Wow, going for the gut, True Blood. I honestly have no idea what they’re going to do next week for the finale because this was a doozy of an episode both emotionally and in the sense that a man’s penis was ripped off. Unlike most episodes of True Blood, Episode 9 doesn’t jump arbitrarily between all 83 of its main characters; instead, it jumps back and forth between two story lines/locations: the sober, life affirming (LIFE MATTERS! DRINK!) reality of Terry’s funeral and the absolute nonsense going on in Fangtanamo. As such, this week I’m going to plow through the episode chronologically instead of trying to sort it out plot by plot.
We start in Fairy Dream Land where Sookie is gnawing at her own arm trying to save immortal fairy vampire Warlow after Eric drained him. Bill watches super impatiently. If Bill wants that magic fairy daylight blood now, Sookie says, he’s gonna have to find Eric. She then fairy-blasts her former lover to Kingdom Come (or rather out of Fairy Dream Land) and reaffirms her fairy vampire princess oath to Warlow. The amount of times I just used the word “fairy” to describe a two-minute scene is a testament to the absolute in(s)anity of classic True Blood. Fasten your seatbelts, Bette Davis, it’s going to be a bumpy night. CREDITS.
Where oh where is magic fairy blood Eric? Why, he’s in his first daytime scene in six seasons outside Fangtanamo. DAYLIGHT VAMPIRES.
Over in Plotline 2, every non-vamp cast member (even Nicole…sigh) is getting their sad acting on in the graveyard. Arlene’s wearing a veil, Tara’s mom brought the BLACK preacher, and there’s a flag on the casket: it’s time for Terry’s Wet Hot American Funeral.
Sookie, all dressed up (for a slutty funeral) and nowhere to go (but a slutty funeral), pinky-promises Warlow she’ll be back so they can get fairy-vampire-married and then magicks out of Fairy Dream Land and right into the funeral. No one notices because they’re all too busy making small talk with the tertiary characters of seasons past who have come back to pay their respects. Even Hoyt’s mom is here and she’s talking about Hoyt’s ugly human girlfriend! It looks like the one non-vamp missing is Jason which Sookie would be much more upset about if she knew he was currently being kept as the prison wife of a medieval Catholic with well-defined eyebrows.
Bill arrives at Fangtanamo and finds scraps of guards everywhere (QED, Eric Northman) as Eric races through the facilities opening doors with disembodied guard arms. When he finds the doctor who infected Nora, he does what any rational man would – pull Doc’s penis off with his hand and throw it across the room. He then finds men’s gen-pop and tries to free the inmates but one really moody boy won’t leave. Turns out his maker has been infected and stored in a drawer (typical!) but Eric won’t save him. He needs all the magic fairy blood in his veins for his friends in The Vampire Breakfast Club. I mean, the White Room.
The black preacher is giving a sort of introductory-paragraph-thesis-statement speech for the funeral about family piety and parental devotion and love and family, family, family. LIFE MATTERS.
Bill is catching up with Eric (who is aggressively shellacked in blood once again #callback) as he finds the Recently Penisless Doctor (not to be confused with the Penisless Sitar Player) bleeding out. The Doctor confesses to having seen Jessica so Bill – logically – stomps his face in. Things escalate quickly with Bill and Eric.
It’s eulogy time and cousin Andy is up first. Each of the oh so tender eulogies to come tells a nice story about Terry and then segues to a terrible and terribly unnecessary flashback about Terry’s post-post-traumatic reinvention of himself. Andy talks about how Terry fought for our country but came back a different man. Instead of showing off his AWARDS FROM ARMY, MOTHER, he retreated to the cousins’ childhood Fort Belfleur to hide, look homeless, have a lot of kid-killing guilt, and demand Raging Bitch IPA. LIFE MATTERS.
In a quick montage of some of the most straightforward and methodically symbolic torture I’ve ever seen, the freed vamps are torturing their guards in exactly the same ways they were tortured ie making them run on the hamster wheel, pulling out their canines and asking intelligent and well-thought-out psychological questions. Eric soon frees female gen-pop where he finds sad prison wife Jason. He makes a big deal out of healing Jason and reminding him he’ll have Eric dreams soon so now we know there’ll be at least one homoerotic scene between these two to pass the time in the finale. As Eric and Jason run off, we see my beloved Sarah Newlin crawl out from a pile of dead guards and scamper off in her increasingly bloodied white power suit. Someone call Olivia Pope Dry Cleaning.
Sam’s eulogy: Terry was a great employee and a great friend, blah blah. (Flash)Back in the day, Sam helped Andy coax Terry out of his Fort Belfleur staycation with the aforementioned IPA, a job offer (FRY COOK), and some nostalgic bro-ing out. The job doesn’t sway Terry because he doesn’t like work or people (ditto, man) but apparently a bro-on-bro fishing trip hits just the (technically homeless) spot. Then, like Nev and Max, they catch a catfish. However, Terry insists they throw it back because LIFE MATTERS.
Back in Fangtanamo where LIFE DOESN’T MATTER, Eric has found the shrink who was crushing on Pam and oh boy is he angry about that sex-having. So angry, in fact, that he’s not going to kill the shrink; he’s going to bring him to Pam so she’s can tear him several new ones.
Lafayette’s eulogy: Memoirs of a Fry Cook. Lafayette remembers seeing something kind and real in Terry’s eyes on his first day of work as Lafayette taught him how to dip fries into grease and dip it low. At the funeral, Terry’s close-minded grandma of she-died-in-Arrested-Development fame makes a comment about not knowinf if Laf is a boy or a girl because of his makeup and suit. The correct answer, Grandma, is that he is a performer in Japan’s legendary Takarazuka revue.
