“True Blood” Episode 7.04: Shreveport, 90210

ginger-and-pam

Okay, now THAT was more like it. But before we discuss what was far and away the best episode yet of this season of True Blood, can we all agree that Alcide’s death was like, kinda mean? I get that he died nobly… in service to Sookie’s guaranteed reunion with Bill. But when Terry had himself offed, time literally stopped and oodles of energy was spent honoring him. Here, they didn’t even bother taking the time to chuck our poor werewolf in the pet cemetery before moving right along.

And wait, BRIEF nudity? Alcide, we miss you already!!

Let’s dig in.

Jackson (Robert Patrick) – Alcide’s puppy papa – gets a call while having a trailer-park bootie-call with Sheryl Crow. Sookie (Anna Paquin) calls and tells him that Alcide is dead. He tells her, “He loved the fuck outta you.” I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not.

Meanwhile, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) calls to tell sweet, stupid-as-coleslaw Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack) that his mama is dead. I think Hoyt doesn’t recognize Jason because he asked Jess to have him glamoured right outta his hair before he left town. Hoyt is in Alaska, btw. Maybe he’s hanging out with Dexter Morgan?

Pam (Kristin Bauer Van Straten) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) are about to land in Baton Rouge (no, not a euphemism, though it should be) but he diverts the plane to Shreveport, much against Pam’s wishes: “I… Hate… Shreveport.” We are then treated to the first of a series of the greatest flashbacks in the show’s history, to the moment when the Magister (Zeljko Ivanek) gave Eric a building and named him Sheriff. Turned out that building was a video store – remember those?! – and they had a huge porn section in the cellar. Eric quips, “Leave it to humans to make sex depressing.” Pam makes a glory hole reference. Atta girl! Oh – and there’s apparently a tunnel under Fangtasia that was a part of the Underground Railroad, but this isn’t Drunk History, so don’t worry your little head about it except for the fact that they’re clearly gonna use it to save Jane Bodehouse (and maybe Arlene and the pregnant chick, if there’s room).

Magister throws Pam the keys to their new Shangri-La and she doesn’t even pretend to try to catch them. Classic Pam. Oh – and the stewardess on the plane feeding Eric – who now has Hep V – says she’s going to lose her job because of him, but he could give two shits. That actually was a bit of a dick move, Eric.

trueblood704pam

Sook goes to visit Arlene’s kids – and are they played by the same actors that Beel babysat in Season 1? If so, that’s awesome. Sook then goes to check in with Holly (Lauren Bowles) – because even if her memories have been glamoured out of her, she can still read them. Andy (Chris Bauer) resists, but relents. Holly hugs Sookie – oh yeah, her boyfriend just died and all. Holly remembers everything, and Sookie tells Andy, “We like to be held.” The show has gone so far off the rails that the writers are including Basic Human Care instructions in the dialog now.

Jason and Sam (Sam Trammell) drive, and when Sam wants to go straight to Fangtasia – where the human hostages are being held, including his pregnant ladyfriend – Jason resists, because Swamp Cop. Jason insists they should wait until night – but wait, shouldn’t they invade this vampire nest DURING THE DAY, WHEN THEY ARE ALL SLEEPING?! Jesus Gawd.

trueblood704james

Jess (Deborah Ann Woll) cries, and she isn’t healing because she hasn’t eaten for three months since she ate those hot faerie chicks. James (Nathan Palmer) begs her to eat, then he goes and gets Beel (Stephen Moyer), who insists that she binge. Then Sookie arrives and Jess thinks it’s an intervention, which is kind of adorable. Sook kicks out the boys but Jess still won’t drink from her, even after Sook drops some serious shit on her about everybody dying.

In another flashback to Fangtasia, Ginger (Tara Buck) makes her first appearance on the scene as a well-spoken brunet video store patron looking for some decent vampire flicks. She banters with Pam and they are joined by Brandon Walsh – oh, sorry, that’s Eric. Oh. My. God. This is like the flashback scenes of Romy and Michelle. It. Is. AMAZING. So okay – this entire SEASON is fanservice at this point, right? And we’re okay with that? I know I am!

Kevin’s… widow?… Rosie is a bitch. She calls Sam a “freak” but let’s be real, wasn’t Kevin as gay as a goose in a gay bar drinking Gay Goose? Sam mentions to Rosie that Kevin was killed at Fangtasia, which I’m sure won’t come back to bite him in the ass or anything.

