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True Blood Recap: Bad Moon Risin’

True Blood.

This season, True Blood is the same old dog, but armed with a lot of fantastic new tricks: two witches, rife with power; an expected but still-sizzling love triangle; a damaged shifter with the ability to literally become someone else. The full moon is out, and much strangeness is afoot, from shifter puberty and the slow buildup to Marnie's ascent as villainess. With tongue firmly in cheek, the rapscallions of Bon Temps keep on keepin’ on, dodging danger and navigating whatever tricks the writers have up their sleeves. How much havoc did they wreak this week?

Eric, Interrupted
Sookie and Eric’s steamy make-out sesh is interrupted by a very angry and righteous Bill. Big Baby Eric bows to his King, but despite his surrender, he’s arrested. Sookie protests, but Bill’s not budging on this one. Sookie, you sweet girl, Eric is under the control of necromancers; he’s just lying to get in your pants. We’ll never know if this theory holds water, because King Bill’s throwing Eric in the pokey. “Stay out of this, for once in your life,” commands Bill. Oh, my liege!

Down in the dungeon, something smells a little off. It’s Pam, despondent, with a sheet over her melting face. The end is near, but Pam, like the honey badger, doesn’t give a shit. Lest Eric the Innocent forget who he used to be, Pam gives him a rundown: He’s a Viking who fucks, laughs, and kills. Too bad for Pam, Eric’s happy with his new life.

Upstairs, Bill gets a pat on the head from NanFlan via video chat, and even gets a little bonus — a warrant to impose the true death on Eric. If you can’t beat 'em, kill 'em.

My Best Friend’s Girl
Sookie needs Jason’s help, so she heads to his house. Unfortunately, a “super secret police investigation” has him handcuffed to his bed in his underpants, with the door closed. This isn’t a sex thing, though; it’s a supernatural thing. Jason’s convinced he’s turning into a were-panther and he needs Sookie’s help.

They await the great transformation in lawn chairs, armed with a shotgun and beer. Sookie’s under strict orders to kill Jason once he turns because being a freak of nature doesn’t suit him. Big sis counters that there’s no such thing as normal; she can read minds and shoot balls of light out of her hands, but Jason’s extra good at sex. And shooting. When she goes to fetch him another beer, he’s gone, running from his fate.

His panic leads Jessica to his side, who sensed his fear. All she wants to do is help! When urged to think of a safe place to quell his panic, Jason casts a lingering glance at Jessica’s rack. Bad Stackhouse! Later, they fall asleep, side by side. When Jason realizes he’s not turning into a were-panther — only because it’s genetic — he’s bummed. Good thing Jess was there to see you through that one, Jason. Best not to tell Hoyt about this tender moment in the woods.

Black Magic Woman
In her cell, Marnie implores the spirits to help, for vengeance, if nothing more. Flashback time: The old-timey witch is chained, drained, and raped by vampire priests. Then she burns on the pyre, chanting the spell that wakes up all the vamps and then boom — Marnie snaps out of it and she has a visitor. The Spanish witch is in the corner, slightly charred and completely evil. She lurches toward Marnie and then, in a move straight out of every Japanese horror movie ever made, she inhales the spirit in a cloud of black plasma.

Luis, the knowledgeable sheriff, heads down to the cell to finish what he started because, surprise! He’s the priest who raped Antonia. Marnie, who is suddenly bilingual, brings Luis to his knees. Finally! Mousy Marnie is no more. Let the games begin!

We Don’t Need No Water, Let the Motherfucker Burn
Arlene and Terry’s house is on fire! Time to grab the kids and go. Bad Baby is suspiciously missing, but after some “where’s mah baby?!” histrionics, he turns up outside. Her kids found him sitting next to the creepy Cabbage Patch kid who’s been hanging around. Oh, who’s this? Bad Baby’s waving at a sad woman standing under a tree, in Depression-era garb. When Arlene turns around, she’s gone. I scare easy, so this creepy, albeit expected vision made me cover my eyes, but only a little bit.

