True Blood Recap: S04E03: If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?
I have been waiting for this episode since the moment I finished Dead to the World. Charlaine Harris made me fall in love with the fully dangerous Eric Northman and then gave me a look at his sweet and vulnerable side. And once I discovered the delight that is Alexander Skarsgard as Eric Northman, I anticipated the premiere of season four even more so.
That being said, is it any surprise that this episode underwhelmed on some points, simply because the portions with Eric put every other storyline to shame? I admire the skill with which the True Blood writers are keeping track of all important plot points from the novels as well as incorporating their own, but sometimes I feel that it is to the detriment of the main focus: Sookie and her many supernatural beaus.
Following the "save the best for last" policy, I will once again be focusing on the development of other characters before addressing Eric and Sookie. Good things come to those who wait, after all!
Witch, Werepanther, and Human drama. Oh My!
Lafayette, witches, and vamps
The witches are indignant, feeling that Eric attacked them unprovoked and something must be done. Jesus, being the only smart one in the room, asks how they managed to make him leave in the first place. Marnie does not remember what she did to him or how she did it. Lafayette is all for forgetting it ever happened, given his experiences with the very powerful Eric.
Later, however, Lafayette decides that Eric will not forgive and forget, so he must go to Fangtasia to bargain with him for their lives. Tara and Jesus immediately reject the idea, so Lafayette runs away from work to complete his plan alone with Tara and Jesus hot on his heels.
Since Eric is nowhere to be found, Pam is the one who tries to go to town on Lafayette when he shows up at the club. Tara and Jesus break up the fight with Tara's wooden bullets, and the three offer to bring Marnie to Pam so that the witch can reverse the spell. It is a solid plan, but somehow I doubt Marnie will be amenable to the idea, especially given that she is actively begging the unknown spirit that cursed Eric to possess her again.
Nature, skydwellers, and panthers... or something like that
While Jason lies tied to a bed in intense pain, the werepanthers of Hot Shot gather around a fire and discuss how the first werepanther was made. It involves a neat little origin tale in which all humans break from nature except for two, who ask to be made into panthers. Frankly, I did not care for this additional information. Yes, we get a more cult-like feel from the little community, but given the way in which Crystal actively ignores all of Jason's pleas by telling him that he is a giving person who will save them from extinction, she screams cult and Stockholm syndrome enough that the scene did not need to be included.
But what Crystal thinks does not matter much anyway. After all, Jason is being held against his will and as always, Jason still does not get it. He thinks he is dying; Crystal insists he is being reborn. In the end, Crystal rapes Jason while the other female panthers watch.
In other, unrelated were news, Alcide has moved to Shreveport and shacked up with a clean and sober Debbie Pelt, who hopes to earn Sookie's forgiveness. We will see how that one works out.
Quick human points of interest
- Tara and Sam have a heart to heart about him telling her he's a shifter. There is much awkwardness over the fact that they once had sex and are now both with other people.
- Jess gives an evil doll to Arlene's son as a gift. The doll has been thrown in a lake and taken to the dump and still ends up back with Jess and Hoyt, so they are desperate to get rid of the creepy thing. We will see if it stays with its new owner.
- Tommy wants to buy Maxine's house to earn money off the natural gas on her property. He intends to share the profit with his brother, but Sam isn't having it.
Vampire Father and Daughter
Bill is as busy as ever carrying out the will of the Authority. He orders the true death for a vampire who was filmed feeding on a human. And if you are curious, the website mentioned by vampire paparazzi is real: http://www.vamps-kill.com/
He concludes business to speak with his child, Jessica, who does not visit her maker-turned-king often. She claims to be there looking for some Advil to give Hoyt (her late night snack of fangbanger kept her from getting to the stores before they closed), but she is really looking for relationship advice.
Daddy and daughter talk! They are adorable when you get over the fact that he turned her as punishment and forgot to teach her in the vampire ways. Nonetheless, Bill gives Jess some good advice about being honest with Hoyt. Bill obviously regrets losing Sookie, which he puts down to his lying to her about his true intentions. "Vamp up," he advises, "If you love him, you tell him the truth. Period."
