True Blood: “Death is Not the End” Season 7 Episode 4 Review

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Just when season 7 was beginning to look bleak, True Blood pulls a 180 and delivers a climactic return to form.

Much of the trouble the show got itself into last season revolved around its incessant need to branch out and create new storylines with new, and ultimately forgettable, characters (looking at you, Alcide’s wolf pack). Though this trend unfortunately seems to have a slight continuance in the show’s final episodes—do we really need the addition of new vampire Keith (Riley Smith)?—“Death is Not The End” is the series’ most focused episode in weeks, bringing together the core characters in a decidedly entertaining adventure.

What’s more, is that the episode managed to be both funny, and full of poignant character moments that seem to be laying the groundwork for the show’s big finish. Almost everyone in the principal cast had their moment to shine. Jason experiences a deftly heartbreaking moment early on, when he’s forced to call Hoyt and tell him about his mother’s passing. Because of Jessica’s glamouring before his departure, Hoyt still doesn’t know who Jason is, and yet the strain on their once great friendship is palpable.

Jessica, meanwhile, finally confronts the guilt she feels over killing Andy’s fairy daughters. She refuses to feed, which means the bullet wound she got last week won’t heal. Since her inception into the True Blood universe, Jessica has remained one of the most compelling characters on the show. Her evolution from bratty vampire teen to an endearing, albeit often misguided, young adult has been engaging to watch.

It’s rare for a show like this to have a character deal with the ramifications of their past actions, so Jessica’s remorse ended up being a surprising and effective plot point. Even better was the result of her internal conflict: A tender moment between her and Lafayette, another character who has blood on his hands. Their bond is heartwarming, and I hope to see it further developed in the episodes to come.

Perhaps the most surprising area of strength in this episode came from Sookie, who seems to have been wandering around aimlessly until now. I was halfheartedly expecting her to sit in a state of melancholy after Alcide’s death, but just the opposite happened. In a welcome moment of confidence, Sookie decides it’s time to take action. She bravely visits a recovering Holly, and is expertly able to decipher where the rest of the hostages are being kept—even though it should’ve been obvious from the start, but I’ve given up on that point. She then tells Jessica that she doesn’t care about her problems because everyone has problems, and now is the time to rally together (I believe her exact words were, “I don’t give a f*ck”). It’s good to see Sookie be a badass again, and even better to see Anna Paquin perform at the top of her game.

The plotline everyone will be talking about, of course, is Eric and Pam’s return to Bon Temps. Now that the gang is all back together, the potential for the show’s typically fun and outrageous story arcs is practically limitless. Eric is given some key scenes as he returns home to his former friends. Bill welcomes him in with open arms, and Sookie shares an intimate moment with him that made me question, for the first time, whether or not she’ll actually end up with Bill by the series’ end. Meanwhile, Pam rolls her eyes at all the mushy reunion antics, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Additionally, the episode does a bit of exciting world-building as we see through a flashback exactly how Fangtasia came to be. It fits in with the eventful final showdown at the bar, as we learn how it was first created and then witness it in its current state. As it turns out, Ginger the barmaid isn’t as flighty as we all thought her to be. It’s just too bad she’s no match for Pam’s scheming. Better luck next time, Ginger.

The final fight is a little silly, but only in the enjoyable way that it’s supposed to be on a show like True Blood. What really stuck out to me were Arlene’s hallucinations of Terry as she fades in and out of consciousness after getting fed on. Luckily, she’s saved at the last minute thanks to this aforementioned Keith character, but her moments with her deceased husband just before coming to were quite lovely. For a relationship that always seemed to be playing second fiddle to the central action at hand, it was nice to see the strong ties Terry and Arlene still have to each other.

An episode this good feels like a breath of fresh air after trudging through several weeks of murk to get out of last season’s pratfalls. The nature of it, however, has left me with a million questions. What will become of the H-Vamp plotline now that the majority of them have been wiped out? Will Sarah Newlin and the Yakumono organization become the show’s new focus? Is Eric really going to go out by way of Hep V, or has his return to Bon Temps sparked his will to fight back? Okay, I guess that was only three questions. I don’t really know where the show is heading now, but for the first time in a while, I’m very, very excited. Welcome back, True Blood. We’ve all missed you. Grade: A-

 

By Mike Papirmeister

One Response to True Blood: “Death is Not the End” Season 7 Episode 4 Review

  1. xunzic says:

    I agree with your sentiments exactly but thought it was a solid A. Thoroughly enjoyed those season 1 characters. Written by Daniel Kenneth, directed by Gregg Feinberg. Meanwhile episode 3 was written by the showrunner Brian Buckner and was utter garbage.

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