“True Blood”: Dog Days are Over

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Good grief, are they just going to kill everyone?! With the chief goal of the final season of True Blood clearly being to leave as few characters alive to see the cast party as possible (fewer drink tickets!), this week’s episode tidily dispatched with a central castmember, a longtime recurring character, and about a dozen others. Plus it featured Eric in a fabulous James Woods wig circa 1986. Let’s dig in!

We start the episode in an ashram in Los Angeles, where hotties are doing yoga. One of them turns out to be Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp). Ohhhh boy.

Over in France, Pam (Kristin Bauer Van Straten) asks Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) how long he’s been sick. He says a month. Pam says she felt Tara meet the true death, so I guess that confirms it once and for all. Eric says that he has finally given up, mostly because of Sylvie. Wait, who? Ah – we haven’t met her yet, but she was apparently a tall bottle of pinot noir he banged back in the ’80s and who meant EVERYTHING to him despite the fact that no one has once mentioned her, ever, until this very moment.

Back at the Reagan era vineyard, Pam hung around in the background wearing hubcap earrings and a Bonnie Tyler ’do and eventually the transplendent Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) showed up to chastise Eric mid-hump for… not registering? I’m actually not quite sure. Nan tells Pam that it’s a shame they met under these circumstances because they could have been pals. Pam immediately checks out her shoes. I love this. Eric is willing to defy the Authoritaaaaay for this Sylvie girl, and Pam reminds him that she “is as fond of French vaginas” as he is, but that he’s just being stupid.

Back in the present in Bon Temps, Alcide (Joe Manganiello) gets out of the shower and wanders the house in various states of undress looking for Sookie. He then runs to Bill’s house, following her scent, and kicks the door down. But Sookie (Anna Paquin) is in the car with Bill (Stephen Moyer) as a part of some plan they’ve cooked up. Bill says he is essentially a totally different vampire than the one who did all those horrible things to her and everyone else because he had a total blood transfusion. Riiiiiight. She has to drink his blood as part of the “plan” and when he fangs out, she mumbles into his arm, “I have a boyfriend.”

In jail, Wade and Adilyn (Bailey Chase) almost kiss after she tells him that they made out once but a vampire glamoured him into forgetting, but they are interrupted by Jess (Deborah Ann Woll) and Andy (Chris Bauer). They learn about the armed mob that is after everyone who’s different.

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Sam (Sam Trammell) and the Reverend Daniels (Gregg Daniel) talk about faith in the church, but then Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire) and Lettie (Adina Porter) interrupt – the latter is hopped up on the former’s blood. There is a lot of interrupting going on in this episode. Sam and his sassy vampire companion, Matt, drive home, but they come across the mob, who call Matt a “vamp fag” and kill him. Jesus! Vince outs Sam as a shifter and tells Sam to leave town, because he’s the non-dog mayor now. Sam says he belongs in Bon Temps and turns into an owl, which they try to shoot as he flies off.

Jason (Ryan Kwanten) tells Violet (Karolina Wydra) that he wants a family because of the mass grave and all, and she says she started dating him because she thought he was a warrior with an “iron-forged cock”, not a modern softie. Their fight is interrupted (again!) by Jess, Andy, and the teens, and Violet and Jess call truce on whatever beef they had with each other.

Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), meanwhile, is dancing up a storm at home alone, likely with the help of some chemical agents. It is amazing. James (Nathan Parsons) comes by looking for weed but Lala only has pills, which James can’t take because vampires can’t swallow. Lala offers to take the pills and let James drink his blood: “I’ll do the swallowin’!” Oh, and James and Jess live together but they’re kind of estranged because obviously, or he’d know that his girlfriend was deep in the shit right now.

The Hep V vamps at Fangtasia need to hunt but they are worried they won’t find any humans, so they take along one of the hostages – “what, like trail mix?” – who turns out to be Holly (Lauren Bowles), because she was trying to cast a spell and they don’t like that. Maybe if she’d told them that she’s actually the worst witch ever, they’d have let it slide.

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Sookie, meanwhile, sits by the river and talks to Bill, who is perched in a tree and acting very perky, for some reason. He’s like a leprechaun with fangs. We learn that Alcide loves Sookie more than she loves him (well, we already knew that, but now it’s been said out loud) and that Alcide wants puppies.

Back at the mob, Andy, Jason, Jess, and Violet happen upon dead Matt and are surrounded by the mob. Maxine Fortenberry (Dale Raul) claims Jason and Jess for herself, because Hoyt. She shoots Jess in the shoulder and Violet rips out Maxine’s heart. Well, at least now she can stop complaining that it was broken when her son left. Violet nabs Rocky and brings him back to Andy. The Hep vamps, meanwhile, find two kids just hanging out in the woods during the middle of the vampire apocalypse. Tra-la!

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Lala and James get seriously twisted. It’s nice to see that someone is having fun during all this.

