True Blood Review: The Beginning of the End

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The final season of True Blood kicks off with a vampire attack and details the aftermath, but overall feels more “meh” than “aah!”

Here’s a couple points to remember from season six:

  • Hep V has made its way into the Tru Blood supply, leaving a section of vampires infected with the deadly virus.
  • Sam Merlotte, now Mayor of Bon Temps, and Bill Compton have established an unofficial treaty among the town: Non-infected humans should each pair with a vampire for protection and feed the vampire their blood in exchange.

This season kicks off right in the middle of the same attack that closed out season six. Infected vampires flock to Bon Temps and the aftermath of their attack leaves several characters lost and one fan favorite gone for good.

Watch True Blood on HBO GO every Sunday at 9PM ET/8 CT.

Now, onto the first episode of the final season. The episode opens on a group of vampires infected with Hepatitis V launching an attack on Bellefleur’s Bar and Grill. The infected vampires attack the vampire-human pairing party at Bellefleur’s and residents attempt to scatter, fight, or lie low to ride out the massacre. The attack breaks up after a mysterious whistle, leaving the vampires scattering away from the massacred townsfolk of Bon Temps. Not only did the infected vampires take Jane Bodehouse, Arlene, and Holly, but according to a vampire goo-covered Lettie Mae, one of them also killed Tara.

As the town regroups from the aftermath inside of Bellefleur’s, Sam admits that his pregnant girlfriend, Nicole Wright, was also taken. Bill informs the town that the vampires will be nesting, or finding abandoned buildings where they will sleep through the oncoming day. While the town puts together a plan, Sookie listens into on the thoughts of her fellow town-mates and every single one of them, including her boyfriend Alcide, is blaming her for this attack. Meanwhile, Sam is confronted by Vince, the man Sam ran against in the Mayoral race, who has seen Sam shift into his default animal state, a border collie.

After Sam convinces Vince to keep this information under wraps for the good of the town, he finalizes a plan with Bill, Andy, and Jason. Jason and Violet, his vampire girlfriend and protector, will check the abandoned Reeves home in town while Bill and Andy will check another empty location. As Bill and Sam dismiss the townspeople to their home with their vampire escorts, Jessica’s boyfriend James (now portrayed by Nathan Parsons, not Luke Grimes) is paired with Lafayette and proceeds to escort him home.

Sookie leaves the bar in a hurry and starts walking the long trip home, during which she trips and falls right next to a dead body. The body appears pale and drained of blood, but we don’t linger on it long enough to see any real bite marks or other injuries.

Meanwhile, Pam is in Morocco. She and another vampire engage in a round of Russian Roulette, where the surrounding party-goers can bet on who will meet an untimely death first. Pam wins the round and in turn cashes in her reward: a clue for information on Eric’s whereabouts.

Back in Bon Temps, Adilyn takes a risk and talks to Jessica. The two begin to forge a relationship despite the fact that Jessica nearly killed the half-faerie in a previous season. The two slowly start to discuss boyfriends and crushes a nondescript figure appears in the distance demanding to know what Adilyn is.

Alcide returns home to find an unharmed Sookie but the two immediately start to fight about her deciding to walk home without Alcide’s protection. She promptly calls him out for the thoughts of blame he had regarding her and the fight escalates until Sookie pushes Alcide away for the night.

Jason and Violet arrive at the Reeves residence in search of the “H-vamps”, but they’re not alone. Vince and several other townspeople have already begun to hunt the Hep V vampires and the two groups also launch into an argument. While Jason believes that it’s his job to hunt the vampires, Vince and company disagree. They believe that towns in “Small Town America” like Bon Temps are on their own and will have no help from the federal government when it comes to protection. The fight escalates but Violet manages to send the locals packing and pisses off Jason in the process. Jason’s anger finally gets the better of him and he confronts Violet about this argument and adds in every annoyance he’s feeling with their lifestyle. Violet, who had instituted a no-sex rule, tells Jason that she’s been waiting him to tap into this angry, physical side of himself and that it was “about time” he did. The two give us the first of many sex scenes in this final season, although it sadly didn’t pack the same punch as other notable scenes in True Blood history.

Lafayette returns safely home with James and the two immediately start getting high to cope with the attack and Tara’s death. All and all, Lafayette seems to be handling Tara’s death pretty well. He tells James that he grieved the first time Tara died, so he feels nothing the second time around. After this admission, James details some of his backstory for Lafayette and tells the man that there is no reason to feel pain, fear, guilt or regret, because it simply doesn’t matter to anyone else but yourself. This nugget of wisdom resonates with Lafayette and the two exchange some interesting glances before Lafayette offers his blood to James. During James’ story, he seemed to hint that he had some interest in men previously, which could make for some very interesting scenes between this duo.

