So remember how Eric and Pam used to run Fangtasia, and then it was a Hep-V infected vampire den, and then we found out in a flashback that it used to be a video store that sold a lot of pornos? If you don’t remember or care, fret not, because tonight we say goodbye to Fangtasia for what is probably forever. That’s right friends, it’s closing time.
Pam drags Willa into the bar, and I forgot to mention that Willa was in last week’s episode because I simply didn’t care enough. However, this week she refuses to come with Pam and Eric to hunt down Sarah Newlin, reminding the two vamps that as far as vampire families go, this one has been pretty shitty. Arguing ensues, until Willa agrees to tell Eric everything she can about Sarah Newlin in exchange for Eric releasing her. He does, and we find out that being released by your maker feels like a “kick in the cooch,” apparently, which I guess explains why no one ever opts for it?
Willa tells Eric and Pam that Sarah Newlin has a vampire sister living in Dallas, and Eric, satisfied with this news, tells the driver they’ll only need two coffins for the trip. Also, I went to this camping store the other day to buy my brother a sleeping bag, and we couldn’t find any inexpensive ones so I suggested that he sleep in one of those travel ski cargo carriers, and he said that maybe we should ask the staff for help. But as it turns out, vampire travel coffins are literally just cargo rooftop carriers, which means I was right and my brother was wrong.
Oh, and I think we’ve seen the last of Ginger, since after begging Eric and Pam to take her to Dallas, then begging Eric for sex, then sobbing as they loaded the rooftop cargo vampire carriers into the car, we truly saw a fountain of emotion. Farewell, Ginger. Farewell.
Meanwhile, at the Stackhouse residence, Lafayette and James put Sookie to sleep after she comes home to what she calls an “empty” house. Sookie sleeps through the entire day, which is shown to us using a time elapsed shot of the house, where it is night, then day, then night again. I’m not kidding. That’s what they did.
Sookie comes downstairs to find that Lafayette, James, and Alcide’s step-mom (I think?) have made enough food for “the whole town.” Following some suspicious looks between guilty parties, Sookie manages to gather that they’re throwing a party at her house. “Death doesn’t have to be sad,” Step-Mom says. “Yeah, actually, it does,” Sookie replies, and no offense to Step-Mom but I feel like Sookie is the expert, here. Also, the last time someone had a party at Sookie’s, it was Maryann’s crazy Maynad orgy, so I can understand some reluctance.
After Alcide’s father tells her that not having a party won’t bring anyone back from the dead (sound logic) Sookie concedes to a party, and goes to put her face on. Except no, Sookie, Bill Compton is here several hours early for the party, and because he doesn’t understand how liquor stores work probably, he’s brought flowers. “My mother always taught me it was ungentlemanly to show up to a gathering empty-handed,” a very earnest and awkward Bill says. Remember that Bill Compton from seasons one and two? The Bill that didn’t know how to text? Why did True Blood feel the need to take a character who seemed to have a genuinely good heart and turn him into a huge a-hole? And now they’re trying to give us back the old Bill and I just don’t know if I can do it anymore. I don’t know.
We’re in Dallas, Texas, at the home of Sarah Newlin’s vampire sister (Amber Mills). We find out the sister has Hep-V, and that she, like everyone else, detests Sarah Newlin. Sarah’s been paying her off to “stay in the coffin,” so to speak, and so Amber has been in Dallas the whole time, watching House Hunters and drinking True Blood with her boyfriend/maker. That is, until Jeremy gets the virus and dies. Amber tries to blame herself for not coming out, and Eric quickly squashes that by reminding her who the real enemy is. Amber tells them she’ll help Pam and Eric find Sarah in the hopes that they kill her, and as it turns out, Sarah’s probably going to the Ted Cruz fundraiser that her parents will attending. In case you forgot this was 2011. It’s 2011, guys. Ted Cruz is still a viable candidate. “Security’s going to be tight,” Amber says. “And they only invited assholes.” The music picks up. “Oh, you don’t know us, sweetheart,” Eric says. “We can be assholes.”
Brief interlude to the home of Reverend Daniels and Lettie-Mae, where Lettie-Mae is like “I want to go to the party,” and the Reverend is like “you’re an addict and there are going to be vampires and liquor at this party so I’m gonna go with no,” and Lettie Mae is like “you will regret this.”
At the party, Bill Compton watches as youths consume liquor and dance to loud music, and with the terrifying realities of strange, strange modernity pressing down on him, Bill decides it’s time for a flashback.
