Now that’s what I call an opening!

The King drags Sookie into the royal mansion as Lorena’s coming down the grand staircase, Eric and Talbot stroll in, and Bill – who’s kind of been bringing up the rear – is thrown to the floor and declared to be a traitor. Instead of giving up the ghost, though, Bill stakes the King’s bodyguard and attempts to take down His Majesty, too. It proves a laughable effort, however, as Bill is shunted upwards into the ceiling and then comes crashing down on the staircase. Ouch…but now we cue Eric, who steps in and immediately starts sucking up to the King, telling him he’d better hold on to this fine new filly he’s found himself.

Really, you can’t blame Sookie for her response: “Eric, what the fuck?”

There’s a whole lot of pissed-off people in the royal mansion: Talbot’s annoyed that the King isn’t giving him any say in what goes on in their homestead, and Lorena’s angry that Bill’s being sent to the slave quarters to be slain. I’d love to see a cat fight between Lorena and Sookie, I surely would. Lorena might want to wear Sookie’s ribcage as a hat, but I still wouldn’t count Sookie out of any such fight.

The clientele at Merlotte’s is far more discerning that I would’ve expected. Anyone asking the help how the peas are served in that place deserve whatever answer they get…or whatever they find in their peas. Obviously, there’s still some serious flirtation going on between Lafayette and Jesus, but we’ll get back to that in a moment. First, we should have a laugh at the whole Arlene / Jessica plot thread. I laughed at just about every moment those two shared tonight, whether it was Jessica’s fangs popping out when Arlene cut her finger, Arlene’s completely horrified reaction (particularly her concern that her pregnancy made for an added temptation), or – most hilariously – Arlene’s assurance that she takes garlic supplements. In the end, Jessica offered an olive branch of sorts by getting Curlers to offer up a tip before offering herself up as a snack…and, hey, nobody got killed! Looks like Jessica learned something from Pam after all…

Okay, back to the Lafayette / Jesus flirtation. Jesus talked about his past, and, amazingly Lafayette actually seemed to be falling for him, though he clearly was taken aback by the concept of taking it slow. Things looked like they were getting pretty sweet between them…and then, a little later, they suddenly weren’t. Oh, sure, they did double-team the hillbillies like they were Jean Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman, but as soon as Jesus learned that Lafayette was a dealer, things went south in a hurry. This, of course, begs the question as to whether or not Lafayette cares enough about Jesus to consider trying to get out of the game…and if Eric will let him do so.

I still don’t know what to make of Jason’s new lady friend. They’re still making out hot and heavy, but it struck me as more than a little ominous when he observed how warm she was, and when she started crying about how she just wanted a taste of something that she’d remember forever and soon started sniffing the air…? To borrow a line from Wire, there’s something strange going on tonight, and it’s not quite right. But I laughed when she ran off, saying, “Just forget me.” Boy, you really don’t know this guy, do you? The next thing you know, he’s at her doorstep with a big bouquet of flowers and…pardon me while I snicker…wearing his high school letterman’s jacket to impress her. Still, you had to feel bad for Jason when her fiancee answered the door and, when he called for her, her reaction was to claim that she’d never seen him before. So, of course, Jason being Jason, he has to get his annoyance about the situation out of his system by smacking around his current high school equivalent…and while he’s trying to bang his sweetheart. That’s just not cool, man.

“My patience is not without its limits,” says the King to Sookie, taking her to his den and, after lighting a fire for proper dramatic effect, entering into a Q&A session with her. It didn’t start out that way, of course, but he’s bemused by her…to a certain extent, anyway. It’s an educational conversation, though, with the King making her question her humanity with his comments about her powers, question Bill’s motives by revealing the file that he’s been keeping on her family. She tries to be as honest as possible, but he’s not fucking around: he wants to know the deal with her powers. He clearly believes her when she says she doesn’t know, later giving her a tsk-tsk and sighing, “Oh, sweetheart, you really don’t know anything at all, do you?”

As usual with Lorena, I find myself leaning toward the concept of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” The sequences with her and Bill were, to be blunt, fucking disgusting. I mean, she cuts him down the middle of his chest, cuts her own fingers, intermingles their blood, and then goes on to flay him. Bill comments that he would’ve liked to have seen her before the darkness set in, and I think he meant it, but it’s far too late for her to turn back at this point. The grotesquery continues, and when the redneck werewolves entered the picture…ugh. Just…ugh.

Tara and Franklin are still sittin’ in a tree, occasionally k-i-s-s-i-n-g, but mostly Tara’s just scared out of her ever-loving mind…and, frankly, she’s getting much worse at hiding her emotions. Franklin doesn’t seem to care, though. He’s crazy in love with her…emphasis on the crazy. Still, she’s trying her best to manipulate him and his silk pyjamas, and she seems to really make the most out of his request of her to bite him. Time to adapt the Blondie song to “Rip HIM to Shreds,” methinks. I have to admit that I didn’t expect her attempt to bash in his skull to succeed…and since she didn’t actually stake him, I feel certain that we’ll see him again before long…but you can’t say she didn’t make the most of the opportunity provided to her.

I liked the conversation between Eric and the King in the car, with Eric discussing his hatred of werewolves and the King explaining how he uses them by giving them the blood, followed by the King reminiscing about the good ol’ days, talking about how Hitler was right: there is a master race, it’s just not the humans. It isn’t long before they’ve arrived at their destination: the Queen’s pad. How sad was it to see her scratching lottery tickets in a desperate attempt to get her fortune back? I feel as though Talbot would be less than thrilled to learn of the King’s marriage proposal to the Queen, but it’s clear that this would be a marriage of convenience, anyway, given the way he sneered those disparaging comments about her royalty. I knew Eric would jump into the conversation before too long, and so he did, apparently surprising the King with the depth of his threats to the Queen.

I still have no real idea what to make of the storyline with Sam’s family, but I always enjoy seeing the news shows in the background, so it was nice that they let the focus settle on this one for a few minutes. I’m skeptical at Tommy’s claims that he’s not scared of his daddy, but when Mama showed up with her homemade corn fritters and Sam took ’em off to Merlotte’s, it was certainly an intriguing conversation about Daddy dearest that also served to reveal that Mama isn’t nearly as big a fan of Sam as we’d been led to believe. I was afraid that was going to prove to be the case. Sad to see I was on the right track. So you’ll forgive me if I was getting a bit sleepy toward the end of the episode, but…am I right in my suspicion that Sam thinks that Tommy’s involved as a contestant in the dog fights? That’s some crazy stuff, man.

So things wrapped up tonight with Sookie narrowly avoiding the redneck werewolves, Tara crossing paths with Alcide, and Sookie finding Bill, proclaiming her love, and then getting her ass thrown against the wall by Lorena. We’ll see what happens next week, but since I think it’s fair to say that Sookie isn’t dead, it’s not quite as rough a cliffhanger as it might have otherwise been.