True Blood – 4.1 She’s Not There

Sookie and Claudine arrive in Fairyland, which has been shot with a yellow filter this time, giving everything a warm glow. People in modern sportswear mingle with fairfolk clad in the gauzy tunics and chitons fantasy writers are convinced we’ll all wear in the future-slash-alternate reality.  Claudine reveals that she is Sookie’s godmother and Sookie eye-rolls before asking why Claudine hasn’t done a better job of keeping Sookie out of trouble. Aw, be fair, Sook, there ain’t no amount of Bippity-Boppity-Boo in the world that could handle the shit you get into. Sookie spies Barry the Telepathic Bellhop from Season Two, who is getting his own over-the-rainbow tour from his Fairy Godmother, Lloyd, a vision in gold nipple glitter.

The fairies are eating a glowing fruit called Lumiere, which must be mystical, because it’s so shiny. Sookie’s disconcerted by the ecstasy everyone displays as they eat the fruit, so she decides not to drink the Kool-Aid just yet. Across the courtyard, she sees her telepathic Granddaddy who is chowing down on the Lumiere like it’s a piece of Gran’s buttermilk pie. She’s stunned to see him, but not as stunned as he is, considering he saw her just a few days earlier at one of her childhood birthday parties. Sookie informs him that 20 years have passed since then, and Granddaddy doesn’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt. As they catch up on the past, Sookie sees a malevolently green extra from “Pan’s Labyrinth” slinking through the crowd of gauzy robes and boob glitter. She looks at the Lumiere fruit in her hand and it flickers, briefly appearing rotted and crawling with maggots (that’s a little trick the fairy queen picked up from catching “The Lost Boys” on Starz!). Sookie begins to communicate mentally with Granddaddy, giving him an Admiral Akbar, “It’s a trap!” head’s up. Unfortunately, she’s forgotten that she’s in a freaking world of telepaths, and everyone else picked up the frequency, too.

Mab, the Queen of the Faeries, glides in with a 1940’s film star accent and a disdainful look. Mab is none too happy with Sookie, since Sookie’s blood allowed a vampire (Bill) to invade their realm and have the audacity to ask questions. The Queen is planning to close the connection between the human and fairy worlds after she harvests all of the human-fairy hybrids. Mab attempts to force Sookie to eat the fruit. Sookie invokes her glowy hands of glory and pushes the queen away. The queen goes flying and then everything explodes and goes monochromatic and Beyond the Thunder Dome. The faeries now look more like gremlins or goblins or brownies or, whatever; I don’t know, I was never into the whole fairy/unicorn/rainbow thing in middle school.

Sookie and Granddaddy start hoofing it as more purple explosions than a Prince concert rain around them and they run into Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed who have deplorable English accents and heads just full of split-ends. Their leader, let’s call him Bottom because that’s funny, tells Sookie that he doesn’t want to have the fairy and human worlds to be separated. He leads Sookie to an abyss and tells her to jump. Since she hasn’t had the fruit, she will return to her own world. Sookie dithers, no doubt wanting to stay and join the fairy resistance, but Granddaddy gives her a shove and they go hurtling thought the portal to land in the Bon Temps cemetery. Granddaddy has had scads of the fruit, so he can’t stay on the human plane. He gives Sookie his pocket watch for Jason before he flickers out of existence.

The second Sookie’s zippy little heels touch ground in Bon Temps, we get rapid fire back-to-back shots of a sleeping Bill and Eric’s eyes popping open with a “Boing!”

Sookie arrives home to find her house undergoing serious reno and painted a charming yellow. Sookie ignores the contractor’s protests and goes inside to find all vestiges of her life with Gran removed. Jason shows up decked out as Deputy Chin Pubes. Jason tells her that everyone thought she was dead, and that she has been gone for over a year. Jason sold her house to a real estate company when she was gone so long, because she isn’t the type to just flit off without telling anyone. (Uh, Jason do you even go here? Flitting off is pretty much Sookie’s modus operandi – she’s a freaking fairy!)

Jason warns Sookie not to tell anyone that she time traveled to fairyland, because it’s just weird and they might not understand since they’re humble country folk given to simple pleasures such as consorting with vampires, maenads and werewolves. She gives Jason the pocket watch and tells him that Granddaddy is dead. Again.

