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True Blood Recap: Belonging

After an exciting first episode that set some intriguing plotlines in motion, our friends in Bon Temps avoid the sophomore slump with episode No. 2. Settle in, and let’s do this thing together.

The Ties That Bind
Jason’s in quite the pickle. He's in a dodgy basement chained to a bed, while Timbo lovingly licks his head wound. No Band-Aids in Hotshot, so all wounds are healed via the saliva of feral children. Just as Timbo is about to cut him loose, in comes Felton with a shotgun, and boy, is he angry!

Before Felton has a chance to do anything, Andy pulls up and is demanding to seize the V at Hotshot. In the basement, enter were-panthress Crystal. She’s got a crackerjack plan for she and Jason to be together forever. First step — gag Jason to keep him quiet and if that doesn't work, threaten him with a knife. Andy's fiendin’ pretty hard, so Felton sends him what he wants, by way of Uncle Luther. Andy confiscates the “evidence” and peels out.

Back in the basement with Jason, Crystal and Felton have some news. Felton's shooting blanks, so it's time to make a baby. But in order for them to propagate the bloodline, Jason needs to be a panther too. Some awkward CG ensues and Panthers Crystal and Felton start nibbling on Jason’s six-pack, despite his screams of agony.

Bite Count: Pretty sure werepanthers using Jason’s stomach as an appetizer plate counts.

Your Cheatin’ Heart
Hoyt and Jessica make their exit from Fangtasia. Outside, supporters of the Fellowship of the Sun are "exercising their constitutional right to be fuckin' idiots" (love ya, Pam!). One feisty gentleman calls Jessica a “vamper slut”. Fangs flash, but she’s restrained, lest she end up the star of a Youtube video. After the instigator shoves Hoyt on his way to the car, Hoyt throws a punch, and it’s pretty much all over from there.

Tensions are high at the Fortenberry-Hamby house. Hoyt's nursing a serious black eye. Jess offers to fix it with her magic blood. "I don't need that shit," says Hoyt. That wasn’t very nice. Jessica storms out with the car keys and heads straight to Fangtasia. She finds her fangbanger friend from the night before, grabs his hand and drags him to the bathroom, where she’s caught, mid-ravage, by Sookie. Sookie gently suggests that this might not be the best idea, but Jessica’s not having it. What’s that sound? Why, it’s yet another crack in their relationship.

Bite Count: Just one — Jessica did some serious damage to that boy’s neck, and would’ve fixed Hoyt’s eye if he wasn’t such a jerk.

Don’t Tell Me What To Do
Sookie’s got her robe on now, and she’s indignant. Eric may own her house now but he certainly doesn't own her. He breaks it down -- her sparkle blood tastes like freedom. Once every vampire in the world figures that out, it's going to be hard to keep them at bay. She needs to belong to someone to be safe. There are two Sookies, he continues -- Fairy Sooks, coming to grips with who she is, and Normal Sookie, who’s just regular people. The more she lets the Fairy Princess part of her speak, the longer she’ll stay alive.

At the King’s castle, Katarina informs Bill that the coven has raised a bird from death. Bill has all the information he needs, and her work is no longer needed. Katarina is on her way out, but it’s the procurer's night off. Out with the fangs and into the bedroom.

Sookie may be an independent woman, but when the going gets tough, the tough go to Bill Compton. Something looks different at the house - perhaps it’s the floodlights? Or maybe it’s the armed guards. She’s on the manifest, so she’s good to go.

Inside, Sookie finds Bill and Katarina, finishing up their “business meeting.” Once Katarina leaves, it’s down to brass tacks - Sookie wants her house out of Eric's hands. The King promises to find a workaround, but urges her to seek shelter elsewhere. She'd love to find out how he wound up as king, but she stops herself. "Every time I find out something new about you, I wish I didn't know it."

But what Sookie doesn't want to know, we get to: How did Bill end up in this position of power? Flashback time! We’re in London, in the early eighties. Hot Topic Bill, in guy-liner and nail polish, pushes his way to the bar, and orders a drink. Later, he drains the bartender in an alley with a hand over his mouth. As Bill sends his dinner away, Nan Flanagan emerges. Bill doesn’t kill his victims, and guess what - there’s a bunch of other vamps that do the same thing. Scientists, including Louis Pasteur, are getting close to synthesizing human blood. Soon, vampires could exist within regular society. NanFlan needs a spy to plant the seeds of dissent within the monarchies. Could Bill be her guy?

