True Blood season 4 episode 3 review: If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’?

A werepanther breeding machine and a scary baby doll join the Bon Temps supernaturals in this week's True Blood...

This review contains spoilers.

4.3 If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’?

After two frenetic weeks, we’re back for a far more leisurely stroll through the supernatural dysfunction that is True Blood. Leisurely it might be, but in parts, it’s icky in the extreme. It’s so good to be back!

Without doubt, the biggest news in Bon Temps this week is that Diet Eric would appear to be here to stay, for a while at least. Having completely lost all sense of who, but not what, he is, the new Sheriff might be a little less cocky than we might like, but he’s hilarious nonetheless. And clearly, Snookie, sorry, Sookie, likes him a whole hell of a lot more this way.

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Sweet, polite, and as innocent as a newborn vampire, it’s fabulous to see the amazing Alexander Skarsgård have a little fun with it. Making Diet Eric as child-like as it’s possible to be when you’re that big, he even walks like a toddler. At this exact moment in time, he’s about as menacing as a box of hair.

Naturally, Pam is as concerned as it’s possible for a sociopath to get. Eric is dangerously vulnerable right now, and has, let’s say, one or two enemies who would love to get their hands on him in his current state.  His progeny immediately points the finger at Bill for sending Eric into the coven. In her eyes, it has to have been a setup. Could an Eric and Bill showdown be on the cards? If it comes to that, let’s hope Eric is all better. Otherwise, it’s less of a showdown and more of a mercy killing.

Pam charges Sookie with his care, and despite her protests and demands for payment, she soon realises that sharing a house with Diet Eric is an entirely different prospect. That is, until he eats her fairy godmother.

Laf, rattled in the extreme by the unexpected turn of events, is under the impression that the shiny new Eric is the direct result of a spell cast by Marnie that can simply be reversed, and promises Pam as much. However, it seems that poor, pathetic Marnie has very different ideas. Begging to be possessed by the spirit that claimed Eric, the big bad could very well be about to be made flesh, which is very bad news for Eric, and anyone else who just happens to be undead. 

While Diet Eric’s, um, predicament is the biggest news, the most worrying has to be Jason’s continued captivity, which took a massively disturbing turn this week. Now ready, allegedly, to serve his purpose, he’s about to be gang raped by the entire redneck female werepanther population. Admittedly, that’s only about five women, but the point stands.

We always knew Jason’s libido would get him into trouble one day, but this is just uncalled for. Not only has been turned into a free for all sperm bank, and most likely, a werepanther, but he’s been missing for two days and the only person who’s noticed is Andy. That poor boy just cannot catch a break.

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Sticking with the werepanthers, for they have now been given an official name, it’s great to finally get some kind of exposition with regard to their existence, but as creation stories go, could it be any more redneck? A panther vomited up the werepanther version of Adam and Eve? Nature sure has a strange sense of humour in Louisiana.

Elsewhere, If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’? saw the much anticipated return of another were creature, the delectable Alcide. However, it wasn’t quite the reunion we expected. The foolish (why are they always foolish?) werewolf has taken back the hellish Debbie, who is allegedly clean and sober. Unlike the lovely, but not very bright Alcide, Sookie takes this particular revelation with a healthy dose of scepticism. It unlikely we’ve heard the last of Debbie.

While not as fast paced as the preceding episode, If You Love Me allowed us to take a breath and properly realise the implications of the fates currently befalling our beloved Bon Temps residents, as well as giving us a sneak peek into the Vampire West Wing that is King Bill’s residence. Once again, the vamp/human political climate made an appearance.

It’s looking as if the politics of leadership will play quite the part this season. In fact, the only storyline that feels slightly out of place this week is the Tommy as con artist ruse. The depth of his manipulation of Mamma Hoyt, revealed to us through a chance visit, and his anger at Sam’s rejection of his scheme, portraying Tommy as both manipulative and incredibly needy, seems a little out of balance.

That, however, is a minor criticism. Once again, True Blood has produced some top quality television, with superb dialogue, “You just killed my Fairy Godmother” being a particular highlight, and tantalizing us with a myriad story possibilities. Will Eric ever be himself? What will become of Jason? And what’s with the doll? Only another six days till we find out!

Read our review of episode 2, You Smell Like Dinner, here.

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