Jessica attempts to take that advice, admitting to Hoyt that she cheated with another man (at least with respect to blood). Hoyt freaks out, and Jess panics, glamoring him into forgetting that it ever happened. That's an easy way out of guilt for you: admit your mistake and then erase memory of the admittance. You got it off your chest, but he does not have to know.
Meanwhile, Bill moves past his relationship with Sookie by starting one with Portia, who propositions adding sex to their professional relationship. Of course, moving on is all relative, as Bill feels it necessary to caution a warning: "I can never love you. One needs a young heart to take the leap that love requires of us. And my heart, like every other part of me, is no longer young." In the end, Bill and Portia have sex, but he does not bite her even when she offers. He claims he cannot love because of what he is, but viewers know it is because he has loved and continues to love our heroine.
Alexander Skargard on Eric in Season 4
“I was excited. It was quite different from what we’ve seen before. It’s been difficult because he doesn’t … it was difficult finding the right tone. He doesn’t know who he is, so all that baggage is gone, 1,000 years of resentment and bitterness, the whole, like, loathing humanity kind of stuff is gone. But there has to be an element of danger there still. I didn’t want him to become too much of a little puppy. It was about finding that balance, because he has to be extremely vulnerable now."
Quote courtesy of DailyActor, reporting by Heather-Louise Ferris
An Apologetic Eric
Last time we saw Eric and Sookie, she had just come across him on the way back to Bon Temps. He was shirtless and seemed to have no idea who she was. But as always, he could smell the fairy on her, which apparently smells "like weeds and honey and sunlight." Since he does not remember her, she has to quickly remind him that she is off limits, a reminder she delivers via a swift punch to the nose. Vampires heal quickly, but it still hurts. Luckily, he simply complains rather than attacking her back.
Eric has no memory. He has lost himself, though he still knows he is a vampire. "Her eyes, her cold empty eyes. They were reaching into me, emptying me... Everything I was, was taken from me," he explains, which is a sad description that not even an angry Sookie can hear without feeling sympathetic for the tall, gorgeous Viking.
So Sookie takes Eric home with her like he is a lost puppy looking for an owner. Ironic, since he is the one who owns Sookie's house. Sookie still has her guard up against Eric, but she kindly soaks and bathes his dirty feet. How did he lose the shirt AND shoes again? Maybe we will never know. We do know, however, that Eric is ticklish.
A sweet little scene, quickly interrupted by Pam, who Sookie has called to inform of the situation, hoping she would take her maker of her hands. Pam begs for Eric's life, asking Sookie to take care of him because it is the last place the witches will look for him. Meanwhile, Eric is still distractingly shirtless. And vulnerable. And yummy. And protective as he shoves an angry Pam away from his savior, Sookie.
Eric (hopefully): "Are you mine?"
Eric (sadly): "Do you belong to another vampire?"
Eric (hopefully again): "Would you like to be mine?"
Either way, Eric stays in his home, in his self-built hidey-hole, with Sookie just a few floors away. This leads to the most delicious exchange of the night, with perfect delivery by Mr. Skarsgard. He attempts to determine his relationship with Sookie (he knows he has tasted her, a fact by which he was delightfully surprised) by asking whether she was his or anyone else's. And if not, would she be interested? The way in which each question is delivered with sweetness and sincerity brings a very comic note to the scene, while highlighting how very different (though still sex-driven) this Mr. Northman is without his memories.
He still finds it hard to resist the scent of fairy blood, however, which makes for a very dangerous situation. This Eric, though grateful to Sookie for her help, and apologetic whenever he unknowingly does something wrong, has no memory of why he should not just take her blood if he wants it. His political scheming, of which Sookie is a part, and apparent fascination with Sookie is no longer important as he cannot remember it, which means Sookie is only safe as long as he values her protection, or the little she can offer. This fact is underscored when Claudine comes to take Sookie back to fairyland with her, and Eric decides to suck Claudine dry.
Sookie: "You just killed my fairy godmother!"
True Blood definitely knows how to end an episode.
Hollywood Reporter's Interview with Alexander Skarsgard at PaleyFest
Read my other True Blood recaps
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