True Blood – 4.2 You Smell Like Dinner

Jason wakes on a bare mattress, chained to the bed frame. Before he can even mutter, “Dammit, Andy, I said no three-ways – unless there’s a new Merlotte’s waitress,” he opens his eyes to find Timbo, one of the Hot Shot kids, giving the literal rough side of his tongue to a gash in Jason’s head.  Jason assures Timbo that, while he started being nice to the kids for Crystal’s sake, he now loves every one of their flea-pickin’ hearts and that Timbo must care about him, too, what with the tongue-bath and all, and asks Timbo to untie him. Timbo gives that a, ‘the things I’ll do for ice cream and catnip’ sigh and starts to unchain Jason, but is interrupted by a shotgun toting Felton. Jason blusters about Crystal, but Felton points out that with Jason’s hands tied and Felton’s full of cold, hard steel, he might have the upper paw in this scenario.

A far more genteel standoff takes place in Bon Temps with Sookie (now robed) tripping down the stairs ahead of Eric, telling him to stay away from her. He whooshes past her, still hung up on the detail that he who owns the house, owns the fairy. Sookie informs Eric that this play set comes batteries and action figures not included. Eric counters that Sookie’s blood tastes like freedom and sunshine and when her milkshake brings all the vamps to the yard, she’ll want his protection. “And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake…I…drink…your…milkshake!”  So Eric wants her to be his, if you see what he’s saying. Sookie tells him she could never be with him the way she was with Bill (well, no, because Bill and Eric are nothing alike and they have very different coloring). Eric asks how she felt the first time Bill declared her his. Sookie answers, “Angry.” She’s not lying. “But safe?” Eric rebuts. He’s not wrong.

Eric says that there are two Sookies: One who clings to her humanity, and one who knows she’s better than that. Annoyed with the Sybil comparison, Sookie asks if when she comes to terms with her fairyhood, Eric just thinks her legs will magically fall open for him. Eric’s all, “Hey, hey, hey, I’m just talking about some proprietary bloodletting here, no need to make it dirty.”  But Eric likes the saucier side of Sookie and informs her that the more she lets Fairy!Sookie do the talking, the more likely she is to stay alive. He lets her screeching screen door hit him in the ass and saunters off with a smirking, “Hope to hear from you girls soon.”

A disrobing Miss Pelham is further debriefed by Bill regarding the coven’s shiny new foray into necromancy. Bill tells her that she’s done in that circle as it’s no longer safe for her there. But where is safe, these days? Cut to: shimmied down to her teddy, Miss Pelham asks if she should send out the procurer for Bill. He grabs her by the throat, vamps-out and bears her off to the bed, telling her he’ll do the procuring himself tonight, thanks.

Outside Fangtasia, a group of poorly-coiffed protesters with poorly-spelled signs shout out a poorly-composed chant: “Steve Newlin was right! You’re devils of the night!” (And you just know that when they spam it on Facebook, they use ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re.’) Pam, homaging an outfit and a stance from Superman II’s Ursa, stares them down. Hoyt and Jessica stroll out and one of the protesters shouts “Fangbanger!” Hoyt gets bowed-up all, “Oh, you better not be talkin’ to me.” Hoyt gets in the protester’s face, defending Jessica’s fangs, honor and bedroom skills, telling the protester that it would behoove him to act in a Christian manner. With a dogma-stretching, “I am a Christian, goddamnit!” the protester nods to his cell phone videoing buddy (so Hoyt better back the fuck down, if he doesn’t want to go viral).  Pam tries to diffuse the situation and send Hoyt and Jessica home, but Hoyt gets checked by one of the protesters and jumps in fists first, a blur of plaid and machismo. He’s jumped by others and when Jessica moves to help him, Pam pulls her back, telling her, “I know, it’s hard for me, too.” Lest one think that Pam has grown a soft spot for Jessica’s brawny consort in denim, Pam nods toward the camera, “Technology’s taken all the fun out of being a vampire.”

