READ MORE | View our weekly recaps and coverage of “True Blood”

imageA year since we got our last taste of “True Blood,” it’s only been 15 minutes for Sookie in Faerieland in the Season 4 premiere. Or has it? Seems time passed in Bon Temps, too – enough for somebody to become a lesbian.

When last we saw our heroine, she and her Faerie godmother Claudine “went into the light” and disappeared from Bon Temps. Landing in Fae, home of the Faeries, Sookie finds all the pretty utopians – including her old friend Barry the gay telepathic bellboy and her Granddad Earl – eating glowing fruit and acting curiously euphoric.

In a rare moment of wisdom, Sookie won’t eat it. That pisses off the Faerie Queen (top photo), who goes all scary ugly face. Sookie and Grandad barely escape while being bombarded by the fruit, which turns out to make for damn good exploding light grenades.

imageTime passes slowly in Fae – Grandad thought he’d been there for a couple of hours, but it had been 20 years – so when he and Sookie return, it’s been a year of changes for the Bon Temps townies.

Almost everybody back home thought Sookie was dead. While she deals with the fact that her house – after three seasons of blood orgies, showdowns and to-the-death battles – is in the middle of a much needed extreme makeover home edition, we’re all adjusting to how the townies have moved on and changed.

Jason’s a full-fledged cop, Sam is in a shapeshifter anger-management support group, Sheriff Andy is addicted to V, Bill is Vampire King and in charge of Eric (!), Hoyt’s mom has cleaned up shapeshifter Tommy’s act, the vampires have a serious PR problem, and Arlene and Terry are raising the evil baby from hell who she was pregnant with last season.

imageAnd… wait for it… Tara (second photo) is a lesbian cage fighter named Toni from Atlanta! Yep, after years of soap opera-worthy mistreatment by men, our girl is truly “our girl” now. Last season, Tara cut all her hair off and wheeled out of town to create a new life. And did she ever, in Sapphic Zen bliss with girlfriend Naomi (Vedette Lim) along for the ride. Cue lesbian sex scene (third photo).

Speaking of the gays, Lafayette and Jesus (fourth photo) are still together, with Jesus still pushing witchcraft on Lafyaette. Witches are this season’s enemy entrenchment like the Manaed and the werewolves of seasons past. Our boys and Merlotte’s waitress Holly join a coven headed up by new villain Marnie (Fiona Shaw, bottom photo), already showing signs of being a wacked out nutjob.

imageMarnie and Naomi are just two of the five new female characters on the show, leveling the male-female playing field in the cast. Luna is a shapeshifter who befriends Sam, Katerina is a member of Marnie’s coven with secrets of her own, and Portia is a lawyer working on Vampire-Human relations while helping Sookie get her house back (Jason put it up for sale in her absence). In addition, lesbi-riffic Pam, Holly and Vampiress Nan Flanagan have upgraded roles. Our only complaint? The series now boasts 19 regular cast members, as if we didn’t have enough to keep up with already.

But the man-meat is by no means diminished. Despite the episode’s distinct lack of Alcide hotness—get your Joe Manganiello sexiness in today’s Morning Fix—it’s time to cue the show’s trademark nudity from both sexes. As Sookie takes a much-needed shower, she drops her towel. It doesn’t land on the floor but on 6’4” of Nordic god – Eric. She can’t banish him from the house because now he owns it – and by extension, her.

imageIt’s one hell of a set up episode. Summer may have already officially begun, but “True Blood” fans can now set our DVRs for the real season to begin. Can’t. Wait.

”True Blood” repeats this week on HBO (Atlanta Comcast 301, HD701 and HD880). The episode is also available On Demand Monday night. Also,  after touting that the next episode would be available “immediately” following the premiere on HBOGo, the site couldn’t handle the traffic and wasn’t able to deliver. Expect that to be fixed, hopefully sooner rather than later.