WARNING: Contains Major Spoilers!!
It’s back, folks! True Blood is back! After leaving us with an awful cliffhanger involving sick, starving vampires, HBO’s bloodthirsty show returned to wreak havoc on my heart the residents of Bon Temps. Right off the bat, the season 7 premiere started off with a boat load of chaos and slaughter as the Hep V-infected vampires raged against the healthy vampires and killed and took humans as prisoners. Most of our established heroes took the lead in trying to protect those around them, including Bill, Jason, Alcide, Sam, Tara, Violet and even Sookie. For the most part, the scene went just like we’d expect it to – however, George R. R Martin must have been a consulting writer for this episode, because before the first five minutes were even gone, we lost one of our main characters. In a move so despicably evil that I’m sure I won’t be able to get over it for the remainder of the season, the writers of True Blood drove a stake through my heart by killing off Tara. And when I say “kill off” I don’t mean “shot in the head by a shotgun-wielding werebitch psychopath only to have a cold-hearted vampbitch sociopath raise her as a baby vampire in the next episode”. No! I mean, she was given the true death, and even as I’m typing this, I’m rage-hitting the keyboard. It was such a bizarre twist, because the last we saw of her, she was clearly winning her fight with the sick vampire that she was up against. However, in the next minute, she was gone and her blood was covering her mother, Lettie Mae. When I stopped screaming expletives at my television screen, my conspiracy theorist mind started working overtime, and I’m already convinced that Lettie Mae and/or her blood had something to do with this death. I don’t know how, and I’m pretty sure that I’m wrong, but I’m sticking to this theory because it’s the only consolation I’ve got! (Update #1: In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rutina Wesley dashed any hopes I had of a fake-out, by admitting that her Tara character is definitely dead. She also says that the Tara/Lettie Mae scene was absolutely genuine and a symbol of their final reconciliation. Ugh, I still want someone to blame, so I’m electing to ignore this portion)
After the infected vampires suddenly and inexplicably retreat after some mysterious whistling-type sound, the survivors of the attack convene inside Merlotte’s, where emotions and tension obviously run high. As a result, Sookie finds it difficult to shut all thoughts out, and she unfortunately hears everyone blaming her for the night’s assault… even Alcide. Wounded by the accusations, she leaves the bar unnoticed, and makes her way home. So far, this is the only place in this episode that I’m lost. How exactly is it that Sookie is suddenly responsible for everything involving vampires? Back at home, a furious Alcide confronts her about fleeing the bar unprotected, and she lets him know how much his blaming her hurt her. Though he tries to argue that it’s unfair to hold something that he thought in passing against her, she can’t unhear the accusation, and she can’t not be affected by it.
Jessica’s storyline won most of my support in this episode. She is still wracked with guilt over the fact that she murdered Andy’s fae daughters, and the only act of contrition that she thinks is worthy is offering them her unsolicited protection against inevitable attacks by the infected vampires. All through the night, she struggles against the powerful scent of Adilyn’s fairy blood, despite the fact that she hadn’t fed at all, which we learn from her conversation with James (who was recast, by the way! The original James, played by Luke Grimes, isn’t featured anymore, possibly because he was filming the role of Elliot Grey in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie). Jessica proves her loyalty to the Bellefleurs by facing off against an infected vampire, even with dawn approaching. She only barely makes it into the protective custody of the house before the sun comes up, though her entry makes her come close to attacking Adilyn once again. In the end, though, she was strong enough to distance herself, and she flees to the attic to nest.
Jason and Violet are still a thing, despite her obnoxious and controlling attitude, and her refusal to sleep with him. After an encounter between Violet and anti-vampire humans goes very sour, Jason becomes furious and confronts her about the fact that he feels emasculated. In order to regain his sense of manhood, he demands that the two of them have sex, which apparently works and turns her on, because the two of them wind up getting it on on the hood of his cruiser, in plain sight. I just… I cannot even. Ah, Jason. Some things never change.
