“True Blood” is pretty much indefensible, my buddy argued last night. Bad or at best campy acting. Bad, exposition-laden dialogue. Dumb plot turns. Scattershot character development. Yet, it’s somehow still so goddamn addictive.

Last night, the season debut picked up where last season left off, with Sookie in the gauzy, douche-commercial that is Fairy Land. Thankfully, we only had to stay long enough for her to reunite with her long-lost Grandpa, a terrifically miscast Gary Cole, and Nancy Drew her way out of a trap involving glowing oranges. A “Land of the Lost”-bad CGI battle between Sookie and troll-looking fairies came close to elevating Fairy Land from plain terrible to WTF-terrible, but not quite.


But, hey guess what? Time moved at a crawl in Fairy Land, and while Sookie felt like she was only gone for five minutes, she’d actually been missing for more than year. So the rest of the episode catches us up on what’s changed in her absence. The major developments in order of how much I enjoyed them:

1. Sam is now part of an anger-management, shifter support group. That he found on Craigslist? They drink wine, talk about their biologic predisposition to anger and strip down and gallop in the woods as horses.


2. Tara’s left her trembling lip in Bon Temps, and is now Toni the lesbian cage fighter from Atlanta. Just as silly as before, but far, far less tedious.

3. Bill has a new haircut and has somehow become the King of Louisiana. Which explains why he can command Erik to leave when both show up on Sookie’s doorstep after she returns from Fairy Land. Bill’s new status comes as a reveal in the final minutes, so undoubtedly we’ll learn the details in the next several episodes.


4. Lafayette has a Mohawk. He’s also still with Jesus, who really wants him to be part of his coven. Too bad Lala’s reluctance can’t stand up to the creepy charisma of head witch Marnie, who’s clearly the villain of this season.

Hopes for the coming weeks: A quick end to the spawn of Satan storyline with Arleen and Terry. More vampire politics. Jessica in full on hedonism mode. Some life at home with Tommy and Mrs. Fortenberry. More werepanthers!

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