By learning from past mistakes, True Blood’s latest episode was the strongest for several seasons.
Well, that was unexpected. It took a few episodes, but True Blood finally found its footing and delivered the strongest episode for several seasons. It wasn’t perfect, but Death is Not the End avoided many of the missteps the show has made repeatedly over the years by leaving out unnecessary characters (Lettie Mae isn’t even mentioned) and pulling secondary characters (like Willa) back into orbit of the main characters. Hopefully this week marks a course correction for the series, which will hopefully continue down this path to end the series on a (relatively) high note.
It wasn’t perfect, but Death is Not the End avoided many of the missteps True Blood has made repeatedly over the years
Perhaps the biggest improvement of the episode is that Sookie actually experienced character growth as a result of Alcide’s death. She started the season with a “let me be a hero” speech, but, even last week, everything was still about her (she was still feeling guilty, as though going to the bone zone with Bill caused all the supernatural shenanigans in Bon Temps). The episode opens with Sookie calling Jackson Herveaux to tell him his son is dead, while Jason calls Hoyt to tell him his mother is dead. Jason, bearing the full weight of a lifelong friendship Hoyt no longer remembers, is having a hard time putting on a brave face for the community. Sookie gives him a pep talk about the town needing him and neither of them having the luxury of grieving for the time being. Sookie gives another pep talk to Arlene’s kids and promises them she’ll bring their mother home alive.
Holly was glamoured to forget her time in captivity. Rather than having a vampire un-glamour then re-glamour at least some of the pain away, Sookie uses a skill she probably has never had until now and telepathically rips the glamour band-aid off Holly’s memory wounds. She finds out that Arlene and the others are in the Fangtasia basement and leaves Holly sobbing in Andy’s arms.
Jessica hasn’t been eating since she killed the faeries, so she isn’t healing. James finally gives up and runs off to tell
her dad Bill. Sookie arrives to talk to Bill about attacking Fangtasia during Jessica’s “intervention” and has the men leave so she can talk to Jessica alone. Jessica expects a saccharine pep talk, but Sookie serves up some Real Talk and tells her, “I just don’t give a fuck about you or your problems.” Sookie wants to save her friends and will need Jessica’s help so Jessica needs to deal with it and feed. Jessica agrees to feed, but not off Sookie, so Sookie tells James to call Lafayette. Lafayette shows up, they bond over guilt (he hasn’t forgiven himself for killing Jesus…even though he was possessed at the time), and she feeds.
Eric and Pam are flying back to the States, which leads to this week’s superfluous (but charming) flashback: the origins of Fangtasia
Eric and Pam are flying back to the States to kill Sarah Newlan, which leads to this week’s superfluous (but charming) flashback: the origins of Fangtasia. It was originally a strip mall video store given to Eric and Pam to run as punishment for their resistance in France. Ginger started working there as a college student in ’96 (bonus points for the laserdisc display, minus a million points for the rest of the store being DVDs) and in ’06 she had the idea for Fangtasia, which Pam steals and glamours Ginger to forget (and apparently become a moron).
Eric and Pam stop by Bon Temps in time to help with the assault on Fangtasia, and Eric and Sookie have a Moment. They’re able to sneak out everyone but Arlene through a hidden tunnel conveniently mentioned in the flashback. Arlene was chosen as a snack so the gang must face the Hep V vamps head on; an appropriately silly fight happens between the Hep V vamps, the good guys and part of the Bon Temps mob. Arlene, drained to the edge of death, hallucinates a reunion with Terry that’s both surprisingly poignant and Nicholas Sparks-level emotional manipulation. New vamp Keith saves Arlene by giving her his blood.
– Having Hoyt, Jason, and James all in Bon Temps sounds like super fun times for Jessica.
– The flashback costumes were great, with Pam in her 80s shoulder pads and Ginger switching between flannel Lisa Loeb and Hot Topic chic in the 90s and aughts, respectively.
– Willa became the voice of the audience, and Sookie actually agreed: “I don’t give a shit about what Sookie needs! No offence.” “No, I get it.”
All images: HBO