No TV show says summer to us more than True Blood, its Southern Gothic atmosphere and pulpy pleasures providing the perfect complement to sweaty evenings spent drinking mint juleps at home after another exhausting day in the hot sun. The show alternately drives us crazy and enthralls us, and this season is proving no different — silliness abounds, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. This week: a resolution to the eternal “Is Sookie going to end up becoming a vampire?” question. Well, sort of.
Ever since Sookie Stackhouse first “accidentally” ran into Bill Compton on a deserted back road, the question underpinning much of the show’s dramatic tension — such as it is — has been whether the show’s main character would end up joining the ranks of the undead. The will-Sookie-end-up-as-a-vampire-or-not question has been a sort of narrative carrot dangled in front of the show’s audience for five seasons now, and it reached some sort of conclusion this week, because in return for allowing Bill to use his blood to prevent the vampire holocaust, Warlow demands that Sookie be his “for all eternity.”
This means becoming a vampire, of course, a fact that’s not lost on Sookie — the decision is presented as some sort of great moral dilemma, but really, as far as the True Blood universe goes, it’s kinda hard to see why you wouldn’t want to be a vampire — sure, in this series you have to deal with the possibility of getting stuck in a concentration camp with your fellow undead and force-fed some sort of hideous vampire virus, but apart from that, you get eternal life, cool retractable fangs and lots of rampant acrobatic sex into the bargain. All in all, hanging out for thousands of years with the likes of Eric Northman looks like it’d be pretty damn awesome, actually.
Of course, nothing is quite that simple — there are still a bunch of episodes left in this series, so by the time Bill and Sookie cross over into the latter’s fairy hideaway to make good on their bargain, they find that a certain Eric Northman has gotten there first. Oops. This sets up things nicely for an epic showdown between Billith and Eric — they can presumably both walk in the daylight now, even if Bill still has a bunch of wacky powers that Eric lacks. The tension between the two is as epic as ever — they share a great scene at the start of this episode, where Eric, furious from the impressively gruesome loss of his sister at the end of the previous episode, goads Bill into casting him out of his house. This is pretty much exactly what Eric wants, of course — he wants no part of Bill’s holy crusade, but he does want to get hold of Warlow’s blood, and the strategy pays off beautifully.
The rest of this episode is devoted largely to the aftermath of Terry’s death and also the interminable werewolf plotline, which drags as much as ever — it was barely two episodes ago when Alcide was trying to murder Sam, but hey, now they’re best buddies again, getting drunk together and bitching about women. Men, eh? They’re such simple creatures! A few shots of whiskey solves everything! This largely means that this episode lacks the charm of its immediate predecessors, but there are still enough memorable moments to make it worthwhile.
In particular — and it’s getting kind of tired typing this, but it’s true — the highlight of this episode, yet again, was the gloriously awful Sarah Newlin, proving her villainous credentials by chasing down some a representative from the firm that manufactures True Blood who’s discovered her plan to adulterate the artificial blood with the Hep-V virus, and murdering the unfortunate woman with her own stiletto heel. Anna Camp continues to play the role with the perfect mix of camp and righteous derangement — the scene where she tearfully thanks Jesus as she kneels over the body of her adversary, spattered with blood and with a crowd of baying vampires watching from below, is pure dramatic gold.
Anyway, this season has been substantially than the couple that preceded it, and everything seems to be coming together nicely for a grand conclusion. Can the vampire holocaust be prevented, thus liberating the show from a thoroughly questionable metaphor? Will Bill and Eric tear one another to pieces? And, for the love of god, will Sookie become a damn vampire or not? The answers await us.