Real talk: if the episode had ended after the first 5-minute scene between Jason and Eric, I would have considered a triumph. A, um, “rousing” success. Jason Stackhouse sex dreams are always good for the soul, and Jason Stackhouse wrestling with, and then giving himself up to, Eric Northman…yes. This is what we wanted. All is forgiven, “True Blood.”
Except, the episode didn’t end at the 5-minute mark. It went on. And truthfully, that wasn’t all bad news. While the season premiere was a stinker pretty much all around, this episode had several decent sequences that echoed back to the series’ heyday. That's something the showrunners are clearly working toward -- this final season won’t be about taking us new places, it’s about going back to where we started. Unfortunately there was still a lot of messiness and stupidity to go around, so we have a long road ahead of us.
Following Sookie’s pledge of assistance last episode, Andy, Sam, Jason, Alcide, and Sookie headed out of town to follow the weakest of leads -- the corpse Sookie found in the woods last week. They thought maybe they could find some info on the infected vamp pack that attacked Merlotte’s, but all they found in neighboring St. Alice was death and a whole lot of nothing. The town was totally wiped out. As the Derptastic Five searched the house of the girl Sookie found in the woods, most of them reflected on their own imperiled families (Andy, Sam), while Sookie read the dead girl’s diary. It was basically her story, right down to being seduced by an older vampire and losing herself in his shadow. (I wondered if some of those lines weren’t actually lifted from Charlaine Harris’s books.) This prompted a decent discussion between Sookie and Alcide in which Alcide told her to stop being so hard on herself for being a human, and also, none of this is her fault. Alcide Herveaux: bringer of beef, speaker of truth. And then while Alcide was taking a shower (not nearly enough of that, show), That Idiot Sookie left the house after dark, with a massive pack of diseased vamps terrorizing her town, to go talk to Vampire Bill about whether or not he can still “feel” her. Someone please go on Amazon and gift Sookie a copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
My issue with the field trip to St. Alice was that, again, there was NO BETTER USE of time for these people?! The mayor? The chief of police?! Their town is under siege, two of them have significant others that are missing and in grave danger, and they decide to spend precious daylight tracking down some random dead woman’s family two towns over? I also found it fascinating that this is apparently happening in 2011. Has anyone kept track of the timeline for this show? Because I believe Sookie was gone for several years in fairy land (end of Season 4? 5?), we had a time jump at the end of last season, and now we’re somehow three years behind the real world. That seems off to me. Also also, I am unclear on how the vamp horde wiped out St. Alice, since they couldn’t enter the homes of the townspeople without being invited, and none of the houses appeared to be burned or anything. It just doesn’t make sense. Jason Stackhouse, why were your pizza forensics not applied to this mystery?
While the main cast was away, the townspeople of Bon Temps took up their idiot banner by deciding that the only way to protect themselves was to ransack the police station and steal all the weapons. A few notable things: Warmongering Failed Mayor Guy continues to be the worst, not only as a character, but as an actor. Andy’s half-fairy daughter tried to stop the militia but got locked up after her powers were exposed. Kenya was the voice of reason until Irritated Woman of Color (none of them have names that I know of!) essentially Lady Macbeth’d her. Sam’s shifter nature was made public to surprisingly little fanfare. And they found more frozen corpses in the Merlotte’s freezer, presumably left there by the vamps to come back for later. The only good part of this plotline was Maxine Foytenberry, which is not at all a surprise.
Meanwhile, Jessica was still locked in Andy’s attic (attic? That is sunblocked better than a basement?!) but knew that Adilyn was in danger due to the blood swap last episode. She could do nothing to save her. The weird part of this scenario is that it appears that Jessica is not healing properly -- the bite marks on her arm were still visible. Is this because Jessica is no longer feeding? Or because she’s not sleeping regularly? I would also note that Bill Compton seems utterly uninvested in the whereabouts of his vampire daughter.
On to the good stuff:
Last week I questioned the point of making Lettie Mae a series regular since Tara was -- seemingly -- killed off so callously. I wondered if Tara wasn’t really dead. Then I wondered if Lettie Mae had actually killed her own daughter, and was going on a killing spree as part of some kooky religious head trip, as Lettie Mae is wont to do. Her plot became clear this episode: she is addicted to V, and uses it to “communicate” with Tara. It’s a nice callback to the first season and led to a few awesome, disturbing sequences, including Lettie Mae deliberately burning herself so that she could trick Etta into giving her blood. We did then get a vision in which Lettie Mae spoke to a crucified, snake-draped Tara (guess she really is dead!) in which Tara promised to tell Lettie the truth, but then started speaking in tongues, leading to Lettie Mae losing her shit. That whole situation just got a lot more interesting to me.
At Fangtasia, the vamps infected with Hep V continued to be awful. But Arlene realized that one of them, Betty, used to teach her kids. She and Holly worked to gain Betty’s trust, and Betty did indeed try to save them through a complicated plan -- the diseased vamps have to feed regularly and can’t sleep for long periods, or they die. And everything was going great until Betty stopped to feed a bit on Arlene, went into a blood lust, and then totally disintegrated into diseased nastiness right between Arlene’s legs. So that’s another trip to the Free Clinic for Arlene.
Finally, Pam’s search for Eric ended when that handy hand-drawn map from last episode (oh, show…) pointed her to a region in France, where she did indeed find Eric. But bad news: it looks like he’s got the Hep V. This all got very “Normal Heart” to me.