Bill and Sookie try to summon some Decent Vamps to help them. Bill says he “owes her everything,” and she offers to feed him. Wait, who ISN’T Sookie offering to feed these days? May as well put a maple syrup tap in her neck and stand her in the town square.

trueblood704lala

Lala (Nelsan Ellis) comes to chat with Jess and James, and offers Jess his blood: “Redbone, you has to eat.” He confesses, “I have done some fucked up shit,” including killing his own boyfriend. Can we please order The Lala & Redbone Show? I would watch that every night and twice on Sundays. James watches appreciatively as she feeds (and heals). Okay, this just got interessin’.

Back in 2006 – to The Hunger-approved strains of “Bela Lugosi is Dead” – Ginger hauls Eric’s throne out of the back of a hearse on her own goddamn self, and it is MAGICAL. She dares Pam to guess what it is: “Is it a shitty chair?” BLESS. And then Ginger makes her Shark Tank pitch for Fangtasia… which Pam steals, and she then glamours the Buck out of her so she can pass the idea off as her own. So Ginger’s the real brains of the operation but Pam’s been frying her noodle this whole time? Oh my God I love it. As does Eric, on the plane, as Pam recounts the story to him. This is fun!

Only two vamps respond to Beel’s call – Keith and Michael, I think. Or Troy and Chaz? Mitchell and Fotias? Whatever. Eric and Pam show up and Beel welcomes them in, because script. Pam reminds them that they really came for Willa (Amelia Rose Blair), whom we had all forgotten about – she’s been feeding off some dude in alley somewhere for money (party!) but now she’s here. Sookie tells Eric, “You can’t die on me.” How about next to you?

Eric-and-Sookie-Hug-640x426

Eric starts to take the piss out of poor dead Alcide, but Sookie stops him, because he just died THAT MORNING. Eric relents. Willa arrives and Eric puts her in her place, which is back offscreen. Pam says of Sookie: “She’s like a fucking fungus that won’t go away.” People, this is THE LEAD CHARACTER OF THE SHOW that they are talking about… and yet somehow we’re okay with that.

In the Fangtasia dungeon, rats invade, and one of them is Sam. Arlene (Carrie Preston) balks at this, but then whatever, vampire dungeon rat mayor serial killer fiance pthh. Eric can’t punch through the wall so Beel does it, and Sam comes back and says to get them outta there, but the vamps have already dragged Arlene upstairs and are feeding off her. Eric and Sookie reason with the Hep vamps, but then the vigilantes arrive, and it’s a shitshow. There is an INCOMPREHENSIBLE BALLET of action-ish moments. It’s… too embarrassing to discuss further. But ultimately, Arlene is dying and she sees Terry (Todd Lowe) – TERRY! – but he tells her to stay. Random vampire Keith (Riley Smith, apparently?) gives her his blood and that’s apparently fine, and Sookie hugs her. Eric and Sookie have cheer-sex.

SCENE

Notably Dead: Vince, Kenya (!), and the rest of the vigilantes, the Hep Vamps, my lingering resentment for this show

Notably Absent: Sarah Newlin, the Yakuza (I can’t believe I actually just typed that), Lettie Mae, Rev. Daniels, Ghost Tara

Okay, I think I get it. When the Jason and Eric fantasy played out a few weeks back, some people complained that it was fan service. But then came the return of Nan Flanagan (reminding me that I really need to work on my True Blood Mexican dessert theme restaurant, Nan Flanagan’s Banana Flan Shenanigans), the Magister, Hoyt, and Terry, and now there are three separate scenes devoted to the backstory of everyone’s shrieking favorite, Ginger. I think this entire season is fan service, and I’m okay with that. After all, this show was a success in large part due to its fanbase, and it has never shied away from that. Since narratively the show is past the point of no return, why not at least do a victory lap and leave on a high note?

The scene with Arlene was genuinely touching in a way the show has not been for ages. Likewise the scene with Jason on the phone with Hoyt, and the scene with Lala and James and Jessica. Please please please just keep killing everyone else so that we can spend the last half of the season with the characters we’ve known and loved for years. (And James, because Lala deserves a little somethin’ at this point, right?)

I’d give it four out of five WTFs:

wtf4
Writer-filmmaker Brian Juergens launched CampBlood.org, the world's first website devoted to horror films from a gay perspective, in 2003.