Eric finds everyone’s favorite dumb, easily scared vampire-plaything Ginger screaming in a closet. Like with Eric’s aggressively blood-shellackedness, assume Ginger is screaming every time she is on screen.
Andy’s sister’s eulogy: Terry taught her how to swing a swing. There is no flashback. I won’t dignify this with further comment.
Finally it’s Arlene’s turn to speak but, as Sookie telepathically hears, Arlene is NOT ready to say goodbye (it is so hard, after all). Always the martyr, Sookie goes up herself to give Arlene some time or, as we call it in the vaudeville business, to vamp (rim shot sound effect!). Sookie starts off by saying that she knew where Terry was coming from because they were both weirdos and also because she read his thoughts all the time. For flashback-example, on Terry’s first day of work, Sookie already knew Terry thought Arlene was “the prettiest woman I ever saw, you make me want to write music again, you make coming out of the woods not scary” which is just so adorable that I bet you $5 my mom is watching this right now and crying and hugging her codependent dog. TRUE LOVE, TRASHY LOVE, TEARY LOVE, LOVE LOVES LOVERS. Then Sookie drops her mic and takes a seat.
As Bill rushes after Eric, we see my future wife Sarah Newlin climbing up the outside of a silo and fervently shouting psalms: “SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY SHALL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE AND I SHALL FOLLOW THE LORD FOREVER.” Oh man, she’s heading up there to open the roof the White Room herself! As she starts cranking, the roof opens and we dive down into the hatch from Lost Season 2 Episode 1 and all of our favorite vamps (and Tara) are feasting on Bill and holding him up like Jesus in the light. #salvation #symbolism #christianity #westernsociety
As Sarah switches from Psalm 23 (“valley of darkness”) to Psalm 195 (“Die, fuckersssssssssss!), the only vamp who can’t get a piece of magical fairy blood Bill is Steve Newlin. Eric, too late to save everyone, decides to un-save someone instead and holds Steve the traitor out into the light. In his final glorious moments, Steve makes direct eye contact with Sarah and shouts, “I love youuuuuuu…Jason Stackhouse” and then bursts into flames. Ginger screams.
Pam and Eric are reunited. It’s adorable. She brutally murders and eats the shrink. It’s adorable.
Arlene’s eulogy: Terry and Arlene worked as a couple because they always took turns freaking out. Flashback to Arlene freaking out about giving birth. Terry calms her down with some Lamauze and some “Your baby is probably not the Antichrist” words of support. He loves this family, he loves it so much. LIFE MATTERS.
High on magic fairy blood, the saved vampires are gallivanting around in the sun like extras in the movie version of Hair. But Bill is still lying on the floor of the White Room, weak and surrounded by the bloody merkin sisters of Lillith. Outside, Jason runs after Sarah who is literally the last person left to kill in a 50-mile radius.
As the preacher wraps up the ceremony, Big John (who is Big John? Is he just a friend of Tara’s mom? I guess it doesn’t matter because his name is Big John) starts singing a soulful song about mercy and family and love. In case you are stupid, the song is called “LIFE MATTERS.”
With Big John’s lovely baritone in the background, Jason and Sarah shout a lot of weird semi-religious stuff at each other like “It’s not me doing this, honeypie, it’s Jesus” and “What’s that, big J?” and “You’re a fucking average lay.” Eventually Jason, finally acting for himself and not brainwashed by whatever institution or person he’s in now, puts his gun to Sarah’s head but he just can’t do it (opposite of Nike) and Sarah drives off in her Asian mom car.
At the funeral, Grandma remarks that she doesn’t get what the point of that song was. Silly, Grandma, it as thematically unifying for the episode and the season as a whole!
Eric and his drugged out hippies are breaking poisoned Tru Blood bottles left and right. Tara even uses an assault rifle because of efficiency. For some reason, we also see random vamps doing this in Honolulu. I don’t know.
Eric finds the room Nora was infected in and has a little flashback and tantrum and tweets “TO WHAT END?!?!?! #vampireproblems.”
The merkin girls are beckoning Bill to the after-death but he’s vampire Jesus now; he doesn’t want to leave Earth. He summons Jessica (who’s macking on Prince Charming James) and she walks through the Lilliths (EIGHTIES GIRL BAND) and James tries to give him blood but he turns it down. Is this the end of Bill? Will every season end with the end of Bill?
The funeral kicks into high American Hero gear with gun salutes and flag-folding and a fun bugle solo. Sookie hears Arlene think that hey, this military ceremony wasn’t so bad. TEARS FOR EVERYONE. CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY.
The vamp hippies (who are just freaking me out now; cool your Manson jets, Violet) are rejoined by Bill. He was saved! And he’s only partially shellacked in blood! The herd walks off, Jessica back with Bill, Willa and Tara being useless, and Violet still prison-wifing Jason. Pam looks to Eric across the lot, they smile, it’s lovely, but then she senses something wrong. “Don’t you dare leave me.” And Eric supermans straight up into the sky. WHERE IS HE GOING? TO MAKE UP ENOUGH PLOT TO FILL A SEASON FINALE, I PRESUME.
What a good episode. I have absolutely no idea what to expect next week but I’ve got a hunch something’s going to happen to Warlow. For a fairy vampire princess wedding, this all seems too easy…
Moral of the episode: LIFE MATTERS. GINGER SCREAMS.