True Blood Is Back, And It’s Just As Great A Guilty Pleasure As Ever

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True Blood is back, y'all! And after making us wait an agonizing nine months for its return, you can bet Alan Ball‘s ridiculous vampire telenovela has rewarded us patient fans with just as much drama, gore, and gratuitous nudity as ever.

If you recall, at the end of the last season we were left with numerous dangling plot points: a newly vampirized Reverend Steve Newlin had showed up at Jason‘s house, Bill and Eric had finally made Halloween decorations out of Nan Flanagan, Noel from Felicity had showed up to torture Terry Bellfleur with some horrible war secret, Alcide had killed Sam‘s girlfriend's creepy ex (the inexplicable pack leader) in self-defense, Russell Edgington had gone ominously missing from his cement grave, Jesus had been murdered by Marnie/Antonia via possession of Lafayette (nooo!) and of course, Sookie, Tara, and Debbie had gotten locked in a mortal struggle that ended in death for Debbie and possibly Tara, too (only duh, not really). Luckily for us, True Blood is great at cramming countless dumb plot lines into one episode, so all of them got addressed last night.

As it turns out, Reverend Newlin has a sinful, homosexual crush on Jason, which I totally predicted at the end of last season. “Fangs are like twin hard-ons,” Jason comments warily, before ultimately being glamored into inviting him into his house. Fortunately for that stupid sexy man, Jessica busts in to save the day and have hot vampire sex with him. Did she put on a corset and garters with vampire speed before rushing over there, or is that just what she wears to hang around the house?

But lifesaving aside, Jessica remains intent on sowing her wild vamp oats by throwing keg parties at Bill‘s house and playing Rock Band with college kids. (How perfect was her rendition of Cherrybomb?) The sooner Jason realizes she's serious about that, the sooner he'll be able to go back to banging sorority girls as God intended.

Twin Sookie rejects Eric and Bill don't get to savor their victory over Nan for very long before they're captured by the Authority, only to be saved by…Eric's British sister Nora, with whom he has some sort of sexual relationship. Of course. Hence begins the first of what will no doubt be many hot, naked, sex scenes for Eric Northman this season, because survey says ten out of ten bored housewives watch this show purely for its A-Skars soft porn moments. It's okay, you see she's not his real sister, they just have the same vampire-dad. (R.I.P. Godric.)

Alas, the show must introduce Law and Order‘s Chris Meloni somehow, so the party is broken up early by yet more Authority dudes with guns. I'll accept this, as I'm excited to see Meloni play a bad ass vampire cop, if only for the sheer absurdity of it all.

Terry Bellfleur continues to be unnerved by the presence of his Iraq war buddy Patrick, almost definitely because he knows about all the unthinkable shit that happened during the war to give Terry crazy PTSD. (Remember when he was living in a tree house?) But because this is True Blood and nothing can ever be normal-bad, Scott Foley busts out some spooky Wes Craven tale about how everyone who was there “that night” has since died in a fire. Is this what Rene‘s ghost was trying to warn Arlene about?

A bunch of bullshit goes down with the werewolves, during which the eternally dull Sam Merlotte tries to sacrifice himself for his girlfriend Luna and her daughter, as well as his new pal Alcide, but Alcide shows up because he's a good guy too and blah blah blah. I'm sorry, but this is a show about vampires. Werewolves will always be also-rans to them, and “shifters” are not even on the chart. Sam's a nice guy with a nice ass and all, but there are already enough good butt shots on this show that he could eat it without being missed.

And then there's the epic non-cliffhanger of how to save Tara's life when half her head is missing. Hmm, I wonder? The episode is called “Turn Turn Turn,” guys. But despite the utter predictability of it all, this wins for plotline of the season thus far for one simple reason: it involves the show's two best characters. Pam‘s jibes at Sookie's “magic hands” and “super snatch” will never get old! And Lafayette, the show's constant torment of whom I will take as an implicit commentary on what it's like to be gay and black in America, manages once again to wring pathos from an utterly phantasmagorical situation. Keep on breathing, you beautiful bitch.

Will Jason ever get over Jessica? Will Eric and Bill escape Vampire Chris Meloni and finally make love? What did Terry do in Iraq? And how pissed off is Vampire Tara going to be? One thing's for certain: I have always been, and will ever remain, Team Noel Pam and Eric.