Sookie’s clock of the heart strikes sunset and she goes outside just as Bill whooshes in with a sleek new haircut. She avoids his embrace and Bill tells her he knows she was with Claudine. He tells Sookie he was unable to feel her presence and it was as if she had died. Eric pops up (he had a longer trip) and says he knew she wasn’t dead. Eric and Bill snark and bitch face at each other, but when Bill demands that Eric go, Eric acquiesces with nary a snarl. Hmm. Before he leaves, Eric tells Sookie that her family, her friends and (pointed look at Bill) everyone who loves her gave up on her, but he never did.

Andy shows up with a heartfelt, “You have got to be shittin’ me” at Sookie’s reappearance. Everyone believed that Bill had killed Sookie. When Sookie’s at a loss for words that aren’t “fairies” and “sparkly shit,” Bill intervenes and says that Sookie has been on super secret, undercover vampire business on his orders. Bill apologizes to Andy for the deception and promises to pay the cost of the search effort if Andy makes sure Bill is cleared of killing Sookie. As Jason drags him away, Sheriff Andy blames Sookie for his loss of the Louisiana Safe Streets award, as he wasn’t eligible for it with her open case on his books.  With a final, “You owe me a plaque!” Andy leaves with Jason.

Sookie and Bill are alone, and she tells him that he has to understand that while he may only be feeling joy at her safe return, in her reality it’s only been an hour since he broke her heart. (But really, wouldn’t it be the same for Bill? He’s 170-something, you’d think 12 months would pass in the blink of an eye. The relativity of vampire time: discuss.)

Jason asks Andy if he’s using again and then searches Andy’s squad car for V and finds it beneath the sun visor. Oh, Andy.

A mohawked Lafayette and Jesus arrive at Flourish and Blotts, that is to say, Moon Goddess, a witching emporium. Lafayette is not enthused and mutters about it smelling like where used air freshener goes to die. A group of female witches, including Merlotte’s waitress Holly, greet them and Jesus introduces Lafayette as his partner (aw!) Aunt Petunia (whose Hogwarts letter finally came!) is channeling the spirit plane. Aunt Petunia freezes, and her eyes open as she beckons Lafayette to her silently. Aunt Petunia begins to hack and grunt like she’s yakking on a catfish bone. Holly translates for her (Holly’s a southern waitress, she’s heard asphyxiation by channel cat before) and asks Lafayette if he knew an Eddie. Lafayette’s all, yeah, way back in Season One. Eddie has a rose for Lafayette, and Aunt Petunia pantomimes handing it to Lafayette. Lafayette accepts it and Aunt Petunia grabs him and begins to talk in a guttural voice, channeling Eddie and telling Lafayette, “They drained me but it was worth it just to have a glass of Merlot with you.” (Geez, I hope Lafayette at least sprang for a 2001 Cennatoio Mammolo, because Eddie died horribly.) Lafayette thinks Jesus told the coven about Eddie and is beyond pissed.

A floor full of decapitated Barbies surrounds Arlene’s cute blond baby boy. “What the hell kind of baby does that?” Arlene asks. “A boy,” Terry says reasonably. (Truth: I have a younger brother and a hope chest full of Napalmed Barbies to prove it.) The baby’s name is Mikey and Arlene looks into his precious itty-bitty baby face and tells him that killing is wrong.

Picture it: New Orleans, present day. Focus in on a female ultimate fighter cage match (I guess, I have no idea) with Tara kicking ass. She wins the fight (well, she always had those Pow! Pow! guns, glad to see she’s putting them to use).

Hoyt comes home from a hard day of road grading to couch potato Jessica. Hoyt’s starving, so of course there’s nothing in the fridge but old pizza, TruBlood and baking soda. Hoyt and Jessica get all Newlywed Game up in each other’s faces over Jessica’s lack of domesticity (uh, if Jessica still works at Merlotte’s, Hoyt can pick up his own damn chicken in a biscuit). Jessica tells him that touching food freaks her out, because it’s all dead, and going to the Piggly Wiggly is to her what going to the morgue is for him. She makes the requisite mother-in-law insult and then cracks eggs, shells and carton and all, into a pan. She stirs twice and then slaps it on a plate. Hoyt chokes it down with a yum and they yell and hiss until Jessica can’t take the egg slime dripping from Hoyt’s lips anymore than I can and whisks it away from him, laughing. Hoyt is forced to laugh, too, and they realize that they’re a cliché and make up.

