“True Blood” recap (7.6): Old You, Noomi.

Oh lord, can you believe we’re almost done with the season? Last night we mostly caught up with the repercussions of the episode prior but there was one major, game-changing twist right at the end. Most everyone had their own mini-storyline so we’ll take ‘em one by one, working our way from least to most relevant.

First up: Nicole continues her bellyaching from last week about how Bon Temps is “crazy” and “violent” and half the population is “dead.” Sam makes his puppy dog eyes about how Bon Temps is the only place he’s ever felt safe and Nicole is like “see, shit like that makes me really worried about what our kid is going to be like.” She announces she’s taking the next train back to the sane world and he can be on it or not; his call. Frankly, Sam should be throwing her a goodbye parade, since putting some distance between them is her best (only) shot as surviving the season.

Next at bat: I was really hoping that Andy’s proposal to Holly would signify a graceful bow-out for their storyline, but ‘twas not to be. And it’s all the fault of Holly’s son, Wade. I hate you, Wade. I don’t know if it’s just your face or the way you came between Jessica and Adilyn, or the fact that I was subjected to your bare, adolescent ass for multiple seconds this week. But I despise you. Anyway, Andy catches Wade and Adilyn exchanging V-Cards and is outraged on a number of fronts, starting with the fact that she’s only a few weeks old and ending with the fact that they’re about to be step-siblings. Holly, meanwhile, refuses to hear a word against her precious, dreadful offspring, and the resulting fight nearly ends their engagement. By the time they patch things up, Wade and Adilyn have R-U-N-N-O-F-T to go have bad sex in private. It’s then that the story gets interesting, and only by virtue of intersecting with another, more central storyline.

Which brings us to the love triangle (love rhombus if Hoyt comes back) between Jason, Jessica, and Violet. Honestly, when Violet overheard Jason and Jess having sex last week and then just WALKED AWAY, it was the most terrifying thing she could have done. Cause, like, we’ve seen how scary she is when she loses her temper extemporaneously, so just how scary would a Violet REVENGE PLAN be? Pretty fucking scary, right?

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Um, wrong.

Instead of like, decapitating them both or giving them Hep-V or making them TALK about it (a fate worse than true death) what Violet does is go home and deck the halls with rose petals, don some excessively elaborate lingerie, and wait for Jason. When he arrives home, she gives him this whole spiel about how he must need to “feel in charge” and then gives him some oral pleasure just to show how much she means it. WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH VIOLET. Now, I never like the old Violet, but at least she was scary. This one is just…desperate. But thankfully(?) the old Violet returns when Jason sneaks off in the middle of the day to see Jessica again. Having been spurned a second time, Violet trashes the house and leaves Jason a note saying it’s over. Jason finds said missive and tosses it over his shoulder like “whew, that was easy.” I think we’ve all been there at least once with a girl; where you think you got out of the fire unscathed but really you just haven’t noticed yet that your whole life is drenched in gasoline. Violet’s next stop is the treehouse where Wade and Adilyn are (ahem) holed up. (This is the most accurate pun of all time, sure to anger the gods.) She zooms up to hem and literally says “Hiya!” and the fact that that doesn’t immediately clue them in to their imminent demise tells me that they may be too stupid to live. She’s like “Adolescent human sex is a subject dear to my heart. It’s my Save The Whales. Please allow me to escort you to a place where you may copulate freely. Don’t bring your phones.” And they’re like “Wow, I thought Violet was a sociopath who placed absolutely no value on life, but it turns out she just ships up super hard.” And they happily death march behind her. I don’t really want Adilyn to die (sorry, Wade) but I do think this is a brilliant move on Violet’s part: not to harm Jessica but to destroy the one reason she has left for living.

Lettie Mae, the only reason your storyline gets to go third is because it is Tara-adjacent. You and I are still not cool, you hear me? Anyway she shows up at Lafayette’s in search of more V (have you noticed that no one calls it that anymore?). She finds James, who, like a true child of the sixties, believes wholeheartedly in chemical enlightenment. Lafayette is not so convinced, but agrees to trip with Lettie Mae just in case.

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While under the influence, they visit Tara again, still writing and speaking in tongues on her cross. Only this time they have the bright idea to help her down, so she can scamper off. She leads them to the front yard of her childhood home and begins digging frantically in the soil, in search of something. At this point Reverend Daniels rouses them from their trance and demands that Lettie Mae choose between the V or him. And Lettie Mae is like “It was never about the V, honey. So technically I would be choosing between my twice-dead daughter and you. And since you always were a pompous fuck, that choice is easy.”

And now we must circle back to Bill and Sookie. Sookie and Bill. I think the Hep-V infection is the most interesting thing that could happen to Bill, not because I’m suddenly rooting for him, but because it unmasks his survival instinct.

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Because he is a civilized vampire, his first course of action is to make an appointment with a lawyer to put his affairs in order. Jessica overhears him discussing his Hep-V status and immediately tells Jason and Sookie. Sookie, horrified, realizes that she is the only one Bill has fed on recently and goes to get tested. The walls of the clinic are full of cutesy little posters about preventing infection, just like there would be in real life; True Blood has always excelled at the little things. As much as the AIDS metaphor is problematic, the body-horror depiction of the mundaneness of infection is excellent. Bill’s revulsion at his own black veins, Sookie’s tremendous guilt when she finds out that she is indeed a carrier, it all rings emotionally true. More politically true is Bill’s experience at the lawyer’s office, where he waits for hours among the dying, watching his disease progress. When the lawyer finally sees him, she tells him that as a dead man, he has no legal right to pass on his possessions to Jessica. Maybe this is some heavy-handed gay stuff, but I don’t care because straight people should be reminded AT ALL TIMES of the real consequences of our diminished legal statuses, especially in the South. The lawyer hints that she could help him for ten million dollars (not even a recapper hyperbole) and he STABS HER WITH A LETTER-OPENER. I kind of love that moment, both because it peels back the veneer of civility that Bill loves to hide behind, and because we all wish we could stab our bureaucratic oppressors sometimes. He goes home and makes eye contact with Sookie and their stupid acoustic guitar overture starts to play again.

Here’s what I think about that: I’ve come to believe that there are two types of long-running TV shows: those in which the creators know from the start how they’re going to end and those which are allowed to evolve. There are excellent and dreadful examples of each model. Lost’s creators always said they knew how it would end, but their own writers said that was a lie and the final season certainly felt like something written in a coffee and deadline-induced panic. No plan: bad outcome. How I Met Your Mother knew from the start who would end up with whom, and stuck to that premise even when a different pairing became most beloved by fans. They are arguably tied with Lost for most-despised finale ever. Plan: bad outcome. On the flipside, the Friday Night Lights creator always knew that the show would end with Tami and Coach leaving Dillon, which really was the perfect way to say goodbye. Plan: good outcome. Joss Whedon essentially had to end Buffy TWICE, but it was the best show ever.

My point is, I don’t have a problem the concept of a show knowing its destination and constantly working to get there. But it only works up to a point: HIMYM lovingly crafted storylines about Ted’s struggle to get over Robin and Robin and Barney’s romance, then threw that away in the last twenty minutes of the whole show, just because, well, they already shot the ending eight years ago. And I’m afraid True Blood is doing the same thing here with Bill and Sookie. Because Bill has made himself unforgivable. The show has strayed too far off the Bill and Sookie path to go back now. Sookie keeps talking about how Bill was her first love, and I get that. We all have first loves. They colonize our hearts, and even when the relationship ends their ruins can stand forever. But most people figure out somewhere around the time you discover they sold you out to a vampire queen that your first love is probably not your BIG love. Or even if it is, you learn not to completely define yourself in terms of that relationship. What’s frustrating to me about this, is the refusal to let Sookie grow from the same wide-eyed girl who fell in instalove with the first vampire she ever met. I don’t know; maybe I’m selling the writers short and this is all a big fakeout in which they don’t end up together. I do love this season (for which I need to apologize to exactly no one) so I hope I’m wrong. I hope the show ends with Bill dead and Tara resurrected and Jason French-kissing Eric. I hope the show is not so attached to its plan that it ignores its reality.

Okay enough of that shit: I saved Pam for last.

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The episode actually starts with Eric just murdering Yakuza thugs left and right, in spite of his rapidly deteriorating health. He is interrupted by the familiar cry of Pam shouting “ERIC SAVE ME!” The Yakuza have captured her and wrapped a silver chain around her neck. Ugh, I get so exhausted of calling this shit out but NEED I REMIND YOU THAT PAM, AS A HEALTHY VAMPIRE, WOULD BE MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO CAPTURE THAN ERIC? CAN SHE NOT BE THE ONE RESCUING HIM? ONE SINGLE TIME? Anyway they both get hauled off to meet with the U.S. president of the Yakanomo corporation, who is very interested in the whereabouts of Sarah Newlin. Eric and Gus (for that, improbably, is his name) haggle over who gets to kill her and who has rights to spit on her grave, until Pam is finally like “Will you please shut the fuck up. You can tie her up like a piñata and take turns whacking at her for all I care.” They finally settle the matter and go in search of Sarah herself.

Sarah, predictably, is hiding out at her sex-voiced sister’s house. At first her sister is fine with Sarah being her last meal, but the new miss Noomi (I didn’t even get that pun until now) reveals a secret: running through her veins in the only antidote to Hep-V. She’s had it this whole entire time. To prove it, she cures her sister, and it is then that Eric and company show up. It’s certainly going to keep things interesting.

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