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jessica and adilyn

Back at the Bellefleur house, the nameless H-vamp continues to try and reason with Jessica for a taste of Adilyn. In order to keep Adilyn safe, Jessica convinces her to drink her blood so that she will always know where the half-faerie is. Meanwhile, Willa has returned home with Lettie Mae, who drank some of the vampire’s blood earlier to deal with an injury and is now having a bad reaction. Thanks to the stress of losing her daughter and the addictive quality of vampire blood bringing out the worst in Lettie Mae, she begins running around the house in search of her dead daughter. Reverend Daniels manages to calm his wife and while Lettie Mae is sleeping, he offers Willa a safe place to stay in the church’s basement.

Back in Morocco, Pam continues her search for Eric by following her clues to Najat, a salesman in a marketplace. He offers her the blood of his daughter, as children’s blood is the only clean blood in the area, but Pam refuses and instead focuses on information on Eric’s whereabouts. She’s given a map depicting France and the Rhône river, and leaves to pursue her search.

Andy and Bill head to another abandoned building in search of the vampire nests, but what they find is definitely not what Andy bargained for. Five unfortunate humans have been strung upside-down and drained of their blood, which is a sight Andy can’t seem to stomach. He leaves the room and comes face to face with Vince’s gang, all of who are now pointing their weapons at Bill. Bill uses his smooth-talking skills to convince the group that Andy sides with them in protest of the vampire-human agreement. Andy, piggybacking on Bill’s work, tells Vince that he should be the one to kill Bill, as they have a bad history together. With gun in hand, Andy turns on the group. He convinces the group to leave, thus saving Bill from the anti-vampire group for now.

At Fangtasia, a group of familiar townspeople are chained to a familiar torture device down in the basement. Arlene, Holly, Nicole Wright, Jane Bodehouse, and Deputy Kevin Ellis are all chained to the rotating metal spikes used in earlier seasons by Eric Northman to detain humans accused of buying or selling “V”. It’s not long before poor Kevin is attacked and drained by an infected vampire, right in front of the captive women.

Outside of Adilyn’s house, Jessica and the infected vampire’s showdown continues despite the oncoming dawn. Both vampires refuse to leave but as dawn approaches, Adilyn makes the decision to invite Jessica inside. Jessica narrowly prevents herself from biting Adilyn the moment she sets foot inside her house, and instead locks herself up in the attic while the infected vampire burns to a crisp in the sun.

bon temps at church

Sookie heads to Reverend Daniels’ church with the rest of the town the next morning, where she is promptly told off by Lettie Mae for even showing up. The rest of the town says nothing, but proceeds to think awful thoughts about Sookie’s responsibility for turning Bon Temps into a vampire playground, and finally Sookie addresses the town front and center. She pleads with the townfolk to allow her to use her extensive knowledge of vampires to help search out the infected vampires and make things right in Bon Temps again.

The episode ends in usual True Blood cliffhanger style with Sookie left staring at the church, waiting for a reaction to her plea. Episode one had all the makings of a successful True Blood episode, but never quite seemed to peak. I believe this episode would have benefited from more refreshers, even though that’s not necessarily the style of this series. There were attempts to remind us of each newer character like Willa and Violet in natural ways, including conversation between characters, but with an ensemble cast like this, more of an overview could have been helpful.

At the very least, a stronger explanation Jessica and James’ relationship would have helped. His entire first episode was spent away from Jessica, who is the only connection we have to James in the first place. With a new actor portraying James, a stronger refresher of his relationship with Jessica would have really cemented James as a strong character in this season.

This episode had everything going for it but in the end, it just felt forced. Even the sex scenes, which True Blood is known for, felt obligatory. Jason and Violet’s scene, which should have ranked up there in True Blood history as one of the best considering their backstory, and Alcide and Sookie’s both felt extremely tame for what I’ve come to expect from this series.

Despite the lack of the steamy scenes, the real issue I have is with the depiction of Tara’s death. We experienced the death of one major character and almost no one seemed phased by it. We’ve all seen Sookie scream her lungs out for things that warranted much less, but Tara’s death barely seemed to register for anyone other than Lettie Mae. The nonchalance felt like a slap to Tara’s character and overall just unbelievable for many reactions from the townsfolk in Bon Temps. I’m still holding out hope that True Blood’s final season will accelerate and give the show the send-off it deserves, but this episode didn’t really instill a lot of faith for a stellar season.

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