Sookie works with Bill to unleash all out war on the infected vampires and Eric’s origins in Louisiana are revealed in a hilarious and fantastic flashback…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s hard to imagine anyone has been as harshly critical about ‘True Blood’ over the last couple of seasons as I have consistently dogged this show for downgrading what was once a series I couldn’t wait to see arrive on Sunday nights to an afterthought and obligation because TV recaps are what I do. When ‘Game of Thrones’ debuts, it’s like an event — lights off, stereo surround sound on and the phone disappears for at least an hour so I can watch the show completely uninterrupted. Conversely, ‘True Blood’ became the show that I used to get excited about that lately had me reaching for Twitter mid-episode because I just couldn’t be bothered to pay attention for a full hour straight of whatever ludicrous story they were pushing this week.
The final season of ‘True Blood’ has been hit and miss as well, but my thought was with only 10 hours to go, the writers and producers were playing a serious end game with everyone being dubbed as expendable. So far the deaths have ratcheted up week to week with Alcide being the latest to die in the last episode, although it was a shallow exit for a fan favorite and a really weak effort by the writers in giving him his last goodbye. Thankfully, everything turned around for the latest episode titled ‘Death is Not the End’ where it was like a ‘True Blood’ reunion show, but done in a way that really brought all the pieces of the puzzle back together in grand fashion.
Goodbye Dear Friends
The episode opened with Sookie calling Jackson Herveaux to tell him about his son’s passing in the last episode. It was good to see Robert Patrick back for at least one more shot before the series ended, and his reaction to the death of his son was very appropriate. He also shared with Sookie the fact that Alcide loved her more than anything else in this world, and he was happier than he had ever been before with her. Then it was Jason’s turn to share the news of Maxine’s passing with her son Hoyt, who is now working on an oil refinery in the middle of Alaska. Jason Stackhouse may have the emotional depth of a mud puddle, but he actually got to show off some real sadness breaking the news to Hoyt because deep down he wanted to comfort and console his friend, but following his mind wipe last season, there’s no memory left that they even grew up together. Jason also has to tell Rosie about Kevin (the deputy who sounds like Kermit the Frog), who was the first to die when the blood thirsty vampires needed someone as a snack.
Bringing back past characters during a final season of a show is a really contrived way of getting viewers to tune back in if they’ve long since tuned out, but both of these brief appearances made sense and tied some loose ends up.
Welcome to RST Video: Louisiana
Much like reunions done out of ratings necessity, flashbacks on a show should add something to the overall chemistry and not strip away at a character or story just to fix a past problem. Last week’s ridiculous look back at Eric’s ‘lost love’ was so out of sorts it’s almost as if the writers decided to completely revamp (no pun intended) the character that was so beloved by ‘True Blood’ viewers since the first time his goldilocks popped on screen in season one. In the latest episode, however, a flashback to Eric and Pam’s shared misery being forced to run a video store in the middle of bumfuck Louisiana was hilarious and charming all at the same time.
Sure, Eric is once again being molded into an entirely different character than the one we’ve come to love, but this time around it’s so crazy, all is forgiven.
The Majestor (played by Zeljko Ivanek) reappears this episode as well to pass along sentence to Eric and Pam after their run-in with the Yakanomo corporation declaring that he will be the new Sheriff of Area 5 in Louisiana while also owning and operating a video store alongside Pam with a vast collection of comedy, horror and porn tapes to attract patrons to their fine establishment. This little slice of hell was handed over thanks to Eric’s insubordinate attitude towards The Authority, and he was given his position as a way for them to keep their eyes on him, not as any kind of reward for his good deeds.
So for the better part of 10 years, Eric and Pam go to work everyday complaining that they’re not even supposed to be there while quietly carving out a place in their new home in Louisiana. The upstairs is dotted with neon lights and movie posters, the downstairs is dark and damp with the glowing hum of perversion around every corner and even an underground tunnel used during the Civil War that gives the place a little bit of history. The tunnel comes up again later and I’m hoping this entire flashback wasn’t placed in the story just for this reason.
Eventually a mousy college student shows up looking for vampire films to watch for research on a school project and it turns out to be Ginger. Yes, the screaming vamp bait human host from the bar is back. She ends up working at the video store until one day she shows up driving a hearse and presents a giant wooden chair to Pam with an idea in mind. This is 1996 and vampires are out of the coffin now so the culture surrounding the blood suckers is well known throughout the world, and Ginger has an idea for how Eric and Pam can get out of the video store and create a new business focused on sex and money without all the stroke booths and messy clean-ups.
Ginger’s idea is a bar — a vampire bar — where Eric sits as king on a throne and everybody that walks into the place wants nothing more than to get planted on his lap but since they can’t have him they spend every dollar they have on overpriced drinks for the privilege of staring in his direction while watching go-go dancers work over a stripper pole. Ginger even has a name for the place — Fangtasia.