The relationship between Bill and Andy remains frigid, but they work together to track down the nest of the infected vampires. When they find it, they’re ambushed by the same anti-vamp extremists from earlier, who plan to kill Bill on the spot. They would have, too, if Andy hadn’t manipulated one of them into handing over his gun, and then driving them away. Later, when Bill attempts to offer his gratitude to Andy, Andy cuts him off, letting him know that he only spared his life because he needed his help to find Holly, who (along with Arlene) was taken captive by the sick vampires.
The walking ray of fabulous perfection that is Lafayette returned as fabulous as ever, if perhaps a little morose at the night’s events. The second he enters his house, he declares that it is “motherfucking mandatory that he gets his brain out of this plain of existence right the fuck then”. He confesses to James, who was assigned to be his protector by Bill, that he feels relieved at Tara’s death. According to him, he’d already grieved for her the first time that she had died; this time, there was nothing left inside of him. James recounts to him the awful circumstances which resulted in him becoming a vampire – something about his “best friend” wink wink dying and then the best friend’s father beating him with a baseball bat – and then assures him that there’s no point in feeling pain, fear, grief or regret. Lafayette calls him “one metaphysical fuck” and then offers him his arm to feed. (Update #2: Well, this one totally sucks. I’d, honestly, suspected as much while watching the episode, but decided not to comment on it as I had no evidence… well, hello evidence! Reports are that Luke Grimes evidently didn’t return to the show because he didn’t like the fact that James and Lafayette would be paired together. That was actually my first thought while I was watching the scene between Lala and James, but I refused to believe it, because I was naively optimistic enough to believe that since Luke Grimes was in Brothers & Sisters, which featured one of my all-time favourite on-screen gay couples that he wasn’t opposed to homosexuals. His publicist is swearing up and down that he only left over scheduling conflicts, but please… if he expects us to believe that, he should try selling us a bridge while he’s at it. I just don’t get it, though. Luke Grimes is too morally upright to play a bisexual character, but he has no qualms playing a role in 50 Shades of Grey, which has always been described as Mommy porn? Hypocrisy wins yet again.)
Perhaps the most bizarre storyline of the night belonged to Pam, who we find in Morocco or something, on a hunt for Eric (who never makes an appearance in this episode). Of course, the point of this is to lengthen the mystery as to whether or not Eric is alive, having shown in last season’s finale him getting burned by the sun with no place to shelter. Pam’s quest for information includes her playing some overly sadistic vampire Russian Roulette, and being offered the chance to feed from young children. That’s fine and all, but as Tara’s maker, I don’t understand how no indication at all was made that she felt Tara’s death. Remember when Eric killed Talbot a few seasons ago, and Russell felt the pain so sharply and clearly that he screamed out, left a fight, and literally flew home? Considering that the two situations are exactly the same (maker-progeny/gay-lover pairing), I don’t understand why they weren’t handled the same.
The episode ends with a morning-after Sunday church service, where Lettie Mae rips Sookie a new one by claiming that it is her fault that Tara is dead. The shock of it makes Sookie vulnerable to the flood of thoughts around her, and she once again hears everyone blaming her for the night’s events. She quickly makes to leave the church, but just as she is about to exit, she turns to the entire congregation. This would have been the perfect opportunity to tell them to all shove a syringe of Hep V up their asses, but instead she launches into an emotional speech about knowing them all her whole life and loving them all, despite them not loving her in return. Add a rose and dramatic suspense music and you pretty much have the premise of The Bachelor. Anyallthatwasmissingwasatinyviolin, she ends her speech by pleading with them to allow her to help, as she knows more about vampires than anyone. Cue end credits.
I’ve gotta say, besides the whole Tara crap (which I won’t drop at all for the entire season, just so you know) I enjoyed the episode. It wasn’t over the top, but it established our villains from the get go, which was a step up from season five. I swear, if I had to hear the name “Lilith” one more time…
I’m really looking forward to what this season has to bring. It’s the final one – don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry – so we know that HBO isn’t going to hold back at all. They’ve only aired the first episode of the season, so this might be a bit premature, but let’s just hope that True Blood doesn’t join the ranks of series finale disasters like Lost, Dexter or How I Met Your Mother. More NSFW GIFs after the jump.