Sam is running naked through the woods. He comes across Luna, the dark-haired shifter from his group, reclining on the ground, also naked. Luna gently mocks Sam’s horsepower and Sam double entendres something about bringing up the rear. Luna correctly susses that out as the come-on it is and Sam drops to the ground next to her, now nekkid. (Naked is when you don’t have no clothes on, nekkid is when you don’t have no clothes on and you’re doin’ something.) Sam wants to get to know Luna better, beyond mundane things like the color of her areolas and what her hind quarters look like at a trot. Luna’s face contorts into a “Do you want to know a secret” pout and she leans in to kiss Sam. And then – psych! – her lipgloss gleams, but not on Sam’s lips. She jumps up, horses-out and whinnies off.

Sookie skips off past the cemetery to Bill’s house, as she was wont to do back in Season One. Unlike Season One, however, Bill’s home has lost its “post Sherman’s march” gloom and is lit up like Christmas. Oh, and the grounds are positively crawling with guards who radio in that a Stackhouse has breached the perimeter. Meanwhile, Bill is nailing Miss Pelham to his duvet cover without even disturbing the throw pillows. That is some seriously good hip-work, Vampire Bill, especially for the over-170 crowd.

Without a hitch in his stevedore plowing, Bill senses Sookie and informs his guards to let her in. Sookie eyeballs Bill’s Extreme Makeover: Theatre des Vampires Edition, and then heads upstairs to find Bill and Miss Pelham casually re-buckling and zipping. Oh, Bill. That was cold. Season One Bill would have whooshed to meet Sookie on the landing with a mimosa-laden, “Pay no attention to the witchy spy-woman in my boudoir.” Season Four Bill, however, is all, “I meant to do that.” Sookie is fairly nonplussed about finding Miss Pelham, now dubbed Katerina, although she gives the bite marks on Katerina’s neck some serious stink-eye.

Lafayette’s. (And we know this from the beads and boas, not to mention the purple walls – would you call that shade grape, or aubergine?) Jesus waxes poetic that, of all the magic he’s seen, reanimated parakeet is the panty-dropper. Lafayette worries that it’s that old black magic, but Jesus says that whether it’s dark or light, the power is in the wielder, not the magic. So in this instance hate the player, not the game. Well, that flies in the face of the standard convention that the dark arts corrupt despite the intent. I mean, Bill’s gone all nihilistic and hedonistic over 300+ thread counts; you’d think necromancy would be slighter more seductive than Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

Sookie has come to Bill because she doesn’t want to be vampire milkshake, and more to the point, she doesn’t want to be Eric’s. Bill feels her pain, but since he already got the cherry off that milkshake, he can’t force Eric to give up his property. He might be Eric’s king, but Eric has more influential friends. “Who?” Sookie pops back. (Right there with you, sister. Where were these friends when the magister had Pam? Or when Eric was on the run from Russell? Or when Bill was layering Eric in cement like a vampire parfait? I’m guessing Nan Flanagan, but I haven’t read the books, so shhh.) Bill says that he will try to finagle something for Sookie, but meanwhile she should stay with another human (always Bill’s solution: move in with Jason! No one will look for you there!). Unappeased by Bill’s apologetic shrugs and just-shagged demeanor, Sookie can’t leave without a “Your Excellency” parting shot. Bill has the grace to look abashed (he’d blush if he could) and Sookie remembers to ask him how he came to be king in the first place. As he’s dreaming up an answer, she shakes her head and says, “Never mind, every time I found out something new about you, I wound up wishing I didn’t know it.” Harsh. Valid. But harsh.

London, 1982. A Joe Strummer-coiffed Bill strolls through a club in London’s underground (although by ’82 I’m thinking it was the above-ground). What is it with fictional vampires having their Oi! period? Especially if you’re going to set it in the 80s. You wanna connote Reagan-era evil, go with James Spader in a lavender Lacoste cardigan in any 80s movie, ever. Nothing says evil like lavender Lacoste. But I digress. Bill chats up the bartender with a bit of anti-Tory talk (and a surprisingly spot-on English accent…oh, wait, I see what they did there). Bill glamours the bartender, has a quick snack, tells him to take a few vitamin supplements and then lets him go.

