“True Blood” Episode 403 Recap: “If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’?”

 
 

This week’s episode was scripted by the
one true Vampire Authority himself, Alan
Ball.

I think
by now I’ve come to realize that his episodes can be counted on for brilliant,
witty dialogue, and for clever dabbling in political/social commentary. Also, for
wonderful minor moments between characters that bring out interesting dimensions
to their relationships.

But
moving the plot forward? Not so much.

Which
is why, after two weeks of storytelling on maximum overdrive, this week is
fairly low on the What the Fang? Scale …

Sookie’s Absent-Minded Houseguest

We pick up right where we left off, with
little-boy-lost Eric asking Sookie why she smells so good, followed
by wondering what she is. He
mistakenly refers to her as “Snookie,” because having a super-powerful
spell cast on you by angry witches apparently isn’t enough to eradicate the
memory of watching Jersey Shore.

Sookie
realizes pretty quickly that there’s something seriously off about him, and
hits her pedal to the metal.

Once she’s down the road a ways, she
looks in her rearview mirror and sees that Eric is gone, then breathes a sigh
of relief. As Lafayette would say, “Hooker,
please.” Seriously, Sookie? Have you never seen a horror movie in your
life? You never, ever breathe a sigh
of relief like that! It’s just asking for trouble!

Because
sure enough, Eric lunges into the window and makes a grab for her. She piles
out of the car and runs away screaming. At this point, I start getting
agitated, because I thought the new Sookie was all about not letting vamps walk
all over her and this seems totally chicken. But then she turns around and
clocks Eric good in the nose. Yes! That’s more like it.

He’s
genuinely surprised and hurt by this. Irritated, she tells him he’ll heal
quickly since he’s a vampire. He responds that he knows what he is; he just doesn’t know who he is. In fact the only things he can remember are the calm
Viking waters of home, and the cold, empty eyes of Fiona Shaw. “It was her, but it wasn’t her,” he says,
indicating he has some familiarity with the younger woman we saw flashing back
and forth with Marnie’s face.

Feeling
sorry for him, Sookie agrees to take him home and try to help him. But first
she sets some ground rules. Rule #1: No touching. Rule #2: No biting. Rule #3: All
showers must be taken together. (Okay, I made up Rule #3, but it’s a good rule,
right?)

Back at her house, Eric pauses at the door like
he needs to be invited in. Sookie’s just about to tell him no need since the
house is his, but she stops herself and makes a big show of inviting him
inside. She helps him get comfortable in a nice foot bath, then calls Pam.

At Fangtasia, Pam answers the phone with her typical dead-pan lack of
enthusiasm bordering on outright contempt (oh, how I wish I could have Pam
around to answer my phone the next time PBS calls during a pledge drive).

Pam is in
the back office having a fun little quickie with a guy who’s laying on the
“ooh, bite me, you bite me so good, bite me hard” shtick a little too
heavily for her liking. When Pam hears that Eric is at Sookie’s house and has
lost his memory, she zips over to Sookie’s house faster than the crew
of the Enterprise can beam over to neighboring
planets.

Pam rushes into Sookie’s living room and,
after a startled Eric knocks her down, she implores Sookie to keep Eric safely
hidden at her place. In the process, she lets slip that Sookie’s place is
actually Eric’s place. D’oh! So much for keeping that little detail on the QT.

Pam
explains that she thinks Eric is in grave danger . Her theory is that Bill set him up, sending him to the
coven with the hopes he’d wind up dead or seriously messed up at the witches’
hands. The reason? Bill had vowed to protect Sookie by destroying everyone
who’d had a taste of her, including Eric. Plus, he and Eric obviously can’t
stand each other. Thinking back to last week’s Sookie-Bill meet when he
promised her a “workaround” to deal with the Eric home ownership
situation, I’m wondering if Pam is right on this.

When
Sookie hears that witches are involved, she delivers that priceless line we all
first heard in the season preview trailer: “Oh great. Now I have to deal
with witches too?” Heh. Hey Sookie, if you think witches are bad, just
wait until coming seasons, when you have to deal with trolls, leprechauns, mole
men, Smurfs, and Tea Party candidates.

Sookie
agrees to help, but says she’ll want some sort of compensation in return. I’m
guessing that with Eric under her roof, she’ll get a whole lot of compensation any time she likes, if you
catch my meaning. (My meaning is shower sex).

So Sookie makes over Eric in Jason’s hand-me-downs, and the sight of
Eric in Jason jock drag is absolutely a riot. She also takes him down to his
cubby hiding place, which we now see has that distinctive bachelor-hipster
design like some recent MBA grad’s first studio apartment. They make small talk all about how even
though Eric has tasted Sookie (against her will), she is most definitely not
his to own – or any other vampire’s for that matter.

There’s a wonderful emotional complexity to these scenes with the two
of them. As much fun as it is to see Alexander Skarsgard play out the
timidity and naiveté brought on by Eric’s amnesia, there’s an undercurrent of
aggression that makes it really unsettling. And Anna Paquin does an outstanding job here revealing Sookie’s
conflicted responses, equal parts sympathy, annoyance, and fear. It’s some of
the best acting we’ve seen from either of them.

Lest you think Sookie is cool with this whole Eric crashing at her
place thing, she’s not. She goes for help to … Alcide!

Alcide is doing well, having
accepted a major construction job that’s gotten him these cushy new digs. Of
course, this is a huge plot hole because the only things being built in America in 2011
are Hoovervilles. Sookie tells him she wants him to “take care” of
Eric Northman. Alcide wonders if she means “take care” as in
“fit for cement shoes, a la that Edgington
guy last year.” Sookie assures him that she means help her care for him.

While they’re chatting, Alcide’s enchanting companion comes in, a Martha Stewarte-sque domestic goddess
bearing a tray of cocktail weiners. Oh
wait, that’s no domestic goddess. It’s a raging psychopath with an uncanny
resemblance to 80s teen popstar Tiffany.
AKA Debbie Pelz, Alcide’s
loony-tunes ex.

And as happy as I am to see Joe
Manganiello back, I think I just might be even happier to see Debbie, since
I love her brand of bats–t craziness and think this show could use more of it.
Especially if there’s any hope of a replay of that classic Sookie-Debbie
knock-down, drag-out fight, perhaps the greatest TV brawl since Alexis vs. Crystal.

Debbie has been off V for a year, swearing she’s found, in no
particular order, 12-steps and Jesus. Now she’d like nothing better than to
regain Sookie’s trust so they can be besties. Sookie reluctantly accepts her
embrace, then makes a mad dash for her car.

Alcide follows her out and
says he’d like to see if there’s anything he can do for Eric, like maybe put
him up in one of the new homes he’s building in that development. In fact, Eric
got him the construction gig in the first place, in gratitude for a few favors
Alcide had done for him. (I’m guessing certain favors we saw last year, like
offering his truck to bring Edgington to his cement bath, which come to think
of it, was in a construction site. Hmmm, could Alcide’s cushy new home actually
be Edgington’s resting place?) Sookie says thanks but no thanks; she’ll handle
this herself.

Later that night, Sookie is
sitting around the house reading a book by someone named Charlaine Harris, whoever that is.

She hears something outside, and goes to investigate. It’s Claudine, who demands Sookie accompany
her back to Fairyland. Sookie, rightfully, is all, “You crazy.”
Claudine reminds her that the fairies are her family and can keep her safe.
Besides which, her request to come with her isn’t really a request.

Just as Claudine is getting all threatening, Eric zips in from
nowhere, topples her, and SUCKS HER COMPLETELY DRY, until she’s a desiccated
goblin corpse! Sookie should really have
known better. If you don’t want your houseguest eating your stuff, you put a
label on it. You do it for milk, you do it for Pop Tarts, and you certainly do
it for your Fairy Kin. Duh.

Sookie snarks to Eric, “You killed my fairy godmother!” (Heh!)
And a sheepish Eric responds, “Sorry.” (Ha!)

WTF Rating: 3. I was
totally shocked they killed Claudine off, given she’s such a presence in so
many of the books. As someone who’s read and loved the whole series (yes, yes,
I know who Charlaine Harris is – I was just messing with you to see if I could
get anybody’s head to explode), I’ve learned to watch this show on its own
terms and not make any assumptions about how it will or won’t follow the books.
But this really seems like a deliberate effort to totally screw with book
lovers’ expectations. And a perverse part of me sort of loves that.

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