True Blood: “Almost Home” Season 7 Episode 8 Review

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Okay so we all agree that Bill’s gone crazy, right?

True Blood is known for it’s ample amounts of gore, but nothing has ever been quite as disturbing as hearing Yakonomo Corporation head Gus Jr. tell Pam and Eric that he has no intention of using Sarah Newlin’s blood to make a cure-all for Hep V. No, there’s no profit in that, so instead he’s going to make it less than perfect, so that customers will continue to owe him over time. This is only one small moment in an all-together improved episode, but it stuck out to me due to its real-world implications. True Blood is most certainly a fantasy, but its exercises in authenticity this season have been wholly effective.

Another reason this scene is so important is because it sets the stage for the episode’s main arc, which involves getting Bill to his Hep V cure. There’s some necessary manipulation as both Eric and Sookie try to find away around Gus Jr. and his Yakuza thugs, resulting in a very humorous moment in which Sookie pretends to be glamoured. In the end, Bill is brought to Sarah Newlin, who, of course, now thinks she’s the messiah.

Just when it looks like the show’s two main vamps will both be saved, Bill decides against drinking Sarah’s blood. Why? No one can really say. Perhaps this has something to do with his Civil War flashbacks and his strange dream of Sookie holding his baby. Perhaps it has something to do with his off-hand comment about Queen Sophie Anne. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out. I’m very intrigued, but also very nervous. This better not be a redo of Billith.

Prior to this revelation, Jessica, Jason, Adilyn, and Wade were all trapped in Violet’s creepy mansion while she threatened to maim, beat, and assault them with her bizarre arsenal of sex weapons. Unfortunately for her, Hoyt comes to save the day and shoots her down before she can so much as clip off someone’s fingernail. I guess Violet never watched The Incredibles, otherwise she’d have known about the perils of villain monologuing.

Anyway, Hoyt’s entry into this story felt a little forced—I still don’t get why Bridgette insisted on riding with Jason in his cop car—but it’s good to see him back with his Bon Temps family again, even if he doesn’t fully remember them. What’s really interesting, is the turn that Jessica and Jason’s relationship takes once he reenters the picture. We’ve already seen that Jason has eyes for Bridgette, and now we see a spark being reunited between Hoyt and Jessica. It’s too soon to call this one yet, but I like that things aren’t going down such a predictable route.

“Almost Home” is a much more focused episode than many of its season 7 counterparts. There were no ancillary plotlines, and hardly any scenes that deterred from the central action at hand. While I commend this sort of direction the show’s taking, not all of the main plotlines worked out so well. Tara, it seems, will forever get the short end of the stick as far as character deaths go. First, she’s killed off rather unceremoniously in the premiere. Then, there are hints at a mystery to be solved in her afterlife. Of course, this all leads us to Lettie Mae, The Reverend, and Lafayette seeing a flashback of Tara’s abusive father and how she almost killed him, but decided against it. His departure from her family appears to be what started Lettie Mae on her alcohol addiction.

I’m sorry, what? Tara is already the show’s most tormented character, and now she ends her seven-year run by apologizing to the woman who made her life a living hell? Lettie Mae has certainly had her moments this season, but she’s far from someone I’m willing to truly care about. If this was supposed to be some sort of moment of redemption for her, it doesn’t work at all. The one upside to this plotline is the unintentional hilarity of Lafayette, Lettie Mae, and The Reverend all wandering high around Tara’s old yard while the new homeowners look on stunned. I like to imagine that they went back inside to get popcorn and some folding chairs at some point.

It’s sad to see one of True Blood‘s main characters let go this way, but that narrative failing doesn’t ruin the rest of the good this episode brought with it. With only two episodes to go, the optimist in me is convinced that this show will be able to pull through with an ultimately satisfying conclusion. Grade: B

 

By Mike Papirmeister

 

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