'True Blood' recap, 'Death is Not the End'

With the sudden reappearance of Sarah Newlin last week, I'd started to think that this season might not make me furious.

Then Alcide became a casualty of one of the stupidest plans ever hatched by Sookie. Not only did I lose ANOTHER of my HBO crushes, but also I have the possibility of Sookie and Bill reuniting looming over my head. But more on that later.

The Stackhouses spread some misery Sookie gives Jackson the news about Alcide, while Jason calls Hoyt (!) in Alaska to tell him about his mother’s death. Since Jess glamoured away Hoyt’s memories of them, Jason has to pretend they never knew each other. The façade cracks when Hoyt starts to blame his mom's death on his leaving Bon Temps, with Jason calling Hoyt “Bubba” and Maxine “Big Max.” Poor Jason.

Pam and Eric are back in town, almost My favorite TB duo flies toward Baton Rouge to question a Senator Finch about Sarah Newlin’s whereabouts. Eric wants to change course and head toward Shreveport to pick up Willa, but Pam reminds him that he abandoned her. Eric insists on seeing his progeny before he dies, which tips off the flight attendant off whom he’d just been feeding. He glibly informs her that she’s now a carrier of Hep-V and she freaks because flight attendants on a vampire-friendly airline get fired if they can’t double as snacks. Jerk move, Eric.

Shreveport, 1986 This trip down memory lane is a classic example of why vampire-show flashbacks can be problematic: the cast ages, even if their characters don’t. They meet the Magister (the weaselly man who forced Bill to turn Jess in season 1), who sentences them for their crimes in France. They will run a small business in Shreveport (which smells of “piss, sperm and bad hair dye,” apparently): a cheesy video store.

Pam’s disgusted gasp when the Magister turned on the lights was the best. But wait! There’s more. The video store boasts the largest collection of adult films in the state. (Eric: “Leave it to humans to make sex this depressing.”) Behind one of the vents is a tunnel that was used by the Underground Railroad, which will undoubtedly become relevant soon.

Eric will also become Sheriff of Area 5, just so the Authority can keep an eye on him. They’ll also be spying on him night and day, with help from the Yakanomo Corporation and their gangster friends.

Sookie checks in on Arlene’s kids Sookie tells Lisa and Coby that their mom is tough, loves them dearly and is fighting to get back to them. It’s up to them to find her. Problem is, the only person who has a clue as to where Arlene and the others are is Holly, who was glamoured by the H-Vamps. Sookie promises to get their mom back by helping Holly remember, using her telepathy.

A less-than-cooperative Andy finally lets Sookie in to see Holly, who doesn’t remember anything that happened after the mixer and before she ran into Sookie and Co. at the creek. Covered in bite marks, Holly’s afraid to have Sookie jump-start her memory, but she does it for Arlene and Nicole. After a few painful minutes, Sookie’s able to get Holly to remember that the rest of the kidnapped are in Fangtasia’s basement.

Sam’s finally losing it Now that he knows where Nicole is, Sam tries to take off for Fangtasia, with Jason in tow. Even Jason Stackhouse can see that that’s a stupid idea (they need to wait until dark to get help from healthy vamps), so he holds Sam at gunpoint, demanding he turn around. Sam caves fairly easily, because he’s Sam. They set off to tell Kevin’s awful girlfriend, Rosie, about his death.

Jess and her bullet wound James tells her that she isn’t healing because she won’t eat. Frustrated, he fetches Bill to either guilt or command Jess to eat, because it has been 10 weeks. Jess claims it isn’t because of Adilyn’s sisters, since she and Adilyn made amends. Bill’s anger, about Jess protecting Adilyn without being fed in exchange, is temporarily interrupted by the arrival of Sookie. When she hears what’s happening, she volunteers her own blood.

Jess reminds her Jess kind-of goes crazy when she drinks fairy blood, but Sookie trusts her and doesn’t care why Jess isn’t eating. She just needs Jess to tighten up and help them rescue Arlene and the others. Since Jess won’t drink from her, she tells James to call Lafayette.

Pre-Fangtasia ‘96 Ginger (!) and Pam meet for the first time when the former comes into the video store looking for “The Fearless Vampire Killers,” David Cronenberg’s “Rabid,” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Cronos.” (Now I know what I’ll be watching this weekend.)

Before spending a decade being glamoured, Ginger was pretty sharp. Pam’s impressed with her good taste in vampire cinema and Ginger explains its for a course called “Monsters in Our Midst” that she’s taking at Tulane. They are examining “the plight of others in our society and how others are treated vis-à-vis vampire lore.” It’s like a thesis statement for this entire show.

