True Blood pays tribute to Terry Bellefleur while Eric goes full on Hostel at the Governor’s holding facility….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
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Last week’s episode of True Blood left me wondering if there was any reason left not to put a stake in this once riveting, sexy, blood lustful show, and the latest offered titled “Life Matters” both somewhat redeemed and yet strengthened my reasoning behind why I believes season 7 should be the final run for Bon Temps supernatural brood.
There are so many different ways this episode got it right and wrong in terms of storytelling, acting and reaction that it’s hard to say if this was one of the best efforts in True Blood history or just another wasted 50 plus minutes gone down the drain.
Two storylines took up the entire episode (outside of a few minutes with Warlow, which his absence was a welcome relief this week) and that consisted of Eric’s vengeful plan to free the vampires held under now dead Governor Burrell’s control while Arlene, family and friends paid tribute to Terry Bellefleur one final time.
Let’s Get Warlow Out of the Way
The character of Warlow as teased over the last season was supposed to be an ancient vampire hell bent on taking Sookie after she was promised to him by a relative many years ago. The visions of this blood sucking entity came complete with long hair, a cowboy hat (or hat of some kind) a duster and an overall grimacing demeanor.
Well it’s safe to say old Ben Flynn (still can’t get past that name) aka Warlow is anything but the vision that Sookie had when she first met this land before time stalker. He’s a young man by appearance who quickly developed a British accent after a couple of episodes cause why the hell not? Lucky (or unlucky) for us, Warlow is still alive after being attacked by Eric last week, and while the Nordic vampire took plenty of blood for himself, the ancient descendant of Lillith was still alive.
Sookie feeds him, but when Bill instructs that no matter what health he’s in, they must go to save the other vampires she blasts him with a quick shot of fairy dust sending him back out of the hidden fairy-lair. Bill is visibly upset, but he runs off to find Eric before he does some real damage.
Sookie, meanwhile, allows Warlow to heal her wrist where he fed and then promises to him once again that when it’s all over she will still be his for eternity. This is the perfect segue for her to run off to Terry’s funeral, taking place in the same cemetery where fairy-land is located.
Terry’s Gone in the Wind
This is where the recap takes a turn for the indecisive…
As teased at the top of this page, True Blood went off course long ago and one of the main culprits of that were the writers who decided that Terry Bellefleur needed more range and story than just being the comedic relief—a fun character that certainly came from a troubled past, but provided a human element in an otherwise supernatural world. So Terry was given a dramatic back story about killing a woman while he was a Marine in Iraq, and she was reborn as a vengeful smoke demon sent to burn the entire squad of soldiers who played a hand in her death.
It played out as dumb as I just made it sound for those that didn’t see the episodes, so with literally nowhere else to go this season, the writers decided to end Terry’s life literally minutes after his wife zapped all the bad memories out of his head courtesy of a gay soccer dad vampire who glamoured away the trauma he experienced.
In death, Terry achieved a full arc for what had to be originally imagined as nothing more than a fairly secondary character in the bigger True Blood picture. This week showed his funeral as family and friends all gathered around to tell their memories of Terry, while flashbacks guided us through the tour of Terry coming home from the war a changed and troubled man all the way to his first days as a fry cook at Merlotte’s.
It was a sad and somber episode that went back to the first days when Terry returned home from the war, tragically marred from the horrors he had seen while in service. In a great many ways, this was one of True Blood’s best efforts because everyday hundreds of troops come home from war with similar symptoms, dealing with tremendous PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) and they don’t have a cousin Andy to help coax them back into the real world, feeling safe and secure.
There was one particular moment where Lafayette flashes back to Terry’s first day on the job at Merlotte’s and he originally had no desire to teach this new kitchen helper much of anything that would slow him down. Instead after seeing the pain in Terry’s eyes as he reached out for help for something as simple as making a batch of French fries, pleading that he wanted to do this job right, Lafayette reacted with kindness and tenderness while using his usual flash and flare to get the job done.
Arlene’s first meeting with Terry was just as beautiful as it was apparent from the first second he laid eyes on this fiery redhead that he was going to fall in love with her one day. It was a sweet moment truly showing acting range, and Terry was at least for one episode the real heart and soul in True Blood. If there was one bad part to this whole series of scenes it was Grandma Bellefleur’s random racism and homophobic remarks, which felt out of place and instead of sad she just looked confused at her grandson’s burial.
