the neck sucking thing Bill, Bill has been able to violate their FaeryVerse. No
Mas says Mab. That shit ends now. Sookie is on board and states that she is staying away from vampires, she can "guaran-damn-tee you that" - yeah like that's going to stick. She's a fangbanger if ever there was one. Remember, it was being around vampire Bill that brought her peace from hearing people's thoughts all the damn time. Continuing on, Mab is not buying Sookie's 12 step Vampire Abstinence program and starts to get a deep throaty threatening with Sookie and her goons get a little handsy with the faery restraining. Sookie responds with some of that hand light fireball action she does every now and then when she's stressed or threatened. And boom, there goes Mab flying across the faery lawn and boom, that FaeryVerse is busted. Now we look like we're in a scene from Falling Skies, all post-apocalyptic and shit and the faeries, yeah not so good looking when you take away they faery makeup. They kind of look like Lindsay Lohan's mugshot. Shiver. Mab's people start throwing light bombs and Earl's old ass is slowing them down. Faery on Fary violence ensues when some anti-Mab faeries step up and fight back against the light throwers. Their leader is apparently Claudine's brother; Mab's agenda is to seal off the human plane of existence from the FaeryVerse. Faery Freedom Fighter likes to visit the boutiques in the human plane and is so not down with Mab's crazy bitch ass. Apparently you can't jump through the portal if you've eaten the light fruit (sorry Granddaddy Earl, sorry Barry) but Earl, in an effort to save Sookie from an incoming light bomb jumps in and grabs Sookie with him. And they're back in the cemetery where Sookie departed from at the end of last season.

Quick cuts to Eric and Bill tell us they sense she has returned but, being daylight and all, they have to sit and wait. Earl isn't doing so good. He wants to go see Sookie's parents' graves. Not my first sight seeing visit after 20 years but I don't fully get the Louisiana mindset. Earl looks like he just ate at Denny's; he knows he's only got a few minutes to live before the diarrhea takes him away and he gives Sookie his watch to give to Jason and then poof, ashes to ashes goes Granddaddy Earl. Bye Granddaddy Earl, we hardly knew ye.

Back at the Stackhouse House of Horrors, Sookie runs into some construction workers who try to ban her from her house; though, after some threats of calling cops, the guy just leaves her alone. Oh wait, the police are here. That was fast! Slow news day in Bon Temps I guess. Oh wait, its Jason! He's a cop?!?! With weird facial hair that looks like its trying its best to grow. Jason, why re you dressed like a cop? Turns out Sookie was gone 12.5 months. Oh snap. Her cable probably got turned off so she won't be able to watch any of these episodes and find out what she missed. I don't even want to think about what the milk must smell like in the fridge. Turns out that Jason sold the house in the interim but didn't have time to move any of the stuff out; nice of the new mysterious owners (the AIK Corporation though Alan Ball swears AIK doesn't stand for anything deep and mysterious, I think he's full of shit) to let him keep her crap there. Jason goes on about how they tried looking for her but they figured one of the vampires got to her. Sookie goes on about how she was with Granddaddy Earl in the FaeryVerse and how time works differently. She has the watch to prove it. Jason seems to believe her but still thinks people will think she's bat shit crazy if she goes around telling her that story.

Realizing that night is about to fall, she heads outside to await her paramours. And zoom, here's Bill with the affected Sookeh this and Sookeh that. he thought she was dead. And zoom, here's Eric who says he believed she was always alive. Bill yells at him to go and Eric ... listens? That's weird? And unlike him. And here is drunk Andy, sheriff of Bon Temps shooting off his mouth about how Sookie running off cost her his safe Parish award. Bill smooths things over and says he'll repay the cost of the Sookie search, as long as Andy issues an a retraction about the whole, "Bill killed Sookie" thing. Andy is pissed, and drunk. Oh, sorry not drunk, a V-addict. Bill exhibits a mature attitude to Sookie not being cool with getting back with Bill just yet (to Sookie, its only been a couple of hours since he totally confessed to knowing what she was and lying to her about their convenient meeting).

Lafayette and Jesus. You'll remember that they are witches and totally V tripped together. I know people love Lafayette and yeah, I like his sass, but I am whatever about him. Tara too (we haven't even gotten to her crazy ass story yet) and Sam third. They are tertiary storylines for me, at best. You'll want to know that Lafayette has gotten himself a mohawk doo in the preceding year and they are on their way to see a witch about, I don't have a fucking clue to be honest. Lafayette has some reservations about bringing out his witch voodoo since he hasn't had a vision in 10 months. A couple of sassy "hell nos" later and we're at the witch meeting. Marnie is sorry for not getting up to say hi, but she is temporarily on another plane trying to contact the dead. Sure. She just seems rude to me. Marnie is channeling Eddie, the vamp that Lafayette used to pimp for sex and take his blood, back when he was slinging V on the side. You'll remember that Jason and his crackhead girlfriend drained Eddie -- Lafayette was always haunted by that shit. Lafayette thinks Jesus told Marnie the story and she is shucking him, but I thin k we're going to find out differently.

Arlene and Terry. Living together (married?) and having normal infant troubles like everyone else; don't you hate when you're little one rips the heads off of Barbie dolls. Arlene is appropriately freaked out. Terry. Is less so. He thinks its a healthy "boy" thing to do. Ok terry but I'd like to see the transcripts of your therapy sessions.

