Monday, August 18, 2014

“True Blood” Season 7, Episode 9: “Love is to Die”

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 4:00 AM

The wake for "True Blood" - which is really what the second half of this season has felt like - continued with more characters making their peace and accepting their fates. It's certainly not the most exciting way to wrap up a show - there is no Big Bad, no real threat left to menace our protagonists (except the Yakuza, but...come on). But I'm actually grateful that we get to see these characters prepare for the great TV graveyard in the sky. Most series finales give us maybe a 10-minute epilogue that shows us what happens to characters we've spent years watching. This show has given us half a season of people basically getting their affairs in order. That sense of finality is appropriate for a show that is, when you get down to it, largely about life and death. And that was underlined in the penultimate episode.

First, some housecleaning: Sam is gone. As in, totally packed up his trailer, resigned from his position as mayor, moving to Chicago to be with that supremely annoying woman and what I hope will be a litter of mogs (half man, half dog) in her uterus. We discover his abandonment of the town when Sookie and Jessica showed up at his trailer - for no reason whatsoever! - to find letters left for Sook and Andy Bellefleur. Sam laid out his reasoning, but it would resonate a whole lot stronger if he wasn't ditching a place he'd committed to leading for a person he knocked up within hours of meeting. The relationship between Sam and Nicole has been so poorly executed - in part because it happened so quickly, in part because Nicole is generally insufferable - that it has, in turn, made Sam radioactive for me. He was always a drip, but at this point, I'm glad he's gone. This show did that character very few favors. And Rob Ford is glad that at least in some fictitious universe, there is actually a mayor less competent than him. The upshot to the abrupt Sam defection: the TV show is definitely not going to end the same way the books did!

The bulk of the episode dealt with two love triangles: Sookie/Bill/Eric and Jessica/Hoyt/Jason (and all of the tertiary characters sucked into their drama vortices). Although it is arguably the more important one, I'll tackle the Sookie one first. Last episode ended with a cliffhanger, with Vampire Bill refusing to drink Sarah Newlin's blood, thus curing him of Hep V. Bill clumsily attempted to justify what is basically his elective suicide. Nobody in the room agreed with him (except for probably Sarah...), and in fact some responded by delivering multiple hard slaps to the face. Later, in a somewhat odd scene that I rather liked, Bill explained his reasoning to Eric: he's doing this for Sookie. As he has stated multiple times over the course of the series, he brings her nothing but darkness and death. Just as vampires are attracted to fairies for their light, fey are attracted to vamps for their dark. That may be the corniest analogy for the allure of a bad boy I've ever read, but damned if isn't pretty accurate. Bill knows that if he lives on, Sookie will never be free of him. And while it's never said explicitly, I got the strong impression that Bill was warning Eric off of her as well (this episode definitely was playing up the Eric/Sookie romance). So by accepting the True Death, Bill believes he is, in some way, VERY late in the game, being chivalrous.

Even though it's infuriating, this turn of events actually makes logical sense. Bill never wanted to be a vampire. He's been self-loathing ever since we met him. He did embrace his situation in the seasons where he was vampire king of Louisiana and (*shudder*) Billith. But in general, he has always resented what he was turned into. This current trajectory for Bill feels very full circle to me.

The Jessica plot is less instrumental to the show's endgame (I'm guessing), but had all The Feels. After Bill refused the cure, Jessica demanded that he release her from her maker bonds; he did so, and it was very sad. At first I worried that Jess was going to do something apocalyptically stupid - kill Sarah Newlin, attack the Yakuza, force Bill to drink the cure, go public with its existence - but instead she just went to Hoyt's house, where she interrupted another fight between Hoyt and his girlfriend, Bridget. This was a fairly selfish move on Jess's part, but at least she admitted it herself. After she started telling Hoyt about their shared past, which she glamored out of his memory, Bridget lost her shit, Jason came over, Hoyt punched Jason the eff out, and Jessica and Hoyt had several really lovely reunion scenes that essentially boiled down Jessica's whole existence on this show, and reminded us of how much she changed. And then, they totally did it. While the Bill and Sookie sex scene from two episodes back was hard to watch because it was just so...grim, this one was hard to watch because it seemed like something that should have really been private.

I was worried when the show brought Hoyt back, thinking that nothing good could possibly come of it for him, Jess, or Jason. But I was wrong. Unless something absolutely horrible happens next episode (TOTALLY POSSIBLE), it looks like Hoyt and Jess will get a happy ending. And that's so cute.

Meanwhile, Jason and Bridget predictably got together, but not TOGETHER together. The shared a few charming scenes, and Bridget determined that she was going to teach Jason how to be friends with a girl and not sleep with her. Which may be exactly what Jason Stackhouse needs. (It was actually a great Jason episode too, more or less distilling all of his best qualities. Minus the gratuitous nudity. Which was missed.)

Finally, in between playing Sookie's errand boy, Eric found time to finally have sex with Ginger. Kind of. In a spectacularly silly yet hilariously perfect scene, Ginger got to have her way with Mr. Northman, exactly as she had always imagined it. Readers, I'll need you to give me your interpretation of that scene, but I'm not sure Eric even, um, unsheathed, before Ginger went into a full-body climax and a beffudled Eric left her crumpled, blissed out, and snoring on the floor. Oh, Ginger. My hope is that, with Sam gone, she will be elected the new Mayor of Bon Temps. She cannot possibly be worse than her predecessor. And the mayoral fashions would be STUNNING!

Pam dyed Sarah Newlin's hair in preparation of selling her around to the highest Hep V-infected bidders, gave her some sage advice ("You were born a hooker, and you're going to die a hooker")...and then was promptly captured by the Yakuza. Again. This is at least the third time this season that Pam has been taken prisoner by the Yakuza. Humans. Just regular humans, with guns and swords. I've got a problem with that. Pam's characterization on this show has been problematic for a few seasons now, but based on the way they've treated her lately, she's either stupid or weak. I don't think either thing is true of Pamela de Beaufort. She has been turned into Bargaining Chip Against Eric more times than I care to count, and it's lazy, lazy writing. I think the show is better than that, and the character and actress SURE as hell are better than that. We ended the episode with her chained to a table by the Yakuza, a giant stake over her heart, as Mr. Gus grilled Eric about whether or not Sookie knew about Sarah/the cure. After Eric admitted that she did, Mr. Gus asked for her address, just as Vampire Bill came a-callin' at the Stackhouse Manse of Murder. So in the season finale, death is literally coming knocking on Sookie's door. Subtlety: this show is not interested in it, which is true to its nature. I wonder how many more people will die in that kitchen.


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