Ginger assures Pam that she doesn’t actually believe vampires are real, but then Eric emerges from the store’s basement, his hair just as horrible as it was in the ‘80’s. Ginger basically starts hyperventilating because Eric is so hot, which…is a very Ginger thing to do. Pam explains that they’re together on and off, but have been on “permanent off” since they took over the store. Ginger eagerly asks for an application to work the day shift.

Sookie’s new plan Bill fears they will be outnumbered at Fangtasia. Many of the vampires who attended the mixer are either dead or too frightened to help, plus they wouldn’t be getting anything out of this mission. Sookie wonders why Bill is helping; he says it’s because he owes her everything, which leads to her letting him drink from her because she’ll need him at his strongest tonight and “it’s just lunch.” (Side note: How are all of these vamps awake during the day without getting the bleeds?)

Lafayette is also making house calls, offering himself to Jess so that her wound can heal. She is still feeling guilty about needing to feed off innocents to survive, but Lafayette ensures her that that doesn’t apply to him. He’s done some terrible things that he could hate himself for, including killing Jesus. She thankfully feeds.

Pre-Fangtasia ’06 Vamps are out of the coffin, Tru Blood’s on the market and Fangtasia is about to be born. Turns out the club was an idea Ginger hatched after finding the chair that would become Eric’s throne. It’s a brilliant idea, which is why but Pam took all of the credit, stealing the plan and glamouring Ginger. Present-day Pam admits what she did to an amused Eric, but he laughs and promises that he still loves her.

Eric and Pam are back! Sookie and Co. managed to gather a tiny troop of vampires for the attack on Fangtasia, and everyone seems sure this will end badly. A bit of bright news comes in the form of Pam and Eric. (Eric, with the best line of the night: “Pam tells me you wrote a book in which you claim to not be an a** h*** anymore. Is this true, Bill?”)

The signs of Hep-V on Eric’s chest take both Bill and Sookie aback, but that isn’t going to stop Eric from having a sappy reunion with Sookie, much to Pam’s disgust. Pam reminds him to summon Willa, and you just know that reunion won’t be as tender.

Eric’s upset when he finds out that Sookie was dating Alcide, since he signed her house back to her so that she could try to have a normal life. He goes easy on her when he learns Alcide just died that morning. Holding her, he tells her about his time away. First, he went home to Sweden, but he caused an avalanche that killed a village, so he went to South America, then northern Africa, Spain and France. He wanted to see the world one last time. I love Eric, but Pam is right about his affections for Sookie being vomit-inducing.

Willa arrives, understandably pissed, but Eric orders her to hold off on expressing her outrage until after battle. Eric tells the troop there’s another way into Fangtasia (I was right! The Underground Railroad tunnel!) and now Pam’s mad that Eric is, once again, derailing their plans for Sookie.

Fangtasia Sam shifts into a rat and crawls into the basement through the tunnel to ask the kidnapped women to trust the vampires that are going to be coming in after him. Unfortunately, the vampires arrive just as the H-vamps take Arlene upstairs to feed. Bill volunteers to stay behind and Pam gives him some sage advice: Don’t be a hero, because Sookie ain’t gonna happen.

But it’s Eric who has a better plan. He knocks on the front door, introducing himself as the diseased former area sheriff in need of help. Just in case that doesn’t work, he’s brought Sookie in as a diversion. One problem: when Sam and Jason gave Rosie the news about Kevin’s death, Sam stupidly told her about Fangtasia, so the core of the Bon Temps vigilante mob is headed to join them. Eric’s plan is just about to work when the vigilantes arrive, tossing in a Molotov cocktail and firing wooden bullets from outside.

Fortunately, the good vampires are able to zoom to the front of Fangtasia to take on the H-Vamps hand-to-hand. Sookie and a dying Arlene are still inside with Eric and Bill, who proves he has changed by saving Eric from being staked from behind by an H-Vamp.

Pam extinguishes the fire. Bill preps to give Arlene his blood, but is distracted by Jess, who is pinned down by Vince and screaming for help. Bill casually stabs Vince in the head, but Sookie’s losing Arlene to hallucinations about Terry. She’s fading fast when a healthy vampire that I’m assuming to be James’ band-mate finally gives her some blood.

The battle is won. All of the Fangtasia-based H-Vamps are killed and thankfully, so is this storyline. Up next: Pam and Eric’s mission to kill Sarah Newlin. At least there will probably be a few more laughs down that road.

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