Published on July 28th, 2014 | by Bean0
True Blood Review – Season 7 Episode 4 – “Death Is Not The End”
After a lot of blood-letting, necessary or otherwise, True Blood decides to play “Death Is Not The End” differently , and wear it’s heart on it’s sleeve. This turns out to be a wise move, reminding us why some of these characters are so dear. Too many nonsense shenanigans have been distracting from what is good and loveable about this show of late, and episode 4 comes in to cut the bullshit; which is what Sookie spends the better part of the hour doing, in one form or another. I never like Sookie more than when she is opening a vein of whoop-ass on some moany tit, so this was a fun one for me.
The cold open starts as it means to go on, cutting to the chase, and deals with the fallout of last week’s carnage in two horribly difficult phone conversations. Ever the stalwart, Sookie keeps it together on her end to Jackson Herveux, while Jason nearly gives the game away breaking the news to Hoyt. The young Mr Fortenbury had a tricky job whilst on the show, since innocence is, unsurprisingly, given very short shrift on an HBO drama. It was an uncomfortable short walk from lovestruck pup to pathetic creep for Hoyt, and it was a relief that they let him go with any dignity, glamoured or not. It’ll be interesting to see how the show deals with Hoyt’s return, since he’s the human equivalent of a shaken Etch-a-Sketch when it comes to his once-closest friends. If the phone call with Jason is anything to go by, it will at the very least be touching.
The nostalgia this episode and Season 7 in general have been indulging in extends to more flashbacks, this time at least in a more entertaining way, and we get a glimpse of Ginger and Fangtasia’s origin story. It’s a fun little romp down memory lane, and we enjoy more instalments of Indignities of the 90’s. Considering the amount of time given to them, there must be more to these reminiscences than secondary-character development and convenient tunnel discoveries. What that deeper purpose might be is still unclear, but it does give us ample screen-time for the Pam n Eric Show, the perfect storm of sarcastic and sardonic one-liners and acid asides.
Since balance has never been one of the strong suits of this show, with Sookie taking the lead in the A-plotline, unfortunately all the chaps bring to the table is a lot of incompetence. Lines like “Talkin’s hard sometimes for boys unless they’ve got a ball with ‘em.” or “We like to be held.” are little gems of gentle humour, or obvious advice, but they speak eloquently of the immaturity and ineptitude of men and boys – Jason, Andy, even Eric. And if it’s not a ball, it’s a gun. Sam’s feeling of impotence is such that Jason’s uncharacteristically wise counsel goes unheard until the deputy pulls his piece. These two continue to unravel at Rosie’s. Why Jason and Sam would divulge the details of their planned attack on Fangtasia to Kevin’s grieving widow, who was last seen on the wrong side of the mob-line, is beyond comprehension. It serves the narrative needs of wiping out the tedious vigilante threat, but again, makes our boys look like idiots.
Still, maybe it’s Sookie feeding Bill, or Eric and Sookie sharing a tender moment, or the compassion Lafayette shows Jessica and James but this episode has heart. Even the delicious reveal that Ginger actually came up with the whole Fangtasia plan ends up underscoring the sweet devotion between Sire and Progeny. The staple resentments and tensions are still present; Eric baiting Bill, incredulous of his new-found non-asshole status; Pam comparing Sookie to something revolting and/or parasitic (this week – a fungus!); and Jason’s well-intentioned missteps have littered this series from the start, but his abortive Normandy-themed St Crispin’s Day attempt is a buffoon’s bullseye.
With these solid foundations in place, the episode soars above the difficulties of recent weeks, and everything feels less scattered as a result, more grounded. The storming of Fangtasia gets the jeopardy it requires in the nasty odds our heroes face against the Hep V vamps and the remnants of the mob, and Arlene’s precarious life or death decision has real gravity. Her struggle to choose life in the face of spirit-Terry looking all handsome and glowy is moving, and Sookie’s stake in the drama only makes it more so. The look that passes between Eric and Sookie at the episode’s close is even a little heartbreaking, reminding us of the impermanence and abandonment that plagues our faery queen, even when she’s winning.
Review by Nina Clark
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