If I’m to be perfectly honest, this week is the first time since Season 3 began that I’ve been legitimately excited about tuning in for “True Blood.” Granted, you have to take my position with a grain of salt, since I wasn’t watching when episodes 3.7 and 3.8 originally aired, so I’m willing to admit that it’s possible I could’ve had that feeling as a result of one of those. Even so, though, I’m willing to bet that just about everyone who watched The King rip out the heart of that poor newscaster at the end last week’s episode was desperately seeking an answer to the question, “What’s going to happen now?”

I know *I* certainly was.

It was therefore mildly disappointing to have the episode begin not with The King but, rather, with Bill finally revealing Sookie’s true identity to her. Fortunately, Sookie’s reaction served as an instant salve for the wound: “I’m a fairy? How fucking lame!” I think you’d have to say that Bill didn’t exactly do the best possible job of playing up Sookie’s ancestry, and things only got worse when he was forced to admit that her people were reportedly wiped out of existence by vampires, owing to fairy blood being magically delicious. He can’t exactly confirm that the stories are true, but he can at least vouch for the awesomeness of Sookie’s blood. This immediately makes her suspicious of why Bill’s interested in her, but he swears up and down, “It’s not your blood I love. I love you – your mind, your heart, your soul – and I will foreswear ever feeding on you again if that’s what it takes to convince you of that.” Aw, isn’t he just the sweetest vampire?

After coming off as a total bad-ass at the end of last week’s episode by killing Franklin with wooden bullets, all of Jason’s bravado abruptly vanishes in a puff of PTSD as he flashes back to killing Eggs at the end of last season…and then to killing Eddie way back in Season 1, an event which I’d practically forgotten about. It’s more than a little bit late for remorse, though, and Tara’s clearly not asking him for have any, anyway. Together, the two of them make sure that there’s nothing left of Franklin.

Lafayette and Jesus are trying their best to help get Crystal’s dad someplace where they can get him medical attention, while Sam’s chugging whiskey and seems to have a flurry of feelings running through his head…including his own flashback, which shows a side of him we’ve never seen nor even imagined. It never occurred to me that he’d used his great powers with great irresponsibility, but I reckon he got what he deserved, now, didn’t he? As we learn over the course of the episode, Sam’s past is much darker than we’d heretofore known about. Clearly, he’s not a man to be trifled with…and never has been. Meanwhile, Lafayette’s stock of vampire blood serves to save Crystal’s daddy, but he’s not exactly grateful for their efforts, and he’s still pissed off at his daughter for stepping outside of her own community…whatever that is. Jesus, however, is fascinated by the power of vamp blood. I’m not really a big fan of these moments where they try to parallel something from the real world – in this case, drug addiction – with something from the world of vampires. It always feels too heavy-handed to me, and this was no exception, coming across like a vampire-translated take on “Trainspotting” or “Requiem for a Dream.”

All things considered, I don’t think it’s the worst plan in the world for Erik to be making sure his estate is in order, given that The King’s first order of post-newsman-killing business is likely to take him down. Shame about how Erik’s new dancer got screwed in the last will and testament, but I laughed out loud at the way the phrase “you gold-digging whore” was both in subtitles and spoken in straight-up English.

When Bill turns on the TV, Ms. Flanagan is back on the news and, unsurprisingly, she’s decrying The King’s actions, likening him to Jeffrey Dahmer. Nice try, but I’m guessing it’s not going to sway the tide of negative sentiment toward vampires but so much. Erik turns up, and he and Bill have one of their typically tense heart-to-heart chats, with Bill updating him on the effects of Sookie’s blood and Erik offering a tsk-tsk at how disappointed Sophia’s going to be. It quickly descends into a back-and-forth about Sookie, which is promptly interrupted by Sookie herself, who mouths off to Erik. In return, he offers a moment of surprising tenderness with his farewell to her, then vanishes into the night.