Alcide and Sam run into each other in the woods and chat briefly in the nude. Nice… er… catching up!

Sookie is upset that the vamps aren’t coming for her, and asks Bill if he’s ever been to Six Flags. I’m a little tired of the monologs tonight, folks. As is Bill, who flashes back to having his family portrait taken before the war – by none other than Julian Fortenberry, who is a total hunk. He snaps back from his daydream because Sookie cuts herself on purpose.

Over at the Reverend’s, he lets Willa feed as he tells her about his own tragic backstory and how he and Lettie saved each other. That’s perfectly nice but what the hell does it have to do with ANYTHING ELSE GOING ON RIGHT NOW? He then tells Willa that she’s essentially a bottle of Captain Morgan to Lettie, so she has to go – he rescinds her invitation.

James wakes up and freaks out because he thinks Lala overdosed, but our hookah’s just a sound sleeper. As James heals Lala’s bite wounds, Lala wonders if James is “groovin’ on” him, and James mumbles something about Jessica and scampers off.

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Back in the Rhone Valley in the ’80s, Pam goes down on some chick as a group of Japanese men with swords enter the building. Huh? Eric and Sylvie are banging in the moonlight again, and again are interrupted. Okay, with them it’s at least a running gag. Eric promises to follow the Authoritaaaay’s demands, and they say that either Pam or Sylvie has to die. He picks Sylvie, and they kill her. Back in the present, Pam tells him that she’ll do anything it takes to keep him healthy. He says again that he’s given up. As a last-ditch effort, Pam spits out a name: “Sarah Newlin.” Eric perks up when she tells him that Jason let her live. Eric is back.

In LA, Sarah – who now goes by Noomi – is banging her guru. He sends her to get wine, and the Japanese guys from 1986 show up at his studio. Just bear with me. They show him Sarah’s picture and he won’t tell them where she is, so they behead him. One of the men has a gold tooth.

Back in the BT, a glamoured Holly wanders into the clearing and the Hep vamps ambush Bill and Sookie. Then Alcide and Sam and Andy and everyone else on the show all of a sudden shows up, and they splatter the Hep vamps all over Sookie. Alcide saved Bill by grabbing the stake from that bad vamp, right? Alcide tells Sookie to wash off all the bad blood in the river, and while she’s doing that, one of the mob guys shoots Alcide in the head. Whaaaaaaaaaaat. Yep, he’s dead. Jess offers to turn him, but Sookie says no. The shooter – the kid Lou that was hanging with Vince – has been shot himself and he asks Andy to get an ambulance, but Andy tells him that’s not how things work anymore. Ouch.

SCENE

Notably Dead: Alcide, Maxine, Matt, Sylvie, a dozen Hep vamps

Notably Absent: Half the characters only had a second of screen time before someone else launched into a full-page monolog, but I think pretty much everyone was there.

So at this point the show has become a sort of supernatural clearinghouse, wiping out all of the secondary beasties that have been introduced as distractions along the way (Faeries! Werewolves! Witches!) to get back to the story that started it all, Sookie and her first vampire beau, Bill. It’s almost quaint that after forcing us to drink from the firehose for four or five seasons they are shutting it off in favor of a small story that is as old-fashioned as it is improbable, after all that has happened. It’s not like anyone can return to living their old lives after the various apocalypses visited upon this town. But the show wants us to believe that Bon Temps is the magical American town where this sort of thing can happen, and it’s up to us to decide whether to go ahead and accept the idea of Andy Griffith parking his butt in a booth at Bellefleur’s or call the whole thing a wash.

Instead, let’s take a moment to honor Alcide, who emerged from the shadows back in a Season 3 and quickly became the show’s alpha beefcake. It was good of them to keep Alcide nude or nearly nude for his entire final episode, lest we forget his contributions to the genre. You will be missed, pup.

I love Sarah Newlin as much as the next gay vampire, but even I groaned a little at her return. Haven’t we been down this road enough times? I cannot say the same for the return of Nan Flanagan, perhaps my favorite character in the history of the show. It was great to have her back – even in that outfit, which looked like it might have come with Meg Foster in it.

So is there any question that Sookie and Bill will reunite, now that poor, sweet, humpadelic Alcide is conveniently out of the way? Likewise Lala and James’ inevitable hookup, once they either get Jess back together with Jason or bring back Hoyt for a victory lap. Dangling plot thread Willa had better find something to do fast or she might be the next character to do the puddle dance.

Anyway, I got really bored with the death-monolog-interruption-death-repeat structure of the episode, so by the time Alcide got wasted it was all I could do to shrug. And this coming from someone who recently lost a pet! I’d give it three out of five WTFs:

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But that’s just me. What did YOU folks think?

Writer-filmmaker Brian Juergens launched CampBlood.org, the world's first website devoted to horror films from a gay perspective, in 2003.