Maybe it was my 90s nostalgia, maybe I was just in a forgiving mood, but that was not a terrible episode of True Blood. I know. Crazy, right?
Maybe we can get a spinoff miniseries of Eric and Pam’s misadventures in the past. Hell, I would settle for a whole episode of just Pam and Eric dealing with customers at their video store. Having once worked at just such a place, I imagine Pam would be ten times more merciless (and ten times more hilarious) when she revokes memberships due to late fees.
It wasn’t all pleated pants and Red Vines jokes though. Despite her most noble efforts to make everything about her, Sookie wasn’t as big a player last night. Oh wait; less Sookie = better episode. Eureka! If only True Blood thought of this formula three seasons ago.
While Sookie was second fiddle to the Pam ’n Eric show, she did a good job of rallying the troops: making terrible but needed reassurances to Arlene’s kids, getting Holly to remember where she was held captive, telling Jason to handle his shit, and demanding that Jessica just get over it and help. All but the last one felt right to me. Her un-motivation speech for Jessica was really nihilistic and a bit mean, but, hey, it worked.
Alcide’s not even buried yet and already Sookie’s making herself lunch for Bill and giving Eric long, lingering looks. That’s the Sookie we know. And while Eric still has feelings for Sookie, we know she’s meant for Bill or no one, despite what Pam says.
I did enjoy Sookie giving one last rousing speech, to a dying Arlene. I’m glad this was the last we saw of Terry, to wash away the bad taste his ridiculous suicide last season left. And I’m glad True Blood’s not becoming a total bloodbath, indiscriminately killing all supporting characters for lack of a better ending.
A stickler for historically correct metaphors. It was classic Bill. Also, yeah, he saved Eric’s hide but he will always be an asshole in my book.
While he hasn’t been a focal character this season, it was good to see him be a part of a rescue effort that actually resulted in some rescuing. I always feel like there must be more strategic uses of his shapeshifting abilities— he did turn into a giant bull that one time — but you can never go wrong with some rat-shaped recon. Still, I’d love to see him shift into a rampaging rhinoceros or something. Just once. For fun. I’m also glad his partner Nicole is safe because a dead pregnant woman would be way too grimdark for True Blood’s tone. I’m also glad warring Mayor Vincent got a nice big stake through his head. I guess no one has qualms about killing humans anymore, jerks though they may be? I feel like human-killing was way more frowned upon in Buffy. But rules do tend to fall by the wayside in an apocalypse scenario.
Jason is at his best when he’s just being a nice guy in the midst of all the supernatural madness. Watching him inform Hoyt of his mama’s death was poignant. In an episode filled with old faces, like Robert Patrick as Alcide’s dad, I was glad to revisit Hoyt just a teeny bit. The messed up triangle between Jason, Hoyt, and Jessica was one of True Blood’s better, most human, storylines. We’re actually nearing the season’s halfway mark and I don’t have any clue what might be in store for Jason. It’s pretty concerning as he used to be such a big part of True Blood.
Come to think of it, the babyvamp does end up in a lot of love triangles. I’m glad her inability to heal isn’t Hep V, just plain old all-consuming guilt. It’s a very Jessica reaction. Also very Jessica-like is to treat her caring boyfriend pretty harshly. I loved that James called in Lafayette to feed her and that while Bill and her boyfriend couldn’t understand her ugly feelings, Lala could. And so could Sookie, in a way that was more self-serving than kind. But that’s kind of Sookie’s style. While I loved watching Lafayette opposite Jessica, just knowing what his relationship with James is like means we’re all set up for this triangle to really get established in a painful way.
Pam and Eric
The flashbacks had everything I love about flashbacks. Shoulder pads, bad hair, and familiar faces. I was remiss to not mention Nan last week. But it was even cooler to see the long-dead Magister. I mean, I love Nan, but the Magister was an unexpected callback like so much of this episode. How great was it to see the history behind Fangtasia’s origin before it was firebombed? And Ginger! Ginger not screaming, before all of the glamoring messed with her brain. It was a teeny bit sad if you think about it too hard. But I don’t want to focus on that. I want to enjoy seeing Ginger’s Lisa Loeb look, her love of David Cronenberg’s Rabid and Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos and Bauhaus. And her vision of Fangtasia that Pam stole from her. At least Pam confessed to it.
Where is Ginger anyway? Who cares about Willa? Did this show need another petulant vampire to take Tara’s place? At least Tara was funny sometimes.
Meanwhile, Eric “Pure Sex on a Throne” Northman is dangerously weak. I can so see him sacrificing the last part of his life for Sookie. I really hope True Blood won’t be that predictable, but without Sookie, what does his character have left? He’s traveled the world one last time, caused an avalanche that took out an entire Swedish ski village, and ruined the career of a flight attendant. Dying to protect his friends from the Yakuza threat seems a likely fate.
Next week: I think I spotted Ginger in the preview video. And lots of tears, the bloody kind.
True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9 PM E/PT on HBO.
Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com, covering TV and gaming news. She’s also a guest on the latest episode of Wired.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast discussing Game of Thrones. And the resident Hannibal fannibal at Boing Boing. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci