‘True Blood’ Season 7 Episode 9 Recap: And Now, the End Is Near…

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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 its final season is as silly as ever. This week: into the home straight.

And so, here we are — after seven years of this endearingly ridiculous show, there’s one episode left. And hey, it looks like it might shape up to be a good one after all. By this stage, even True Blood‘s writers seem to have lost interest in this season’s more superfluous subplots — after seven seasons as a main character, Sam Merlotte was packed off to Chicago with nary a goodbye, and not even the population of Bon Temps seemed to care a great deal. Similarly, yes, Arlene is getting together with the vampire bro whose name no-one can remember, and good for her. Hopefully this is the last we’ll see of that plot.

One other long-running narrative was resolved this week, and not really for the better: last week I wrote about how leaving the Jessica/Hoyt romance hanging was a good decision on the part of the writers, rather than going for the easy option of having everything align perfectly for them to get back together. Ah well, it was a nice idea. As it transpired, the show gave us a big ol’ “J/K” and, yes, had everything align perfectly for them to get back together. Why Hoyt decided to knock out Jason again for old time’s sake is unclear, but hey, everything sort of ended happily ever after. Which of course was all far too neat to be remotely credible, but at least it leaves next week free for the grand finale of the story of Sookie ‘n’ the vampires.

And yes, despite the cursory service paid to various tangential narratives, this week was all about getting the main characters’ ducks in a row for next week. Last week’s cliffhanger was Bill’s embarkation on a death trip, and this week he explained himself to unlikely therapist Eric Northman, justifying his decision to eschew the cure for Hep V on the basis that he wants to set Sookie free of loving him so that she can go and get together with someone who isn’t a) undead and b) incredibly irritating.

His self-justifying monologue at least gave Eric the chance to say something that fans of this show have been wanting to say for years, i.e. “Get over yourself, Bill.” But his line of reasoning — that Sookie’s light attracts vampires, and their darkness attracts her — seemed solid enough, and it was enough to convince Eric to plead Bill’s case to Sookie, who spent the first half of the episode cursing her erstwhile lover’s name and hitting him wherever possible. And so, Bill gets his chance to explain himself to his erstwhile lover one last time. Except…

Except Eric reminds everyone why he’s not Mr Nice Guy. When the fragile alliance between the big Viking and his yakuza chums breaks down after they realize he hasn’t been especially diligent in keeping the big secret of Sarah Newlin being the cure the vampire apocalypse, they respond by tying Pam to a table with the stake of Damocles hanging over her and demanding to know who he’s revealed their secret to. Eric is effectively given a choice: Pam or Sookie? Protect the latter by insisting she knows nothing about hep V, or save Pam’s life by betraying her?

The implication is that he chooses the latter, although we never actually see him ‘fess up to the yakuza about where Sookie lives, so there’s definite latitude for him to come through with some miraculous plan to save her. But in the meantime, the yakuza are descending on Sookie’s place, where poor benighted Bill is about to disintegrate into a pile of goo. But will he save her first? Or, after seven years dodging vampires, maenads, witches, werewolves and god knows what else, will Ms Stackhouse meet her end at the rather prosaic hands of a bunch of Japanese gangsters? No, of course she won’t, but what will happen remains to be seen. See you here next week, one last time.

P.S.: Oh, Ginger