This week’s episode is a little less giddily bloodthirsty and quite a bit more somber than usual, as befits a death in the “True Blood” family — last week Terry Bellefleur (the always excellent Todd Lowe) was shot and killed. We knew it was coming, but I had been hoping for some random twist to save Merlotte’s fry cook. Wishful thinking. But in losing Terry, our surviving humans are given an opportunity to deal with a loss both more straightforward than what we’re used to seeing on this show (no vampires, no werewolves, that sort of thing) and yet more complicated than anyone has yet to realize. R.I.P., Terry. You’re just one more casualty on a show that’s positively silly with them — and chalks up another big one this week as well.
Eric escapes the death camp: I don’t know why I doubted Eric, but yes, he escapes this week with Nora tucked under his arm as he clings to the bottom of a moving truck. It would be more impressive, of course, if Nora wasn’t dying. As we know, the TruBlood supply is doctored with Hepatitis V, a concoction lethal to vampires. It’s only fitting that the humans are waging a 21st century war (with shades of Nazi medical experimentation and concentration camps) that is no less cruel for being high tech. Eric must know that he will suffer casualties in this battle (you don’t rip off the Governor’s head and turn his daughter into a vamp and not expect some consequences), but I don’t think he ever really wrapped his head around the idea he could lose someone as important to him as Nora. How he deals with her passing is and will be the real issue, especially in future episodes.
Sarah takes over: With her boyfriend Burrell dead, Sarah finally has her chance to wreak vengeance on those nasty, godless vampires exactly how she pleases — and I cannot wait to see her do it. Yes, she’s horrible, but watching Anna Camp chew up the scenery is just good fun. The sheer campiness of Sarah kissing Burrell’s severed head and then chatting with it like a particularly gruesome Hamlet musing to his skull was knee-slappingly funny and the stuff of nightmares all at the same time. Preaching to her dead-eyed choir, she rails, “God… is… good!” like Scarlett vowing she’ll never be hungry again, and we know hellfire is about to rain down from her well-manicured hand.
Arlene grieves: Arlene hasn’t always been the most sympathetic character on “True Blood,” but watching her sob on Sookie’s shoulder (and then get blotto drunk), it’s impossible not to feel for her. That she felt Terry was back to his old self, and that she could see what it would be like to be with the undamaged, happy man he seemed to be in those last days is wrenching. More importantly, this gives Sookie something to do that doesn’t involve pouting at a vampire (Bill), having sex with a faerie/vampire (Warlow) or looking meaningfully at a vampire (Eric). It’s good to see Sookie wrapped up in someone else’s drama, even though we know that won’t last more than a hot minute. Next week we’ll see how Arlene reacts to being a semi-wealthy widow — and whether she appreciates Terry’s intention or just wants to kill him all over again.
Alcide lies: Well, you knew this was going to blow up in his face, didn’t you? That Rikki so enjoyed rubbing his nose in his little fib about Sam and the girl like a bad doggy that peed on the carpet was miserable, but I have to wonder how he’ll get his way out of this one. I suspect his stint as a pack leader may be very, very short, and it seems like now might be a good time to start thinking about Jackson’s lecture about the value of being a lone wolf. Of course, Alcide has to live long enough to make that happen, which I’m not entirely convinced he will.
Eric strikes a deal with Bill: Eric, who is clearly in the denial stage of the Kubler Ross model of grieving, comes racing through Bill’s door, promising everything if Bill/God/Lilith/Billith can only save Nora. Even Nora knows getting Warlow’s blood isn’t going to do the trick, but Bill makes the mistake of saying he’ll try to bring in the faerie vamp if it will just stop Eric from blathering on and on. Maybe Bill doesn’t know what to say. Maybe he can’t bring himself to kill Eric’s last hope. Or maybe he really likes Eric telling him he’ll do anything he wants and he thinks he’s God. Still, when Nora dissolves in Eric’s arms as Bill walks in the door alone (not that it would be much better to have Warlow in hand at that point), Eric can now aim his anger at an easier target: the god who isn’t all that godlike after all.
Jessica loses her vampire virginity: At first, this scene starts out on a surprisingly sweet note. Jason finds Jessica in the camp and tells her he’s there to help her. Aw, shucks. So what does Jessica ask for? She wants to thank James, the vampire who wouldn’t have sex with her. So, after telling him about the poisoned TruBlood, she suggests they actually have sex. Isn’t this ironic? Well, yes. It’s also unrealistic, as I think most people aren’t in the mood for love when they suspect they’re going to burst into flame in the next few days. Or if they are, I don’t think they’d be quite so giddy about the sexy time. Jessica was practically hopping up and down at the prospect of trying a vampire on for size. While Pam may be ravaging her therapist, there’s never any doubt that it’s purely strategic on her part. Jessica yaks about how she wants to be close to decency and goodness in her final days, but whatever. The show hadn’t hit the hot sex scenes quota for the episode yet (full frontal nudity and a shower scene do not a sufficiently sexy episode make, apparently).
Nora turns into a wad of goo: While I appreciated the flashback to 1665 (except for Eric’s hair, really), I’m not sure I needed to see Nora go out in a pile of viscous goo. I’m sure we’ll see many, many more goo splotches in coming episodes, and it will be graphic and scary and very dramatic, but I had started to like Nora a bit and maybe Eric didn’t need to be holding her as she dissolved like a bad Jell-O mold. Just a preference, but that’s just me.
So, next week (or at least very soon) Eric confronts Bill, Sam heads back to Bon Temps (where werewolves will likely be waiting for him), Alcide faces his angry pack and Jason becomes lunch for the ladies. It’s hard to believe all that Warlow drama that was taking center stage has now been shoved firmly to the side, but hey — life gets busy when you’re at war.
Are you sad to see Nora go? Do you think Bill overpromised and underdelivered? Do you think Alcide is in trouble?