A blessedly un-punked Nan Flanagan (present-day motionless hairstyle + blue eye-shadow) walks out of the London fog wearing London Fog and tells Bill she has had her eye on him. She questions his ethical eating habits (which is really more of a 90s thing to do) and then tells him of a powerful group of vampires who feel the same way. Apparently, vampire scientists on three continents are working on a formula for synthetic blood, including the famed Louis Pasteur. “Pasteur’s a vampire?” Bill boggles. I boggle alongside him – what with the rabies and anthrax vaccines, I would have guessed werewolf or shifter first. Bill, southern-voiced now, is intrigued, but argues that the monarchs will crush them (if you think Thatcher’s the Iron Lady? You ain’t seen nothing until you come up against the Honorable Maisie, the Vampire Queen of East Riding of Yorkshire). Nan answers that she’s looking for a few good vamps to infiltrate the monarchy and sow the seeds of discord. Bill gives her an “I’m your huckleberry” head tilt and heads off to do him some sowin’.

At Merlotte’s, Sookie tries to apologize to Sam for the “disappeared into Fairyland” situation, and Sam cuts her some slack. Arlene comes in with Terry, who is wearing Mikey in a baby bjorn. Sookie goes gaga-gaga over the cuteness of it all, and Arlene loses her religion when Sookie tells her that while she can’t read Mikey’s thoughts (since babies don’t think in words) she can tell that he’s an old soul. Arlene runs off bawling, “He’s new! He’s brand fuckin’ new!” and kind of freaks everyone out.

A jittery Andy shows up at Hot Shot and Felton sends Timbo out to get rid of him. Timbo is sure earning his saucer of milk today. Jason, still chained to the bed, gets a lap full of V-hopped up Crystal. She rips part of Jason’s shirt off and shoves it into his mouth. She crazy-faces that there’s a way for them (Somehow! Someday! Somewhere!), but right now Jason needs to cheese it, it’s the cops!

From his hidey-hole, Felton notices Andy tweaking on V. Felton goes to tweakin’ in sympathy and waves over one of the uncle-daddies to slip Andy some V. Andy will take this evidence and log it into evidence and put it in the evidence room where he will evidently ascertain its evidentiary value. By drinking it. Relieved that she prevented Jason from getting all rescued-up on her, Crystal purrs into his armpit.

Terry makes plans for an evening at home with Arlene and what is their no-doubt impressive liqueur collection, while Arlene stares in baby Mikey’s eyes. While Mikey seems far more interested in drooling on his baby carrier, Arlene hypno-eyes him until a blood vessel bursts in her eye. She’s convinced that Mikey did it, but, damn, Arlene, you’re so amped up over this baby being Rene-incarnate that you’re literally popping vessels. Curl up with a bottle of Frangelico and chill! And while Arlene may be overboard with her “The power of Christ compels you!” routine, if Terry’s not careful he’s going to end up taking a header off the water tower all, “Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you!”

Sookie, who’s coming home from the grocery store (and bless to the props manager who managed to create a bag of groceries without a bunch of green-topped carrots and a baguette sticking out), whirls around and sees a blurry horde of fairy-goblins running toward her, screams, and then sees Tara (with a stunning blow-out) smiling at her instead.

Tara and Sookie catch up (“Lesbian cage fighter in New Orleans, you?” “Definitely not a fairy, definitely not with Bill.”). Sookie now has a squeak-free screen door and a brand new microwave. She then opens the fridge to find a carafe of blood and pours it down the sink, which is what she does with unwanted vampire accoutrements. Sookie apologizes for Eric’s housewarming gifts, and how they aren’t the homecoming Tara should have expected, but this is all old hat to Tara. They’re getting ready to tuck into some ice cream when Sookie notices a new cabinet. She gives it a “You can stay” caress, and then opens it to find Eric’s vampire cubby. Tara is extremely understanding of girlfriend catch-up time getting trumped by vampire ass-chewing time, and she waves Sookie off.

Jessica crawls out of her own cubby to find Hoyt with a bag of frozen butter beans held to his eye. He tells Jessica that he’s melted all the fruits and vegetables in the house (someone went shopping!) so Jessica goes to bite her wrist for him, but Hoyt wants to tough it out, and he doesn’t need that shit, anyway. Jessica takes umbrage to her blood being labeled ‘that shit,’ and Hoyt tells her he doesn’t want blood for every little thing: he’s seen too many people get messed up on V (valid). Jessica ask for his keys to go get him some Advil, and while Hoyt’s seen too many people get messed up on Advil, too, he throws her the keys. Jessica takes a wrong turn at the intersection of Bon Temps City Center and This-Way-to-Fangtasia and goes to get her some of that sweet fangbanger lovin’.

