For me, last night’s funeral episode of True Blood very well could have been a memorial service for the show that I used to love, with its repeated flashbacks to a time before fairies and and ifrits and Authoritaays when the show was about a small town of mostly good people trying to get by despite the darkness around and among them. But a parallel storyline about the bloodsuckers (and Jason and Ginger) escaping the Concentration Vamp was actually so much fun that it added an entirely different and essential layer. The stark contrast between the somber human drama at Terry Bellefleur’s service and the blood-soaked, batshit crazy goings-on at the facility was exactly the dichotomy that drew me to love this show in the first place. I don’t know how deliberate it was, but showcasing the series’ twin strengths through two wildly different storylines instead of the usual eight or ten ongoing cuckoofests actually did a great deal to pull back this show from the brink.
Let’s dig in.
Sookie (Anna Paquin) won’t let Billith (Stephen Moyer) at Barlow (Rob Kazinsky): “Eric took our deal and f*cked it in the ass!” Well I at least hope he bought it dinner first. Sookie uses her light to blast Billith back to Bon Temps and she gives Barlow her blood so he can heal, and he returns the favor and sends her off to the funeral.
Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) returns to the corn silos where they are keeping the vamps. This should be fun.
Not quite as fun: Arlene (Carrie Preston) arrives for Terry’s funeral, decked out in mourning gear and looking very much like real-life redhead Elvira if she went out to an appearance and forgot to put her wig on. Lettie Mae Thornton (BLESS) and the Reverend show up – did Arlene get her wish to have the reverend from “the black church” conduct the service?
Sookie zaps into the funeral and no one notices. HA! She scores a seat next to Maxine Fortenberry – hey, gurl! – and Jane Bodehouse – atta girl! – and saves a seat for Jason, even when Alcide (Joe Manganiello) arrives and asks if he can sit with her. The reverend begins by saying that Terry was into “Family, family, family.”
Eric slaughters everyone – EVERYONE!! – and gets inside the facility to find that rather queeny asshole scientist (the one who dosed Nora with Hep V) in his lab. Eric literally rips the man’s dick off and leaves him to bleed to death. Literally. Eric frees the manvamps and meets a sad young fella whose maker drank the Tru Blood. Sucks to be him! Billith arrives, finds the dickless doc writing in a pool of his own blood, and stomps his face in. Again: LITERALLY.
Andy (Chris Bauer) gives a eulogy for Terry about how the Bellefleurs give back, and we flash back to a scene of Andy visiting a very shell-shocked Terry (Todd Lowe) at Fort Bellefleur. It ends with Andy offering to find Terry a job.
Back at the CV, Billith asks a rather hilariously bitchy freed vamp where Eric is, and he replies, “So many hallways – who knows?!” Eric, meanwhile, frees the ladies – and finds exhausted Jason (Ryan Kwanten), shirt torn open and bloody, lying on a bench like an abandoned Golden Corral buffet line. Eric coos, “Lookin’ good, my friend!” The judges would concur. He asks Jason if he has ever healed him before and Jason says no. Eric promises, “You’re in for a treat.”
Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp), meanwhile, is hiding under corpses. Literally.
Sam (Sam Trammell) steps up to speak at Terry’s funeral about the day they met, when Andy asked Sam to give Terry a job at Merlotte’s. Sam arrives – looking adorable in a cutoff sweatshirt and toting a six-pack of Raging Bitch IPA – and they go fishing. Terry catches a catfish and for a second I swear the fish is going to start talking with the voice of Big Pussy from The Sopranos – but no, Terry just tells them to throw it back, because “Every life matters.”
Okay, so the montage of all the vamps getting revenge on the scientists totally could have been a scene out of Gremlins. Naked women on treadmills? Mr. Futterman run down by his own snowplow? What? I would think that the vamps would just get the f*ck out of there, but I guess it’s broad daylight and they have to entertain themselves somehow… A group of vamps cross-examine Pam’s therapist (Pruitt Taylor Vince) about his pet rabbit. Eric interrupts, and the shrink tells him he banged Pam. Eric rips out the guy’s contact lenses and glamours him into telling him where Pam is.
Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) – looking good in purple day-drag – takes the mic. Caroline Bellefleur barks, “IS THAT A BOY OR A GIRL? IS RUSTY STILL IN THE NAVY? GRACE? SHE DIED THIRTY YEARS AGO!” Ugh.
We then flash back to Terry’s first day at Merlotte’s, as Lafayette looks into his eyes, sees his good soul, and teaches him how to cha-cha dance his way through a round of french fries.
Eric hears a familiar scream, and frees Ginger (Tara Buck) from the pen of white-robed human TV dinners.
Portia says that Terry taught her how to swing. But not in the fun way.
Sookie hears Arlene think that she isn’t ready to speak yet, so she herself goes to the podium to tell a story about when she first met Terry and heard him think that Arlene is the prettiest woman he’s ever seen. She also outs herself as a telepath in the process. She tells Arlene, “You deserve to know that.” Gramma B looks horrified, or constipated. Same thing, after you reach a certain point. Alcide offers Sookie an engine-block-sized shoulder to cry on, and she wonders where Jason is.
