HBO, July 10 (US)
Sookie has to cope with an infantile Eric, but his urges are less than controllable. Pam wants him hidden, but is peeved enough to make a deal with Lafayette to get the witches to reverse their spell. And since Jessica has been a naughty girl, she goes to Bill for some advice; when that doesn’t pan out, she digs herself into a deeper hole. Meanwhile poor abused Jason gets an unwanted dose of Viagra and Crystal starts her plan to have lots of little panther-babies.
This episode is nuts! By turns it is creepy, gross, bizarre, oddball and exceptionally funny. With his memory wiped, Eric is especially worth the airtime and the dialogue with Snookie (yes, you heard that right – he does call her Snookie) is snappy and delivered with perfection. Alexander Skarsgard really does steal the show, and it isn’t hard to imagine the hilarity that went on while filming this episode – I’m willing to bet there are a few gems in the out-takes here.
To contrast with the amusement generated by Eric’s scenes there are quite a few darker changes of tone throughout the episode too. Jason getting raped by Crystal takes the series into much more ominous sexual realms, but so too does Portia Bellfleur screwing Bill—or potentially at least, since in the books the Bellefleurs are Bill’s descendants. If they hadn’t omitted this fact from the TV series thus far, this would be like her having sex with her great-great-great-grandfather! Yuk! That Bill is also effectively playing judge, jury and executioner when a vampire appears on YouTube feeding off a fangbanger seems to be setting him on a downward spiral this season.
More deliciously shivery is the creepy antique doll that mysteriously keeps returning to Jessica and Hoyt’s apartment no matter how they try to get rid of it. Giving it to Arlene’s baby seems an ideal solution—as Terry says, let’s see the little monster pull the head off that! And who’s the culprit? It may yet turn out to be a red herring, but Maxine is buying up Witchy Belle dolls from a shopping channel. Very ominous… It all veers into the realm of soapy melodrama and conspiracy too, with the multiple plot threads—not least Tommy planning to defraud Maxine, and Debbie Pelt seemingly reformed and back with Alcide—threatening to end up in a knotty jumble. The season does appear to have a lot going on, but as yet it is staying just the right side of baffling messiness.
Verdict: Who needs a Dark Shadows remake—it’s all right here!
Episode 3 ‘If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’?’ 9/10