‘True Blood’ recap: ‘Sunset’ sets up the season finale

One way to tell the season of “True Blood” is almost over: only half the scenes in this week’s episode felt like tiresome dead ends, compared to the usual 75-80%. “Sunset” was all about setting up the finale, and having that finish line in sight brought a little urgency to the season’s meandering storylines.

It also brought many of the characters closer together (while relegating Terry and Arlene to a single scene and Lafayatte to a single sassy line), while raising far more questions than next week’s finale will likely have time to answer. Here are six of the biggest:

Will Russell have a fairy feast?
In one of the season’s best cliffhangers, Russell made a meal of the just introduced elder fairy (Erica Gimpel, trying not to look too embarrassed by her character’s bizarre dancing and Ke$ha-referencing). Drinking her blood allowed him to see the hidden door to fairy-land — where Sookie and all the other fairies are now cowering in fear for their lives. Still, I’d place my bet on the fairies winning the fight next week. If they do defeat Russell it would be a fitting end to a character the writers couldn’t figure out how to use nearly as well the second time around.

Seriously, what is up with Bill?
We finally got some kind of explanation this week, as a worried Jessica filled Pam in on what’s happening at the Authority. According to Pam, Bill’s behavior is symptomatic of “nesting,” a sort of undead psychosis that sets in when vampires live together in isolation and start drinking each other’s blood. Apparently that explains why Bill is seeing visions of Lilith telling him he’s her Chosen One — the savior destined to lead all vampires. But “nesting” doesn’t explain why Bill is noticeably crazier than everyone else, or how Eric was immune.

Anyway, Kibwe and Salome have their own visions of Lilith telling them they’re chosen. Poor Kibwe makes the mistake of informing Bill about this, who doesn’t enjoy the competition and immediately chops off Kibwe’s head. Bill now seems destined for a showdown with Salome, and what we can hope will be the end of the Vampire Authority in the finale. But since he’s terrified Jessica, disturbed Eric and lost all contact with Sookie, what happens when Bill inevitably snaps out of this Lilith fixation? Or does the show want us to get used to a newer, nastier Bill Compton? The sudden transformation still doesn’t make any sense after four seasons of establishing Bill as the ultimate mainstream vampire, but he’s “nesting,” so whatever.

Where did Eric and Nora fly off to?
While Bill was busy nesting, Nora suddenly came to her senses. (The power of Godric, I guess?) And, as expected, Eric was just kidding about becoming a Sanguinista, so he happily welcomes her into his bed to forgive her betrayal. Later, Eric does kill U.S. military rep General Cavanaugh (who threatened the Authority with secret government weapons designed to eliminate vamps) but that’s just to get a ticket out of Authority headquarters. Eric convinces Salome and Bill he can glamour away any military threat and he needs to take Nora with him. After staking their security detail, Eric and Nora fly off into the night on a mission to stop the Sanguinistas. But how?

Is Tara in love with Pam now?
So you know how the show has spent almost the entire season establishing a mother/daughter relationship between Pam and Tara? It only took one scene to completely flip the script. Jessica asked Tara if she has the hots for Pam, and Tara denied it…unconvincingly. That’s a totally preposterous potential pairing, right? Start writing your letters of protest now! Otherwise it’s probably headed our way next season. (And then who do the writers unimaginatively throw together next? Lafayatte and Steve Newlin?)

Does anyone care about Andy’s baby daddy drama?
I don’t, you don’t, I’m not even sure Chris Bauer does. But we had a couple of scenes with Andy this week to remind us that 1) he’s in a relationship with Holly; 2) her sons posted naked photos of him on the Internet to embarrass him; 3) apparently everything that’s happened this season has taken place over about a week (even though watching it has felt like five years); and 4) in that week, Maurella the fairy became very, very pregnant and if Andy doesn’t honor his responsibility, he’s in serious trouble.

Who (or what) is Warlow?
Sookie almost got her answer from the elder fairy (and it sounded like it started with “V”), but Jason interrupted to warn Sookie that Russell was on his way. There’s been a lot of suspicion that Russell and  Warlow are one and the same, but another sign tonight that that probably isn’t true… The elder fairy was very upset Russell was still alive, but mentioned no connection to Sookie’s mystery stalker. So, like Sookie, for now we’ll just have to think of Warlow as a “creepy air monster.” Ooohhh, scary.

What did you think of this week’s episode? And what questions do you want answered in the season finale?