Tara arrives at Lafayette’s and Lafayette is excited to see both his cousin and his convertible returned. Jesus tells Tara that she looks good, and Lafayette teases that it’s the “calming influence of that Asian pussy at work,” so I guess Tara’s at least told Lafayette of what her reboot entailed. Tara goes along with Lafayette and Jesus, although she’s disappointed that it’s to a Wiccan thing and not a gay thing (too bad they’re not all still in college; the likelihood of it being both would increase exponentially).

Eric dances attendance on Bill (not literally, although that would be adorable) and calmly refuses to sell Sookie’s house back to either her or to Bill. Bill nods in reluctance and then informs Eric that there’s a new coven in town. Eric mock shudders in fear (then he hears the name is “Moon Goddess” and for real shudders in distaste) and he says that he’ll put Pam on it. Bill insists that Eric will do it himself: they’re necromancers. Eric turns back to Bill with a “shit just got real” face and Bill informs him that, if they can control the dead, they can control vampires. Eric gives him the vampire version of ‘duh’ on that, since he remembers the Inquisition, he just wasn’t expecting it again. Eric asks if the American Vampire League has signed off on it, and Bill gets regal on his ass, saying that as the king of Louisiana (who, who has Mississippi?) he doesn’t have to ask permission. Eric gives Bill a courtly bow with a wrist-fluttering flourish, and Bill offers him a wry, “Thank you, Sheriff,” in return.

Bill gives us a flashback to his show-down with Sophie-Anne, and although the house has been re-dressed to look like Bill’s prior to king-dom, his Season Three wig has been redressed to look like a small woodland animal and spray-painted black. Sophie-Anne reminds Bill that she’s twice his age, but Bill didn’t come alone – he’s got his AVL on-loan commandos, and they have Sophie-Anne in their sights. “You brought humans into our affairs?” she snarls. “No, you did,” Bill reminds her, “when you sent me after Sookie.” Sophie-Anne looks down her patrician nose at the guns pointed her way and queries, “Wooden bullets?” “With a silver core,” Bill answers and then barely takes an unnecessary breath before he orders, “Fire!” Bill gets a little splashed with Sophie Anne, and then Nan enters, orders her team out and thanks Bill for his service. Nan says that it was personal for Bill and asks what’s so special about that Sookie chick, anyway (and you can practically hear the “She’s Cheer Captain and I’m on the bleachers” in her voice). Bill states that there’s nothing special about Sookie (aw, Bill, stop making me question your motives!) and swears to the fact on his new office. Nan calls on the One True Vampire Authority and investitures Bill as Vampire King of Louisiana.

In yet another stunning move of being unable to read people, Sookie appeals to Pam to convince Eric to give up his claim to her house. Pam reminds Sookie that Eric is her maker; she’d hardly go against him. Pam is stunning in a glittery, crimson Bob Mackie-goes-Romulan number (and there must have been a BOGO sale on flatirons at Beauty Co, because both Pam and Tara are blown-out straighter than Jennifer Aniston on a 2004 People cover). Sookie decides to just hang out at Fangstasia to confront Eric herself, and Pam tells Sookie she should really reconsider Eric’s offer since, as a Fairy Princess, she needs to be somebody’s or she won’t be at all. Sookie refuses, saying she won’t be Eric’s puppet. “Mmm. Shame for you then. He pulls good string,” Pam answers. But, then, Eric has had his hand up Pam’s ass for years, it’s not like she’s the most unbiased authority on Eric Northman.