Louisiana, 1860/1861-ish. Lincoln is the newly-elected president, and Bill Compton politely greets a coach hand/assumed slave who is waiting outside of a tavern. The set kind of looks like the town of Armadillo from Red Dead Redemption, except with less plot points. Anyway, the slave’s owner comes out and berates him, and then jovially slings an arm around Bill and tells him that with their well-known family names, they could easily make officers in the Confederate army. Bill Compton seems less than convinced.
Inside the tavern, the men of old Bon Temps talk about the Civil War like they’re about to go see Avengers 2, a reference that would certainly be lost in an era where neither comics nor movies have been invented. Bill Compton, unlikely voice of reason, reminds the other men that the north has the weight of the US army, and will raze the south if war breaks out. “Shutup, nerd,” the bartender says. “Someone give him a swirlie.” Bill, seeking to avoid a swirlie, leaves the tavern.
Back in the present, Violet attempts to comfort Sookie. “I’ve seen like 100 people die at least,” Violet says, though not in those exact words. “But sometimes it sucks, I guess. I don’t know. I’m not your therapist.” Sookie is less than motivated, and Jason tries to assuage the situation by dancing with Violet, despite the fact that the couple is growing increasingly distant. When Jason calls her out on her terrible methods of comfort, Violet seems surprised but not hurt. Like with all of Jason’s thoughts and feelings, she kind of just ignores them. Femdom, getting that True Blood style representation.
The main cast gathers around the kitchen table and say a few unremarkable words about Alcide; Lettie-Mae arrives and asks if she could say a few words about Tara. She goes on to say something about Tara being a protector, blah blah, terrible mother, vampire. The thing is that there’s a party going on in the background, so I really feel like any attempts at actual mourning at kind of forgone at this point. And wasn’t the whole point of this party so that Sookie wouldn’t feel sad about Alcide’s passing? I mean, it’s fine if she does, but in the party atmosphere it’s kind of hard to get any real emotion from anyone because it’s drowned out.
Jessica is standing outside for some reason, and she and Andy finally have a talk about the horrible murder of three out of his four fairy daughters. Andy asks if Jessica realizes that her grief just makes moving on harder for him, which is a shit way to help someone who’s still grieving, but I guess it gets his point across. He says that she’s protected Adylin, and I’m like “Or maybe more than protected???” and then asks Jessica for one of her rings. Turns out, Andy wants to propose to Holly, and Jessica realizes she knows just the ring for Andy. She rushes back inside.
We’re in Gran’s room, I think, and Jason gives Andy an engagement ring. It’s kind of small and dingy but it belonged to Gran so I guess that’s an okay excuse for giving someone an ugly ring. “That’s it?” Violet asks, and while I agree with her 100% no one else seems to, but that’s because True Blood is all about ugly, sentimental things, in case you forgot that this is a southern gothic. Sookie notes that Gran wanted Jason to give the ring to a girl someday (why? Did you want the girl to say no??) Violet replies, “I don’t need a ring to know that Jason is mine.” Jason does not look content with anything. Andy does, so that’s cool, I guess.
We’re only halfway through this. Let’s power through. Andy proposes to Holly. Jessica doesn’t want to have sex with James. Arlene talks to Sookie about what it’s like to lose a lover, since Arlene’s lost several and hasn’t ever gotten the time to grieve because the narrative never decided if we should like her or not. Or maybe that was me. I’m still firmly on the fence and I think that’s where I’ll stay.
Okay. The Lafayette and James scene. I’ve been on True Blood a lot about how it’s been skimping on actual queer representation, and I mentioned in terms of James’ murder (being beat to death with a baseball bat by his best friend’s father) was told to us in a way that alluded to the murders of queer individuals in history. Lafayette asks James if he and his best friend Danny were (he makes a hand gesture, since True Blood is a queer-friendly show that can’t say words like “having sex” in terms of two men out loud.) James says yes. Lafayette and James kiss, and you know it’s going to end badly, but it still kind of feels like a victory.
In Dallas, Pam’s put on her Republican finest for the event, exclaiming, “Look, Eric! I’m a Republicunt!”
Her enthusiasm is short-lived when she realizes that Eric’s disease has advanced to stage two. “I’m dying,” he tells her. “You have to accept that.” Pam covers the veins on his neck with makeup and tries to keep herself together. Side note: if Hep-V had been presented to us as this kind of disease in the beginning, as something emotionally and physically devastating, I think the HIV/AIDS allusion would’ve come across a lot less like a gimmick shoehorned into the final season. The way the virus was introduced to us, however, was through “bad” vampires getting it, and we were told that Hep-V made vampires feral and dangerous. There was no real sympathy for infected vampires until Eric got it, which not only shorthands the metaphor but also shows that the narrative has never expected us to make our own conclusions about this sort of thing unless we are told to do so. True Blood watchers think about the content of the show just as much (if not more) than the writers do, and we’ve noticed how poorly this metaphor has been handled.