Tara. I like this Tara storyline (for once). In the last year, she has become a cage fighter living under an assumed name of Toni, and living as a lesbian with another cage fighter. The girl who's ass he just kicked? yeah, she's les with her. Hot! Tara also seems to have toned down her aggressive behavior (outside of the cage anyway) as exhibited when she doesn't kill the homeless drunk who is making misogynistic comments to the kissing lesbians.

Jessica and Hoyt. Living as your average human/baby vampire couple. They are having some growing pains, arguing over the nightly dinner menu (she likes human blood, he wants normal human food). Really though, I think Dr. Phil could figure this out. She prepares him some runny eggs and, well gross Hoyt. I known you are trying to make a point but that shizz looks gross. Luckily, you have a hot vampire girlfriend and so eating should not be your highest priority when you get home. Get some fast food on the way home from work if its a big deal for you. Geez. Jessica and Hoyt eventually realize how stupid they are being and break up into giggles. I like these too -- best couple on the show, right now.

Fantasia. Pam is shooting a, I dunno, a Vampire-Human PSA about how Fangtasia is good clean fun for humans and vamps alike. She's a little flat or dare I say, dead (*Rim shot* thank you, I'm here all week, please tip your waitresses). Nan Flanagan is making the case that in a post Russell Edgington world (you'll remember the AWESOME spine removing soliloquy he delivered on a live news broadcast last season), you need someone to sell a pro-vampire image to the public and Pam doesn't cut it. Eric, maybe we should give Eric a try. Eric's PSA goes much better. Cutaway to Bill at some senior center ribbon cutting ceremony; Bill seems to be a politician of some sort now, making yuck yucks about old he is and dedicating the center to his long dead wife Caroline. He also thanks a Portia Bellefleur (related to Andy? Must be), who apparently runs the Bon Temps Chamber of Commerce.

Sookie is getting reacquainted at Merlotte's and finds out from Lafayette that Tara moved away though he doesn't seem to be too forthcoming on all he might know about her whereabouts. Sam continues with the same hard ass boss routine he always gives Sookie (because she wouldn't bone him). Cut to Lafayette and Jesus having a tet a tet about the crazy witch cult. Luckily, at least from Lafayette's POV, Andy interrupts them to shake Lafayette down for some V. That went down hill pretty fast to Andy attacking Lafayette. Luckily, Jason comes in and puts Andy in his place and sends him on his way.

Tommy and Hoyt's Mom. WTF?!? I have no interest in Hoyt's mom and less for Tommy. Tommy is still in physical therapy, if you care. This is a bizarre storyline.

Back to Tara and her girlfriend (I don't think she got a name this episode). Tara gets a text from Lafayette letting her know Sookie is back. She lies to nameless girlfriend (probably foreshadowing for their long term relationship prospects) that its from her daddy telling her that her grandmother passed away. That's some bad karma lie right there, unless her grandmother is already dead. Still, that's fucked up. We learn that "Toni" is from Atlanta. They go back to macking when Tara decides she's not quite ready to leave this les life.

Portia is sitting with Sookie talking about trying to find out who bought Sookie's house and the possibility of getting it back. I guess Portia is a lawyer in addition to the head of the Chamber of Commerce. We learn from Sookie's thought-dropping on Portia that Bill doesn't mention Sookie to much. Sookie has a sad.

Fangtasia. I kind of wish they would open a Fangtasia in Manhattan. it can't be a novelty restaurant like Jekyll & Hyde's. It'd be awesome. Anyway, Jessica is getting her vamp dance on and flirting with Matt, fangbanger wannabe. She resists the urge to tap that pulsing neck vein and goes to the bathroom to give herself the proverbial cold shower. Pam follows her in and chastises her for trying to be monogamous with the "tree with a plaid shirt" HA! Pam totally calls her on her "eye fucking" desires and totally gets to her issue (hunter versus wanting to be monogamous and live by a human moral code). Jessica, in her baby vamp glory says she is going home with one man tonight, Hoyt. Pam remains awesome!

Sam. Snooze. He is at some sort of "shifter identity group" which apparently concludes its meetings by everyone stripping down, transforming into horses and gallivanting through the woods. Sounds refreshing.

Hotshot. Jason is delivering food to the orphan souls of Hotshot. He feeds them. They call him Mr. Jason. They knock him out and and lock him in freezer cases. That place should be nuked off the map. And Jason is an idiot.

Crazy Witch Meeting. Marnie is going on about a friend she lost, named Minerva (McGonagall shout out!). Marnie yells at Lafayette to join hands with the rest of the crazy witches and when he does, the electric jolt brigs Minerva the bird back to life. Of course, this scares the shit out of everyone, Lafayette breaks the hand circle and the bird drops dead. Again. Marnie seems pleased at the results. Lafayette is going to find it hard to leave this crazy witch meeting, I think.

Second to last scene. One of the crazy witch attendees heads to a mansion where she bows and bid good evening to her majesty, KING BILL FUCKERS! Yeah, I want to know more about that plot!

Last scene. Sookie in a bathrobe. This can only get better. She ditches the robe and when it doesn't fall behind her, she turns to find Eric standing there, holding it. he owns the house and so it doesn't matter if she rescinded her invite to enter the house. He is totally psyched to have seen her naked (hasn't he been watching the show all these years). He wants the Sookester bad and makes the somewhat antiquated case that by owning the house, he owns Sookie and therefore, Sookie is his to have. Out pops out the teeth. And scene. GODDAMMIT! I don't want to wait to next week and I don't have HBO Go. GODDAMMIT ALL TO FAERY LAND!

So happy TB is back. See ya'll next week.

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