“True Blood” (6.10) recap: Turn Around Bright Eyes

Well, that was a mess. True Blood has always been all over the place—which is why I don’t understand it when people complain that it’s “gotten ridiculous,” since ridiculous is where it lives–but I guess it was too much to hope that they could manage two strong episodes in a row.  To be fair, this finale had its work cut out for it; it had to resolve things with Borelow and set up the show’s signature cliffhangers, but it was a scattered, unenthusiastic effort.

We open at the graveyard, post-Terry’s funeral. And it is just a fact of life that however moving and meaningful a funeral service was, all those comforting feelings disappear the second you hear the sound of dirt hitting a coffin. For Sookie, it’s extra disturbing, since she thinks it may be her fate if Warlow insists she hold up her end of the bargain. Alcide shows up, his hair inexplicably different from earlier thar day, and asks Sook if she would like to schedule some sex times. But then the Traveling Circus of Tripping Vampires shows up and Sookie issues Alcide a rain check good for one (1) meaningless, place-holder relationship. For the time being, the spectacle of sun-bathing vampires is more interesting. Alcide initially insists on protecting her, but Feminist Sookie can take care of herself.

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This is particularly true since none of the vampires are in a mood for mayhem. They’re too busy jitterbugging, playing volleyball(?), and exploring the possibilities of sunlit orgies. Violet is busy sucking on Jason’s neck, but when Sookie arrives, she decides her ownership privileges extend to the entire Stackhouse clan, and gives her an open-mouthed kiss.  It doesn’t really bother Sookie or Jason, and it doesn’t really do anything for me. Like, you can’t just toss me a half comical, half titillating kiss between two straight characters and pat yourself on the back, True Blood. It belittles us both.

ANYWAY, Sookie next travels to Instagram, where she asks Warlow if they could maybe tweak their deal just a hair.

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Warlow: So I’ve got our wedding maypole all set up. Just tie yourself to the symbolic penis and we can begin  our eternity of bliss.

Sookie: Yeaaaaaah, about that. Now that we’ve got a little breather between apocalypses, whaddya say we date for a while. Make sure we like the same TV shows and stuff.

Warlow: Oh, silly. What makes you think you’ll ever get to hold the remote?

Sookie: See, I can’t tell if you’re joking, and anyway I’ve been trying out this whole Feminist Sookie thing, and this wedding is feeling really patriarchal and weirdly like a business transaction.

But Warlow is 6000 years worth of old-fashioned, and he backhands Sookie and ties her to the maypole.

Back at the Traveling Vampire Circus, Pam has lost her buzz. Tara tries to see if she can interest her in some long overdue kissing, but Pam has had a one-track mind all season, and all she can think or talk about is Eric. It is a lesbian storyline that doesn’t even pass the Bechdel test. Tara, for one, is pissed, especially when Pam’s last words to her are not “wait for me,” but “take care of Willa.” She then flies off in search of her maker, leaving her aching progeny behind.

Meanwhile, Bill is having the biggest come-down of them all. He’s lost his Bilith powers, which means he no longer has the ability to back up his narcissism. In light of that he could really use Sookie’s ego-inflating affection, but she probably doesn’t even like him anymore since he sold her to Warlow. It is the grossest sulking since Cousin Nate pined for Emily Fields. Jessica urges Bill to snap out of it and save Sookie, so he gathers Jason and the increasingly obnoxious and clingy Violet. They enlist Adilyn as a Portkey to help them break through to Instagram, and whisk Sookie away in the nick of time.

Back on this plane, Sookie makes it as far as her bathroom before Warlow catches up to her. But rather than having the opportunity to stake him herself, Grandpa Niall emerges from his hell dimension and restrains Warlow, while Jason (of all people) stakes him.

trueblood10.3 RIP Feminist Sookie, we hardly knew ye.

When Warlow dies, all the vampires who tasted his blood lose the ability to daywalk. This primarily affects Eric, who is doing a little naked reading on a frozen mountaintop in Sweden, I shit you not. He bursts into flames, and you’re supposed to think he’s dead, but I seriously fucking doubt it. Finales are full of fake outs (Tara’s “death” being the most recent) and I bet you anything Pam will save Eric at the last second. The whole point of this scene was to show Alexander Skarsgard‘s penis, which did not seem that impressive to me. But maybe I’ve just forgotten how penises work/are. It has been a while.

After Eric’s junk, the show skips forward six months to a very different world. Hep V is raging in the vampire community much like AIDS in the 80s, and the new voice for vampires is none other than Bill Compton. He’s written a book about how he used to be a god (lie) and how Governor Burrell totally deserved to be decapitated (truth). Sookie watches him on the TV, her eyes big and dewy, until Alcide comes in and they have couple sex where Sookie pretends she is actually sleeping with an amalgam of Bill’s control complex, Eric’s emotional distance, and Alcide’s body.

Across town, Violet and Jason have an even more unhealthy relationship. Specifically: Jason has been going down on Violet every night for six months and she hasn’t even touched his QB 1. And Jason, sweetie, we’ve all dated a Violet at one time or another. And even when they do manage to get their heads off the pillow and into the game, it is rarely worth the wait.  Just walk away, babe.

The next day Mayor(!) Sam Merlotte’s calls a meeting of the town’s black and white congregations, to introduce an audacious plan. In order to protect the town from hordes of Hep V-infected vampires ravaging the land, the town is arranging a donor program wherein a family feeds an uninfected vampire in exchange for their protection. Three problems with that:

1. It took me two sentences to write out the plot of this long, awkwardly paced church scene.

2. Are we living in an apocalypse where government as we know it no longer exists or a slightly less hellish future where we still have Bill appearing on Meet the Press. Because I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

3. Even granted that Hep V has mutated, how are the vampires who suffer from it strong enough to form violent hordes, and why does suffering from it make them more dangerous/bloodthirsty?

It’s so much more than a little wrinkle of a problem. The idea of sick people coming to kill and infect without regard for human life others really throws a wrench into the whole AIDS metaphor they’re obviously going for here. The theme of the church scene, as the Reverend Daniels helpfully expounds, is “togetherness,” and the idea that vampires and humans can protect each other in a world without Tru-Blood is an intriguing twist, but stigmatizing the diseased vamps is problematic in ways that I shouldn’t even have to point out.

But don’t worry about that now! Let’s have a party! Over at Bellefleur’s (formerly Merlotte’s in this flash forward game of musical chairs) humans and vampires try to form connections, and to my infinite suprise, Tara is approached by her mother. Lettie Mae does her now-familiar monologue  about how she failed Tara as a mother, even forgetting to feed her.  She then offers her neck and offers to do for the vampire what she could never do for the child. It’s the emotional anchor of the episode, which does not in anyway detract from its powerfully incestual creepiness.  Still, it is the only moment this season that is really about Tara: her never-ending need for her mother’s love, suckering her in every single time. But lest we forget, Tara’s mom is a dick so there is a 50/50 shot she’s infecting Tara with Hep V.

Away from the party, Jessica offers protection to Terry and Adilyn Bellefleur, not in exchange for their blood, but in hopes that it might ease her aching conscience. It’s nice to see our old Jess back, although I see that Abercrombie James is still around, and in a band where of course all he does is sing.

As Alcide and Sookie leave the Barbecue, Bill shows up, back to exploring everything that’s wrong with the concept of “chivalry.” He and Alcide argue over who can best protect Sookie, who, again, POSSESSES A VAMPIRE-ANNIHILATING BALL OF LIGHT.  Anyway, barf.

The scene ends when one of those vampire mobs we’ve heard so much about arrive on the scene,  looking and acting like supercharged zombies. They circle the party, we get our rubber-stamped cliffhanger, and fade to black.

So. That was frustrating, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t be back next season. At this point, though, I really hope it’s the last one.

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