Since I don’t really care about Arlene, I’m going to gloss over the part where she flirts with the vampire that saved her life. It happened. I was bored. In a different part of the house, Jessica goes to find James, only to discover that this boy is a bottom. James runs after Jessica, though not before pulling his pants up with lighting speed. A fretful Jessica asks Jason to revoke James’ invitation, and when Jason asks why she replies “I found him fucking Lafayette in the car he and I bought together!” And I was like “Wait, you have the money for a car?” Jason, ever Jessica’s shining knight, tells James to get the fuck out, and Jessica runs upstairs. Violet allows Jason to comfort her, and here we go again.
Up in Jason’s room, Jessica is incapable of saying the word “bisexual,” instead opting for “he’s just confused,” which, oh my God, is something people say about bisexuals pretty much all the time. And I get where you’re trying to go, True Blood, but you’re missing it again. You’re missing a perfectly good opportunity to have a talk about bisexuality. And I want to complain about this scene more, but then Lafayette comes in and delivers a pretty substantial speech about being queer in the True Blood universe. He refers to himself as “that queen that make all you white heterosexuals laugh,” and asks if it “ever fucking occurred” to Jessica that he “wants a piece of happiness too.” Jessica tearfully shakes her head, in a way that I wish the True Blood writers would when they realize Lafayette’s speech could be addressed to them, too. “If you don’t love him, let him go,” Lafayette says. “And I will take it from here.”
And Lafayette’s speech would really have more impact if it didn’t have seven seasons of minimal representation to contend with; it was a good speech and I’m glad we got it but it’s far, far too late for it to have any real impact.
Bill, still terrified of parties, has another flashback. This time we find out that Bill tried helping slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad, and I’m wondering why we didn’t get this before the final season? I’ve spent six seasons thinking that Bill Compton was willingly a Confederate soldier, and my opinion of his character is not the same as it would’ve been if I’d known that he was basically forced into service to protect his family after a failing to help slaves escape. True Blood could’ve built a much bigger storyline on Bill’s place of privilege and what he’s done with it, and why didn’t we get Bill Compton’s backstory when he was still one of the centermost characters? He’s still a main character, sure, but there are way more characters now then there were in season 1, so putting the focus back on Bill really throws of the narrative. Then again, it’s True Blood, and I feel like the narrative is moot at this point.
Okay, we’re back in Dallas at the fundraiser. Pam and Eric are rocking the Texas-money look and it’s really something spectacular.
Pam goes off to find Sarah, Eric thinks he might have luck pressing her father for answers. In the bathroom, Sarah finds her mother, and tells her that she’s in real trouble. Sarah asks her mom to call Laura Bush, and her mother informs her that Laura’s stopped taking calls after Bill’s book came out and blamed Sarah for the Hep-V epidemic. Remember when Bill Compton wrote a book after the six-month time skip last season? It’s been mentioned like, twice. It’s important, I think.
Back at Sookie’s, the party wraps up. A drunk Sookie overhears the thoughts of her guests and realizes that public opinion of her has changed, and all she ever had to do to get people to like her was throw a party with food and booze. Sookie and Bill have a tender moment outside, and do not make out like I was expecting them to. Lettie-Mae tries to cut Willa and drink her blood, is thrown off by Violet, and then Nicole has the good sense to point out that everyone is more than a little off for having a funeral party to begin with.
Upstairs, Jason and Jessica have sex, which Violet overhears through the door but does not interrupt, and that can’t be a good sign.
At the gala, the yakuza show up, kill pretty much every security guard in sight, and for a party in Texas, there are surprisingly few people exercising their right to bear arms. Instead of a good old-fashioned shoot out, we get a lot of straight up slaughter. Sarah’s father gets shot in the head, and her mother is peppered with bullets as she and Sarah run down the hall away from the hit squad. Of course, Eric is at the end of the hall, and is two seconds away from murdering Sarah and ending this subplot already when the mob shows up. Eric kills the yakuza hit squad, probably because they’re the ones that murdered Sylvie in the eighties. Remember Sylvie? Neither do I.
Bill has one last flashback, to the last time he spoke to his wife. Again, I think Bill telling another woman in the distant past that she’s his “true love” would’ve been more poignant if it had been contrasting in season 1 with Bill learning how to fall in love again. But let’s just shoehorn it in now, I guess. Also Bill has Hep-V now.
Five episodes left.