When last we visited Bon Temps, La.: Sookie saves Eric and Russel from the sun. Hoyt’s mother throws the worst interventions and he moves in with Jessica. Everyone tells Sookie how her special blood makes her vampire crack. Jason’s werepanther girlfriend leaves town to protect him from her brother. Lafayette is seeing things and Jesus is a witch. (“And a nurse. And a dude.”) Bill and Eric dump Russel in concrete. Tara has a TV Trope. Sam makes a good breakfast (the key is the bacon fat); appears to shoot his brother Tommy, who stole from him. Bill dumps Eric in concrete. Eric escapes, narcs out Bill to Sookie. Sookie bans them both from her house. Bill and Queen Sophie Anne face off. Sookie meets a nice lady in a cemetery and disappears in a flash of light.

Sookie (Anna Paquin) has a fairy tale life in season 4 of ‘True Blood.’ (John P. Johnson )

”Well if your job is to look after me, can I just say, you suck?” says Sookie, by way of saying what we’re all thinking. Her FG defends herself by noting Sookie has a tendency to find trouble. Fair point.

Barry the bellboy is also there, with and his fairy godmother … Lloyd. And so is Sookie’s granddaddy, Bill Lumbergh! Roll credits! Welcome back “I Want To Do Bad Things With You,” I missed you most of all.

Back to fairyland. There’s some fruit made of light which everyone but Sookie devours like zombies at a brain buffet, Queen Mab shows up and tries to make Sookie eat, Sookie blasts her with her new freakout ray powers, suddenly everyone turns all ugly and “The Hills Have Eyes,” some rebel fairies rescue Sookie and Grandaddy Lumbergh, who then jump off a cliff and wake up back in the Bon Temps cemetery, where Grandaddy Lumbergh dies because he ate the fairy fruit and then …

Wait, seriously, what was all that? There are like three dozen dangling plots and cliffhangers already on this show, do we really need to spend the first 10 minutes of this season dunked in the Fairy Civil War Battle of Exposition?

Sookie heads home, only to find out her house has been sold. Jason shows up, wearing a police deputy’s uniform and overjoyed to see his sister, whom he informs has been missing 12 ½ months.

Sookie and Jason catch up, and once it’s dark, Bill and Eric stop by for a game of “I missed you more!” Eric wins by saying he never gave up on seeing her again, but listens to Bill’s order to leave. Bill covers for Sookie when an overly belligerent Sheriff Andy arrives by saying she’s been on private “vampire business” and that he obviously didn’t kill her like everyone suspected.

Sookie tells Bill that while it’s been more than a year for him, it’s only been an hour since he broke her heart, he says he understands and leaves.

Andy and Jason talk in Andy’s patrol car, and Jason asks if he’s been using again – Andy’s become hooked on vampire blood.

And now it’s time for “Bon Temps: Where are they now?”

- Lafayette (now with a mohawk) and Jesus go to a coven meeting at the MoonGoddess Emporium, where head witch Marnie (Fiona Shaw) channels Eddie, the staked vampire played by Stephen Root, and I resist making another “Office Space” joke. Lafayette freaks out and leaves.

- Back at Terry and Arlene’s, baby Mikey is pulling the heads off Barbie dolls, making Arlene concerned that he’s inherited Rene’s sociopathic tendencies.

- Tara is in the Octagon in New Orleans, delivering MMA beatdowns

- Hoyt and Jessica are engaged in less than domestic bliss. He comes home from work and complains that there’s no food. She points out that human food is disgusting to her and that going to the grocery store is like going to the morgue. He rightly points out that having his blood sucked isn’t exactly a day at the beach. She rightly points out that she isn’t his mother. He starts eating a plate of shells and raw eggs she prepares for him, and they enjoy a nice laugh. Good to see things are working out for those wacky kids.

- Pam! In a pink suit! Recording a PSA at Fangtasia for the American Vampire League about how humans have nothing to fear from vampires, in a tone of flat sarcasm that makes it clear she would eat every human in a 50 mile radius if it meant she could stop what she considers to be an idiotic undertaking.

As Eric walks into the bar, AVL leader Nan Flanagan says not to underestimate the idiocy of the American people.

“I have proof, scientific, that people are far dumber than they realize,” she says. I can only assume much of this research was done at the Stackhouse residence.

Taxpayer, small businessman, vampire ( John P. Johnson )

Out behind the place where she fought, Tara meets up with her opponent, Naomi, who is also her girlfriend. They begin to kiss and drunk harasses them, and Tara just insults him rather than beating him, showing how much she has mellowed. Naomi calls her “Toni” as they walk away.

Back at Merlot’s, Terry and Arlene welcome back Sookie, as does Lafayette. Sam is mad at her for disappearing for a year and not telling him where she was. Tommy Merlot comes limping in a knee stabilizer along with Hoyt’s mother Maxine, who appears to be taking care of him now, though Sam’s paying for his physical therapy, the implication being that Sam shot him in the leg at the end of Season 3.

The first nudity of the season goes to Naomi, who is rolling around in bed with Tara, I mean “Toni.” Tara gets a text from Lafayette that Sookie is back home. She covers by telling Naomi that it’s from her father, informing her that her grandmother died. “He texted that to you?” asks Naomi, a question that already marks her as one of the smartest characters to ever appear on this show.

Back at Merlot’s, Sookie meets with an attractive lady lawyer who was introduced during Bill’s ribbon cutting. A mysterious holding company bought her house, but the lawyers says she’ll see what she can do about getting it back. Sookie reads her thoughts, and seems hurt to find out that Bill “ hardly mentions her at all.”

Okay, it’s time for the lightning round: Jessica and Hoyt have a date night at Fangtasia. Sam has found a support group of shapechangers. Jason brings food to the kids from Crystal’s camp, they hit him with a shovel and put him in freezer.

Lafayette and Jesus, return to the coven, and Marnie tries to bring her parrot Minerva back to life, when Lafayette joins the circle, they all start gasping and the parrot starts flapping around, only to keel over again. Probably pining for the fjords.

One of the members of the coven, whose name I didn’t catch but whom I mentally refer to as “poor man’s Amy Adams in glasses” reports this development to Bill, whom she calls “your majesty.”

And back at the Stackhouse, er, house, Sookie gets out of the shower and Eric is waiting for her as she disrobes. She covers herself quickly and demands to know how he can be inside the house without her invitation. He explains that he is the mysterious new owner of the house, and he can come and go as he pleases. So wait, Eric is a vampire and Mr. Roper?


(John P. Johnson )

Video: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer at the season 4 premiere