Bite count: 1 sexy-time bite on Katarina, and 1 flashback bite.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Eric?
Sookie’s visit to Fairyland still lingers in her mind. Unloading groceries, she briefly hallucinates Mab and her needle-toothed band of Fae, sneaking up from behind. It's actually Tara, who's very happy to have Sooks back. Tara thought she was a goner, and is quite pleased to see her best friend alive and well. A note and a red bow on the screen door lead them into the kitchen, where Sookie finds a brand new microwave. The landlord has moved in. There's a carafe of blood in the refrigerator, and Eric has built himself a sleeping cubby in the living room. We guess she’s “his”, whether she likes it or not.

At Merlotte’s, Sookie’s back to work. Too bad her boss is still upset about her sudden departure and reappearance. Before Sam has enough time to complain Arlene, Terry and their adorable/evil baby come bustling in. Sookie loves the little tyke, but Arlene’s still wary. In the kitchen, Terry’s talks about polishing off a bottle of Frangelico and watching a DVD, but Arlene zones out, staring into the dark eyes of her Very Evil baby. The world slows down and a blood vessel bursts in her eye. Bad baby!

Take Your Clothes Off, and We’ll Talk It Out
In the forest, Sam finally catches up with his lady love. Sam’s cheesy line doesn't quite seal the deal, but gets Luna to crack a smile. When he goes in for the kiss, she freaks out, turns into a horse and gallops away.

The next day, Luna must have had a change of heart. She’s sitting in his office, waiting for him at work. Seems she’s fallen prey to that old Merlotte charm, because they get down to making out pretty quickly. Something’s off with this chick. Sam promises he’ll be there tonight, and parades her out through Merlotte’s, making a point to walk by Tommy.

Later that night at Shifters Anonymous, we find out that Luna’s a skinwalker, a special kind of shifter with the creepy ability to shift into any animal on earth, including humans. She received this power by killing her mother, another shifter, in childbirth. No time for anyone to process this because someone smells something strange in the woods. Another shifter is afoot. Sam takes one for the team and gives chase.

We don't even have to tell you that it's Tommy. Turns out he followed Sam and is bummed that he doesn't have a brother in his life. Over a soundtrack of swelling flamenco guitar, Sam and Tommy embark on the rocky road to reconciliation.

Housekeeping
Bill tells Eric that the coven in town has got to cease and desist. They are necromancers, which means that they are well on their way to controlling anything dead -- including vampires. Eric needs to take care of this, and he's off into the night to handle business for his king.

Back to the how did Bill become king question. The show revisits the moment where Bill and New Look Dior Sophie Anne faced off, Matrix-style. What we didn't see was that Bill had backup, in the form of human snipers, pointing guns loaded with silver-cored wooden bullets right at Sophie Anne. In a explosion of viscera, Sophie Anne ceased to be. NanFlan emerged once again from the shadows and thanked Bill for his services. Covered in queen, Bill was sworn in as the new king of Louisiana.

Witchy Women
Back at home, Lala, arbiter of wisdom, doesn’t seem to think it’s the best idea to raise the dead. Jesus explains that magic itself isn’t bad or good - it’s the intention behind the act. Light souls make good magic, dark souls make bad magic. Lafayette is mollified for the moment, but we still sense some side-eye.

At the coven, Marnie's not messing around — she wants to bring a human body back to life. Lafayette and his fishnet shrug want out. Tara, dragged along for the ride agrees, and she sensibly takes her leave. While she's outside on the phone to her boo in N’awlins, Eric wind-sprints inside.

He’s looking for Marnie, and once she identifies herself, he strikes a deal. No more covens, non-negotiable. Marnie tries to make a circle to magic him away, but Eric grabs her and sinks his teeth into her neck. Tara comes back inside, assesses the situation and grabs some wood to stake Eric, but he’s too quick. Marnie falls to the ground, and as Eric’s about to sink fang to Tara’s neck, Lafayette joins the circle. Marnie’s eyes open and she’s off the floor. Incantations! Yellow eyes! Face, flickering from old to young! Eric drops Tara, staring into Marnie’s terrifying visage. Once the trance is broken, Eric is out the door.

Bite count: One - Eric almost KO’d Marnie.

He Might Need You

Sookie's in the office at Fangtasia, trying to make nice with Pam, who's dressed like David Bowie in drag. The only advice she has is to stick with Northman. Better to belong to someone who knows what they're doing: to be alone and a fairy that smells like freedom is akin to a death sentence.

On her way home from Fangtasia, Sookie sees a familiar face on the side of the road. It's Eric, shirtless and uncoiffed. "Who are you?" he asks. "Why do you smell so good?"

Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO