In my post on True Blood season 4 spoilers, my dismay at having the amnesia storyline omitted from the synopsis sparked some good conversation. I think the Netflix blurb may likely be the synopsis for the first episode and not the whole season but I still really want amnesia Eric to have a big part in season 4. It has been said though, by some Eric fans and also MANY Bill fans, that the amnesia Eric story is a cheap trick and one they don’t want to see.
I understand the idea that amnesia Eric is not the REAL Eric and surely Team Bill fans will scream this all season long in their usual nauseating fashion. It may be said that without Eric being “dumbed down” or “pussified” Sookie would never have hooked up with him, hence their whole relationship will be based on smoke and mirrors. Never mind the fact that Sookie’s relationship with Bill is built upon smoke, mirrors, lies, deceit, and brutal violence.
I submit though that amnesia Eric is not a cheap trick but rather a way for Sookie to see into Eric’s soul without vampire subterfuge getting in the way. Eric has clearly shown that he has a soft spot for Sookie but after 1000 years Eric is guarded about opening himself up to feelings of love for a human woman. Who can blame him?
Sookie has become increasingly interested in and drawn to the small bits of humanity that Eric has displayed and then quickly tried to hide. The amnesia arc in the books was a way to get past that barrier and see more of that side of Eric. It did not transform him into something else but rather peeled away most of the other layers that Eric has added to his inner skin in the thousand years he has been alive. Those layers are experience, memories, battles, power plays, politics, and tribulations, among many other things he has faced in the past millennium. Without those layers he is closer to the Eric he was as a human and thus in many ways Sookie does get to meet the REAL Eric… one she saw tiny glimpses of, and liked. The one he tries to bury deeper with every day that he his undead.
Can anything that happens between Sookie and Eric during this time be seen as real? Of course it can! Eric with amnesia is still Eric. This reminds me of a fave movie of mine called The Long Kiss Goodnight. In this movie Samantha the housewife finds out that amnesia erased the memory of her former self, Charlie the Spy. When she remembers her former life she quickly reverts back to her old ways of killing for hire, drinking, and swearing like a sailor but a friend points out that her “amnesia” personality had to come from somewhere. She realizes that her docile Suzie Homemaker personality was always a part of her but that it could not emerge among feelings of self loathing.
Eric Northman with amnesia is not a created persona it is merely a base version of himself. Sookie essentially gets to see a version of Eric that would/could exist without all the vampire bullshit. In this way she gets to see deep into his soul and his personality and she likes what she sees enough to get involved in a relationship with him. After Eric recovers his memory in the books they go their separate ways for a time but not because Eric was “back to normal” and not attractive to Sookie anymore, it is because he has no memory of what happened while he had amnesia. It is residual unexplained feelings that prompt him to find his way back to Sookie in later books and to make peace with a part of himself he thought he had buried… his humanity, which allowed him to fall in love with her. The experience eventually brings them closer because whether he would have wanted it or not, Sookie got to know him better than anyone. They don’t have long drawn out conversations about how Sookie actually loves a “fake” version of himself now do they?
Who knows if that will last but we can say with certainty that whatever happens between Eric and Sookie the whole amnesia arc was not a cheap trick. It was a window for Sookie to see a very real aspect of Eric that she knew was there somewhere, only buried. At this point in the books both Sookie and Eric have reconciled “base” amnesia Eric and Eric the Vampire Sheriff of Area 5… and found that their love for each other is still very much there. I can only hope that the TV show will share this story with the same poignancy as the books did.
Season 4 is loosely based on Book 4 in the Sookie Stackhouse series: