Sunday, June 26, 2011

True Blood Afterglow

EW Posted as soon as the premiere was over

True Blood' cast member opens up about gay twist

Image Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO
The fourth season premiere of True Blood was full of surprises, and among the jaw-dropping twists was the revelation that Tara (Rutina Wesley), who spent a good part of last season mourning the death of once-boyfriend Eggs and engaged in a destructive relationship with Franklin, now has a girlfriend (newbie Vedette Lim). But Wesley tells EW exclusively that Tara’s new direction is as exciting as it was surprising.
“When I first got the script, I thought it was great. They’ve always given me stuff that challenged me as an actor and that was fun,” she says. “I think Tara — if she is going to have a love interest this season — she’s finally ready for it. She’s had time to find herself and think a little bit. I think she’s finally going to love herself in a way that is beautiful. Her self-esteem is back up and that’s opened her up to love someone else. I think she also needed a new lease on life. She totally comes back more zen, and she’s a feisty season one Tara who we all loved.”
And as shocking as the twist was for audiences, Wesley says she think it was even more so for Tara. “I don’t think she was expecting it. I think it just happened. I think it was one of those things where you just fall in love with who you fall in love with. I don’t think she labels herself as one thing or the next. She just started hanging out and the next thing you know, she was in love.”“I don’t think she was in love with Eggs. Every time she was with him she was either stoned or under a spell. I don’t think that was real. I think it’s going to take her some time to realize that, but I think what she has now is a little more significant.”
Not two minutes after arriving in a whimsical fairy land inhabited by glowing fruit and scantily-clad residents, Sookie Stackhouse, tells her fairy godmother she sucks. She has a point. Poor Sookie could have used some looking after in her hard knocks life back in Bon Temps.
The glowing land, which looks more like an orgy in San Fernando Valley than an angelic Neverland (this is “True Blood” after all), picks up right where the third season left off with a distraught Sookie discovering she’s a fairy and being carried away. The ever-friendly Sookie quickly runs into old friends in this colorful campy land. Look it’s Barry the bellboy from the Hotel Carmilla! (Also known as the Dallas hotel on whose rooftop the 2,000-year-old Godric burst into flames.) In classic “True Blood” fashion Barry is accompanied by a fairy godfather named Lloyd whose sole purpose appears to be showing off his perfectly chiseled abs (no complaints here).
Look who’s picking a juicy light fruit: Granddaddy Earl, a dashing Southerner in a flannel shirt who doesn’t look very granddaddy-ish. That’s because time stands still in fairy land. He thinks it’s still 20 years ago when Sookie was a wide-eyed, mind-reading chip off the old block.
 Sookie senses that something’s not right in paradise and refuses to eat the glowing lumier fruit, which admittedly looks pretty darn tasty. I’d probably trade my sanity for a bite, too. An evil fairy queen warns Sookie that she put the entire fairy race in peril by giving so much of her blood to vampires. Before you can say CGI, a couple scary goblins appear and the fairy world transforms into a veritable no-man’s land. No, you didn’t accidentally change the channel to “The Walking Dead,” apparently fairies look more like zombies when you make them mad.
A couple friendly pointy-eared fairies tell Sookie to dive into a time portal. As soon as she and Gramps Earl jump off a cliff into the portal, they’re spit out in the Bon Temps cemetery best known as the scene of one of the dirtiest (literally) sex scenes on TV from season one (you know what I’m talking about). Vampires Bill and Eric immediately open their eyes upon the return of the tasty Sookie looking unfrazzled in her floral sundress. But granddaddy isn’t fairing as well. He ate the fruit and is therefore not suited for human existence anymore. He blows away in a puff of smoke leaving behind an old heirloom watch for Jason who is now a policeman.
Sookie finds that her childhood home has been transformed. Turns out Jason sold it to a “real estate company with a bunch of initials.” He didn’t think Sookie would ever come home since 15 minutes in fairy land translated to almost 13 months in Louisiana. Everyone thought Sookie was dead, except the ever-faithful Eric (more on him later). Jason who apparently gained some brain cells in the year Sookie had been away tells her not to tell people she time traveled to a land full of ferries. They make up some story about top-secret vampire business.
