“True Blood” Season 7, Episode 3: “Fire in the Hole”

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I literally moaned, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” multiple times during Sunday night’s episode. I guess that means the showrunners are doing something right. I am invested, OK?! I thought I was totally ambivalent about this dumb show but there were two moments there that REALLY hurt. It was also an awfully preachy episode. I felt like it should have ended with one of the cast members talking about condom usage and responsible gun ownership, capped with a star wipe. The more you know…

This episode felt way longer than an hour, probably because it was split up over a shit ton of characters. I will try to go over the details as efficiently as possible, but I’m sure I’ll forget stuff. Feel free to bring up anything I missed in the comments.

-Picking up from last episode, Pam and Eric had several emotional scenes that verified what we assumed: Eric has the Hep V and is really pretty cool about dying at this point. He has HAD it. The analogy between Hep V and the recent uptick in AIDS rates was hammered home in some of the most ungainly dialogue yet this season. And we got some flashbacks that were both great -- Eric and Pam looking awesome in 80’s clothes! Eric banging a nubile French lass in the moonlight! NAN FLANAGAN!!! -- but also frustrating in that Eric’s chosen place of death is tied to a character we never even heard about before. I kind of saw where the show was going here, establishing that Eric has a history of periodically making very stupid decisions because he falls hard for certain humans, as he did with Sookie. (I wondered if perhaps Sylvie was part fairy, but that’s strictly me overthinking things.) But regardless, this is not the way Eric Northman should be going out. As a sad, bored vampire willingly dying from a disease while hanging around where some girl he banged in the 80’s used to live. Thankfully Pam prompted him into action by dangling the knowledge that Sara Newlin stills lives, so we won’t spend the next few episodes watching the erstwhile Viking warrior succumb to Hep V while Pam cries bloody tears on a fainting couch. That’s good.

-Speaking of Sara Newlin, she reappeared with a new darker hair color and an interest in Eastern spirituality in what I can only describe as an ill-considered crossover with Mike Myers’ “The Love Guru.” But more Sara Newlin is always a good thing, even if she’s just doing yoga, picking out wine, and exploring tantric sex with Yogi Bear. Plus: corporate ninjas!

-Back in Bon Temps, Sam wasted yet more precious daylight talking about Jesus with the Reverend before Sam and the dishy gay vamp got ambushed by the gun-toting townspeople. Gay vamp was killed off quickly, and then Sam turned into an owl and got shot at a lot. Sam Merlotte is truly Bon Temps’ Rob Ford.

-Jessica and Andy rescued Adilyn and cockblocked Holly’s poor son simultaneously. Efficiency at work! They dropped the kids off at Jason’s house -- a great environment for horny teenagers -- and were joined by Jason and awful, awful Violet to track down the roaming, gun-toting townspeople. I guess. Motivations are becoming quite suspect at this point. I mean, I get that the unruly mob is a source of major danger, but Andy and Sam at least have significant others abducted by ravenous, diseased vamps. So the fact that they’re pressing pause on that to go after a bunch of soccer moms and drunks with guns is somewhat questionable. Anyway, the cops and vamps ran afoul of the mob, Jessica got shot -- not killed, but shot (again it’s pointed out that she is not healing properly) -- and then Violet ripped out Mrs. Fortenberry’s heart. That would be “NOOOOOOOOO!” No. 1. The rest of that mob can eat a bag of Hep V-infected dicks for all I care; Maxine was television gold and we are poorer for having lost her.

-Speaking of Hep V, the sick vamps had to go on another hunting expedition and decided to take one of their prisoners along to feed on, like trail mix (that was pretty funny). They selected Holly after one of them interrupted her leading the other prisoners in an incantation. I’m glad the show finally remembered that Holly is a witch. She may not be throwing around massive spells like Doctor Strange, but I’m glad she was trying SOMETHING.

-Our other resident magic user, LaFayette, was on another plane himself -- the pharmaceutical one. LaFayette had himself a little party for one with a bunch of happy pills, and Vampire James came over to look broody and mumble a lot. They talked about how awesome drugs are and LaFayette whipped up a little cocktail, which James then sampled via blood suck. There was a moment where James thought LaFayette had OD’d, but of course Miss LaFayette is harder to kill than that. (Just ask that poor faux voodoo lady who took his place in the back of the car at the end of S1.) The basic gist: LaFayette has decided to embrace the fucked-up present by getting as fucked up as possible, and James is definitely interested in LaFayette but conflicted about Jessica. It’s very latter-season “90210,” but with fangs.

-Willa and the Revered had a nice discussion about salvation and addiction, and nobody cares about those characters.

-That leaves us with That Idiot Sookie, whose plan became clear. She wanted to use her role as Bon Temps’ go-to vampire bait to lure the Hep V vamps into taking her back to their nest, and Vampire Bill could track her back there because she took his blood. It’s not a terrible plot, although it made me wonder: have none of the people in the Fangtasia basement ever taken blood from any of the vamps left on this show? Anyone want to fact check that? Arlene seems specifically questionable to me. Furthermore, given the heavy vampire connection, not one person has thought to maybe check Fangtasia by now? I realize they’re all very busy talking about Jesus, but still.

The Sookie and Bill scenes were, if I’m being honest, some of the best moments we’ve seen from either character this season. That’s damning with faint praise, since I still wanted Sookie to shut up about rollercoasters and for someone in production to recognize what a deeply unflattering angle they were using to shoot Stephen Moyer. But the two characters have chemistry, even if I hate them together at this point. I had a moment where I gritted my teeth because they seemed to be setting up a very easy out that would basically absolve Bill for all the shitty things he’s done to Sookie -- after being totally drained last season he’s a “new vampire.” But they also seemed to close that door, so we’ll see.

-And then: tragedy. The sick vampires did in fact come for Sookie, Vampire Bill was taken out very quickly (great plan, you guys -- the sick vamps would never think to look for a guardian hiding in a tree WHEN SOOKIE WAS TALKING DIRECTLY TO HIM THE WHOLE TIME), and Sam, Jason, Violet, Andy, Jessica, and Alcide all showed up at the same time to rescue her stupid ass. The shootout took out several more of the infected vamps, but then the gun-toting townspeople showed up and THEY started shooting, and THEY KILLED ALCIDE! They shot his beautiful, brick-shithouse body full of holes! NOOOOOOOOOOO! This was so upsetting to me. I mean, Alcide’s character had become largely thankless over the past few seasons, especially since he became Sookie’s doormat boyfriend. But he still existed, and he was still frequently shirtless and occasionally pantless. You deserved better, Alcide! We all deserved better. At least you died the way we would like to remember you: completely naked.

There was a coda, with Sookie refusing to let the vampires present turn Alcide instead of letting him die because, “I’ve been down that road before.” For all my complaining, I think the writers are doing a decent job of showing us that, while still an idiot, Sookie has actually learned some things over the course of this series. (I also thought her speech to Bill about her feelings for Alcide was solid, and something I suspect most people can relate to.)

So thus ends the lives of Alcide and Maxine. Two great characters who shall be missed. The question is, who dies next? I’m more convinced than ever that by the time we get to the series finale there will be like five people left. That’s it. (And watch, two of them will be Violet and Willa.) They really are killing everyone off. We should start a death pool predicting who will die which episode. Put all your bets on Ginger to be the last person standing, screaming her head off as we roll to credits.

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