We found out in last night's True Blood season premiere that Fairy Land, the soft-focus fantasy world that Sookie was lured to in last season's finale, is a place with some secrets, not the least of which is that it can be more of a time suck than my new favorite (but not safe for work) Tumblr.
Although Sookie was only in Fairy Land for what felt like a few minutes, it was enough time to rekindle a relationship with her long-lost grandfather, who she spotted eating some radioactive-looking fruit; figure out that said fruit was profoundly unhealthy; and meet the Fairy Queen, who, through some magic, made herself and her fellow fairies look a lot prettier and fancier than they really were. Long story short, Sookie fled, her grandfather died of fruit poisoning and she soon found her way back to her Bon Temps home, which she was surprised to see had undergone a makeover.
And the house, which we find out has been purchased by a mysterious company, wasn't the only thing that was different. Using a sort of cheap but effective storytelling device, True Blood, which seems to have been stuck in the same three-month period for its entire duration, found an easy way to let some time pass in Bon Temps. Because while Sookie thought she was in Fairy Land for five minutes, it was actually a year (or 12½ months, as Jason so specifically put it). Everyone had given her up for dead, and she soon saw how things can change in one year.
Jason is an actual, respectable sheriff's deputy (who, based on the events of the episode, will probably regret his involvement with the were-people of Hot Shot). Andy Bellefleur is a full-on V addict. Jessica and Hoyt are past their honeymoon stage and are dealing with atypical relationship issues. And Hoyt's mom seems to be handling the loss of her beloved son's love pretty well: She's adopted Sam Merlotte's no-good brother, Tommy, who survived last season's shooting with a limp.
Speaking of Sam, he's dealing with his anger-management problems like a true shape-shifter. I'm waiting for the scientific study about how turning into a horse with some like-minded ladies and gentleman and frolicking through the forest staves off the occasional murderous rage.
Lafayette's sweet boyfriend Jesus encourages him to join a coven that will surely factor into this season's plot in a major way. It all seemed like fun and games until Marnie, the head witch in charge (that's HWIC for short), decided to use the coven's powers to resurrect, for about five sad seconds, her dead parrot. Anyone who's anyone knows that raising things from the dead constitutes black magic, and if you didn't know, the excessively wary glances the rest of the witches shot one another while it was all going down should have made that clear. Anyway, Marnie equals trouble.
Then there's fan-favorite Tara. Her hair has now grown out into a slick blowout, and she's become an underground cage fighter. And a lesbian! Tara got the sexy scene in what was probably the most sexless True Blood that ever aired. And it didn't involve vampire rape. Good for Tara!
It's great to see her at least semihappy after all of the pain she went through last season. But we've got to wonder when or if she'll tell her new girlfriend, who doesn't know her real name or where she's from, the truth about her past. Clearly, it's only a matter of time before she's back in Bon Temps and reunited with Sookie and Lafayette.
But who else will Sookie reunite with? Both Bill and Eric pined for her during the year that she was missing, and the shifting dynamic between the lovelorn vamps should make for some interesting TV in the months ahead. You see, after (we guess?) besting the Queen in their showdown that began last season, quiet, unassuming Bill is now the Vampire King of Louisiana, living in a high-security mansion and delivering ribbon-cutting speeches with a politician's polish. Both Bill and Eric are still dealing with the PR disaster that was Russell Edgington, and we saw Eric filming a friendly promo for Fangtasia (which was looking a little low on customers).
At the end of the episode, we find out that Eric is the mysterious entity that owns Sookie's house. This means he can come in whenever he wants to and watch her undress. According to Eric, this also means that he owns her, a leap that didn't make much sense to me but was ominous enough to be the closing line of the episode.
What did you think of the first show? How long will it take for Tara to come back to where she belongs? And will Bill turn evil now that he's a king?
Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.