Hey, look, Rev. Steve is back! I guess all it took to bring him back to the forefront was The King’s shenanigans on national TV. Naturally, Arlene is cheering him on, though she really should’ve known better than to mouth off in front of Jessica, who quickly takes her to task for her loudmouth manner. She’s embarrassed, but Tommy thinks her actions are hot, which manages to further embarrass her. Meanwhile, Hoyt’s new girlfriend, Summer, is continuing to annoy the living hell out of him, but she’s playing the sex card. Give him credit for maintaining restraint. (I’m not sure I could’ve been quite so strong if my girlfriend had put my hand on her breast and basically said, “Take me, I’m yours.”) When we next see Jessica, however, she’s got a whole new problem to deal with…and, ohh, man, here’s another real-world point of comparison: crosses being burned in vampires’ front yards. That might even be more heavy-handed that Lafayette and Jesus’s chemical-induced voyage through time. Thankfully, there’s little focus on this event, and the next time we see Jessica, she’s being handed the opportunity to get back together with Hoyt…and dismisses it. Ouch. Tommy sure as hell deserved the punch in the face he got from Hoyt, but, holy shit, I can’t believe Tommy attacked him like that, especially since the end result was Hoyt and Jessica bonding like they’ve never bonded before.

Jason and Tara cross paths with Sookie and Bill, and to call it a tense encounter would be an understatement, with Tara’s experiences with Franklin clearly having soured her on all vampires. Specifically, she’s blaming Bill for his refusal to assist her, but I think you could easily argue that she’s more than within her right to be develop an anti-vamp stance at this stage of her life. For his part, Bill is putting his faith in Jason to protect the ladies in his absence…but that might be misplaced. At long last, Jason finally opens up to someone – his sister – about Eggs, who tells him that he really needs to be honest to Tara. She says he should be honest, and he says that she wouldn’t know anything about honesty since she can already tell what everyone else is thinking. (Nice comeback.)

Things are pretty weird around Merlotte’s in the wake of Sam’s explosive behavior the previous night. He’s pretty calm, but everyone else is walking on eggshells for fear of accidentally setting him off again. He claims to be fine, but is he? I reckon we’ll soon find out. The scene with Terry and Arlene outside of the bar was hilarious up until the point where Arlene had to go and spoil the mood by telling him who the father of her baby was. Leave it to good ol’ Terry to say just the right thing. What a guy.

When Erik turned up and Sookie was convinced it was a dream, I wasn’t entirely convinced that that was the case. It was, of course, but I wouldn’t put anything past that guy. After she jolted herself awake, the story switched to Jason, who delivered breakfast to Tara and tried to find the words to tell her about what he’s done…and, shockingly, he wasn’t very successful. Tara, however, thanked him profusely, thereby making him feel worse. (One thing: despite Tara’s comment, I’m pretty Jason isn’t just pretending to be dumb.) After a kiss, though, he’s jolted to his senses and finally tells her the truth. It goes over about as well as you’d expect…but, really, how could he possibly have expected anything else? I mean, that’s like being surprised to discover that his sister has gone out on her own. Where’s she gone? To see Erik, of course…and this time, it’s no dream. There’s a whole lot of kissin’ going on at Fangtasia…but, hey, it’s like she said: she’s irresistible and intoxicating. Is Erik really picking Sookie over Pam? Surely not. And, yet, again, you never know with that guy.

Bill’s royally pissed at Jason for letting Sookie out of his sight, but, frankly, Jason’s a little pissed, too, and he’s not afraid to lash out at Bill, officially rescinding his invitation to allow him inside the house. I’m not quite sure about the ins and outs of the whole vampires / invitations thing, but Jason’s words clearly had an immediate effect on Bill, sending him hurtling out the door. But Jason’s not alone: instead, he’s got a blank panther in his room…a.k.a. Crystal. Oh, mama…

Remember how I said that it was mildly disappointing to have the episode kick off with Sookie rather than The King? Well, you can imagine how annoyed I was, then, to have His Majesty not actually make an appearance until the 49-minute mark of the proceedings. Looks like The King is busy shopping for a new boy toy, but all he’s seeing is Talbot’s ghost…which is darned unfortunate for the rent boy he’s picked up, as he stabs the poor bastard. Vampire therapy is harsh, man.

Things wrap up with Erik throwing Sookie over his shoulder, carrying her down to the basement of Fangtasia, and putting her in lockdown. I’m sure he’d say it was for her own good. Somehow, however, I don’t think Bill’s going to buy that…