Episode Title: "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?"
Writer: Alan Ball
Director: David Petrarca
Previously on "True Blood":
Upon her return from the Fae Realm, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) learned that Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) had purchased her home in the intervening year. Desperate to escape Eric's forward advances, Sookie asked her former lover, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) for help and she learned that he was the new Vampire King of Louisiana. Meanwhile in Bon Temps, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) joined a coven of witches led by Marnie (Fiona Shaw); whom Bill considered a threat. Although Bill couldn't make Eric give up his property, he did order him to eliminate the coven.
At Hot Shot, Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) discovered that his captors were his former girlfriend, Crystal (Lindsay Pulsipher) and her brother, Felton (James Harvey Ward) who wanted Jason's help conceiving a child... after they attempted to transform him into a werepanther. Back in town, Eric invaded the coven gathering and told them to disband before he attacked Marnie and the visiting Tara (Rutina Wesley). Lafayette then joined with the coven as Marnie was briefly possessed by a spirit that helped them drive off Eric. Hours later, Sookie found Eric shirtless on the side of the road without any memory of who he was. But he did notice that Sookie smelled unusually good...
Sookie is initially annoyed by Eric's unusual behavior and she attempts to drive off. When she stops and looks back, he jumps on top of her in the car. Sookie runs out of the car before he speeds in front of her and she belts him in the nose. As he meekly asks why she broke his nose, Sookie realizes that Eric isn't faking his memory loss. He vaguely remembers the witches' spell but not much else. Sookie agrees to help him if he promises not to bite her. She takes him back to her old home and neglects to tell him that he owns it now. She calls Pam (Kristin Bauer) at Fangtasia to come get Eric and she rushes over.
Once there, Pam accuses Bill of sending Eric into the coven to be destroyed and she orders Sookie to hide Eric at the house to escape any possible assassination attempts from Bill or the witches. Pam even seems to threaten Sookie not to tell Bill until Eric knocks Pam over. He then warns her to be nice to Sookie. At the same time, the coven is recovering from Eric's attack. Marnie claims that she doesn't know what possessed her or how she stopped Eric. But Lafayette is out of his mind with worry and suggests that he will thrown himself on Eric's mercy, against the wishes of Tara and Jesus. Elsewhere, Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) attempts to reach Jason and gives in to his V addiction. He then assaults Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) for good measure.
At Bill's house, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) arrives and confesses that she's been unfaithful to Hoyt (Jim Parrack), but Bill is more concerned about making sure that she wasn't filmed feeding on a human like another vampire he had just executed. Following Bill's advice, Jessica confesses her transgression with Hoyt. But when he reacts negatively, she glamours him into forgetting. At Hot Shot, Jason starts to get the idea that Felton will kill him after he conceives a child with Crystal. However, she promises Jason that won't happen right before drugging him with Mexican Viagra. Hours later, Crystal essentially rapes Jason as the children of Hot Shot watch.
Sookie attempts to pawn Eric off on the werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello), who seems willing to help until Sookie sees that he's back together with Debbie (Brit Morgan), his formerly ex-girlfriend who appears to be clean from V. Sookie quickly excuses herself and leaves rather than trust Eric to a home with a recovering V addict. At Merlotte's, Sookie learns from Tara that Eric attacked the coven, but she seems more interesting in helping Eric than her friend. At the same time, Lafayette slips away to beg Eric for mercy and he finds a vengeful Pam instead. Tara and Jesus manage to save Lafayette from her, but Pam gives them 24 hours to bring Marnie to her or else she'll... do very unpleasant things to them.
Elsewhere, Marnie attempts to make herself a vessel for the spirit that took over her body during Eric's attack, but her willingness doesn't seem to impress the spirit of the young witch who watches her suffer. At night, Sookie returns home and she doesn't initially find Eric. However, her godmother, Claudine (Lara Pulver) arrives and she attempts to bring Sookie back to the Fae Realm. Sookie refuses right before Eric attacks Claudine. He drinks her blood so quickly that Claudine shrivels and dies before Sookie's eyes, much to her horror.
For an Alan Ball episode, there were a lot of inelegant moments in this episode. Starting from the top, Sookie's willingness to help Eric seemed to happen way out of left field... especially considering that she's been calling in favors to try to get Eric out of her house. It didn't help that the first thing that the newly amnesic Eric did to Sookie was to attack her on the side of the road. It's kind of hard to believe that Sookie would turn around so quickly and assist him.
Once the awkwardness was out of the way, it was amusing to see Eric so polite and deferential towards Sookie. His knockdown of Pam was a particular highlight, as was his "Snookie" slip up. I do have to wonder just how much of Pam's fears are justified and if Bill really meant for Eric to die by the coven. It's also hard to see how Sookie is going to be willing to stand by Eric after he just murdered her godmother.
The Jason at Hot Shot subplot has also become a lot more disturbing. I've never been a fan of Jason's character, but watching anyone go through that is just uncomfortable. Here's a question: is Eric going to consider what Crystal did to be rape since it was clearly against his will? Or is the show just going to gloss over that completely?
Bill's burgeoning relationship with Portia Bellefleur (Courtney Ford) looks promising, but his character really shined when he was giving fatherly advice to Jessica. Stephen Moyer and Deborah Ann Woll have a pretty strong parent/child dynamic between them that should come out more often. Jessica's relationship with Hoyt is running out of steam if all the writers can think of are ways to tear them apart. That storyline isn't doing anyone any favors and the return of the creepy doll led to the Arlene freakout of the week. Thanks so much for that.
Alcide's reconciliation with Debbie was unexpected, but it potentially makes Debbie a lot more interesting if she really is trying to get clean from V. Andy's V addiction is beginning to rival Arlene's hysterics for the least welcome subplot on the show. The entire fight between Andy and Sam didn't add much to the episode it felt like a flimsy way to justify Andy's presence this week.
In the past, Tara and Jesus have been wrapped up in stories far outside the main narrative. But they were a lot more fun when they teamed up to save Lafayette. I loved the moment when Jesus' hostage was more afraid of him being a witch than by Tara's gun play. Bringing the three of them into the main plot really does make all the difference. If "True Blood" had more of a coherent narrative for all of its characters, it wouldn't be so occasionally difficult to sit through.
Speaking of which; Tommy Merlotte, please go away. That is all.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.