Even though, overall, this week’s new episode of ‘True Blood’ is an improvement over last week’s filler episode, I fear that it marks a trend for how this final season will play out.
I’m certainly not surprised that the show’s writers would use the excuse of the final season to kill off some major characters. After all, the show will be over soon anyway. However, I’m very disappointed and annoyed at the offhand way the deaths are being handled. Tara barely got two lines of dialogue in the season premiere and was killed off-screen. Her exit couldn’t even be dignified with an on-camera demise. We were told that she died only after the fact.
This week, Alcide bites the bullet (silver, apparently!). While he at least gets the benefit of an on-screen death, it seems very arbitrary and pointless. He’s standing around yelling at Bill one minute, and the next an unseen assailant shoots at him from the bushes. That’s it. His death doesn’t serve any particular meaning or purpose to the narrative. Any of several other characters standing in his vicinity could have been hit instead. It feels like the writers merely felt the need to kill off somebody this week to generate a sense of drama and stakes, and he was the most expendable.
To the episode’s credit, Alcide’s death forces Sookie to make a moral decision about whether to let the vampires resurrect him or not. This is a hard choice, but she lets him die because she remembers how unhappy Tara was about being turned into a vampire, and knows that isn’t what Alcide would want.
Honestly, Alcide’s death (which occurs at the very end) is the only really critical plot event to happen in episode ‘Fire in the Hole’. Frustratingly, the show continues to be very poorly structured. Storylines don’t seem to be mapped out at all. The episode feels like an assemblage of random scenes that have little to do with one another.
Nevertheless, I still consider this an improvement over last week because the episode incorporates a lot of worthwhile character development and interactions. Ideally, I’d like to see both the good character work and a good plot, but if that’s apparently too much to ask for, I’ll settle for at least one.
Stuff That Happens
- The episode opens with the return of Sarah Newlin. She’s now hiding out under a new identity at a yoga commune, where’s she’s screwing the yoga guru. Later, some Yakuza-wannabe vampires from the Authority come looking for her and kill her boyfriend. Why they care about Sarah isn’t explained. In fact, does the Authority even still exist anymore?
- Now infected with the Hep V virus, Eric has given up the will to live. He doesn’t care about anything anymore and is prepared to waste away. Pam tries to talk some sense into him, which leads into an extended flashback set in 1986 France, where Eric fell in love with a human woman named Sylvie. We see how he was first introduced to Nan Flanagan (an excuse to bring Jessica Tuck back on the show for a little while) and the Authority. When Eric disobeys and disrespects the Authority’s rules, those same Yakuza vampires capture both Pam and Sylvie, and Nan forces Eric to choose which will live. He reluctantly chooses Pam. Back in the present day, Pam finally stirs Eric back to life when she informs him that Sarah Newlin is still alive. He apparently wants revenge, but it seems pretty contrived to me that Eric would give that much of a shit about Sarah.
- Sookie runs off with Bill and concocts a stupid plan to use herself as bait to lure out the Hep Vamps that kidnapped Arlene and Holly. They spend most of the episode waiting and chatting. Bill explains that he lost so much of his blood last season that the bond between the two of them has been broken. Sookie in turn is honest that she loves Alcide, but feels guilty that she doesn’t love him as much as he loves her.
- Bill has a flashback to 1862, when he left his wife and children to go off to war. This doesn’t really connect to anything else.
- Running low on food, some of the Hep Vamps go out hunting. They take Holly with them as a snack to keep their energy up.
- Sam and a flamboyantly gay vampire named Matt run into Vince and the mob. Vince has told the townspeople that Sam is a shapeshifter, and proclaims himself the new mayor. One of the mob kills Matt. Sam turns into an owl in front of them and flies away.
- Andy and Jess break Adilyn and Wade out of jail, where they’d been locked up by Vince’s mob. They then round up Jason and Violet. This group then runs into the mob. Maxine Fortenberry shoots Jess in the shoulder with a silver bullet. Violet kills Maxine, and the rest of the mob flees.
- Several groups of characters converge in the woods when the Hep Vamps attack Sookie and Bill. Andy and Jason shoot and kill the Hep Vamps. Holly is rescued. Alcide yells at Bill for allowing Sookie to put herself in such a dangerous situation when shots ring out from the bushes and Alcide is murdered. Jason and Andy return fire back to the bushes. When the smoke clears, they find a redneck named Lou, one of Vince’s mob, begging for an ambulance. Andy ignores him.