Vampire Bill sporting a handsome new haircut and a navy v-neck sweater comes racing to the porch right at dusk. He tells Sookie he felt empty without her. Yeah, yeah, Bill we’ve heard it before. Sookie says it feels like just an hour ago that he broke her heart into a million pieces. Cue Eric who says he never gave up on Sookie. Bill shuns him away and Eric obeys, the first sign that the power structure in vampire land has shifted. Remember Bill used to obey Eric, not the other way around.
Lafayette has a sporty new denim vest and a faux hawk and is still dating Jesus who is more brujo than boyfriend dragging a reluctant Lafayette to a coven in the back of a store called the Moon Goddess Emporium, not my idea of a good date. It’s the kind of new age store that looks more Berkeley than Bon Temps but we’ll let that slide. Eddie, the closeted vampire that Jason and evil Amy sucked dry and murdered in the first season, inhabits the coven leader’s body and confronts Lafayette who thinks the whole thing is a set up. Poor Eddie. Even in the afterlife no one really cares about you.
Moron Andy Bellefleur, who is now hooked on vampire blood, rolls up annoyed at Sookie for causing him to miss out on a crime-fighting award. Shut up, Andy.
Arlene looking as cheap as ever is concerned when her baby Mikey rips the heads off Barbie dolls. In one of the best lines of the episode she says “Decapitating Barbie dolls? What the hell kinda baby does that?” Excellent question, Arlene. Terry, the slow witted Iraq war vet, tells his wife to rest assured. He used to put squirrel heads on lizard’s bodies “to make new animals.” And he turned out all right, right? Um….
Tara finally makes an appearance, except she’s not Tara anymore. She’s a cage-fighting lesbian in New Orleans named Tory. Life doesn’t look so bad. And at least she can finally put her angst and bulging biceps to use and her girlfriend seems more supportive and stable than any of her boyfriends were. (Please don’t turn into a chupacabra and prove me wrong, honey.)
Jessica and Hoyt are having trouble on the home front. How can she cook dinner for him when the grocery store is like a morgue for vampires? (I wonder if I could use that excuse with my husband…) They make up and go dancing at Fangtasia where a fang-banger with a pulsing neck vein makes Jessica question her whole existence. Are vampires wired to be monogamous? (And no, Jessica, you should not be getting relationship advice from Pam.)
In a post-Russell Edgington world (or is it?) vampires are back to making public service announcements to convince humans that they’re tax-paying citizens just like anyone else. “Who would you rather trust, a vampire or a politician?” Eric asks earnestly into the camera. Valid point. (He’s talking to you, Rep. Weiner). Bill is speaking at a ribbon-cutting and gives a sultry lawyer Portia Bellefleur a loving look. (It’s unclear how the Bellefleur family could’ve produced Portia and Andy, but something supernatural must have been involved).
Sookie feels right at home when she gets back to Merlotte’s but Sam isn’t thrilled she abandoned her pressing duties as town waitress. (Give it a rest, Sam, you are so needy.) He throws her some part-time work but tells her a lot has changed…even though it looks as if absolutely nothing has changed, except for the fact that Sam’s white-trash brother Tommy is now rolling with Hoyt’s mom of all people. They order some sweet tea and look both pervy and pathetic together. Future storylines no doubt abound.
Portia gives Sookie some advice about how to get the family house back which was purchased by someone with a shadowy past and an offshore bank account. But when Sookie reads Portia’s mind she gets the feeling Portia has got the hots for Vampire Bill. To make matters worse she orders a cappuccino at Merlotte’s which prompts Sookie to shoot her a classic oh-no-you-didn’t look.
Not minutes after Sam sits down for a civilized dinner with some like-minded shape shifters, do they strip down and turn into a herd of stallions. It’s s step up for Sam who used to shift into a pathetic little dog. Meanwhile, Jason pulls up at the meth din where Crystal (a.k.a. the black panther, and I don’t mean the 1960s radical kind) and her scary family live but Crystal is missing. A born-again do-gooder Jason comes bearing ice cream and raw meat for the skeevy little kids who proceed to lock him in the ice box. Yes, that’s the thanks you get Jason because you make it too darn easy.
On another date from hell Lafayette lets Jesus take him to a séance. As soon as Lafayette joins hands with the group a dead bird flies off the table placed at the center of the circle then promptly nose dives right by Lafayette. I don’t know much about black magic, but I’d say this is bad sign. (Jesus needs to go back “Southland” and play Nate and Lafayette needs a normal boyfriend and less guy-liner.)
Katie, one of the women from the séance, goes to visit the vampire king where none other than Bill Compten holds court behind a desk in a black leather chair in a mansion surrounded by guards. Definitely a step up from his family’s dilapidated Civil War era estate but nothing nearly as elaborate as Russell’s gaudy digs in season two. It looks more “Architectural Digest” circa 1987 than Southern Gothic.
Back in her frilly pink bedroom, which somehow she can still sleep in despite all the murder and general creepiness that has gone on in that house, Sookie disrobes—because it wouldn’t be an episode of “True Blood” without seeing Anna Paquin naked. Just then Eric arrives dangling a fresh set of keys in his hand. Sookie snaps that she didn’t invite him in and to get the hell out. (Quit your whining Sookie. Do you know how many viewers of both sexes wish Alexsander Skarsgard would drop into their bedroom? A lot.)
Sorry Sookie, but you’re looking at your new landlord. Yep, taking advantage of vampire law and low interest rates (Louisiana does have a high foreclosure rate), Eric bought the Stackhouse family home. “Sookie, you are mine,” he says as he flashes those sexy fangs. And just like that, ladies and gentleman, we are sucked back into another deliciously cheesy season.
My hometown paper has a damn good recap, from the Star Ledger,  I'm skipping the fae crap.Again 
Blogger is mixing up the fonts on me, the preview is looking like mierde, sorry. I don't know how to fix it.
Post fairyland-
They land in the Bon Temps cemetery -- we flash to Eric and Bill registering her return in their hidey-holes -- and it's clear immediately that Earl is in a bad way, sort of flashing on and off and looking 30 years older, sunken-eyed and gray. She helps him over to her grandmother's grave, and he gives her his pocket watch to give to Jason, then turns to dust. Sookie cries, but in a refreshing change of pace, does not scream.
She walks home, and sees that workers have done some sprucing up at her house. In fact, someone is still working on the outside, and tries to stop Sookie when she walks inside. He tells her he's going to call the cops. Soon we see Jason, now sporting a little goatee and wearing a Renard Parish deputy uniform, enter the house. He's shocked to see her. She's surprised to see him in uniform. He explains that they thought she was dead and tells her she's been gone for more than a year. She's less concerned about this than the fact that Jason sold her house in her absence. She says it felt like she was gone for 10 or 15 minutes, that time works differently in the fairy world. Jason doesn't really believe her, and warns that no one else will, but when she gives him their grandfather's watch he seems to come around. It's 6:35 p.m., so Sookie knows what that means. Bill speed-vamps over, immediately begging her forgiveness for thinking her gone. Eric then coolly saunters up, saying he never believed she was dead. Bill turns on Eric, masterfully ordering him back to Fangtasia -- there's a switch -- and Eric accedes a little grumpily. "Apparently I have to go, but understand this: Everyone who claims to love you -- your friends, your brother, even Bill Compton -- they all gave up on you. I never did."
Sheriff Andy Bellefleur shows up -- oh, William Sanderson, I miss ye -- and is pissed. Bill explains that they thought he killed her all this time, but no one could prove it. Andy tells Sookie to show up at the station tomorrow and he'll take her statement; maybe they'll find the person who kidnapped her. When Sookie explains that no one kidnapped her, Andy goes ballistic. Bill steps in, explaining that Sookie had been working for him on some top-secret vamp business and apologizes for misleading him for a year. "You owe me a Safe Streets plaque," Andy grumps and turns to leave. Back in the patrol car, Jason accuses Andy of using again. It becomes clear that Andy has become a V addict.
Sookie tells Bill that she feels like she's been gone only an hour or so, so it feels like he just broke her heart. (Because Eric told her that Bill came to Bon Temps to "procure" her for Sophie-Anne, giving him an ulterior motive for their romance.) He's just happy she's okay and wishes her goodnight.
Jesus has dragged Lafayette (sporting a fierce mohawk) to the Moon Goddess Emporium for a Wiccan group meeting. Lafayette's appears tired of Jesus trying to interest him in his supernatural experimentation. "Five minutes," Lafayette says. "Ten if they got dranks." One woman in glasses -- I didn't catch her name -- welcomes them, and Holly, the blond waitress from Merlotte's, brings them into the circle, where Marnie, the head Wiccan, is muttering to herself. Suddenly she looks over at Lafayette and motions him. She appears to be hocking up a hairball or in the middle of a particularly troublesome bowel movement, but in reality, she's communing with the spirit of Lafayette's dead trick Eddie, the one who traded sex for V. Suddenly Eddie takes over -- in a thick, nearly indecipherable accent, she/he tells Lafayette that he was worth it, and when he mentions the merlot Lafayette used to drink, Lafayette gets freaked out and backs away. Marnie comes out of her trance and appears in real life to be an apologetic, timid sort. Looks can be deceiving. Lafayette accuses Jesus of telling Marnie about Eddie to lure him in to the group, and storms out.
While we're at it, let's catch up with our pals from Bon Temps:
Arlene comes home and sees her baby (from now-dead serial killer boyfriend Rene) on the floor surrounded by decapitated Barbies. She calls for Terry and freaks out. "What the hell kind of baby does that???" Terry tries to reassure her -- "When I was a kid, I used to put a squirrel head on a lizard body and invent animals" -- but Arlene is not buying it. She's convinced the baby is evil. She picks him and looks him in the eye: "Mommy loves you very, very much but you have to understand, killing is wrong."
Suddenly we're on Bourbon Street, and we pan down a side street to a ... cage-fighting match? It's Tara, beating the heck out of a brunette beauty and having a blast doing so. Later, we see the brunette catch up with Tara outside; turns out they're an item. A drunk passer-by propositions them, but Tara, showing a newly calm side, tells the guy she's just sad for him, and plucks the $10 out of his hands. "That's for me not reporting you for solicitation." She and her girlfriend -- who calls her Tara -- walk off.
Hoyt comes home to Jessica, and he's in a bad mood, which worsens when he sees that there's no food in the fridge and no dinner on the table. He wants to know if maybe she could scramble an egg for him every once in a while. She says that food is disgusting to her, that going to the Piggly Wiggly is like going to the morgue for Hoyt. "You think bleeding out into your mouth wasn't gross for me at first?" Hoyt tells her. "You get used to it!" Jessica starts throwing eggs in a pan, shells and all, then pours the mess onto a plate. Hoyt starts eating it, crowing about how delicious it is. Jessica starts to see the humor in the situation and laughs, telling him he'll get sick if he keeps eating it. He starts to laugh too.
At Fangtasia, Pam, proper in a Chanel suit, is filming a PSA about how vampires aren't really that evil, but is utterly unconvincing. Nan Flanagan, the face of the American Vampire League, expositions that in this post-Russell Edgington world, they have to win back the human public, one smile at a time. Eric turns up, takes over for Pam, and turns up the charm. "I'm a taxpaying American and small business owner in the great state of Louisiana. I also happen to be a vampire ... We were humans. We ask to be treated as such. We welcome you into our wrold as well. We're always more than happy to serve humans here at Fangtasia. And I don't mean for dinner." Eric's PSA is intercut with Bill cutting the ribbon on the new senior citizen center named for his Confederate-era wife. We get a glimpse of Portia Bellefleur, Andy's sister, and kind of technically Bill's descendant, right? Keep that in mind.
Sookie returns to Merlotte's, where she gets big hugs from Arlene and Terry, a nice welcome from Lafayette and a prickly one from Sam, who tells her she can return part-time, because Arlene and Holly have kids and need the shifts. Back in the kitchen, Jesus shows up. Lafayette is still angry about the Wiccan meeting and thinks Jesus set him up, but Jesus tells him that Lafayette is trying to run away from what makes him special. Andy shows up and orders Jesus out, then hits up Lafayette for some V. He starts roughing him up when Lafayette tells him he's no longer in the business, but Jason shows up and defuses Andy, then tells Lafayette that this never happened.
Maxine Fortenberry shows up at Merlotte's with Tommy, who's sporting a leg brace. Guess Sam did shoot him at the end of last season. Tommy seems to have turned over a new leaf. He's clean-cut, and leads a prayer before the meal. Sam all but rolls his eyes and asks Tommy how the physical therapy he's paying for is working out. Tommy says he may need a couple of more months, and wants to know how Sam's anger management is coming along. Sam says he might need some more therapy as well.Sam's anger management turns out to be a support group of fellow shapeshifters ... and plenty of alcohol. There's a guy, Emory, and a couple of attractive girls, one of whom is named Luna. After sharing some stories, they're ready to move on from wine ... into horses. They go cantering off into the night.
Tara and her girlfriend are in bed when Tara gets a text from Lafayette telling her Sookie is back. Tara lies and says it's from her father, who informed her that her grandmother died. The girlfriend is suitably concerned and asks "Toni" if she needs to go home. Tara says she'll probably just send flowers.
Sookie is meeting with a rather uppity Portia about getting her house back from the mystery concern who bought it. Portia says she'll try to chase down the owners, but they've put a good $50,000 into it and will want to be repaid. Sookie says the house has a lifetime of memories in it -- and here Sookie listens in to Portia, who's thinking, yeah, a lifetime of misery, of murder, and of banging Bill Compton, who hardly mentions Sookie at all. Hmm, are Portia and Bill an item? Sookie looks distressed.
At Fangtasia, Jessica is dancing while Hoyt gets a drink. A cute guy spots her and hits on her, but she says she's here with her boyfriend. He goes off, disappointed, but she gives him the eye while dancing with Hoyt. Pam looks on knowingly. When Jessica escapes to the bathroom, Pam confronts her in her signature snarky way. "We've been worried sick about you," she tells Jessica. As Jessica responds eaglery, "Really?" Pam simultaneously says "Not a bit." Ha. Jessica tells her she and Hoyt are having a date night. "The way you're eye-(bleeping) fangbangers from across the room is especially romantic," Pam drawls. What is Jessica doing, tying herself down to Hoyt? She's a hunter! Pam starts laughing because Jessica so ridiculous. But Jessica says that regardless of what Pam thinks she saw, she loves Hoyt and she'll be going home with him.
Sigh. Back in Hot Shot. My lease favorite subplot. Jason pulls into town, his car loaded up with food. Apparently Felton and Crystal's departure made him the provider around here. One of the kids tells Jason that they're having trouble with the ice box. Jason, who looks like he's had it up to here with these folks, checks it out. While he's poking around inside it, someone -- not the kid -- pushes him in and locks the ice box.
Back at the coven, Marnie tells the group she wants to help guide her dead bird Minerva into the spirit world. Lafayette's sitting off to the side. She starts the ritual, talking about guiding Minerva to her new realm, but then switches course, asking to restore Minerva's spirit to life. Uhhh, Marnie?, the rest of the coven asks. "You!" she orders Lafayette. "Join!" He reluctantly comes in, and the second he completes the circle, a jolt of psychic electricity passes through the group. Marnie continues the ritual, chanting Latin or somesort, and then the the bird takes flight. Everyone is startled, and when Lafayette drops the hands on either side of him, the bird falls to the ground, dead. Lafayette apologizes, but Marnie appears pleased with the effort.
The bespectacled woman from the Wiccan group, apparently a vampire spy, reports to Bill, who has given his crumbling mansion a sleek makeover. She kneels before him. Bill is now the King of Louisiana. Interesting. Guess Sophie-Anne lost.
Back at her house, Sookie is getting changed. She tosses her shirt over her shoulder, and it doesn't hit the floor. She turns around, and Eric is clutching her shirt. She covers herself up. "Mmmmm. Such a strange sensation when the reality matches what you're pictured in your mind so precisely," Eric says. Sookie tells him she's rescinded his invitation, but Eric tells her now he owns the house, holding up her key. "I always knew you were alive," he tells her. "If I owned the house, well, then I would own you. Sookie, you are mine." He flashes his fangs. And Sookie, again to her credit, does not scream.

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