True Blood season 4 episode 2 review: You Smell Like Dinner

One of the finest True Blood episodes to date? This might just be, reckons Emma...

This review contains spoilers.

4.2 You Smell Like Dinner

After last week’s somewhat gentle opener, episode two kick-started season four proper, with revelations and drama left right and centre. Necromancers, spirits, witches, skinwalkers, it’s all gone a little Winchester Bros, Inc, but in the best possible way. In fact, You Smell Like Dinner is one of the best True Blood episodes we’ve seen to date, packed with shock after shock, the least of which being that in the True Blood-verse, London bartenders bother to notice a stranger.

Poor Jason. Barely a week goes by when he’s not being taken, often literally, for a fool. Or a slave. Or in this case, a sperm donor. Having been imprisoned by Crystal’s redneck shifter family, it transpires that said rednecks are in need of some new blood, and some new genes.

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Desperate, though Lord know s why, to perpetuate their shifting blood line, Crystal decides the only way to get knocked up and keep Jason is to forcibly turn him into one of them, before presumably raping him at gunpoint until he’s served his purpose. All under the approving eye of her loving brother/cousin/fiancé/pimp. With the Stackhouses’ vamp associations now severed, and Andy nothing more than a useless V addict, the dumber than a box of hair pretty boy might just be in some serious trouble..

And he’s not the only one. Trouble abounds in Bon Temps this week, from necromancing wiccans, now counting Lafayette among their number, raising this season’s big bad from the other side, to Hoyt and Jess’ fragile domestic bliss, and Arlene’s psychotic baby, the whole town is suffering from a major case of on the brinkism.

Worst of all is Eric’s complete and total zombie makeover. Seriously, what have they done to the glorious Eric? Sookie’s newly appointed and superbly cocky landlord’s brush with the wiccans means he’s unlikely to be pulling good string any time soon, which is sad in and of itself. But for all cocky Eric’s front, he was at least smart. Zombie Eric is dangerous. Sookie is about to found out just how dangerous. Apparently, she really does smell like dinner.

Elsewhere, those of us wondering exactly how Mr Bill Compton became royalty were treated to a little history lesson, as well as some gap filling, and we’re not just talking about Katerina. A conspiracy thirty years in the making, it transpires that Bill’s ascendancy is AVL approved and arranged. In a series of flashbacks, including a trip to 1980’s London and the cleanest punk club ever committed to celluloid, the depth of the conspiracy is revealed. Knowing True Blood, though, there’s clearly more to it than just removing those monarchs opposed to mainstreaming.

It’s great to have little of the vamp politics back again. It’s been sorely lacking in recent seasons, Russell’s impromptu broadcast notwithstanding. It’s potentially fascinating stuff, and well worth giving some serious time to over the next few weeks. Having said that, one of the saddest things about Eric’s current state is his inability to continue his fabulously polite alpha male confrontations with the newly crowned king, so let’s hope he’s all better before the AVL conspiracy reaches its peak.

Pretty much the only person not suffering in Bon Temps right now, rather surprisingly, is Sam. Generally second only to Bill in the tortured stakes, it seems the new shifting friends and new girlfriend are keeping Sam happy, or at least as close to happy as he gets. Of course, the revelation that Luna is a skinwalker, and can shift into humans as well as animals, has plenty of trouble making potential. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the annoying little brother.

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After negotiating the trickier aspects of season premieres, season four’s second offering is, frankly, a fantastic episode. Pacy, punchy, full of fantastic touches, like the mural of a small crying girl in the Fangtasia bathrooms, the holes in Jason’s socks, and the most inventive swearing this side of The Wire, You Smell Like Dinner is True Blood at its best, and we’re only two episodes in.

The time jump looks as if it will serve the characters well. Jason. in particular. has come on in leaps and bounds, after a somewhat stagnant third season. and the new big bad in the form of either Marnie, or whatever the hell she summoned, could be very interesting, indeed. Of course, it’s going to be hard to maintain the incredibly high tempo for the entirety of the season, but so far, so very good.  

Read our review of the season premiere, She’s Not There, here.

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