Now that we've firmly established True Blood's new status quo, the writers don't waste any time on catching us up on some of the more interesting new developments left by the season premiere, particularly where Bill and how he managed to usurp the throne in order to become the king of Louisiana is concerned. It's a fast-paced hour with plenty of sharp one-liners and a very intriguing cliff-hanger. I'm really beginning to warm up to the idea of this fresh version of True Blood.
It has been virtually impossible to avoid online chatter about what happens to Eric during this episode. After a very entertaining encounter with Lafayette's new coven (still not as engaging as I was hoping for, but we're getting there); and Tara doing her best impersonation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as she attempts to stake Eric from behind (rookie mistake), Eric has his memory erased, a development that would have been genuinely surprisingly had I not been spoiled by the legion of Sookie/Eric shippers foaming at the mouth as to where this plot-thread eventually leads to. (I'm guessing nakedy goodness.)
Elsewhere in the episode, Sam has a new playmate in the incredibly beautiful Janina Gavankar, a romance I'm sure will end horribly. It certainly was no coincidence that Tommy just happened to show up directly after Luna detailed her traumatic experience as she shifted into her own mother. It's something I fear will bite Sam in the ass. But who will Tommy kill in order to gain this ability? One of Sam's anger management shifting group, or Sam himself?
I voiced how much I enjoyed Bill as a character last season when he was separated from Sookie and forced to develop beyond simply being her protector, and the same can be said for him here, as he once again proves that he can carry his own storyline sans Miss Stackhouse. Sookie's astonishment over Bill's revamped house and new floozy was curiously underplayed, but then again, aside from freaking out over Eric slipping a new cubby into her house, she has been very nonchalant about a lot of things ever since she came back from Fairyland. I'm still thrilled to see these two characters branch out on their own, given that their relationship was the core of the series for the first couple of seasons.
Bills flashbacks were also a hoot. I'm glad to see the back of Queen Sophie-Anne (Evan Rachel Wood), she was a bit of fun from time to time, but never truly grabbed me as a character. I'd also forgotten how fun the true death of a vampire can be: it's a visually striking death sequence. Bill's other flashback was very reminiscent of Buffy, even down to the cockney attitude and total Spike swagger Bill carried with him. Nan Flannigan also looked striking during these scenes, recruiting Bill as one of spies for the AVL -- it was a brief scene that really fleshed out their relationship without very little effort at all.
Where the episode failed to capture my interest was during Jason's Hotshot scenes (bored now) and the irritating decision to continue to put a wedge between Bon Temps' cutest couple, Hoyt and Jessica. Crystal is such a waste of airtime, as is her good for nothing boyfriend Felton, who's a total dick. It's just an icky and boring storyline. Will Jason be tied to a bed all season? I'm clinging to the edge of my seat to find out. Ahem. Likewise, I'm already agitated by the forced bickering between Jessica and Hoyt. While I do enjoy Jessica's scenes at Fangtasia (she is unbelievably stunning) it's kind of making me dislike her a little bit. And that kinda sucks.
All in all, though, this was a much better offering than the premiere episode. Sookie once again showed how feisty she can be as she juggled her duality -- the one Eric so candidly pointed out at the very beginning of the episode -- ranging from sweet as sugar to downright saucy, all within one episode. Anna Paquin, too, looked amazing here. In fact, the entire cast are looking their best this season.
There will surely be massive consequences for erasing the mind of a thousand year-old vampire, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next. Let's hope this season can keep the momentum going.