When the dust settles in the morning, Sam surveys the damage. Terry and his pet armadillo are worried about the source of the fire and the cleanup, but don’t fret, Sheriff Bellefleur’s here. Andy’s V addiction has made him really strong and really horny. Wiccan Holly’s impressed by his strongman act. Andy and his newfound confidence peer-pressure her into a date.

Who Are You?
Parenticide is really getting to Tommy. Unfortunately, Sam needs him to look after the bar today. Beware the full moon, Mickens. Stress is a trigger for shifters. This is evident when his flesh ripples and buckles, transforming him into Sam.

If I shifted into someone else, I would wait it out with a stash of Us Weeklys and whiskey. Tommy takes a decidedly different approach. He strides into Merlotte’s, ready to take on the day. First things first — fire Sookie. She’s a terrible employee, always running off and getting into trouble, so good riddance, I guess. He’s on top of the world, until he checks in with Maxine, who sits dolefully at a table by herself. Tommy left her, like everyone else in her life, and he deserved to get shot by Sam, because he’s “dumber than a bucket of spit and just as useful.”

Later on, Tommy enjoys the perks of being Sam, including hot shifter sex with Luna. Their postcoital snuggle is cut short, because Tommy’s starting to change back into himself. He gruffly dismisses Luna, who tells him to fuck off, but it’s in the nick of time. The door slams and he’s back to his old self. What a mess you’ve made, Tommy. Good luck getting out of this one.

Forgive and Forget
Tara has a surprise visitor that morning. It’s Naomi, looking for an explanation. Tara lets her freak flag fly, explaining the really, really rough year she’s had. Naomi doesn’t take kindly to being lied to, but whatever. Nothing like some angry sex to cure what ails you.

Tara brings Naomi to Merlotte’s for a romantic dinner. To prove her point, their waitress, Jessica, bares her fangs mid-order and sprints off. After this, Naomi is willing to forgive and forget, as long as Tara comes back to the Big Easy. This moment is ruined by NachoFace Pam. “Spare me the dyke in the woods routine,” she growls. Fangs are out, and it looks like Naomi’s time with us might have ended.

Alcide has a little surprise waiting for him at home. Marcus Bozeman, the lank-haired pack leader, has convinced Debbie to join. Sober Debbie might not be sober for much longer. She positions this move as a yen for community and friends, but Alcide isn’t so sure.

Where Does Magic Come From?
Jesus and Lala sit down to some goat tongue with Gramps, who’s none too pleased to see Jesus. It’s not right to waltz in and ask for help, after twenty years of radio silence. If they want help, they need to make a sacrifice. Out to the fields you go, under the starry sky. Lafayette and his Kriss-Kross braids aren’t sold on this whole sacrifice spiel, but Jesus knows this is the way. When he sees a snake slither by, he grabs it. Sacrifice caught!

The snake pleases Abuelito, who gets right to it. He lights a fire in the room, and when the snake hits the flame, Abuelito turns into a Thundercat, and the rattlesnake bites Jesus. Lafayette’s gift flexes its muscle. He is possessed by the spirit of Jesus’s Tío Luca. Water gurgles, Lafayette displays an impressive knowledge of Spanish, and then Jesus is cured. Well! The good guy/bad guy line has been drawn in the sand. I smell a Marnie face-off in the future.

The Viking and the Fairy Sit Together at the Table
King Bill is ready to do his duty and get rid of Eric once and for all. Big Baby Eric is willing to meet the true death, but with two requests: release Pam and, oh yes, a very special message for Sookie — he loves her. He was reborn the night he met her, and he is grateful. “After I’m gone, I hope you’ll find your way back to each other,” breathes Eric. I can almost hear the wheels turning in Bill’s head. Sook-eh. She loves meh. Sook-eh. Bill prepares to plunge the stake into Eric’s heart and ... the camera cuts away.

Thankfully, Sookie has spent most of this episode wandering around the bayou with a gun, looking for her brother. Her endless search turns into a glorious reunion with a very undead Eric Northman. The Viking and the Fairy ravage each other on the misty shores of the bayou. Bill pouts, as Neko Case plays in the background. You did the right thing, Bill. I promise.

Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO