We've seen a lot of twisted things on this show. That sex scene between Bill and Lorena last season comes to mind. But watching the young women of Hot Shot line up to have their way with a bound, drugged Jason ranks right up there among the most disturbing. "Poor Jason" was trending on Twitter even before that reveal. Let's start there...
Through a fireside chat, we got to hear the lore of the werepanther. Long ago, panthers were king of the natural world. "Sky people" came and turned humans against nature, but two humans, "ghost mama" and "ghost daddy," went to the woods, got a full moon, and said, "Mighty panther, we don’t want to live in the man world, we want to live with you -- in our skins, not in a dream." And so the panther ate the man and the woman, who soaked up its magic while they were in its belly. The panther puked them up (whole or in pieces not specified), and on the next full moon, they turned into panthers. There aren't a lot of panthers left today
I also liked how the writers kept Jason's cellphone on his hip -- the werepanthers may be smart enough to tie his hands up so he can't answer it, but they wouldn't be smart enough to remove it from his body and hide it just incase. After listening to Jason's greeting -- if it's an emergency, you can call 911 and ask for him (those operators have nothing else to do in Bon Temps?) -- Andy left him a message telling him he needed his help. How are you feeling about this Andy-is-a-V-addict story line? I'm a fan of the character and want to see him get more screen time, but I also need the payoff to come quick. We saw Andy raise his gun on Sam when Andy thought he might be getting suspicious of his behavior. Will Andy's temper lead to his death? Who will he attack that he shouldn't?
Eventually, Crystal gave Jason what he thought was medicine -- instead it was Mexican Viagra -- and told him that his search for his purpose in life was over: He's going to save her people from going extinct as their new "ghost daddy." When Jason came to again, Crystal was on top of him. In her mind, once she and the young girls lined up in the room raped him and became pregnant, she and Jason could be together. In his mind, he wished he'd never met Crystal. Yes, Jason was known as the stud of Bon Temps, but being turned into a werepanther and forced to father children in a town called Hot Shot (how poetic!) isn't just old-fashioned karma. How does he recover from that? The Rambo-eque Jason from earlier seasons would turn on them when he's finally freed. But could the Jason who'd been looking after these people for a year -- and who may still feel a connection to them if werepanthers are loyal pack members like werewolves -- take mercy on them? (Is there any chance Jason won't get the ladies of Hot Shot pregnant? Crystal assumed it was Felton shooting blanks. Maybe the women have trouble conceiving. Or, perhaps the reason Jason doesn't already have a child in this world is because he's sterile? Lame, right? Someone has to become pregnant...)
With Jason's horror out-of-the-way, let's move on to what is likely many viewers' fantasy: having Eric as an overnight guest. The episode picked up where we left off -- shirtless Eric on the side of the road. He doesn't know what Sookie is, but he knows she smells like wheat, honey, and sunlight. (That made me thirsty for a beer.) I'm not sure how one drives away from a half-naked Alexander Skarsgard, but Sookie tried it. Of course, he caught up with her once she momentarily abandoned her vehicle altogether. She punched Eric, broke his nose, and reminded him that he was a vampire who would heal in five minutes. "I know I’m a vampire, Snooki," he said. Cue the T-shirts on CafePress! Eric remembers what he is, but not who he is. Once he recounted the circle and the witch whose eyes reached into him and took everything from him, Sookie agreed to help him if he promised not to touch or bite her.
We next saw them in Sookie's house, where this kinder, gentler Eric was apologetic for stepping on her rug with his muddy feet. After Sookie called Pam and told her he didn't remember he'd bought her house let alone who he was, she washed his feet for him. The innocent "it tickles" grin made me swoon. Sookie may not be getting quite as much enjoyment out of this new Eric as we are, but you can tell from the little smile she flashes whenever he says "sorry" -- or when he does something otherwise adorable, like shove Pam into the next room and insist she be nice to Sookie -- that she might have agreed to hide Eric in her house even if she wasn't going to get paid for it. Worried Pam did have a point: If the witches wanted to get to Eric again, with her at Fangtasia is the first place they'd look. ("Oh great, now I have to deal with witches?" said Sookie.) Up for debate, however: Was Pam right about Bill sending Eric into that coven as a trap because he'd tasted/"fang-raped" Sookie? ("Oh, sorry," said Eric). Pam doesn't want Sookie to tell Bill about Eric's amnesia because Pam thinks Bill wants to use it to get the AVL to sign off on assassinating Eric. I presume Pam believes Bill would argue that Eric is a loose cannon at a time when every vampire needs to be on his best behavior. That could be why we saw Bill ordering the execution of a vampire who'd been filmed feeding on a human -- something punishable by the true death. (And yes, you can visit the undercover video site Vamps-Kill.com.) What's your gut tell you? We later saw Bill trying to reach Eric on his cell: does that mean it wasn't a trap, or that Bill was simply trying to confirm that it had worked? Bill could have said "to avoid confusion, that is a command from your king" to chastise normal Eric or so clueless Eric would think phoning Bill back was the right thing to do.
