The final season of "True Blood" is here, and after three seasons of definite misses, only the most devoted of fans (or those of us who feel a compulsion to complete things) are here. Let’s dive right in, since the show does.

The Set-Up

Sick vampires are running amuck in Bon Temps, an unfortunate side effect of the hep V-poisoned "True Blood" from last season. The federal government is only really protecting major cities, making towns like
Bon Temps easy pickings for the “Hep Vs.” The first 2.5 minutes of the season opener is a giant fight scene at Mayor Sam Merlotte’s (!) mixer, where healthy vampires where supposed to pair with willing humans, feeding on them exclusively in exchange for protection from the infected vamps. Why they couldn’t have the party in a large, private home? Your guess is as good as mine.

In the aftermath of the attack, Jason rattles off a list of the humans taken by the Hep Vs: Holly, Arlene and Jane Bodehouse. Sam’s pregnant girlfriend, Nicole, was also taken.  Sam and Alcide both shifted and are already running after the “Hep Vs.”

Tara’s mom, Lettie Mae, is wailing with dead vampire all over her. It’s supposedly Tara, killed by the Hep Vs while protecting her mom. But … no way is Tara actually dead, right? You can’t just kill off the best friend of the show’s main character off-screen. You just can’t.

Jason calls Andy, because there’s still a Bon Temps Police Department, remember? He orders Adilyn to stay inside, and Jessica, who is standing sentinel outside, still feeling guilty for killing all of Adilyn’s fairy sisters, promises to protect her. Andy reminds Adilyn not to invite Jessica in, no matter what. He also roughly breaks the news about Tara. (This is the worst fake-out ever. Tara is obviously not dead, because we didn’t see her die. Comic book rules apply here.)

The massacre’s aftermath

Everyone has moved into Bellefleur’s (formerly, Merlotte’s) to tend to the wounded. Sookie picks this time to telepathically tap into people’s minds. It’s basically, “Blah blah, Sookie Stackhouse is a vampire whore. Blah, blah this is all her fault.” We get it, guys.

Sookie has loved carelessly/stupidly in the past and the people of Bon Temps are kind of bigots. Not that feeling sorry for Sookie is in my wheelhouse. At all.

The unfortunate part is that Sookie overhears Alcide thinking pretty much the same thing. Also, Alcide’s new haircut? Hey, boo. I missed you.

Bill, Andy and the rest of the men hatch a plan to track down the Hep V’s nest.

Jessica and Adilyn

Jessica calls James, so that we can be reminded that they are dating and she’s on a hunger strike because she feels guilty about eating Adilyn’s sisters. She and Adilyn are managing to get along a bit, though. The half-fairy teen rolls down one of the Bellefleur mansion’s windows and they talk boys (Adilyn’s still dating Holly’s son, Wade) and Tara, who is so not-dead I can’t even care.

Trouble arises in the form of a Hep V who sniffs out Adilyn’s fairy blood. Jessica vamp-zooms into the middle of the yard and refuses to leave until the Hep V does, or she will kill him. The pull of fairy blood is too strong, and they stand there until sunrise. A panicked Adilyn invites Jessica in, and she manages to restrain herself, speeding off to hide in the Bellefleur attic.

Alcide and Sookie

For as long as some of us have wanted Sookie and Alcide to happen, I’m worried that it is going to be her most annoying relationship, yet. Or maybe it’s that Sookie has officially annoyed me past caring about what happens to her. Which is never a good idea for a main character, especially one on a show with a death count as high as this one. You have to care about the characters in order to be emotionally invested
in whether or not they get ripped open.

Anyway, after hearing Alcide’s thoughts, Sookie decides to walk home. Alone. At night. After a Hep V attack. When he calls her, she throws away her cell phone (It is the most awkward throw in TV history), and
then ends up stumbling over a dead body, because it wouldn’t be an episode without Sookie face planting, at least once. She makes it home safely. Alcide returns. They fight and have make-up sex. Blah.

Pam in Marrakesh

Pam’s hunt for our maybe-dead Eric Northman (once again, Comic Book Rules. We didn’t fully witness a naked Eric meet the sun, so he’s obviously alive) has led her to Morocco, where she plays Russian
Roulette with a devout Muslim vampire (she wins) and seeks out someone who has unexplained info on Eric’s whereabouts. There’s a heart-breaking moment in which a couple of vendors try to sell her their daughter’s blood (the only clean blood in North Africa is child blood), which she refuses, but that’s about it.

