It’s back! And by crikey, it don’t mess around. Wonderfully, we arrive at the exact moment we left: with the discovery of a leg dangling lifelessly from Detective Andy Bellefleur’s car.
The first thirty seconds – before the credits roll – are a masterclass in Hammer House excitement. The chaos, the black humour, the fear: Tara panicking the body might be Lafayette’s; Andy, focusing as ever on the wrong thing (‘someone moved my car!’); Sookie gasping, ‘Check for a pulse’; Andy drily telling her there’s no need, there’s a massive gaping hole where the heart oughta be; Sam yelling, ‘It’s not Lafeyette’; Sookie sobbing, ‘Who is it?’; and Tara realising it’s Miss Jeanette and letting out the mother of all screams. My word, I had to have a lie-down after that and the programme hadn’t even properly started.
I’ve been trying to fill the True Blood gap ever since, like Andy Pandy, it waved goodbye last year. Glee has helped, but as we tumbled once more into the looking-glass world of Bon Temps, I realised that, lovely as it is, Glee is just a methadone substitute. Nothing can compete with TB for sheer high-octane, suck-you-in-and-spit-you-out enjoyment.
So for starters, we had Miss Jeanette , mouth rigor-mortised into a terrorised silent howl. As Sookie said in her dopey way, ‘Someone just wanted to see her suffer.’ Well, yes, Sookie. Good to see you firing on all cylinders.
We had Lafayette, alive thank the good lord, but chained to other prisoners in a dank dungeon, awaiting some horrible unknown fate. Pretty soon Eric appeared, wearing highlighting foil, making it clear what the fate was likely to be. And I don’t mean dark roots. I’m not worried about Lafayette, though. Worst-case scenario, he’ll be made into a vampire: a laid-back, jive-talking vamp with a penchant for gold lamé. That’s a happy bonus of this show. When your favourite characters get killed off, they’re likely to return, good as new, except with sharper teeth.