This week’s episode of “True Blood” was equal parts poignant and gory, not always successfully so. Though storylines need to be wrapped up as we go roaring into the season finale next week, the juxtaposition of a fond farewell to Terry Bellefleur and the brutal conclusion of Bill and Eric’s efforts to save their vampire kin from human captors was sometimes moving but often jarring. Yeah, I get it — the horrors that made Terry want to die are probably similar to the horrors we’re seeing in the human-vampire battle. Fine. I just think it’s hard to switch focus after you’ve shown someone getting their genitals ripped off.
The Good Blood
Terry’s funeral: From the moment Arlene walks into the cemetery and sees the armed Marines at attention (what she absolutely didn’t want) before Reverend Daniels (whom she did want) takes her hand, we know this is going to be a minor battle between what Terry’s family wants to believe and what everyone else knows to be true of the late, great Merlotte’s fry cook. While the knee-jerk racism from his family’s side of the aisle was over the top and largely ridiculous, that didn’t make it any less satisfying to see the old goat stew while Portia (who gave the feeblest eulogy ever) seemed like she wanted to crawl under a chair from the embarrassment. Still, that wasn’t what made most of the funeral effective. While flashbacks can be hit or miss, watching key scenes from Terry’s life — his obvious PTSD after returning to Bon Temps, his bonding moment with Lafayette — reminded us of how great Terry was as a character and how much we’re going to miss Todd Lowe. When Sookie tells her story of seeing how Terry fell instantly in love with Arlene the moment they met, it’s a tearjerker — and a moment earned, if not in this episode, in the many that came before it.
Lafayette’s eulogy: While “True Blood” is all about Sookie and her vampire boyfriends, I find that the heart of the show, for me at least, is in the supporting cast. I loved that Lafayette gave such a heartfelt eulogy, and I loved his insight into Terry. It was such a small moment, but it was everything.
Steve’s demise: Although Steve Newlin has always been a character we love to hate, I have to say the guy went out with a bang. When the other vampires were too busy feeding on Bill to let him get a bite, he was shut out like the runt of a litter. That Eric came in to help finish him off by holding him in the sunlight seemed like overkill, but it was the only way, I guess, to get the awesome payoff. As he stared at the ceiling and saw his ex-wife staring down, he was able to scream, “I love you… JASON STACKHOUSE!” It’s a small moment of vengeance, but one that was damn funny.
Sookie keeps her promise: We don’t see much of Warlow this week, but Sookie manages to bring him back to life by sparing some of her blood while chastizing Bill for getting excited about it. Given that Warlow seems so laid back and happy with anything Sookie says or does, I’m guessing there has to be a twist in their oddly low key relationship. Sookie seems to have accepted she’s going to become his vampire-faerie bride, and Warlow is just ducky with all of it. But if this is it, I’m worried these two are going to be the most boring married couple in Bon Temps.
Alcide shows up: Alcide has almost nothing to do in this episode other than give Sookie a shoulder to cry on at the funeral, but you know what? That’s okay. I still can’t quite get over the fact he’s still alive.
Big John Dixon sings: As Arlene points out, “That was the s–t,” and she’s not wrong.
Eric confronts the therapist: It wasn’t a long scene, but it was one of the lighter moments during Eric’s rampage through Vamp Camp. When Eric tries to elicit some panic by suggesting the head shrinker should hace asked him how he was going to die so he could prepare himself mentally, the therapist laughed. He doesn’t care, because hey, he f—ked Eric’s progeny, then says Pam had been a “whore” anyway/ When Eric informs him he’s not going to kill him, but Pam is, it’s a biting, bleakly funny checkmate.
Bill survives: After serving himself up like a vampire transfusion, it’s no shocker that he’s kinda deadish afterwards. Of course, the vampires are so excited about being able to walk in the sunlight they don’t care two whits about Bill and promptly run off willy-nilly, so Lilith’s blood-covered lackeys decide it’s time to call him home. That Jessica gets it together to save him is a relief, though I’m now wondering if he’s no longer the God-like creature he once was.
The Iffy Stuff
Jason and Sarah’s face-off: Okay, I’m on the fence about this. On the one hand, I loved watching Jason rip into Sarah, declaring her evil and shoving her willingness to hide behind God to excuse insane behavior. While I would hate to imagine a “True Blood” without Sarah, I’m not sure I believed Jason, after his vivid, hate-filled tear, would let her simply walk away. Sure, I’m not sure what he would do with her, but letting her get in her car and drive away didn’t seem like a smart move. Although, I’m sure, it will pay off next week.
The little vampire in Gen Pop: When Eric frees all the vampires from the men’s Gen Pop, one little vampire won’t run away. His maker is in a morgue drawer, and he’s clearly drunk the Tru Blood. Eric tells him he’s free to go, unless he wants to stick around and watch his maker’s horrible death, but the little vampire doesn’t seem to know what to do. I guess this is to remind us, given that we’ll soon see the other vampires plowing through the human population like a bunch of starving people at a Hometown Buffet, that the vampires have incurred losses, too. But I’m not sure I actually needed this scene, unless (and there’s always this) the little vampire pops up next week.
The So-Bad-It’s-Good Blood
Dr. Overlark’s gruesome end: I guess the thinking here was that, in order to cut through the poignancy of Terry’s funeral, the balance had to be really gross, gooey, nasty violence. It was hard to blame Eric for ripping off the doctor’s junk and leaving him there to bleed out. That might have been more than enough, really. That Bill had to come in and finish the job by stomping on his head like an overripe pumpkin was gross enough to both throw me out of the moment (I started thinking about how fake it looked) and give me nightmares (it wasn’t that fake, I guess). I realize that at this point in the humans vs. vampires battle, there’s a point in seeing the extremes the vampires feel they’ve been pushed to, how ugly the war is, and how it’s degraded all sides. That may be reading too much into this, however. It may have just been gross to be gross, and at that it succeeded completely. I’m not quite sure why the show blew its violence for the week on this kill and not Pam’s killing of her shrink, either.
What did you think of Terry’s funeral? What did you think of Overlark’s killing?