Jessica arrives at Fangtasia, peels off Hoyt’s flannel, gives her hair a sexy-librarian shake and finds Matt, her fangbanger from last week. They’re in the stall with her fangs in his neck before the DJ can even shuffle songs. Sookie enters the ladies’ room and takes the unoccupied stall not rattling with the sounds of vamp-sexing. At first it’s just a poignant reminder of simpler times with Bill and then…“Jessica?” Amusingly, Jessica flushes the toilet as she exits the stall to confront Sookie. Sookie asks if Hoyt knows what’s going on, if Jessica knows what she’s doing, and if there’s anything Sookie can do to help, but Jessica blows her off with a succinct, “You’re not my real mom” and goes back to her fangbanger. Sookie gives up on Eric and leaves Fangtasia.

Holly gives the coven a pep talk about their last meeting’s successful avian adventure and how she and Marnie (Aunt Petunia) think they all deserve the spirit stick this week for their dedication to hand-holding and chanting. Tara, who’s flipping through a Good Housekeeping with Nan Flanagan on the cover (you just know she has the best tips for getting blood out of silk) snarks on Marnie’s continued silence, but is interrupted by a witchling who asks what they’ll be doing next. “A person,” Marnie whispers, and then reiterates, in case there’s anyone who’s missed out on the zombie craze sweeping the nation, that they’re going to raise a human body. The other witches demure, except for the guy who looks like he sells organic protein shakes out of the back of his truck (what? You’ve seen him – in the supermarket parking lot, next to the lady selling tamales out of her car trunk) who doesn’t see what the big deal is. “Yeah, I’ll be waiting out front,” and Tara is out. “I hear you, bitch,” Lafayette nods.

Meanwhile, the shifters are discussing the most messed up things they’ve shifted into. Blonde Suzanne offers that she was once a hen at an egg farm. Sam asks if it was an animal rights thing, and of course it was. Luna interrupts Suzanne and Emory’s subsequent figurative egg fight to murmur that she shifted into her mother. Emory speaks for all of them with “Now, that’s fucked up.” Luna tells them that her mother died giving birth to her, so she was raised by her father on the Navajo Nation. “I thought you were a Mexican?” Suzanne breaks in. Luna agrees that she is, on her mother’s side, but Navajo on her father’s side. (I feel you, Luna; my Cherokee blood has caused people to shout, “¡Hola!” at me for years – this is why we cry single, perfect tears.) Growing up Navajo allowed Luna to hear charming bedtime stories about Skinwalkers, shifters who could transform into any living animal – including humans. The proviso is that they had to kill another shifter, another member of their own family, to access that power. Since Luna’s mother died in childbirth, she was able to become her mother – not just look like her, but actually become her. We’re talking way beyond Polyjuice here.

The shifters scent out another of their kind and Sam realizes it must be Tommy. He leaves his friends fireside and runs after his erstwhile brother. Sam and Tommy shift into hawks and Sam brings Tommy down. Naked, they work out some issues. Tommy’s been lying about his limp (although his “must be the adrenaline of the moment” attempted cover was a delight) but Tommy says that Sam’s been lying to him too – his shifter supper club isn’t exactly anger management counseling. Sam says that it is for him, and that it keeps him sane and from, you know, shooting people whenever he feels like it. He says he wishes he’d never shot Tommy, and Tommy responds that he wants to be brothers again. Sam isn’t sure if they can, since they don’t trust each other, but maybe they can chip away at it, try to not trust each other a little less every day. Aww. Now, put some pants on, boys, incest is only something they do in Hot Shot.

Back at the coven, Lafayette asks, “Where the fuck y’all gonna get a dead body?” Cue Eric Northman, enter stage center through the beaded curtain. Eric vamps and then sees Lafayette and expresses mild surprise. (After ‘Sookie’s a fairy’, ‘Lafayette’s a witch’ isn’t going to have that needed oomph to shock a vampire.) Eric tells Marnie to pack it up and that she’d better not try to hold coven meetings behind his back, because he’s ‘everywhere’ (and if he’s not everywhere, try looking for him in his cubby at Sookie’s). Marnie asks what’s in it for her and Eric goes to define the difference between negotiation and ultimatum, but Marnie tells the witches to join hands. Eric grabs her and bites her, so Holly takes up the spirit stick and commands everyone to join hands and begins to chant. Lafayette demurs until Tara grabs a stake and goes after Eric, who switches out hostage Marnie for hostage Tara. Marnie stands, and drawing great power, begins to chant, and that was the night the lights went out in Bon Temps. Marnie’s eyes flash golden and she appears briefly to Eric as someone younger, the memory of which causes Eric to experience serious fang shrinkage.  A defeated Eric whooshes out, and Marnie comes back to herself with a befuddled, “Well, what happened?”

