This week, “True Blood” is all about adjustment. We accompany Sookie as she comes to terms with all the changes in Bon Temps, although some are certainly easier to handle than others. While the season premiere offered a series of character-focused vignettes featuring the show’s protagonists in their new situations, this second episode drives forward with more of the juicy plot for which we’ve been waiting all these long months. HBO delivers the goods and then some, leaving this particular Truebie extremely satisfied.

The Players:

  • Director: Scott Winant
  • Writer: Brian Buckner
  • Cast:Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Nelsan Ellis, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Deborah Ann Woll

Episode Title: “You Smell Like Dinner”

Jason gets more than he bargained for while taking care of Crystal’s clan; Eric makes an interesting offer to Sookie; the origins of Bill’s new position are revealed; human/vampire relations continue to deteriorate, hitting close to home for Hoyt and Jessica; Andy lets his addiction to V cloud his judgment; Sam and Luna start something new; Arlene sees odd behavior coming from her new boy; Tara comes home to see Sookie; Bill sends Eric after a coven of dangerous witches.

The Good:

  • Punk Bill: You really have to watch this episode in order to understand just how awesome this is, but imagine Bill Compton as an English punk – spiked hair, leather, and all – in a UK punk club. Yes, it happens, in a flashback to 1982. It is a wonderful scene to behold, and one pregnant with details relating to Bill’s appointment to the kingship of Louisiana. I can’t wait until the show is available on demand just so I can re-watch that scene over and over and over again…
  • Tying up loose ends: Relating to the above, we finally learn of what came of Bill and Sophie Anne’s showdown, among some other cliffhangers from last season. Questions are being answered, which means, besides the obvious fact that information is being conveyed, that the show really respects its viewers and isn’t pulling a “Lost” on them.
  • Pushing the plot forward: This episode did just what I expected and hoped for with moving the plot forward after the premiere established the new “True Blood” universe, one year after the events of the third season. True to the usual “True Blood” form, plenty of intrigue is introduced in the last twenty minutes of the episode, so be sure to watch every second of the last half of the hour. You won’t regret it.
  • Jessica: May I say that Jessica is becoming a total bada** this season? Although I mourn her crumbling relationship with Hoyt, Jessica is really coming into her own as a strong, sexy young woman grappling with her vampiric powers. I look forward to seeing what becomes of her as the season progresses.
  • Tommy and Sam: I wasn’t too interested in Sam’s subplot with his new found shifter friends, so I was thrilled when Tommy came back into the picture late into the episode. My hope is that the third episode explores just what happened between the time Sam shot Tommy and the present; there are just so many lingering questions begging to be answered.
  • Line of the night: Nan Flanagan takes the cake: “Now go clean yourself up. You’re covered in queen.”

The So-So:

  • Arlene’s demon baby: Last week, Tara supplied the show’s weekly dose of melodrama. This time, Arlene takes a turn with the fuss surrounding her new baby boy, whom she believes is possessed by the devil or some such thing. This subplot would be far more compelling if the baby actually did something remarkable. All he does is allegedly cause a blood vessel in Arlene’s eye to burst and make her freak out whenever the subject of the child is brought up. Furthermore, Carrie Preston, who plays Arlene on the show, may benefit from toning down her performance and express Arlene’s paranoia with a bit more subtlety.
  • Jason and the panthers: I have very little interest in Jason’s story this season. Perhaps it is because Crystal’s character has seemingly done a 180 without much explanation. I don’t want to spoil the details here, but her loyalties have made an odd change that needs to be clarified.

Overall:

“True Blood” does not disappoint in its second episode of the fourth season. It has everything for which the show is beloved and a whole lot more: it’s steamy, it’s riveting, and it has a healthy dose of that Bon Temps humor to temper the drama. Don’t miss this episode! (At the very least, watch it for Punk Bill.)

Rating: 9/10

“True Blood” airs every Sunday night on HBO!

What did you think of last night’s episode?