Like Pam's relations with her therapist, last night's "True Blood" was "oozy but productive" -- similar to the prior week's episode, "Dead Meat" was spent moving our characters into place for their inevitable finale showdowns.

While the writers continue to whittle down and weave together the various plots we've been following all summer, I must admit to being a little disappointed. It's the third-to-last episode, and I wanted more action and less exposition.

Never cross a Norseman

Especially not Eric Northman. When it comes to family, this Viking doesn't mess around. Nora's blood is still warm on Eric's chest when Bill returns to talk strategy, seemingly oblivious to Eric's loss. Eric isn't keen on working with Bill after Bill failed to bring him Warlow's blood to heal his sister, so Bill channels his Billith powers and suspends Eric in the air while the two have it out. Bill tosses Eric around the room and even insults Godric (gasp!), but Eric isn't impressed. Ultimately, the only casualty is the two men's ever-temporary friendship, and Eric leaves unharmed.

After unsuccessfully trying to follow Sookie into the faerie dimension, Eric gets lucky and stumbles upon Andy's faerie daughter Adilyn. He drinks enough of her blood to gain access to faerie land, and goes in search of Warlow.

Sookie's Choice

Last week, Sookie agreed to help Bill save their buddies' butts by bringing him Warlow. To that end, she returns to the shimmery faerie dimension and lets a hungry Warlow feed on her yet again before she asks him to do her a personal favor and let Bill use his blood to rescue her friends. Warlow is willing to do this, with just one (very major) catch. Sookie has to agree to be his, eternally.

Eternity isn't something to rush into without proper consideration, and Sookie peaces out of faerie land and returns to Casa Stackhouse to give Warlow's proposal a good think. She doesn't stay there long, though.

After downing a glass of SoCo, she heads over to the Compton manor ostensibly to get the specifics regarding how Bill will use Warlow's blood. But once she's got her former flame's attention, what Sookie really wants to know is what he thinks of this whole faerie-vampire bride thing. She's not happy when he doesn't seem to care at all; rather, Bill thinks that Warlow's ultimatum is fair, given what they're asking of him.

So Sookie visits another love interest from days of yore: Sam. She shows up at Merlotte's and confides in Sam that she’s considering just whipping up her ball of vampire-killing magic land and hurling it away, thereby getting rid of all the faerie within her.

Sam has proven himself a reliable friend to Sookie, and it makes sense that she'd go to him for advice. What doesn't make sense is Sookie telling Sam that she always thought they would end up together. Like me, Sam's confused by Sookie's sudden romantic interest in him. He's also ticked off, seeing as how he's been pining after Sookie for the past five seasons and she's mostly ignored that fact. Further, could Sookie have chosen a worse moment to tell him this?

After neither of her former suitors even attempt to convince Sookie not to become Warlow's bride, Sookie visits the Stackhouse family cemetery plot. She leaves flowers for her beloved Gram, and then delivers a telepathic monologue about all the pain and murder that's replaced her happy memories. Her parents can go screw themselves, because Sookie will be damned if she's going to spend eternity lying by their sides. Instead, she'll become the very thing they hated most.

It would seem then that Sookie has made her difficult decision. She changes into a black, lacy, I'm-about-to-become-a-vampire-bride dress that she just happened to have in her closet and calls Bill to come and pick her up. But when Bill and Sookie arrive in faerie land, they find Warlow unconscious and bleeding. It looks like Eric beat Bill to the (faerie blood) punch.

Meanwhile, at vamp camp

Jess declares herself ready to die now that she's had mind-blowing vampire sex with James, but he disagrees -- she's given him a reason to live, and so he's not excited about their pending demise. They do agree that they might as well enjoy the time they have left, and are about to go for Round 2 when guards storm into the room and break up the party.

After Pam's aforementioned dalliance with her shrink, she's released into Gen Pop where she meets up with Tara, Jess and Willa. They're hoping she can figure out a way to stop Violet the "badass medieval" vampire from feeding on Jason. Turns out that Sookie isn't the only Stackhouse who might be getting hitched to a fanger, although Violet is less concerned with consent than Warlow.

Steve Newlin exposes his pitiful side, telling James that back in middle school he used to bring two or three extra pairs of underwear "in case of wedgies" (and most days, he could have used a fourth). James is touched by Steve's story, and stupidly shares with him that Steve shouldn't drink the infected TruBlood just in time for Sarah Newlin’s arrival.

Sarah returns to vamp camp in an amazing white pants suit, and is promptly informed that some of the vampires have been refusing TruBlood. When she learns that one of them is her ex-husband, she puts him on a hamster wheel and gets him to squeal about James clueing him in to the Hep V situation. This is how James, Steve, Jess, Tara, Pam, Willa and Violet all find themselves in that white circular room from Bill's vision, presumably about to meet the sun and their true deaths.

And then Ms. Suzuki, the TruBlood manufacturer that Burrell was working with, shows up demanding to see the governor. Instead, it's a wound-up Sarah who comes to speak with her. Ms. Suzuki pushes past Sarah into the bottling room and quickly realizes that Burrell has been "adulterating" her product. This won't fly with the FDA, and Ms. Suzuki is dialing them up on her cell when Sarah starts strangling her. This leads to a chase through vamp camp, and it seems like Ms. Suzuki just might have it in her to take on the formidable former Mrs. Reverend Newlin right up until her high heel gets caught in a grate. That's when Sarah takes the opportunity to smash Ms. Suzuki's face in.

Blood drips down onto the vampires standing a floor below the women, and a feeding frenzy ensues. Still, Sarah likes to have the last word and isn't going to let the vamps finish off Ms. Suzuki. At least not before she drives a stiletto through her skull with a vehement, "Thank you, Jesus."

The rest of it

Lafayette serves Arlene some bacon before delivering the blow about Terry's life insurance policy. Later, Arlene argues with Terry's family about what kind of funeral best honors her dead husband's memory.

Rikki challenges Alcide as pack master, and for a minute it looks like she might put him (and us) out of the misery of further werewolf adventure in the two weeks we've got left. No such luck -- she loses, and Alcide returns Nicole and her mother to Sam.

Sam and Alcide make nice over drinks, becoming awfully chummy awfully fast, and discuss how they can both smell Nicole's pregnancy on her. Remember how I said that Sookie's sort-of declaration of love came at a bad time for Sam? That's because Sam knows he's going to be a daddy. Nicole doesn't know she's pregnant yet, but she loves Sam and wants to stay in Bon Temps despite her mother's concern that "silver fox" Sam is too old for the 23-year-old.

Although I would've preferred more stiletto-in-the-head moments this week, I'm not unhappy with where this week's episode leaves us, which is poised for an eventful final two episodes. Will Sookie really let herself be turned? Can Bill stop his vision from becoming reality? Or will Eric get there first, and be the hero of the day(walking)?

The good news is we're going to get answers, and soon.