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imageThis week’s episode of “True Blood” picks up right where we left off with Eric – rendered shirtless, shoeless and clueless – acting on impulse and acting a fool over Sookie’s sweet-smelling blood.

As we settle into the new season, the reminder jumps up and bites us that early episodes tend toward slow, tension-building plot developments and depend heavily on one-liners to get us through it all. Eric (top photo), who can’t remember much after being necromanced by the witches, delivers the best of the night early in the episode, when Sookie re-introduces herself and tells him he’s a vampire: “I know I’m a vampire, Snooki.”

Here’s hoping that the popular significance of “True Blood” will outlast the popular awareness of the real Snooki. But we have bigger issues to consider. Eric is so lost that he needs looking after, and Sookie gets roped into the job.

imageLesbi-riffic Pam can’t help. Eric knocks her around (middle photo), and she’s convinced Bill put Eric in danger with the witches on purpose. Sookie can’t tell newly lez-tastic Tara, who’s worrying with the gays about what happens when Eric comes to his senses, apparently with good reason. And His Hotness Alcide is too busy keeping his shirt on and nursing an on-the-wagon Stepford Debbie. Sookie’s stuck dodging Eric’s advances, giving him bad clothes to wear (bottom photo), and losing track of him.

Meanwhile, over at the trailer park, hillbilly compound, shape-shifting panther farm, dirty drug-dealing den, or whatever you want to call it, Jason is still tied up, writhing in fever, and having his panther bites tended with mud while the young’uns get a too-confusing lesson in panther trash history. Their kind is dying out, and bigger plans for Jason to invigorate their gene pool haven’t been seen since the Windsors got Princess Diana.

imageElsewhere in Bon Temps, Bill strikes up a sexual relationship with Portia and tells Jessica to “vamp up” about her indiscretions. Sam and Tommy are at odds over a fast money scheme, Hoyt and Jessica’s creepy doll makes friends with Terry and Arlene’s evil baby, Andy’s addiction to V escalates, and Marnie contacts the ancient spirit that has hold of Eric.

Faerie Claudine wants to take Sookie away from all this, but Sookie knows better. Now where in the heck has that confounded Eric gone? Oh, there he is, just in time to suck the life out of Claudine.

Confused enough for one week? Must be time for another one-liner to wrap this up: “You just killed my Faerie godmother!” Oops.