This week opens in Jackson, Mississippi, where Alcide’s father receives a call from Sookie to let him know that Alcide has passed. Sookie is calling him from a pay-phone at the police station, after the plot of the show caused her to drop her phone out in the middle of the woods for some reason. The father, who has been day-drinking in his trailer with his girlfriend because he is an American, damn it, sadly takes the news, before offering Sookie a few kind words. “Alcide loved the fuck out of you,” he says, and I’m like “Wow don’t go getting sentimental on me here.” Sookie hangs up.
At the same time, Jason calls actual puppy Hoyt to tell him that his mother is dead. I forgot to mention this last episode because I was pretty tied up in ranting, but Maxine blamed Jessica for Hoyt leaving and then shot her in the shoulder. Violet, who had just been pinning Jessica to a wall and threatening her not ten minutes before, proceeded to rip out Maxine’s stomach. I think it was her stomach, it was very dark and the organ was kind of indiscriminate looking. So, no one picks on Jessica but Violet, I guess?
Hoyt doesn’t take the call well. He immediately blames himself for his mother’s passing, saying that she told him she would die if he left, and she was right. Jason is also pretty emotional, given that he’s part of the reason that Hoyt left Bon Temps. And though it was perfectly healthy for Hoyt to finally want to get away from his mother, it was also because he wanted Jessica to erase the memories he had of her and Jason, so that he could start fresh without heartbreak. I’ve never really been happy with how they let Hoyt’s story end, actually, and it seems like he’s going to have to come back to Bon Temps for the funeral. Jason is already struggling with maintaining the image Hoyt has that they’ve never met before, and so I’m wondering how Jason will crack under this.
Honestly, I miss Jason and Hoyt’s relationship, and I actually miss Jessica and Hoyt a lot, too. True Blood has never been great at handling romantic relationships, especially first loves, especially first loves coming to an end, but I’ll always wish that instead of having level-headed, sweet-hearted Hoyt go to a very dark place, that they instead let him grow and heal from being with and losing his first love before ultimately realizing that it wouldn’t be his last. Plus, the whole point of the fallout with Hoyt is that Jason can’t stop having sex, even when it’s detrimental to the situation, and True Blood has done nothing to amend that part of his character. So welcome back, Hoyt, and good luck.
Eric and Pam are on a plane back to the US to look for Sarah Newlin. Eric drinks from a flight attendant and then tells her that she’s now a carrier for Hepatitis-V, the rightly furious woman tells Eric that this is her job, and he’s ruined her career. I could say that we’re supposed to draw a parallel between the flight attendant and a sex worker, and how this speaks volumes about the mistreatment of people who have a career that is seen as ‘dirty.’ Of course, this is True Blood, and so we’re just supposed to find this, I don’t know, amusing? It was really gross. I’ve already discussed how the Hep-V virus fails as an HIV metaphor, and this scene just reiterates that point.
Anyway, Eric tells Pam that they’re rerouting the plane to Shreveport, and when Pam protests Eric reminds her of all the fond memories they’ve made in Louisiana, namely, when they were forced to run the video store that would eventually become Fangtasia. We’re back in 1986, and upon walking into the video store, Eric says “I am so sorry, Pam,” and it’s actually a genuinely cute moment. The magister makes his glorious flashback return, and cheerfully leads Pam and Eric through the store before showing them the porn in the basement. “Only humans could make sex this tedious,” Eric says. 80s Eric has a lot of zingers, and I like that about him.
The magister also shows Pam and Eric a sealed tunnel that leads out to alleyway in back, and informs them that this is not a plot device but an old passageway of the underground railroad. And also, True Blood, it might be too late, but you really pissed away all the metaphors you could’ve made with the motif of the Civil War. I know that this war between Hep-V vampires and humans or just normal vampires and humans is maybe kind of like that, but you had the whole idea that Bill was on the wrong side the first time and never clearly acknowledged it and you know what, I’m not doing this. I’m not having this discussion with you, True Blood.
Okay, back to our humans. Sookie, Jason and Sam go over to the Bellfleur’s, to see Holly and see what Sookie can find out. Sookie has been pretty steady all day, even telling Jason to “man up” in the police station. Thanks for continuing that use of gendered language, True Blood. So Sookie sits down with Arlene’s kids and tells them they’re going to get their mom back. She promises that Arlene will come home, and if this were A Song of Ice and Fire, Sookie would’ve just signed Arlene’s death warrant.
But this isn’t A Song of Ice and Fire, and so instead we go upstairs to see Holly, who’s reluctant to have Sookie go into her head. This is True Blood, Holly. It’s time to bite the bullet and let Sookie Stackhouse scour your painful memories for evidence, which she does. Holly is reduced to a sobbing mess, and Andy has no idea what to do. “We like to be held,” Sookie says, and I feel like this episode is being oddly stingy about gender. Earlier, Sookie told Arlene’s daughter that boys will sometimes feel better if they can hold onto their ball, and I’m not even sure that counts as a gendered moment, really, or just a kind of odd look into what Sookie learned growing up without parents. I’m not a child psychiatrist, and I likely never will be. I have no idea if the ball thing is true or not. Moving on.
Sam speeds down the road with Jason in his Jeep, hellbent on getting to Shreveport and rescuing his girlfriend and unborn child. “Nothing’s going to stop me,” Sam says. “What if I point a gun at you?” Jason asks. “That might work,” Sam replies, and it does.
Meanwhile, at stately Compton Manor, Jessica is still suffering from an unhealed bullet wound, and James proves to be the only rational thinker on this show, apparently. Realizing that Jessica won’t listen to him about feeding, he goes to get Bill. Bill comes in and plays concerned dad, and we find out that Jessica hasn’t eaten in ten weeks, since she drained the other fairies. My first thought was: “wait, vampires can go for ten weeks without eating and they just lose their healing factor?” If vampires don’t have to feed super frequently, then why has feeding even been an issue for the past seven seasons? I feel like there’s supposed to be an eating disorder metaphor in here, with Jessica punishing herself by refusing to eat. But that kind of goes away when we’re on week ten and she just needs to drink blood to be perfectly fine again. So, you know. Another great metaphor, courtesy of True Blood.
At some point Sookie shows up and tells Bill that she and Jess need to have a girl talk, and everyone’s like well okay that seems reasonable. Except that after everyone leaves, Sookie basically unloads all the anguish she’s feeling for her un-grieved boyfriend. Sookie tells Jessica that she couldn’t actually care less about Jessica’s well being, but that she needs Jessica for the raid on Fangtasia tonight. She tells Jessica that she’s owed some favors, and I’m like “for what? For that one time you took her to see her parents and it backfired?” But whatever. Sookie seems to have this issue where she lashes out at kind people because she knows there will be no retribution instead of taking it out on the people that deserve it, and this would be a really good thing to address if we weren’t nearing the end of the series.
Another 80s flashback. We’re at the video store, and who should walk in but an overall-wearing Ginger, sporting some great 80s hair. She begins to ask Pam for vampire films, and Pam actually seems mildly interested in Ginger’s taste in films. Ginger then says that she’s in a college class that looks at the ‘other’ in fiction, like how vampires are a metaphor for the other, and I stare at my TV, furious and slack-jawed, for a good five minutes. There are so many levels to True Blood, guys. On the one hand, it seems to think it’s a self-aware show. On the other hand, it is self-aware in the same way a narcissist is self-aware: it can’t see it’s own extreme failings, and continues to maintain that it’s doing its job extremely well. How’s that for a thesis?
Also, there’s a fun moment when Ginger meets Eric Northman, freaks out, and then asks for a job.
Okay, where are we? Back in the present. Sam and Jason go to the home of Rose and Kevin, and if you’re wondering: who? like everyone else is, don’t worry. Kevin is the cop that got killed in the basement of Fangtasia, and Rose is the woman who knew to go to the police station to get guns. Which now makes a lot more sense in context, actually. Anyway, she calls Sam a freak but ends up sobbing into his chest anyway, they tell her about the raid on Fangtasia, vampires are ruining heterosexual relationships or whatever, et cetra. Is this scene over yet?
At stately Compton Manor, Sookie and Bill discuss plans for the raid. I have a rather pertinent question: if the vampires need to be at their full strength for this, then why are they all up during the daytime? Staying up during the day caused a nasty case of the bleeds, last time I checked. Maybe not anymore? Is this thing on? Can anybody hear me?
Basically, Bill tells Sookie that most vampires are too afraid to go after the Hep-V vamps, and that the ones that aren’t afraid see no point in helping like, two humans when they’re getting nothing in return. “So why are you doing it?” Sookie asks. Bill gives her his patent-pending wounded face. “Because I owe you everything,” he says, and where are all these debts suddenly coming from? I just. I have so many questions and none of them are going to be answered. I am in the abyss, the abyss is True Blood, and I am alone.
Anyway, Sookie lets Bill drink her blood because he hasn’t fed yet, and also because he’s up in the middle of the fucking day. Just hanging out. No signs of the bleeds. Moving on.
Lafayette shows up after being called by James, and offers Jessica his blood. He also calls her “red bone,” which is a new nickname that I’m not loving. It’s just not as catchy as some of Lafayette’s other nicknames, is what I’m saying. Jessica, who was surprisingly not encouraged by Sookie’s “I really don’t give a fuck about you” speech, is still reluctant to drink blood. “Have you ever killed someone?” she asks Lafayette. “I killed my boyfriend,” he tells her. It’s actually really upsetting to know that Lafayette still blames himself for that? I feel like if your body is possessed you’re absolved of the guilt in that situation. Lafayette gives Jessica the whole spiel about life and death and moving on, and it’s actually more poignant coming from him than it is coming from Sookie, because we’ve actually been able to see how all this death has taken its toll on him. Jessica drinks Lafayette’s blood, while James looks on like a lovesick puppy. But who is he lovesick for? We just don’t know.
OKAY. One more flashback, to 2006, when Ginger was rocking the scene/emo look and Pam looked exactly the same. I think 2006 is supposed to be the year vampires came out of the coffin? I would do a timeline for True Blood, but I’ve got, you know, hair to wash, garages to clean, I’m a busy girl. Ginger, on the other hand, is not all that busy, and drags what will become Eric Northman’s Fangtasia throne through the front door of the video store. After some berating from Pam, Ginger launches her idea for Fangtasia, and to her surprise, Pam likes it. Pam likes it so much, actually, that she glamours it out of Ginger’s head and tells Eric about it herself. Which is Pam’s way of giving her stamp of approval. It’s an honor. Really.
The flashback ends, and Eric remarks to Pam “You are such a bitch!” in the most affectionate way possible. The two of them share a fond moment, and I really wish that Eric casually spreading Hep-V moment hadn’t happened earlier, because he’s actually really endearing this episode otherwise.
FUCKING STATELY COMPTON MANOR. Nighttime. Bill is preparing the raid, but it’s like that episode of Teen Wolf when Lydia throws herself a birthday party and no one shows up because she’s the ‘town crazy.’ Fortunately, Stiles calls a bunch of drag queens and the party gets started. In True Blood, we get Eric and Pam arriving at Bill’s door, and it’s actually just as satisfying. Bill immediately notices that Eric is sick, but Eric interrupts any potential questions with the greeting, “Pam tells me you wrote a book in which you claim not to be an asshole anymore. Is this true, Bill?” And then Pam makes a face which is half “don’t say anything about Eric’s disease,” and half “no pretty sure you’re still an asshole.” It’s a great face.
Bill asks Eric how far along he is, and Eric says that he’s “only stage one,” which is just kind of...well, I think I’ve gone over this point enough. Sookie shows up and immediately freaks out about Eric being sick, and then the two of them share a moment where she tells him Alcide died and she cries into his chest and he plays with strands of her hair in soft lighting. I guess since the writers have decided that Sookie and Alcide was never really a viable option, they want to dangle the main love triangle in front of us again and I’m just bored with it. It takes away from Sookie’s grief, it takes away from Eric’s illness, it just isn’t something we should keep coming back to, but here we are.
After this moment, Pam and Eric following the group to their SUVs that have suddenly appeared, and inform everyone that there’s another way into Fangtasia. Surprise, it’s the underground railroad tunnels! So maybe they were a plot device. Who would’ve thought?
So, Sam crawls through the tunnels as a rat, and then shows up in the dungeon in front of the three remaining prisoners. He shifts out, and assumedly his junk is on full display, which I feel like was kind of weird for everyone but they powered through it. He shifts again, goes outside, and okay, Sookie is holding his clothes but he’s still naked in front of a whole crowd of vampires. We’re just letting this happen, and it’s fine. There’s no full frontal, though, and that’s less fine.
Eric attempts to break through the wall, only to find that he’s too weak. Bill punches through it instead, and you can almost taste Pam whisper “you’re still a nerd, nerd.” On the upper level, Eric brings Sookie into the sick vampire nest, promising to share her blood with a bunch of vampires that make a wide range of inappropriate comments. Oh I forgot to mention that Arlene has been dragged upstairs and pretty much drained, so that’s happening.
There’s a verbal cue that Eric is supposed to give to signal the other vampires to come out, which would be fine if the not-mayor and his brood hadn’t shown up at that exact moment with molotov cocktails. Turns out Rose told them about the raid, and I can’t believe I actually bothered to learn her name if she’s going to be pulling this shit.
The appearance of the anti-vampire crowd throws everything into a classic free-for-all shit show, a staple in True Blood that is not unwelcome in these dark times. The humans all get murdered in horrible, gory ways, including Kendra, who deserved better than this shit. Pam goes looking for Eric, who’s feeding on Rose in the not-mayor’s minivan. “I had to eat,” Eric says.
In the bar, Sookie tries to keep Arlene alive, even as Arlene calls for Terry. “He’s not here,” Sookie says, but a look into Arlene’s mind shows Sookie that apparently, he is. Arlene receives blood from the drummer of James’ band just in time, and Terry tells Arlene that he wants her to be happy. Sookie sobs, Arlene comes back to life, Eric wanders back into the bar to see Sookie embracing Arlene.
So, the not-mayor and his main posse are dead, the gang of vampires at Fangtasia are dead, and we’ve still got six episodes left. As Buffy the vampire slayer once asked: where do we go from here?