True Blood Season 4 Premiere Review – She’s Not There

Welcome back to Bon Temps everybody! True Blood has returned for a fabulous fourth season and it’s GOING TO BLOW YOUR MIND!!!

When last we left Sookie Stackhouse and the rednecks she likes to hang out with, Sookie had vanished off to Fairyland nursing a broken heart. But five minutes in Fae Utopia turns out to be more than enough when Miss Stackhouse discovers that the fairies are all (gasp!) ugly and plan to harvest the human race! When will supernaturals stop eating us humans?

Here’s the thing, folks: it’s all a carefully constructed narrative gimmick to write off a year in Bon Temps. Just like Desperate Housewives did a while back.

Basically, the fairy land operates like Narnia in reverse – moments in that world are worth years in the real world. Ask Sookie’s Grandpaw Earl. He think’s he’s only been there a few days, but it’s been twenty years! So, when Sookie eventually escapes the awful fairies (and their strange, glowing fruit), she’s flabbergasted to discover that a year has passed and everybody thought she was dead.

So, what’s been happening in Bon Temps while Sookie’s been missing?

I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look at what the residents of Bon Temps have been up to lately, shall we?

  1. Andy Bellefleur’s become addicted to V. Possibly the strangest development, Andy’s been tapping into the confiscated stash in the Sheriff’s office. Jason (now a fully-fledged cop) is trying to break his addiction, but that doesn’t stop him from hassling Lafayette for another quick fix.
  2. Bill Compton, Vampire King. After battling the Queen Of Louisiana at the end of last season in a Matrix-style sequence (that happened mostly off-screen), Bill has assumed the role of King Of Louisiana. Something he strangely doesn’t mention to Sookie when he meets her. It’s kind of a big deal.
  3. Eric Northman, Property Tycoon. As the only person who ‘believed’ that Sookie was alive during her disappearance, Eric bought Sookie’s old house when Jason put it on the market. And it seems his investment might pay off, since Sookie’s very attached to the old Stackhouse homestead.
  4. Arlene’s son is the Ice Truck Killer. Not really, although when was the last time you saw a decapitated Barbie doll? Arlene clearly still believes that Rene’s son is a chip off the old block…and destined to do bad things.
  5. Tara is now a lesbian cage fighter…called Toni. That’s right, whiny Tara finally has a smile on her face as she beats the daylights out of other hot chicks in a boxing ring. Feels like a clumsily shoehorned lesbian subplot, but it’s nice to see Tara with some of the old attitude back again. One question: why was Lafayette hiding her from Sookie?
  6. Lafayette’s exploring his witchiness, Hoyt and Jessica are a picture of domestic boredom and Sam Merlotte has joined a shape-shifter support group. Yes, a support group of shifters who get drunk and hang out together. And before you get excited about potential shifter sex parties, they do it as horses.

I’ve got to say, there’s nothing particularly exciting about the satellite characters’ situations at the moment.

We’ve talked a lot on Shout in the past about how the plot of True Blood typically follows the Charlaine Harris novels they’re based on. So far, this season feels like it’s going to break with the majority of Harris’ universe and create its own. The Fae are a fierce bunch, but they’re generally a pretty lot, able to control their appearance in front of others. There was never a queen, and Sookie had a ‘human’ grandfather, but her grandmother bore two children to one of the fae. Bill Compton was never King of anything.

By departing from the novels, this actually makes things more exciting for fans of the series and the books – we genuinely don’t know what’s coming up next. That bodes well for Sookie’s long-running love triangle with Bill and Eric. I also get the feeling that Lafayette is going to be a significant character this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing him explore his supernatural side.

Have you seen the season premiere of True Blood yet? I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

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