Jason and Violet

Finally. Have. Sex. But first, they search for the vampire nest and have a run-in with a few gun-toting Bon Temps residents who have had it with the local government and law enforcement’s cooperation with
the vampires.

Jason just wants all of the civilians to go home and let them finish the hunt, but things get nasty, with Violet threatening to slaughter all of them if they don’t leave.

The suspected nest turns out to be a bust, and afterward, a frustrated Jason pulls over the car and starts walking into the night. Violet goes after him because it’s not safe (the Hep Vs, and all) but he’s had it. He demands to have sex with her, right then. And they do – on top of his police car, because in the face of a wacky “True Blood” sex scene, those Hep Vs aren’t as important of a threat.

Some characterization for James

Jessica’s vampire boyfriend took Sam’s advice and partnered off with Lafayette. Their pairing should be interesting, since one is a new character we only met briefly and the other is an old fan favorite whose material has been sorely lacking, as of late. (Lafayette is more than pithy comebacks! Remember that time he beat up a bunch of homophobic customers without batting an eye? NSFW language in that
clip, obviously.)

Before allowing James to feed, Lafayette takes a few bong hits and drinks straight from the bottle. It’s the second time his cousin has died, and he really can’t bring himself to feel anything. James, a Vietnam draft dodger in his human life, tells Lafayette the story of how he became a vampire.

Beaten to near death by his friend’s father who resented the fact that James was alive while his son died in the war, James was turned by the neighborhood vampire, out of pity. Over the years, he’d decided that the universe cares nothing about human emotion. So, he’s a really cute, philosophical vampire. See? Interesting.

Tara’s mom high on V

Willa, the late Gov. Burrell’s daughter and Eric’s baby vamp progeny, allows Lettie Mae to drink some of her blood in order to heal from the attack. Of course, Lettie initially refuses, but finally drinks. 

Somehow, making an addict drink V doesn’t seem like the best idea. Lettie Mae wigs out. She claims that she can hear Tara’s voice calling from heaven. Finally, Willa and Rev. Daniels (Lettie Mae’s hubby) get
her to calm down. Daniels doesn’t want Willa to give his wife more V, because obviously. Willa confides in him that she doesn’t have anywhere to go, with Eric, Pam and Tara gone. Daniels sweetly allows her to live in the light-tight church basement.

The Vampire Nest

Bill and Andy find a vampire nest, but it’s empty, save for some drained humans the vamps left hanging from their feet. It’s pretty sickening, and it’s just the kind of vampiric cruelty that some of the human residents of Bon Temps have had it with. The same vigilantes that had that run-in with Jason and Violet have a standoff with Andy and Bill.

It’s an especially strong scene from Chris Bauer, and it ends with Andy getting the humans to back down, reminding them that he’s still the law. When he drops Bill off at the Compton mansion, he reminds him
that they will never be OK (It’s partly Bill’s fault that Adilyn’s sisters were killed by Jess) and Bill has a Civil War-era flashback of his own wife and kids.

Fangtasia

Turns out, the Hep Vs are actually held up in Fangtasia. They’ve got Holly, Arlene, Nicole and the Bon Temps police officer whose name I can never remember, chained up in the basement where Eric held
Lafayette seasons ago. They are picking them off one by one and it’s horrible to watch. Not sure how this is going to play out, but Arlene is one of my favorite secondary characters, so I really hope the BTPD figures this out soon.

Sookie’s not even welcome in church

The residents of Bon Temps seem to spend every night fighting for their lives and every day in church, which makes sense because they are pretty sure the world is going to end. Rev. Daniels gives a metaphoric sermon about the morning being near, but that all gets interrupted when Sookie and Alcide arrive.

Sookie tries to comfort Lettie Mae, but the pastor’s wife tells her to keep her fangbanging hands off. Sookie and Alcide start to leave, but not before overhears everyone thinking the worst of her. Unable to take it, reminds them all that 1.) She is telepathic and can hear them and 2.) She knows more about vampires “for better or worse” than any other Bon Temps resident. She can help.

Next week: The Fangtasia captives may get some help from a familiar face and Sookie and Alcide make a trip to a neighboring small town for clues about what is to become of Bon Temps.