That brings us back to why this entire perfectly crafted goodbye was so wasted considering how awful the writers behind this were to try to find a round hole for Terry’s square peg of a character to fit. With so many jumbled and messed up stories taking place over the last two seasons, it would have been nice to see True Blood treat a lead like Alcide or even Sam with the same type of attention that they paid to Terry.
It was a moving tribute and some of the best writing this show has displayed in the past two seasons, but ultimately it feels somewhat wasted given the secondary nature of who Terry Bellefleur was as a character when we spent a massive amount of time in his seemingly pointless storyline while others toiled away just waiting for a chance to get in front of the camera. In no way is this a reflection on Todd Lowe, who played Terry masterfully since the first day the show started.
If anything, the lesson learned from this episode was that Terry could have been a lead character on this show if given the kind of meaty material that we saw on Sunday night, but only in death was he layered with any real depth.
It’s a Bloody Good Time in the Daylight
It would be quite easy to sum up the rest of True Blood with a few words—gore, blood, gore, blood, ouch.
Eric shows up at the Governor’s vampire facility and immediately lays waste to everything and everybody in his sights. He kills the guards, and then in one of the most gruesome scenes I can remember, Eric meets the doctor that infected his sister Nora with the Hep-V that eventually killed her, and he proceeds to rip his genitals off in a horrifying and graphic scene that even Adam Green might flinch at. As a life long horror fan, I’m not opposed to gore being used as a tool in the right moments, but this seemed a little over the top even for True Blood. Especially one particular visual that made the final cut of the episode, that was just excessive for the sake of shock factor.
Back to Eric’s killing spree—he kills some more guards, frees some more vampires, and even manages to save Jason’s life with some of his own 1000 year old blood. Alexander Skarsgard definitely ended up with the best line this week when he tells Jason “when you dream about me, dream nice things” as he feeds him the blood that will surely land the blonde vampire in his mind after he slumbers.
Eric finds the psychiatrist who had sex with Pam in exchange for putting her back into the general population, and opts to save him for his progeny to finish off. All this time that Eric’s off killing everyone and everything, Bill is on his trail (although painfully and slowly behind given the fact that this facility doesn’t seem to be that big but he just keeps missing Eric every step of the way).
Bill is searching for the room where his own progeny Jessica along with Pam, Tara and others are awaiting their time to meet the sun. He tracks it down but not before realizing how he can save them all—he remembers that Sookie told him “Eric has more of Warlow’s blood in him right now that Warlow does” after he fed on the ancient vampire in the fairy wonderland.
Bill decides to feed all of the vampires in the holding pit with his blood, and as Sarah Newlin (yeah, she’s the one that got away) opens up the doors to the sun, they are all protected after feasting on the righteous blood of the maker. Eric shows up and finishes off Steve Newlin (thankfully) before the entire group runs out and starts destroying all of the bottles of infected True Blood lying around.
Sarah is able to get to her car, but not before Jason catches up to her. He tells her he’s been chatting with Jesus, and old J is pissed that she’s been talking to his dad. Just before Jason is about to blow Sarah’s head off, he lets her go and says he can’t handle anymore blood on his hands. There’s no way that could come back to bite him right?
As Bill lays in agony after all the vampires took his blood, he sees visions of the triple Lillith’s that have been visiting him all season, and they say his work is done on this Earth and he can go now. Bill doesn’t want to go and he summons Jessica to him, where she and James feed him. He walks freely from the holding facility as all of the vamps reunite after a shared, horrid and tortured experience.
Just then Pam catches eyes with Eric who is standing on the other side of the field. She pleads for him not to leave her again as he stares back and then flies off into the sky.
The scenes surrounding Terry’s funeral really take the gold star this week despite the fact that I won’t ever buy that the show should have put this much time and effort into a secondary character. Still it was a touching tribute and goodbye to one of the original cast members from the beginning stages of this vampire drama.
Eric and Bill’s bloodbath was excessive and definitely over the top, but it was the big payoff after True Blood spent the better part of eight episodes showing just how wicked the government can be when they wield the power over a minority class. Overall not a bad episode, but again a mixed bag of overall results.
Next week will mark the season finale for True Blood so make sure to return in seven days as we say goodbye to True Blood season 6.