Pam, in a Chanel suit and pearls, films a half-hearted ‘Fangtasia is an inclusionary bar, come one, come all, your sticky little children and your pets, too’ commercial. She lacks credibility. How she avoids saying polyester and fanny packs, I’ll never know. Nan, who’s directing the commercial, reminds her that, in a post-Russell Edgington world, mainstreaming with humans is paramount.

Eric faces the camera and off-the cuff riffs a stirring apple pie, taxpaying, Disneyland loving version ending with, “Who would you rather trust: a vampire, or a politician?” Well played, Mr. Northman.

Eric’s flag waving sound bites are intercut with Bill, who is giving a speech as he dedicates a new village for seniors. Bill randomly invokes his dead, apparently Arbor Day loving wife, Caroline, and then thanks the Bon Temps Chamber of Commerce, especially the lovely Miss Portia Bellefleur. Portia is a pitt bull in lip gloss (oh, sorry, not literally, I mean, this is Bon Temps) and she looks at Bill like he’s made of kibble.

Tara leaves the fighting arena and lights up, enjoying a celebratory smoke. The woman she was fighting in the ring walks to her side and gives her a short version of the anti-smoking creed and then tosses the cigarette. She and Tara kiss. Well, hello! When Tara said she was going to reboot, she meant the entire mainframe, apparently. A creepy guy watches them kiss and offers them money to perform for him. Tara’s girlfriend, Naomi, wants to show the skeeve why kick boxing is still the sport of any future, but Tara simply tells him that she’s sorry for him and takes his money in exchange for not reporting him for solicitation. As Tara and Naomi walk off arm-in-arm, Naomi calls Tara “Toni.”

At Merlotte’s, Sookie congratulates Arlene and Terry on their wedding. Arlene is evasive about little Mikey. Lafayette gives Sookie a hug and when Sookie asks about Tara, Lafayette tells her that she left town. Sookie is boggled that Tara would leave everything behind and Lafayette gives her a bit of an “You kiddin’ me?” look before saying she sends him postcards from here and there.

Sam gives Sookie grief about the “vampire business.” He tells Sookie that a lot’s changed and is brooding to the point of “Don’t make me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” He tells her she can start back at the bar part-time.

Jesus goes into the kitchen to see Lafayette. Lafayette’s still going the silent treatment route due to the events at the Moon Goddess. Jesus wants Lafayette to believe in magic, especially in his own. Andy busts in and asks for a private word with Lafayette. Andy, sweating like a sweaty coke-whore, begins to shake Lafayette down for some V, but Lafayette claims he sold all of his supply to Hotshot. Jason arrives and unfucks the situation, and advises Lafayette that, if anything had just happened, it didn’t happen.

Maxine Fortenberry comes in the bar a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ over the lack of special needs accessibility at Merlotte’s. She takes a table and Sam’s brother, Tommy, comes stumping in on a leg brace after her. They’ve got that ‘peckish after Bingo’ look to them, and Tommy has obviously become Hoyt 2.0 for Maxine. Tommy, duded up in a checked shirt and Brylcreem, shares a prayer with Maxine over biscuits and gravy. Sam gets snarky about the physical therapy he’s paying for and Tommy lips back, “How’s that anger management going?”

Tara and Naomi are in bed making out (because while there hasn’t been any gore in this episode, it just wouldn’t be True Blood without boobs). Tara’s phone goes off with a text from Lafayette telling her that Sookie’s alive. Tara tells Naomi it’s from her dad and that someone she used to know has died. Naomi believes “Toni” is from Atlanta. Tara says she’s better off where she is now and kisses Naomi.

Portia Bellefleur (I’m assuming she’s an attorney) is attempting to track down the AIK real estate company for Sookie, so that she can get her house back. Portia is all supercilious about her Merlotte’s made cappuccino, and Sookie takes the opportunity to read Portia’s mind and hears thoughts about Sookie being weird and banging Bill, and how Bill never even mentions Sookie now.

Jessica dances at Fangtasia and Hoyt watches happily from the bar. A cute fangbanger with a CW regular vibe approaches Jessica and flirts with her. Jessica hears his heartbeat and licks her lips, but then explains that she’s there with her boyfriend, despite the fact that the guy’s practically vibrating with “Bite me, my preternatural goddess!” Matt, the fangbanger, is still giving Jessica “Come fang me eyes” as she dances with Hoyt, so she books it for the ladies. She hides in a stall, but Pam bangs on the door and tells her stalls are for humans. Pam tells Jessica that she hasn’t heard from her in a bat’s age. Jessica shares that she moved in with Hoyt and Pam asks if she means the tree in the plaid shirt, heh.

Pam tells Jess that if she’s having Hoyt bring her to Fangtasia, playing house obviously isn’t doing it for her. Pam mocks Jess’s attempts at domesticity and monogamy as only Pam can, a look of incredulous glee on her face. Jess says that if she wanted to kill and fuck she’d do it. She’s going home with the man she loves, something Pam would know nothing about! And since Pam’s into chicks, she merely gives that a “Yes, and?” shrug.

Sam is at an intimate counseling session/dinner party in a rustic cabin with an attractive group including two women and another man. He speaks about how he thought he had his feelings under control until he cleaned out Tommy’s apartment, and then he could still feel the gun in his hand and relished it. The group discusses violent tendencies over what appears to be a nice merlot. They agree that if the cortisol levels in their blood were tested, they’d be higher than the average. They decline another glass of wine and, standing, begin to disrobe. As they drop trou, I drop jaw for a brief moment at what promises to be a swingin’ scene, and then realize that I’m seeing group sex shenanigans where there are only shapeshifters. Four horses gallop from the cabin’s stables.

At Hotshot, Jason pulls up with food and greets the kids by name. Jason seems comfortable being piled on by the kids, who could all seriously use deportment classes and a visit from the school nurse. Jason says they’ve got to get their Aunt Crystal back, and soon. One of the kids tells him that the ice box is broken (well, if the ice box ain’t a-workin’, you just slap it in the Frigidaire ‘afore you cop a squat on the divan). Jason is annoyed because he just fixed the ice box and is further annoyed when he finds it propped open. The kids tell him it’s their air conditioner, which kinda breaks my heart. Jason leans deep into the freezer, telling them he’ll probably have to replace the cooling element, and the kids sneak up on him, HIT HIM WITH A SHOVEL AND LOCK HIM IN THE ICE BOX. Well, shitfire.

Aunt Petunia (who has an actual name, but I’ve forgotten it – Harry Potter is a universal language in any case) is having a memorial ritual for her familiar, a parakeet named Minerva (shout out!). Lafayette’s eyes are rolling to the point of tilt-a-whirl. Aunt Petunia recites a standard blessing from “Wicca for Dummies,” and then switches to Latin, demanding that her parakeet be returned to the living. The other witches, who all have that ‘every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she’s a sister to the dark ones’ vibe, freak the heck out. Aunt Petunia forces Lafayette to join the circle and the magic flares to life as soon as his hands join theirs. The parakeet pops up, alive! It makes a loop-de-loop and then falls dead again. The coven finds this even more exciting than their quarterly bake sale.

One of the witches, a Miss Pelham, gets clearance from a perimeter guard in night commando to enter a brightly lit mansion. She walks into a seriously lush black study and smirks, “Your Majesty” and the camera spins with a flourish worthy of “Dallas” during sweeps week to reveal Bill Compton in his cushy, kingly swivel chair. That last game of Yahtzee with Sophie-Anne must have been a corker.

Sookie changes for bed and it’s obvious that someone’s going to disturb her deshabillé, given the inordinate amount of time it takes her to remove her robe. Eric catches her robe one-handed and grunts about the reality of Sookie’s bod matching his fevered imaginations. He assures her that it’s no dream. She says she rescinded his invitation, but he reminds her that she doesn’t own the house any longer. He dangles a set of keys that are just missing an “I Heart Sookie” keychain. He tells her that he bought the house because he knew she was alive and that if he owned the house, he’d own her (someone needs to update those Louisiana property laws).

Eric advances on her saying, Sookie. You.  Are. Mine. with that beat between words Eric uses when he’s getting vamped up. Someone needs to inform Bill and Eric that “You are mine!” is the vampire equivalent of texting someone your crotch shot – it’s a bit demeaning and more amusing than hot. Nonetheless, Sookie clutches her robe, I clutch my pearls and we fade to black.

Episode 2 is right here!