'True Blood' Season Five: Burning Questions

With the new season about to premiere, we look back at the cliffhangers left up in the air from season four.

Oh "True Blood," how we've missed you and all your nudity, sex and soap opera-esque drama. Not to mention all the vampires, werewolves, werepanthers, shifters, fairies and ghosts. With the premiere of the expectedly fantastical fifth season just hours away, we can't help but wonder just what creator/executive producer Alan Ball has in store for us over the course of the next 12 episodes.

Here are a few of our burning questions ahead of the big return to Bon Temps tonight:

How Will Eric and Bill Be Punished?
As the show is wont to do, there were several cliffhanger elements presented in the season-four finale; one of them was the bromantic beheading of uptight Authority boss Nan Flanagan by on-again/off-again frenemies Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). The last we saw of them, they were literally covered in vampire blood and guts. What's next? Will they have to run away together? How long before the Authority catches up to them? We know they won't be killed off, so what kind of punishment will they receive?

How Long Will Sookie Stay Single?
Speaking of Eric and Bill and their rocky relationship, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) insisted last season that although she has feelings for both vampires, she needs to be single for a while. In knowing the show like we do, "a while" will likely be two or three episodes, tops. But who will Sookie try out this season? Eric and Bill will probably always be potential suitors, but she's been there, done that. All signs point to a future dalliance with one bighearted, warm-blooded werewolf, Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello). How can she resist all that flannel and those muscles?

How Long Will Eric Stay Angry With Pam?
If there's anyone who deserves more screen time and/or backstory this season, it is Pam (Kristin Bauer). The haughty, no-nonsense, impeccably dressed progeny of Sheriff Northman steals a part of every scene she's in, no matter the circumstances. But after Eric dismissed Pam so harshly at the end of last season, we have no idea what's in store for their relationship, which is one of the most entertaining to watch on the show. Odds are that Eric can't stay mad at Pam forever, but he's also not one to let her off the hook easily. So the better question is: What will it take for Pam to get back into her Master's good graces?

How Much Damage Will Russell Edgington Cause?
It seems like it was just a matter of time before Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) would reappear. Especially since Bill and Eric didn't fully kill him before — they just wrapped him up in silver and buried him in concrete. We all know that the only real way to kill vampires is to take a stake to them, a missed opportunity Eric and Bill will very likely come to regret this season. Not that it won't be delightful to watch O'Hare working his magic or wreaking havoc as the former King, but we expect him to be the cause of a lot of bloodshed and tears.

How Dead Is Tara?

The biggest question of them all: What the heck happened to Tara? The last time we saw her, she sacrificed a good portion of her skull to save her BFF Sookie from crazy Debbie Pelt (RIP). And for what? To be killed off and mourned? To die and come back as a ghost to haunt Sookie and all of Bon Temps? If she isn't dead, who saves her? And how? There are so many mystical, magical forces at play on this show nowadays that we can't just assume all problems will be solved with a few drops of V. Or can we?