'True Blood' Recap: Eric Has Amnesia - Rolling Stone
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‘True Blood’ Recap: Eric Has Amnesia

The powerful vampire’s memory loss sets all sorts of mayhem into motion. Plus: The werewolves return

true blood season 4 recap episode 3 jessica eric northman bill pam vampirestrue blood season 4 recap episode 3 jessica eric northman bill pam vampires

Photograph by Art Streiber courtesy of HBO

“If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'” picks up right where last week’s episode left off, as Sookie comes across an amnesia-laden and half-naked Eric on her drive home from work. As she tries to piece together what happened, the episode finds the vampires, humans, werewolves and witches feeling their own side effects from the Viking’s memory loss — side effects that include some very interesting power shifts. Things are as sketchy as ever with the werepanthers in Hotshot, which continues to remain sheltered from the storm. For now.

Vampires and Fairies
As Sookie tries to drive away from Eric, he jumps into her car, prompting her to run through the woods. “I know what I am, Snooki,” he tells her, and she corrects him with no reference to his Jersey Shore slip-up. “I know what I am, I just don’t know who I am.” With those words, the power in the Sookie/Eric relationship shifts to Sookie, who agrees to help Eric repair his memory, provided he does not touch or bite her. She doesn’t tell Eric that he actually owns her house, instead inviting him in as per vampire custom and washing his dirty feet. The sight of a half-naked 1,000-year-old Viking vampire laughing at his feet being tickled by a washcloth further emphasizes Eric’s weakened state.

Pam arrives, having sped over to her master from Fangtasia once Sookie gave her word of Eric’s amnesia and reveals that she believes Bill set Eric up when he ordered him to address the witch issue. “Witches? Oh great,” Sookie says. “Now I have to deal with witches? No, not my problem.” But it becomes her problem when she agrees to hide Eric, as long as she gets paid. The plan works well for all of a day: Eric is missing the next night when Sookie returns home (in a meta-moment, she kills time by reading a book by Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels). Suddenly, Claudine arrives to order a reluctant Sookie back to the fairy homeland. Just as Sookie refuses, Eric swoops in and feeds off Claudine, ultimately killing the fairy due to the lust her blood inspires within him.

Bill is unaware of all of this and exerts his power over the Viking, leaving Eric yet another frustrated voicemail ordering Eric to call his king back. He’s not too worried, though, as he exerts his kingly power over the vampire featured sucking blood from a human in the Blair Witch-esque film staged by the humans behind vamps-kill.com (“Wake up, America, before we’re all dead!”). Though Nan Flannigan doesn’t make an appearance, we still feel the effects of her string-pulling, especially when Jessica goes to Bill for advice over how to handle telling Hoyt about her Fangtasia digression and his first question is whether or not she was caught on film. “I’m not stupid; I’m just unfaithful,” she tells him, and he seems to draw on his regret at not being up front with Sookie when he advises her to be honest with Hoyt in a touching father-daughter scene. While Jessica does tell Hoyt, she doesn’t let the memory stick and glamours him as soon as they start arguing. It’s the easy way out for the emotional vamp, and we hope it doesn’t become a pattern.

Sparked by Lafayette‘s PTSD from his experiences being tortured by Eric in the Fangtasia torture chamber, the witches vow not to let Eric get away. “He has no right!” screams Marnie. Though Jesus and Tara try to prevent him, Lafayette goes to Fangtasia and confronts Pam. Thanks to Tara’s wooden bullets, they have the upper hand over Eric’s second-in-command and negotiate 24 hours to deliver Marnie to her. “If you don’t, I will personally eat, fuck and kill all three of you,” warns Pam, who is doing an excellent job of running things in Eric’s absence. The new and improved bad-ass Tara is a spunky rival for Pam, plus a welcome jolt of energy to Jesus and Lafayette’s relationship. Elsewhere, Marnie tries to recall the spirit through some elaborate ritual that involves spells and a blood sacrifice. It ultimately seems to work, leaving what appears to be the reflection of the Inquisition witch in Marnie’s mirror.

Three episodes in and we’re finally rewarded with the return of hunky werewolf, Alcide. Unfortunately that’s the only perk we get in his and Sookie’s sexual tension-filled reunion. She goes to ask for help in hiding Eric and makes a quick exit after finding out that he lives with his (now sober but formerly drug addicted and insane) girlfriend, Debbie Pelt. Sookie understandably doesn’t want Debbie’s apologies for almost killing her but manages to keep a polite Southern hospitality tone to her voice all the while.

Jason’s state worsens over the episode, as he remains chained to the bed, suffering the effects of his many werepanther bites. He doesn’t realize the end goal is death until Crystal lays it out for him: “The panther magic is taking hold! You ain’t sick; you bein’ reborn as one of us.” We’re also educated on the origin myth of the werepanthers, which involve a panther ingesting spirits known as “Ghost mama” and “Ghost daddy.” Ghost daddy is also the subject of Crystal’s thanks as she and Jason consummate their relationship in front of all of the other female panthers. He disagrees, for once (mostly) not interested in sex: “You’re nothing but a crazy hillbilly junkie!” Though a werepanther elder confirms Jason will turn at the next full moon, the big moment has yet to arrive. The irony in this scenario, of course, is that, at one point in time, Jason Stackhouse would have been all about being chained to a bed with multiple lovers.

Andy Bellefleur
continues to fight his V addiction and calls Jason’s cell phone, treating his police partner as an AA sponsor. Despite his V high leading to some overconfident accusations of Sam, Andy realizes it’s been 48 hours since anyone has heard from Jason, even if no one else has made the connection. Meanwhile, Andy’s sister, Portia, proposes to Bill that they take their friendly business relationship to the sex level — and King Bill agrees to take the human as his lover, but warns her he’ll never actually love her. It’s interesting to note that all of Bill’s post-Sookie conquests have been the physical opposite of his telepath love. And Tara, back in Bon Temps for less than a day, finds herself unwillingly mixed up in the vampire/witch drama. Arlene’s demon baby doesn’t decapitate anything, but Jessica gave the baby her possibly demonic baby doll, which she and Hoyt tried getting rid of twice, to no success.

and Sam continue to make strained and mostly-failed attempts at repairing their brotherly bond. Their latest fight involves Sam’s shunning of Tommy’s plan to buy Maxine Fortenberry’s home from her and reap the alleged profits a natural gas salesman says lies on the Fortenberry property. Sam points out Maxine is only looking for a Hoyt replacement, which doesn’t help. Like everything so far involving Tommy, the scheme doesn’t look to lead down a good path. At least Tommy has mostly stayed out of vampire relations. So far.

Favorite Couple: Bill and JessicaThough neither of them act favorably in this episode, they manage to uphold a comfortable relationship between the two of them.

Losing Species of the Week: The humansThe Bellefleurs are up to no good across the board, and poor Tara needs anything but the homecoming she’s gotten.

Winning Species of the Week: The vampires remain captivating as they work through their various power struggles, be it romantic or professional. And we can’t help but be impressed by Alexander Skarsgaard’s turn as the wide-eyed Eric after three seasons of growing accustomed to his cocky personality.

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• Peter Travers on the Best and Worst Vampires on Film and TV

Time for a Shift 

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