True Blood's Season 7 premiere shrunk the show's world back down to Bon Temps, and it was perfect.
We’re trained to see shrinking or reduction as a bad thing, but sometimes it’s actually growth. It's what happens when a TV series crystallizes exactly what is good about itself into a pure, entertaining essence which can then be consumed as avidly and ecstatically as methamphetamines. True Blood is dealing the most concentrated form of what we love about it: humans and vampires forming an uneasy alliance in a colorful Louisiana town.
It makes me so happy that I could kiss showrunner Brian Buckner full on the lips.
Yes, I know some of you are still reeling about Tara dying. BUT DID SHE? Somehow I just can’t believe she’s gone. We didn’t actually see it happen, maybe Lettie Mae’s confused. Lettie Mae’s not exactly the most creditable of witnesses, what with her demon possession and alcoholism and child abuse and church lady tendencies and wig. That's just not the kind of wig you put over a quiet mind.
Breaking from True Blood's traditional half day/half night format, almost the entire episode took place while it was dark outside. Jessica holding the line outside the Bellefleur mansion, staring down a shadowy Hep-V vampire who wanted to drink Adeline.
It was not only very creepy, but also a chance for Jess and Adeline to process and bond, and it was also a much-needed examination of one of the more fairy-tale tropes of vampire mythology—namely, why can’t they come in unless you invite them again? That’s nuts.
We got to actually sit down with Lafayette for a spell, thank God, watching him connect (perhaps romantically?) with a handsome new vampire hippie over a bong.
And we saw almost all of Sam.
One day True Blood's editors are going to slip up and flash some Sam dick and so help me I will cancel my HBO subscription! I know this show is all about nudity (this episode hit the usual Four Titty Minimum no problem), but Sam’s dick is several inches past the bounds of good taste.
Of course, Eric’s dick is another story. We can find a seat and make a plate for Eric’s dick, no problem.
Regretfully, there was neither hide nor hair to be seen of Eric Northman, other than this hastily drawn map proffered by a Moroccan entrepreneur to Pam, who is apparently combing the world for him. Here’s the map up close for our rampant speculation in comments:
The only time I felt confined by the storyline was while watching Sookie stubbornly wandering down a long dirt road scattered with dead bodies because she was too bummed about how everyone secretly hated her to wait for an escort. This has been going on for literally years, Sookie overhearing people’s resentment; at a certain point she has to kind of get over literally caring what other people think. Also, the loss of terror would make her feel presumably MORE fragile, not less? IDK, it bothered me.
At least she openly addressed the issue by screaming about it in church:
Sookie made the point that she out of everyone knows the most about vampires, which, hmmm. Doubtless you know the most about bringing vampires to climax, Sookie, but in the realm of defending yourself from the undead, what advice do you have to offer other than “I can shoot fairy magic from my palms”? That doesn’t exactly help the average Bon Tempsienne.
Still, to be fair: How in hell is Sookie to blame for any of this anyway? That’s the real issue. The poisoning of Tru Blood by a right-wing conspiracy has led to a nationwide epidemic of hungry vampires, both sick and well, who need to eat or die. A little danger-whoring did not this mess make.
Also, a kidnapping will only spice up Holly and Arlene’s longterm arcs. I’m glad True Blood's writers finally found a use for Eric’s Death Carousel, back from when he kept Lafayette pinioned for most of Season 2.
Ultimately this slow-burn pace and these tight, stark conflicts—cooperate or go to war, actual life-or-death stakes for both humans and vampires—is a beautiful platform for a season that can have a real point of view on the larger issues True Blood has always obliquely flowed around. And I'm so grateful.
... What happened to Tara? She’s still alive, duh, yeah?
... Countdown to Eric—next episode?
... How do you like the cozy atmosphere?
...Are you shocked by how much you now adore Andy Bellefleur?
What'd you think of True Blood's Season 7 premiere? What do you hope to see in this final season?
AIRED ON 8/24/2014
Season 7 : Episode 10