Wednesday, 24 August 2016

True Blood: Death Is Not the End

"Please don't turn into a rat!"

If the episode wasn't already excellent enough, it ends with a top tune from Bob Dylan that I admittedly know best from the cover by Nick Cave and P.J. Harvey. But I digress. This is another superb episode of excellent, character-based writing and all centred around the devastating effect of a death- in this case Alcide's- in a very different way from the superficially similar use of Terry's death last season.

News travels. To a trailer park in Jackson, Mississippi, as a priapic father discovers he has lost a son. To an oil rig just off Anchorage, Alaska as Aston discovers he's lost a mother- and it's a shock to see Hoyt again. Both are to converge on Louisiana, as are Eric and Pam; Eric wants Sarah Newlin dead, but first there is the matter of Willa, his neglected progeny.

Cue a flashback, as the Magister (remember him?) meets Eric and Pam as they arrive in Shreveport for Eric, the rebel, to be made sheriff of Area 51 as punishment; this is an interesting retconning of the character which reconciles the Eric of the first season with the much more rebellious character he has become. Also fascinating is that the small business they initially ran was a video store with a poem section. Most fascinating of all is Ginger who, before her mind was destroyed by regular glamouring, was a highly intelligent postgrad student specialising in vampire lure. We see her choose her life, in a way, but it's impossible to argue that she knew what she was in for, and we mustn't forget that she's been horribly abused over the seasons. Her life, once full of potential, has been wasted. Much like Alcide's.

Sookie uncovers traumatic memories from Holly, revealing that the Hep V vampires are holding Arlene and the other hostages at- where else?- Fangtasia. Sam, we discover, is rather keen to rescue Nicole and the baby. No one can mourn properly while other friends are in danger. 

There's a big raid, exciting to watch, and all the people we care about are rescued from the Hep B vampires with the help of Bill- and Pam and Eric. Eric tells Sookie that he has a month left, and has been spending the time he has travelling. Death haunts everything in this episode; indeed, this season. Arlene nearly dying, and seeing the spirit of Terry as she nearly goes, is deeply moving even to an atheist like myself.

Sam is well and truly out as a shapechanger; Vince is killed; it seems the forces of bigotry and mob rule are in retreat for now. We are left to reflect on yet another extraordinary piece of television.

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