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True Blood S06E09: "Life Matters"

This may have been the first episode of True Blood to take place entirely in the daytime. Alongside fairy-sunblocked, day-walking vamps we got to see Terry’s funeral unfold practically in real time, interspersed with vampires' thrilling, bloody, violent revenge on the oppressors who'd held them so long. What a rush! The focus was so intense it was almost relaxing, and the juxtaposition between touching elements and terrifying elements was… well, very True Blood.

During what other show could could I sit there, clucking at Arlene’s funeral wear and then seeing a man’s gonads ripped off? Which, I am sorry, but priorities, I have to discuss Arlene's funeral outfit: What widow in her right mind wears fake eyelashes, a mantilla, and a minidress that shows hella cleavage to a funeral? Did she borrow that getup from Sookie? 

Also, how impressive were the special effects when Bill stomped the face of the castrated scientist? Right after a sermon about family being everything. Guys, there was a lot to process in this episode!

Things started off with chandeliers swinging from trees in Fairyland, where Prince Warlow and Princess Sookie were busy suckling, healing, and chucking each other under the chin like an old married couple while Bill tried not to openly sneer. Bill kept threatening to compel Warlow to accompany him to Vamp Camp, but Sookie (who apparently got the boning of a lifetime a few weeks back and is stanning so hard for Warlow that she should design him a jersey so she can wear it) reminded Bill that Eric had a tummy full of Warlow blood, then blasted Bill out of the dimension. This rattled Bill into remembering he himself was full of magical sun-block blood, and he set out for Vamp Camp to gaze approvingly on the handiwork of True Blood’s prop department and call “Eric” out in almost the exact tone of that one sad dude who raised the boy Chipmunks and was always like “ALLLLLLLLLLLLLVINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!”

Seriously, the prop folks department figuratively and literally slayed this week. Blackberry Jell-O has never been used quite so effectively.

Meanwhile, at Terry's funeral, Todd Lowe got to sort of individually say goodbye to his co-stars in a series of flashback vignettes that were adorable. Sam wore a cut-off sweatshirt. Andy wore a clip-on tie. Arlene wore clip-on bangs. It was all very endearing.

While several characters delivered touching eulogies about what Terry had meant to them, Sookie knew standing up to speak would provide her with a great chance to talk all about herself. She spent a good amount of time outing herself as a telepath. 

But all was forgiven when she then ushered us into a delightful flashback featuring Arlene wearing that fake fringe. Faux bangs! I want them. I want to dye my hair a nice shade of carrot and wear fake bangs and work at a diner. Are those unattainable goals?

Also, Jason will probably start having sex fantasies about Eric very soon, as Eric healed Jason while making his rounds through the camp like Vampire Santa Claus, freeing all the vampires with a soft look in his eyes and personally escorting Ginger to romp alongside her faves. This season has featured an unprecedented amount of Ginger, and actress Tara Buck has totally made her scenes count. I love every second she’s onscreen and her scream is practically musical. Love you, Ginger.

What was unusual about "Life Matters" is that there was basically no conflict. The episode was one, long, satisfying release, from Pam getting to kill her pervy psychiatrist to Tara shooting off an assault rifle into a palette of TruBlood in slow motion. Emotional justice was served. Our favorite vampires danced in in the sunbeams, high off Bill’s magickal blood as well as relief, while our favorite humans sat at Terry's funeral safe and sound, kind of giving each other good vibes. Even when at one point it seemed that Billith had sacrificed his own life to save his vampire brethren, he was then able to feed on sweet hippie James (who showed a lot more sense than Jessica in offering his arteries) and BAM, Bill was totally okay, stepping out for a sun-drenched CK One commercial alongside the rest of the cast and even enjoying a round of applause.

There was plenty of contrast in the preciousness of life at the funeral against the brutality of death at the camp, but there was no real conflict; just beautiful cinematic shots of models in matching uniforms laughing in the golden sunlight and arcs of fake blood spouting from boxes. Yet somehow the relief was so earned and the savior of the day so unexpected (I really thought Eric would be the one to offer himself as a main course) that it was still marvelously entertaining. And crazy? It was crazy to look at, in the best way.

The only real conflict in the entire episode was a brief internal one, when Jason pressed a gun up against the temple of savage bitch Sarah Newlin and then decided he couldn’t kill her in cold blood. I did love the points he made while taunting her, that if one person can claim the authority of God then anyone can, and what a slippery slope divine inspiration can be, what a free license to manipulate, denigrate, and destroy your fellow man that self-righteousness can offer. While we all know Sarah’ll be back to start more trouble as soon as next week, in a way I’m glad she didn’t get as that easy an out. Hopefully the vampires will serve her in soft tortillas in the finale.

So now the only suspense boils down to, what curve balls will they throw us? Where did Eric disappear to and for how long? Will he be back in time to prevent Sookie's Fairy Royal Wedding? Why was Pam so distraught when he disappeared? Guys, if I seem really weirdly focused on Eric, it’s because I am.

Still, a ghoulishly gory, touching, and enjoyable episode. For the second-to-last episode of the season, this should have been the big climax, and definitely Bill offering himself up as sacrifice was a high poin—though surely this is an ending too good to be true. What shoe is waiting to drop next week? Or do I need to simply take this episode at face value, open up my heart, and "Let the Sunshine In"


... Where did Eric go/how long will he be gone?

... Sarah Newlin: Will she meet her end next week?

... Are you frustrated at Jason letting Sarah go, or do you expect nothing less of a hero?

... Will Sookie go through with binding herself to Warlow?

... What was your favorite part of the episode?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/24/2014

Season 7 : Episode 10

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