Welcome back to Bon Temps, where we pick up where we left off at the end of last season. There's no time jumps, no departures to the fairy homeland and, for the time being, no new supernaturals to take stock of. Instead, we're given a roller coaster ride of a Season Five premiere, aptly titled "Turn! Turn! Turn!," that sees a pretty significant power shift put in motion.
Vampires and Humans
When we last left Sookie, she was holding a most-likely-dead Tara in her arms on the floor of Gran's kitchen. At the precise moment Sookie and Lafayette start to grieve, Pam shows up looking for Eric, walks in on dead Debbie, wounded Tara, bloody Sookie and frantic Lafayette. "Color me impressed; you guys know how to party," Pam drawls. Sookie shoos her away, and Pam asks them to tell Eric she's sorry before heading out. But then! Lafayette asks Pam to turn Tara. "I can't be the only one who noticed she's missing half her head," Pam says, saying there's no insurance against Tara rising the next night "all fucktarded." "I'll owe you one," Sookie says in desparation. "If you can use your magic hands or your super snatch, whatever power it is you have over Eric to fix what's broken between us, and you'll still owe me one, you have a deal." DEAL! It's good to see Pam back after being gone for so much of last season. She feeds Tara her blood and then prepares to climb into a dirt hole to complete the transition. "I am wearing a Wal-Mart sweatsuit for y'all. If that's not a demonstration of team spirit, I don't know what is," Pam says, letting on she's turned a mortal or two in her day, but it may not have turned out so well.
Sookie and Lafayette spend the next 24 hours on a mean cleaning spree, but mostly try to come to terms with the prior night's events and each experience a crisis of faith. Sookie's innocence is shattered for the first time when she admits to actively wanting to shoot Debbie, while Lafayette's normally tough exterior is completely gone after he can't even find Jesus' body where he killed it. "You told me to keep on breathing, you told me to keep on living. HOW?," he cries out in his empty home. The last thing holding them together is the promise of Tara's return as a vampire, even though it's the thing she hated most in the world. Later that night, Pam rises first, and Sookie frantically starts digging for Tara, discovering that she's still immobile in the ground. Sookie and Lafayette start sobbing at their loss, which is now final. And then Tara pops up out of the ground – what, you didn't see that coming? What a delicious ride it'll be to see how Tara transitions. Also, this means she is Eric's grand-progeny.
Meanwhile, everyone's favorite Fellowship of the Sun leader-turned-vampire is at a naked Jason's door, trying to convince his wife's former lover that he has no ill will. He just wants to talk, you guys! He has no one else to turn to, he says, as he wipes away bloody tears. Turns out he's a little orphan vampire, turned for punishment and abandoned by his maker. JUST KIDDING! Time to glamour poor little naked Jason into letting evil vampire Steve into his home. This turn of events for Reverend Steve is another great chapter in True Blood's ongoing commentary on the gay rights movement. "I'm a gay vampire American, and I love you Jason Stackhouse," Steve proclaims after covering Jason with a blanket, putting tape over his mouth, and turning back into a proper Christian before the glamour wears off. "That was, without a doubt, the nicest 'I love you' I've ever got from anyone," Jason says tenderly, before telling Steve, "this dog doesn't bark up that tree." And then, in an awesomely twisted reference back to Season One, Steve gets all angry vamp on Jason: "Love me!" he orders, as Jessica bursts in and proclaims "Jason is mine!" Man, those Stackhouses and their vampire ownership. Fairy blood power, anyone? "I am Steve fucking Newlin, who the fuck are you?" is Steve's response. "An older vampire," Jessica retorts. Finally! Someone she can order around. "I also happen to be the progeny of the king of Louisiana, who happens to be out of town, so that pretty much makes me the queen." AW SNAP. Naturally this turns into an excuse for Jessica and Jason to have sex once Jason rescinds Steve's invitation into his home.
The next night, Jessica is having something resembling a frat party at her house when Jason shows up and she has to awkwardly tell him declaring him "mine" was just for his protection and their whole friends-with-benefits agreement still stands. So he does what Jason Stackhouse would normally do prior to falling in love with Jessica, and joins the party, trying to flirt with the unknown blondes that naturally fall at his feet. But things are different now: he leaves with one of the girls just to make Jessica jealous, but tells the girl he won't have sex with her. Jason is a changed man, y'all! And Jessica is totally owning her vixen ways.
Previously, on Vampires Vying for Power, Bill and Eric were about to meet the True Death at Nan's hand, until she told them she was a part of a faction unsatisfied with the Authority and don't they want to join her in this political sideshow? Things teetered on the edge for barely a minute, and then, in one hot second, Bill and Eric proceeded to slaughter Nan and her Authority bodyguards. So while Eric speed-cleans the death site, Bill calls Jessica to say he's been called away on business and will be gone for a few weeks, so she should be a good little progeny.
But then! They detect that danger is imminent for Sookie (remember that one time Debbie Pelt showed up at Sookie's house with a loaded rifle?), who has just rejected them both. "Fuck Sookie," Eric says, and for once doesn't mean it in a literal sense. "She rejected both of us. Besides, we're up against the authority," he continues in one of Eric's most rational lines in well over a season. Doesn't matter; Bill speeds off to the rescue – and right into the authority's chains, with Eric following suit. The rest of the episode is a high-stakes will-they-or-won't-they game of Eric and Bill trying to escape the wrath of the Authority that involves an umbrella, an exploding car, a cargo container and the introduction of Eric's sister, Nora, who happens to be a chancellor for the Authority and is on hand to help save her brother-by-maker and his cohort. "I would do anything for Eric," she declares before the two of them have crazy animal sex inside the aformentioned container. "We fight like siblings, but we fuck like champions," Eric explains to Bill. It seems like things are finally going to go in favor of Bill and Eric disappearing for a while with new identities (Bill's is Marcellus Clark; Eric's is the ever-appropriate Ike Applebaum) – until the Authority's goons swing in and surround them and Nora. Oh, and did I mention the call Eric received from Alcide that very likely informed the Viking that Russell Edginton is officially back in action? Because that's what the werewolf told Sookie when he stopped by her house. To say that I'm excited about Russell's return is an understatement, because Dennis O'hare was exactly the right kind of evil genius during season three. Meanwhile, who's running Louisiana?
Holly's boys, Wade and Rocky, back early from a hunting trip with their dad, walk in on a butt-naked Andy Bellefleur over at their mom's. After a season of Holly often acting like the only sane one around the craziness enveloping Bon Temps, it's intriguing to see how quickly she unravels when her boys come in and scold her for having a man over.
Meanwhile, over at the Fowler-Bellefleur house, Arlene's kids are interogating Patrick Devins, Terry's marine buddy (so nice to see you back on TV, Scott Foley). Terry immediately gets on the offensive, shutting down any convo that recalls his time in the war with a fierceness that has been buried since he and Arlene got together. Arlene casually mentions the fire that got them living in Andy's house, and a flicker of something crosses Patrick's face. "Fires aren't to be taken lightly," he says ominously. Turns out fires had been set at Patrick's place, as well as the homes of two other men in their sqaud – and those Marines are now dead. Terry tries to play off his and Arlene's house fire as having to do with "a really pretty ghost lady named Mavis," but Patrick doesn't buy it. He says he came because he thought Terry was responsible, but then he realized he wasn't and sets off to find another Marine. The exploration of Terry's back story promises an undeniable gravitas, but I sincerely hope it doesn't take as long to find out what really happened between these marines as it did to find out what was going on with the ghosts last season.
Werewolves and Shifters
Sam claims responsibility for Marcus' death to protect Alcide, despite Luna's warnings otherwise, and shows remarkable restraint while being beaten by the weres – until one called Martha comes in to lay it out for him: they need Marcus' body back to perform the necessary rituals around a packmaster's death. She promises no harm will come to Luna or Emma if he gives in, which he does, as his fondness of the shifter and her daughter are all that governs his movements now that Tommy is dead and Sookie is no longer a love interest. "Thank you for bringing us to him," Martha says when they arrive at the burial site. "You did the right thing." Just as Sam comes to terms with his imminent death, Alcide shows up (unclear how he managed to stay out of the pack rituals to this point) with Luna, and declares it was he who was responsible for Marcus' death. Half the pack bow down to him in reverence; the other half – including Martha, who reveals she is Marcus' mom – are even more angry now that they know it was one of their own who killed their leader. The rules of the pack are complex and intimate, as we are learning, and involve eating the flesh of a dead packmaster. Something tells me Alcide's declaration will only make things more difficult for this were who so strongly wanted to avoid being a part of a pack.
Favorite Couple: Jessica and Jason, still, because their ongoing love affair continues to be fresh instead of utterly predictable, and because Deborah Ann Woll is running a tight race against Kristin Bauer van Straten in the vampire progeny department.
Winning Species: Vampires. Though their leaders may be on the lam and the previously dead are now back to life, the series' original supernaturals remain the ones with the best lines, longest history and most intrigue. And with Tara transitioning and Christopher Meloni's Roman still waiting in the wings, things can only get more interesting.
Losing Species: Witches. Last season's power champs are now all but decimated, with Jesus (allegedly) dead, Tara turning into a vampire and Marnie and Antonia safely in their graves.