Even for a show that has this many people on it, a great deal happened on this episode of True Blood. Most of it with crummy dumbass music.
In Sookie's head, she spends about ten minutes in Faeryland. For her subjectively, it is ten minutes of a tampon commercial in which she luckily does not eat their goblin market food. But once she determines that faeries are 100% bullshit and tries to get her Grandaddy "Gary Cole" Earl out of there -- pissing in Queen Mab's cornflakes as she goes -- the whole place turns into Beirut and everybody starts looking like nasty elves and it's just a bad, bad scene. Claudine and her brother help them escape and Earl ages twenty years in one second, which puts him about 19 years after dead.
This part was probably stupid to you, unless you are hip to how faeries operate. Then probably you were like, "Don't eat the fruit! Don't piss off Mab! Get the eff out of there!" and nothing was that surprising. If the latter, you were probably amazed at how accurate Faeryland actually was and it turned around from being dumb to being awesome.
In real life, a year has gone by in Bon Temps. This is nice, because it preserves the show's "everything happens in real time" structure, while also making interesting things happen instead of the same things.
Jason has been: A cop and basically the boss of Andy, who is all kinds of addicted to V and still kind of the dad of the crackhead were-panthers. Which makes it all the more frustrating when they do crackhead things like knock him out and put him in a deep freezer that's not plugged in -- the better to let panthers touch him or something. No news on Kitch Maynard, but I shall remain vigilant.
Bill has been: Mopey.
Eric has been: Mopey, but like a sexy kind of mopey?
The two of them are waging two very different kinds of political takeovers. In the wake of King Russell blowing, everybody's spot-slash-getting concreted, which is the best thing of the entire episode. Bill's like the Sarah Palin and Eric's like how you wish Obama was.
And Pam is kind of like John Kerry, if John Kerry was exactly how he is, but also blasé about being a serial killer.
I think Bill is also now the King of Louisiana and dating Andy's sister Portia Bellefleur, who is played by Courtney Ford (Dexter, et. al.) who is the freaking best. I think both of those things were mentioned, but it's so hard to pay attention to Bill Compton's details because he is such a snoozer of a fellow.
Tara has been: Turning into a cage-fighting lesbian. Shocker there. Boo hoo hoo, I'm the most hated character in all of television, I guess I'll be something everybody likes, such as a cage-fighting lesbian. You can expect a lot of outrage regarding this realistic storyline, where the girl got raped by a vampire for twelve weeks and then decided to make out with hot chicks instead. Like, can you blame her?
Tommy has been: Turned into Maxine Fortenberry's My Buddy doll to replace Hoyt. This is amazing. He is a little bitch and Sam is so grossed out and it is so, so great. Meanwhile Sam is hanging out with some other sexy shifters and trying to feel his shifter empowerment, but since it's Sam, he only feels empowered in fits and starts and usually with his shirt off. Then he goes back to being glum and cute and kind of creepy.
Hoyt & Jessica: Kind of hate each other, but it's also sort of romantic? I don't know, that part was pretty great. They yell and fight about how he wants her to cook and she's like, "Human food is disgusting, why would I prepare it?" and they both kind of have a larger point about eating, but then she giggles and then he starts giggling and it's like, they are going to be okay. (Obviously they are not going to be okay, nobody is okay on this show, but they're sexy for reals.) Pam eventually spots Jessica tramping around Fangtasia and tells her to stop being an idiot, but no: She wants to have her Hoyt and also random neck.
Jesus has a fucked up haircut and is dragging Lafayette into his new dorky coven of sexy Wiccan dudes, Holly -- this sorta Hot Librarian nerdy-knitter hipster girl -- and also the very dorky Petunia Dursley, who has some kind of a naked psychic power that can tell that Lafayette used to be Eddie's whore. (Aw, Eddie.) Anyway, she brings a lovebird to life and I guess maybe she's not that bad at being a witch, but that's bad news for her anonymity because you know how vampires always have to be up in everybody's shit.
Arlene & Terry have been: Worried about their devil baby, who's spending his first birthday ripping the heads off Barbie dolls and whatever. It's so stupid.
Generally, if you're the kind of person to bitch and moan about how there's too many characters, this show's intellectual burden is probably getting to you. But if you are not into that type of bitching, then it was a fun and sexy blur, like always. This year seems to be about witches and ghost witches mostly, but the whole Bill Thing just got super interesting. Which is normally something you would only say on Opposite Day. And you've got Eric just leering at the camera like, "I'm going to take off my clothes all the time pretty soon," so I guess watch out for that too.
Previously: All kinds of things but it's not necessary to follow up with any of them at this time, because of what's happened since last summer. Case by case basis. After breaking up with all her vampire lovers for being paternalistic and getting her killed all the time and sucking her blood without even asking, Sookie's gone to Faeryland.
Looks: Dumb like you'd assume -- or, if you saw Caprica, it looks like Cheesy Fake Abomination Matrix Heaven -- everybody's roaming around in togas eating glowing fruit that looks like the whimsical holiday lighting you might buy at a party store and there's a permanent Maxfield Parrish lavender-hour thing happening. It looks like those Terry Brooks fantasy paperbacks you used to see at the grocery store and wonder who that was. I was kind of hoping it would look like Beirut, but whatever.
Who is here: Grandaddy Earl, Barry the Bellhop and Claudine -- who is Sookie's literal Fairy Godmother.
Sookie: "Okay, if your job is to look after me, can I just say you suck?"
Claudine: "Listen, the way you act? You stomp into the face of death like five times in every episode and then get mad when the creatures you're taunting react by trying to kill you. I fully assume you're going to try and get killed at least once in this scene alone."
Barry the Bellhop's fairy godmother is a hot dude named Lloyd who looks like a Master of the Universe, but even gayer. Maybe this whole thing isn't so bad. I want mine to look like the title character of the movie Krull, whom I've been convinced I am going to marry since I was about five.
Sookie looks around and realizes a bunch of stuff about Faeryland all at once. (I know I keep linking to that, but I don't want to explain it any more times.) Namely, don't eat the food because it will mess you right up. Everybody's sucking on the fruit -- the (if you will, apparently) lumiere -- and having these orgasm faces and whatever. It tastes good and feeds your faerie nature and also pulls a Persephone on you.
Sookie: "Grandaddy Earl, what are you doing here? You died when I was little!"
Earl: "Sookie, what are you doing here? Why are you thirty? I've been here a week."
The credits roll as they stare, stare, stare at each other. I guess we can use this time to think about how if twenty years is a week in Faeryland, then just this teaser is probably costing Sookie at least a few months. That is, if you can stop laughing at their hilarious staring contest and the faery music going apeshit long enough to think at all.