Pam loves the idea — so much in fact that she glamour’s Ginger to believe that the idea was all hers and back to present day she’s decided to share this story with Eric as they fly back home to being their hunt for Sarah Newlin. It was a fun romp looking back at Eric and Pam’s shared history together and maybe the message is 10 years of working in retail really can drive you to the point of becoming a cold, detached killer like these two were when we met them in season one. As a former retail employee, I can actually buy that story.
One more thing — Pam wants to begin her search in Louisiana with a Senator who she believes Sarah Newlin would reach out to for help in her time of need. Eric has other ideas. He redirects the plane to land close to Bon Temps so he can reconnect with his progeny Willa although Pam knows he has an ulterior motive to going back home again because that’s where Sookie just happens to be.
I Need a Drink
I complained last week when Jessica was shot by Maxine Fortenberry and at the time her wound wasn’t healing and then five minutes later she was out hunting and killing vampires like nothing ever happened. Thankfully, things were rectified this week as it was revealed that Jessica hasn’t eaten in over two months — a sort of self-flagellation for killing three of Andy’s fairy daughters. Because she’s not eating, Jessica is no longer healing and it becomes of great concern to James, who in turn rats on her to Bill. Instead of commanding Jessica to eat, he allows Sookie to have a conversation with his ‘daughter’ woman to woman.
Instead of offering Jessica a shoulder to cry on in her time of woe, Sookie tells her she doesn’t give a shit about her tears or how sad she is that three fairies are dead thanks to her blood cravings. No, Sookie wants Jessica to suck it up, run it off, and drink some damn blood because she needs her to be at full strength for the battle that lies ahead. Jessica refuses to drink from here, but Lafayette shows up and gives her some of his blood at James’ behest. Meanwhile, Sookie takes care of feeding Bill as this power couple gets closer and closer to reuniting.
The reason Sookie needs everyone at full strength is she’s planning an all out assault on Fangtasia after helping Holly to remember her time after being kidnapped by the Hep-V vampires. Bill has called on every able bodied vampire willing to pitch in and lend a hand including James’ band mates. Maybe I forgot that James had a band, but there’s something so ‘Lost Boys’ about this guy being a faux rock star on ‘True Blood’. I’m expecting a spinoff as soon as the show ends about James and the Fangers going on tour, solving crimes and rocking stadiums all across the world — party all night, sleep all day, it’s fun to be a vampire rock star.
Back to the story at hand — with a rag tag group of vampires clearly outnumbered going into Fangtasia, the cavalry arrives as Eric and Pam show back up on Bill’s doorstep ready to help rid the town of the infected vampires. One of the best relationships in the history of this show has been the uneasy tension and friendship between Eric and Bill and it was a real joy to see these two interact again, even if for the briefest of moments. Eric mocks Bill’s time as a vampire god saying the rumor is he’s no longer an asshole, and the playful banter has returned!
Fun quickly turns to fright, however, as Sookie and Bill discover that Eric is infected and probably doesn’t have much time left to go until the thirst overcomes him and he dissipates into a pile of goo. Thankfully, Eric has a plan to go in the underground tunnel at Fangtasia (there’s where it all ties together) to rescue the humans held prisoner before surprising the vampires inside.
The plan works out well in the beginning with Nicole and Jane being rescued, but before the vampire hero squad can save Arlene, she’s dragged upstairs to become dinner.
Eric decides to take it upon himself to knock on the front door and bring Sookie inside as an ‘offering’ so that he might join the group. At the same time this is happening, Vince, Kenya and the Bon Temps vigilantes are cruising towards Fangtasia, loaded up with Molotov cocktails and shotguns ready to do maximum damage.
The battle begins after Eric’s distraction works well enough for Bill, Pam and the other vampires to sneak into the bar. Things go south when the vigilante dip shits show up and start a fire, but they are quickly dispatched by the vampires (see ya Vince!). When it’s all said and done, the Hep-V vampires are destroyed, nobody dies from Team Sookie and Eric even manages to get fed when he feasts on Rosie, who happens to be on the one human left alive after all the carnage ensues.
One More Visitor
Arlene is about to float over to the other side after being bitten and sucked dry, but Sookie is determined to bring her back. During her journey to the netherworld, Holly at first hears and then sees Terry, who appears in her mind, as she starts to drift off into that sweet death. It was good to see Terry back even for that brief moment before Keith the guitar playing vampire shows up to offer Arlene some blood to heal her wounds. Arlene says goodbye to Terry one final time as she awakens no worse for the wear.
With six-episodes to go it appears the Hep-V vampire story has come to an end (at least for now) and the focus will now turn to Eric’s hunt for Sarah Newlin and a final showdown with the Yakanomo corporation. There were also the required sparks flying between Eric and Sookie and you have to believe that their story will end in one of two ways — either she holds Eric in his final moments the same way she sat with Godric as he met the sun or her blood is the key to a cure for Hep-V and she’ll save him before meeting the true death.
What say you ‘True Blood’ fans — what’s the end game for this show as the story shifts to a new direction beginning next week?