Billith has the soldiers lead him to the white room from his visions. Meanwhile, a blood-spattered Sarah Newlin prays as she climbs the exterior stairs to the top of the silo, where she starts hauling on a giant wheel. Good Lord is this ridiculous… But sure enough, the ceiling of the white room begins to open… and there is Billith, letting all the vamps in the room feed on him (and Barlow – because when you drink someone’s blood, you’re drinking the blood of every other person whose blood that person has drunk. Practice safe blood drinking!).
Well, everyone except for Steve Newlin (Michael McMillan), who looks like odd man out at the orgy. Eric grabs Steve by the throat, calls him a turncoat, and pushes him into the sunlight… and Steve looks up, sees blonde-nimbused Sarah on the roof (she squeals, “Die, f*ckers!”), and cries, “I love you… Jason Stackhouse!” On the other side of the “Open Your Heart” peepshow glass, Jason peeps in horror and covers his ears. Steve explodes. It’s really gross… and by that I again mean pretty awesome. I loved actor Michael McMillan in the role, but holy crap that character sucked by the end…
Eric tells Pam (Kristen Bauer van Straten), “I saved the therapist for you.” Pam replies, “You take such good care a’ me.”
Arlene tells the story of Mikey’s birth, when she freaked out and Terry talked her down and took care of her. It’s really cute. Violet thanks Billith for giving her the gift of light as the vamps sing “THE SOUND OF F*CKING MUSIC” and dance around in maypole circles. What the hell. Tara wants to run out to be in the sun, but Pam slams the doors shut and asks the drugged-out vampire Woodstock revelers if they’ve killed everyone they need to kill. Jason thinks of Sarah and goes after her. Billith, meanwhile, is nearly bled out – and Lilith’s Bloody Merkin Trio shows up, right on cue. A man referred to as Big John comes to the front of Terry’s service to say something – or rather to sing something. It chokes everyone up. Arlene tells Big John, “That was the shit.”
Jason catches Sarah in the parking lot and very nearly shoots her with her own gun (after telling her that Jesus told her to tell her that she can go f*ck herself for trying to talk to his dad and that she is an average f*cking lay, which is kind of amazing) before letting her go: “I don’t want any more blood on my hands.” Atta boy, Jason. Although, maybe you could have tied her up and let the vampires deal with her rather than just let her go? Because their hands are already bloody, so no foul there.
Eric and the vamps destroy all the tainted Tru Blood – he throws a case about 400 feet, which is kind of awesome, and Tara (Rutina Wesley) EMPTIES A MACHINE GUN into a truckload. What is this, Vampire Machete?
Inside, the Bloody Merkin Trio approaches Billith, telling him that his time on Earth is over. He says he’s not ready to go. Jessica (Deborah Anne Woll) hears him, and she and James (Luke Grimes) go in to save him. James tells Billith to feed from him – maybe Barlow’s blood will heal him? All this blood going back and forth is getting a bit icky. Is there such a thing as vampire backwash?
At the funeral, they shoot off rifles (real classy…) and play “Taps” and give Arlene the flag. She’s still a bit pissed about the guns, but is on the whole really happy. The vamps prance out of the Concentration Vamp in full sun, with a refreshed Billith joining them and Ginger squealing, “I’ll feed y’all!” Pam notices that Eric is missing, and she turns back to see him standing alone. She warns, “Don’t you dare leave me…” and he flies into the sky.
Notably Dead: Steve Newlin, all the human scientists, my appetite for blood sausage
Notably Absent: Was Nicole’s mom at the funeral? Come to think of it, what the hell was Nicole doing there? And Alcide was the sole were in the ep (thank Godric).
Quote of the Week: Let’s give a girl a proper send off for celebrating Steve Newlin’s farewell F-you to Sarah: “I love you, Jason Stackhouse!!”
So this is interesting. As we see a community of humans (and a few shifters) mourn the loss of one of their own (by human hands), a band of crazed, angry, and Rogers-and-Hammerstein-happy vampires slaughter hundreds of humans and shatter thousands of bottles of tainted synthetic blood. And Jason and Ginger are on their side, too. Sure, these humans more or less had it coming – but will the vamps be able to scale things back outside of the Concentration Vamp? I have a feeling we will find out – because it looks at this point like they are setting things up for a vamps versus everyone else brawl (again, except for Jason, which is interesting since he’s historically been on the other side of the fence). Oh – and except for Barlow, the most powerful vampire in existence, who is still in Time Out.
Anyone else think that Eric went after Sarah? If not, where the heck did he go?
In all, I’d give this ep a solid five out of five WTFs:
So what do you think the finale has in store? Will the vamps drop some serious science on Bon Temps’ human residents? Will Barlow get out of Vampire Time Out? And will someone catch Sarah Newlin and give her the act of contrition she has coming to her?