Back at the dirty mattress in Hot Shot, Felton and Crystal start to strip off, telling Jason that they’re going to make a baby. Jason’s worried at first that he and Felton are going to be attempting some sort of male pregnancy ass-baby, but this is HBO, so nothing quite that insane. No, Felton has been shooting blanks, so he and Crystal are going to turn Jason into a were-panther so that he can impregnate Crystal with a panther baby to propagate the family line. See? Nothing too weird. Crystal and Felton go furry and grr-y and dive into some Jason-tartare.

Sookie, driving home, finds a shirtless Eric wandering the tree-lined boulevard. (WHY is he shirtless? You know, when I’m confused and frightened, the first thing I do is think, “Let me slip out of this glittery tank top and quilted jacket. Ah, much better. Nudity is clarity.” But hey, it’s Eric, so I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.) Eric doesn’t recognize Sookie, his surroundings or his accent, but he sure as hell recognizes her scent. (How does one forget the smell of rainbows and laughter?) It seems that even if Eric’s bewitched out of his vamp memory, when it comes to Sookie, her Windsong stays on his mind.

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  • Katy

    Why is Eric shirtless? Well if he can’t be naked sexing up someone, shirtless will just have to do. (Seriously, I think it must be written into the contracts that all the male leads have to be shirtless so many times a season).

    • Suzanne

      In that episode alone, Sam, Tommy and Bill were naked and Eric and Jason were shirtless (and let’s not forget Katerina and Luna were nekkid, as well). That goes so far beyond fan service that I don’t have a word for it. I do not put it past this show to do an all naked, all gay musical. With goats.

  • Sam

    who, who has Mississippi
    I think that since Russell, uh, abdicated, Mississippi would have gone to Sophie-Anne, and maybe now it’s Bill’s? Sort of? I don’t know. The vampire politics on this show can get intense.

    I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

    • Suzanne

      I don’t know why the Mississippi thing is driving me crazy. Nan only named Bill as King of LA, and you’re right, with both Russell and Sophie-Anne out of the picture, MS is up for grabs. Is this important??? Is something coming??? I don’t know! But I’m enjoying the hell out of King Vampire Bill.

      AND YAY!

  • I had the same damn reaction to the punk stuff. 1982?? In LONDON? Yeah, not so much with the subversive, folks. And of course I concur with your James Spader-pink seersucker suit with no socks and loafers as a better example of 80s evil. Except for how hot I will continue to find Stef, but that is neither here nor there.

    Now, in the books (which Alan Balls laughs at and uses as kindling) there are a couple of tough-ass witches cum Weres who get hopped up on V and want to bone him (and drain him, he’s several tens of thousands on the hoof, you see) who cause Eric to lose his memory (and he disappears and reappears in the place of his heart’s fondest blah blah) which is why he’s shirtless and “Huh?”

    But clearly you just added a bonus roll for the use of “Windsong.”

    • Suzanne

      Oh, Steff in his loafers sans socks (the one time sweaty feet are smexy). “Money really means nothing to me. Do you think I’d treat my parents’ house this way if it did?” Hahahaha, pure evil. (And I think even my mom was aware of The Clash in 1982.)

      Is it sad that I have been wanting to make that Windsong reference since the first time Bill and Eric went on and on about Sookie’s sweet, sweet nectar? It might be from 1989, but it’s by Prince Matchabelli, Laura. That’s class.

  • Lunabee34

    Bob Mackie goes Romulan. LOL If Garak wasn’t so enamoured of watermelons and spiders we could attribute that dress to him. *g*

    Why was Eric shirtless? That makes no sense. Of course, since he was wearing a woman’s quilted Chanel jacket to begin with, I wasn’t complaining.

    • Suzanne

      I thought you’d appreciate the Romulan ref. ;) Garak, oh how I love thee!

      Hahahaha! That quilted Chanel jacket! The clothes on this show!