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True Blood 7.4: "Death is Not the End"

Adam is back to talk True Blood as it continues on its death march to the finale.

Ladies and gents, True Blood. Is. Back. Watching this week’s episode filled me with the same amount of giddy joy I felt when I had a bad day at work and came home to find my roommate offering me half of a large pizza (extra cheese, extra sauce) and Burlesque was playing on TV. It’s in those moments when you just can’t help but wonder, Really? All for me? Lucky for my sake, when the credits rolled, I didn’t have the inevitable too-good-to-be-true afterthought that comes with unexpected generosity.  

The episode opened with Sookie and Jason notifying the closest kin of the deceased from the previous episode. Sookie informed Alcide’s father, Jackson, of his passing while Jason spoke with Hoyt Fortenberry about his mother. For a show about the undead, this is one of the only occurrences when death has had any weight and to it. Watching Hoyt and Jackson process their losses was crushing, even though I never cared for Alcide. While one was a human and the other a werewolf, neither one’s pain or hurt overshadowed the other, the same way both Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos Loco Tacos exist side by side on the Taco Bell menu (Okay, Okay, Cool Ranch obviously is better). The repercussions of death and the shockwaves that reverberate throughout these characters’ community appear to be at the heart of this final season. No matter who or what somebody is, nobody is impervious to its touch.  [More...]

Pam and Eric, all hot and bothered with the prospect of killing Sarah Newlin return to Shreveport to collect his progeny, Willa. This temporary visit to their old stomping grounds will be a “walk down memory lane”, as Eric encourages a reluctant Pam. To understand Pam and Eric, one has to understand the origins of the variable that has connected them for so many years: Fangtasia.

In flashback, we see them come into ownership of a backwoods video rental store, with a particularly extensive XXX section, as a sanction by the authority that they remain proprietors of the establishment with Eric imposed as Sherriff.

Of course, what would the tale of Fangtasia’s beginning be without the additive of Ginger, the bar’s favorite (and only?) human employee. We see her stroll into the store, looking for a particular vampire film as it pertains to one of her college classes that deal with the “plight of the other” in society, perfectly mirroring what True Blood has been all along. We also learn that it was Ginger’s inspired idea to turn the dump into a sprawling lust filled night club we've known and loved these past seven years. Pam, fueled by her endless insecurity over her relationship to Eric, glamours Ginger and takes the idea as her own to present to Eric. Poor Ginger never gets credit for anything! (Lets not forget last season when she was glamoured and had to distract the governor while Eric, Tara and the governor’s daughter escaped)

Jessica’s wounds continue to weaken her and tvampires deduce that she hasn't fed in month. Not since she murdered Andy’s daughters. She’s unable to forgive herself and sees her forced starvation as repentance. At Sookie’s insistence, James beckons to bring Lafayette for Jessica to feed on. After a heart to heart with Lafayette about love and self-forgiveness, they both recognize in each other a mutual fear of death. Jessica relents and feeds from Lafayette’s wrist, her shoulder wounds healing with every drop sucked.

With Holly’s return to Bon Temps, the final piece of the puzzle to Arlene’s whereabouts is discovered. Sookie uses her magic fairy fingers to help Holly remember where she'd been held (in the basement of Fangtasia) and what happened. Pam and Eric and Jessica and James and Sookie and basically everyone band together to find the captives like the Fellowship of the Ring, except everybody has slept with each other. The group infiltrates Fangtasia through its hidden underground railroad tunnel (naturally) and long story short, all hell breaks loose as HEP-V vamps, our antiheroes and angry humans from Bon Temps all collide with literal fiery explosiveness. Burn burn burn. Bang bang bang. Stake stake stake. Arlene nearly dies, but at the last second, from Terry’s otherworldly suggestion, chooses to live and be the mother her children need.

The show came so close to routinely killing off another major character during this episode after the unceremonious deaths we've already seen this season. To True Blood’s credit, I was on my toes the entire episode, thinking that at any second Pam could get a silver shot of bullets to the face or Arlene was going to get sucked a little too dry, like the last sips of a soft drink with too much ice. Luckily, by backing off on the deaths (at least for one episode), they ensured that they matter a little more and are not just there to shock the audience. The true deaths, when they come naturally/supernaturally, will hopefully provide substance to the narrative and not just for cheap end-of-episode shockers. 

This episode raises a lot of questions: How will Hoyt reconfigure back into the show? Can Ginger inherit Fangtasia when Eric dies since it was her idea? Taking into account Sookie’s lack of emotion when she notified Jackson of Alcide’s death, can we all agree that she had no real feelings for him and that they were thrown together to neatly tie up loose ends at the end of season 6 and because her romantic storylines with Bill and Eric had both run their course? Or do you believe that she was just “manning up” like she claimed? Above all, the reason why this episode struck such a chord and why I think it’s one of the best episodes in all seven seasons, is that I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, I cannot wait to see what happens next. 

Episode MVP: Ginger (C’mon, she deserves it for her reaction to seeing Eric for the first time, alone.)

Best Scene: Lafayette and Jessica accepting and healing each other’s wounds.

Best Line: Eric recounting to Sookie where he’s been.

First, I went home to Sweden, which was ab-so-lutely beautiful. But unfortunately, I triggered an avalanche that killed an entire ski village.”

Worst Scene: Sam’s bitchfit in the car with Jason when he tries to go all rogue and drive to Fangtasia without the vampires, who they obviously need with them to win. (Does anybody really care about Sam? I mean, really?)

Grade: A (The trimming of characters and storylines worked among many, many other things. Nonetheless, in the most respectful way possible, fuck off Tara and Alcide. The show’s better without you. 

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Reader Comments (7)

Hoyt! Terry! The Magister!


I love her. I hate how Pam took the idea from Fangtasia from her but that's totally something she would do so i can't be that angry. She gets points for that pleased grin she had on her face right after she told Eric the story, plus more for her continued disdain for Sookie.

Btw, Cool Ranch is definitely better but i'd never turn down Nacho Cheese.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Derreck - Both tacos, if substituted in the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, are just magical. And I'm telling ya, Ginger better be made HBIC of Fangtasia by season's end or I'm gonna curse this show for years to come.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Adam -- of all the reasons to curse this show? haha. I think GINGER may be the only character this show has ever fully used in EXACTLY the right portions of how often she should be used. Love love love her.

though i must say i don't get your love of this episode. that first half hour was dreadful full

July 15, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm one of the people who quit True Blood after season 5, but I loved it so much in its early time and I'm very happy that you review it here, so I can keep up on what is happening.

July 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

So far this is my favorite season since Season 1, to be honest. While other seasons had their highlights (see Edgington, Russell), most of them just ended up pissing me off/disappointing me.

July 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

It sounds like you were so pissed at Pam for stealing the idea that you would of been happy with her getting killed. I hope they don't kill her or Eric till the end at least because they were a big part of why I enjoyed this episode.

July 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Ivonne - glad you're enjoying the posts :)

Paul Outlaw - it's definitely back on the upswing. I just hope the remaining six episodes can keep the momentum going and finish the series off how it deserves.

Jim - *Gasp* Never! Pam's probably my favorite character on the show haha I just wanna see Ginger sit atop the throne she dragged in and cast judgement on Fangtasia's patrons

July 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

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