Regardless, Eric is now Sookie's housemate. Pam revealed that it was Eric's house, which, after Sookie encouraged him to climb down the ladder to his custom cubby, he believed. How sweet was Eric's voice when he was trying to figure out Sookie's status? "Would you like to be mine?" he asked after she said she wasn't his or anyone else's. "Not really," she told him. "But thank you for asking." His embarrassment when his fangs popped out was equally endearing. Again, she had to crack a tiny smile when he said "sorry."
The next day, while Eric slept, Sookie went to see Alcide, who'd moved to Shreveport for a big job that Eric had swung his way after Alcide had done some favors for him last year. I assume he's not talking about transporting Russell for his concrete burial, which had settled the debt Alcide's father owed Eric. So what did Alcide do for Eric exactly? I assume we'll find out. Sookie was as shocked as we all were to find Debbie back with Alcide. Debbie has been clean and sober for nearly a year and wants to earn back Sookie's trust, starting by serving her Vienna sausages. (Those were a staple of my childhood. I would have taken her up on those, history be damned.) Sookie had wanted to ask Alcide to house Eric, but having Eric hide out in a home with a recovering V addict wasn't a good plan. Alcide didn't like the idea of Eric staying in Sookie's home, so there's still some sexual tension between Sookie and Alcide -- which I'm guessing we'll get to see again when he comes to Bon Temps to check on her. How else are they going to work him into the story line this year?
When Sookie returned from visiting Alcide, Eric was nowhere to be found. Later, while reading a Charlaine Harris novel (of course), she heard a noise outside and it was Claudine, who tried to convince Sookie to return to the fairy realm with her again where they could keep her safe. Sookie, understandably, wanted to know how Claudine was there if Mab had closed the portal to this world (we never got an answer). She also wanted to know when Claudine had kept her safe in the past (she'd given Sookie the energy to tighten the chain around the neck of that guy the night she and Bill met). Why had Claudine never saved her from a vampire? Claudine said she couldn't risk them discovering her because they'd kill her. Sookie told Claudine to stay away from her, and whoosh, Eric suddenly had a hold of Claudine and drank from her neck until she shriveled up and evaporated into sparks of light. "You just killed my fairy godmother," Sookie told him. "Sorry," he said, with a face as messy as a child who'd snuck a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup after it'd been left in a hot car all day. My question: Did Eric just hear Sookie tell Claudine to leave her alone, and that's why he attacked Claudine, or did he hear Claudine say that vampires would kill her if they knew what she was and temptation got the better of him? I suppose he wouldn't necessarily piece together that Sookie is part fae just because her godmother is a fairy. Have we established how differently Sookie smells from full fairies? (There's a sentence I never expected to type!)
As for the rest of the story lines brewing...
• Lafayette, Jesus, and Tara have 24 hours to bring Marnie to Pam. Tara was pissed that she'd been back in Bon Temps for two hours and was already attacked by a vampire. And it wasn't just any vampire, as she, Lafayette, and Jesus assured the cocky coven that wants to retaliate for the unprovoked attack on their religious freedom. This was Eric Northman. At first, Lafayette wanted to forget it ever happened. Then, he decided he needed to be proactive and go to Eric and beg for his life -- which Tara and Jesus were firmly against. Lafayette wanted Tara to leave town, but she wouldn't when he was in this much danger. Tara asked Sookie to talk to Eric, but Sookie couldn't tell Tara that Eric wasn't his big bad self at the moment. While Tara went out to do a flirty shot of tequila with Sam -- they both looked even hotter with their anger issues under control, and while acknowledging that they were each seeing someone -- Lafayette paid Terry to cover his shift and bolted for Fangtasia. Luckily, Jesus and Tara knew where he was headed and showed up in time to stop Pam from erasing Lafayette the way the witches did Eric's memory. Tara was packing a handgun with wooden bullets. She doesn't want a life where she's fighting supernatural forces, but she looks good doing it. They told Pam they could bring her Marnie, the only one who had a chance of reversing the spell on Eric. Pam gave them 24 hours to do it, or she will personally "eat, f---, and kill" all three of them. (Another great T-shirt in the making!)
• Marnie is too desperate to be a respectable conduit? So Marnie claimed she had no idea how she got Eric to leave, but apparently she has figured out that a more powerful spirit is using her body to do its bidding. Marnie later did a blood ritual offering herself over to the spirit fully and begging it to make her its servant. We saw the spirit of a woman sitting there watching Marnie, and, if I were that spirit, thinking Marnie is too needy to be a good vessel. Perhaps the spirit will jump to Lafayette, who we've seen is the one who supplies the necessary power to make things happen in the circle. Or, maybe she'll jump to Jesus, who's in closer proximity to Lafayette's power and needs a story line. If she sticks with Marnie, I'll lose respect for this spirit.
• What the hell is up with that doll? I know Jessica and Hoyt have bigger issues. She went to visit Bill for the first time in months to ask him what she should do after drinking from that fangbanger in Fangtasia. Bill told his "vamp pup" to be honest with Hoyt if she loves him; it would hurt worse if he found out about her betrayal from someone else. Jessica confessed to Hoyt, who was almost out the door when she glamoured him into forgetting any of it had happened. That is a slippery slope that Jessica, who's still young enough to sound bratty when she says things like "I hate my life," will undoubtedly spiral down as the guilt gets to her. To me, the more interesting reveal in that scene was that the old doll that came with Hoyt and Jessica's house keeps returning to them after they throw it out. Is that witch's magic or something entirely different? In the end, Jessica gave the doll to Arlene's son Mikey as a present. It's so dirty, Terry said, it won't matter what kind of damage he does to it. Was the doll meant for Mikey all along? Theories?
• Tommy continues to do everything wrong.If I were living with a woman who ordered a Marie Osmond Adora Belle Freida Fright Doll off TV, I would be looking for a way out, too. But it's tough to like Tommy when he's planning on stealing from Maxine. Tommy answered the door as her son "Max" when a man from an energy company knocked and said he wanted to talk to Maxine about buying the natural gas lease rights to her land for a substantial sum per acre plus royalties on whatever they find. She is a dreadful woman, but she doesn't deserve to be swindled from someone who, granted, she's using as a replacement son. Tommy went to Sam, thinking Sam would want to buy the house out from Maxine and they'dmake the deal with the energy company. Sam, of course, said if Tommy didn't tell Maxine about the natural gas lease rights he would. Tommy stormed off. Even though he said he hates Sam's guts, I don't believe he'd actually be surprised that Sam wouldn't join him in that little seedy venture. Where's Tommy headed? How do they keep him interesting? I love that Tommy wants a relationship with Sam, but can he spend the entire season taking baby steps toward him, or does he have to take a leap -- in one direction or the other?
• Portia and Bill are getting busy! I don't really want to like Portia Bellefleur, but I'm having a hard time resisting her frank, candid nature and her desire to have sex with Bill in a position that shows off his biceps. Bill met Portia in a restaurant, where we got to see blood served in a small carafe (love!) and a waiter's overt attempt to tempt Bill with his bare neck (hilarious). We learned that Bill and Portia have a functional and successful business relationship that is genuinely friendly, and that she has dated all three men she deemed worthy of her in Bon Temps. One was gay, one was a closet racist, and one sucked in bed. Bill, she said, is the smartest, most powerful man she knows, and she's the smartest, most powerful woman she knows. (Okay, statements like that make it easier to dislike her.) In light of that symmetry, she suggested they add sex into the equation, knowing that if it doesn’t work out, it won’t affect their professional friendship. Bill, to his credit, told her he'd never love her. That takes a young heart to make that leap, and his was old. (So had he not truly loved Sookie, or had she just aged his heart? I assume the latter.) Portia said she could accept that, and Bill said the two words we all could have scripted -- "Check please." The next time we saw them, they were in Bill's mansion, having the aforementioned steamy chair sex. When his fangs popped, she said he could drink from her, but he didn't. We know he had no problem drinking from the redhead on his security detail. So why didn't he drink from Portia? In my mind, he knows they'll be regular sex partners, and if he's drinking from her, it's almost like a relationship -- and he's not ready for a relationship with someone who's not Sookie, and he doesn't want to cloud their arrangement for her. I'd also like to think that knowing how unsatisfied she'd been with human men, he wanted to give her a great night that was as close to a human experience as possible. I'm curious if that interpretation crossed any man's mind, or if that's a motive only a woman would imagine.
Your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you liking Portia? Are you hoping Marnie remains the vessel? Would you like Pam to send Eric his clothes, or are you looking forward to seeing him in something other than blank tank tops?