True Blood Review: “May Be the Last Time” and “Almost Home” Review

Hey, hey…At this point, we’re only 2 hours from the series finale of HBO’s True Blood. My apologies for last week, which I missed reviewing due to a busy schedule and a Spanish minisession class. This week, I’ll combine the reviews, so you’ll get a two-fer.

“May Be the Last Time” gives (some) fans what they’ve been wanting desperately since the breakup of Sookie and Bill—the couple gets back together. Unfortunately, this is an aim that the series has made clear since at least the second episode of the season with clumsy stolen moments at the expense of Sookie’s relationship with the now-deceased Alcide. Speaking of which, isn’t it odd to jump from the bed one shared with a dead lover into a now-dying lover’s bed? Grief makes people do strange things, I suppose . . .

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Like summon Dr. Ludwig, a dwarf healer who runs from nothing—except the name of Sookie’s fairy grandfather, Niall. Ludwig ultimately proves unhelpful, and so does Niall, when Sookie calls upon him to use magic to heal Bill. There is no magic for Bill. But Sookie still stubbornly refuses to give up on finding a cure for the Hep V that has spun out of control since he was infected by Sookie’s Hep V positive blood.

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Meanwhile, in Dallas, Gus, Pam, and Eric try to coax Amber to reveal the whereabouts of her sister, who we now know is the cure to Hep V. Eric spins out of control and kills Amber in a fit of rage, But Gus and the Yakomono corporation sit him down for serious discussion. They can locate Sarah—and when they do, they want to synthesize her blood and sell it as a cure. Eric, they wish to be the face of their cure. But he cannot kill Sarah, at least for the time being. He reluctantly agrees.

And back in Bon Temps, Arlene has been having a serious heart-to-heart with Sam. Nicole has gone to her mothers’ home, and Arlene wonders if Sam can actually stay in Bon Temps without Nicole and the baby. I think the show is working toward Sam leaving Bon Temps, and it’s unfortunate that at this point, he should’ve already gone. Sam’s character is in stasis, even more so this season than perhaps anyone else, and he only appears in a will-he-or-won’t-he scenario at this point. Anyway Sam leaves Bellefleur’s, and Arlene is left there alone. She has a dream about Keith, the vampire who saved her when she was almost drained of blood in Fangtasia and who hit on her at the party after Alcide’s death. He shows up in Bellefleur’s pretty quickly thereafter. And with grace and humor, the show handles one of the more difficult parts of this epidemic—Arlene is Hep V positive. She tells Keith, who just smiles and says “well, then we’ll dance.” It was a nice, nuanced moment for both characters.

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Lafayette and Lettie May are digging in the ground of their old home. They startle a little girl, who goes to get her parents, but we don’t see much more of what happens. And Bill is still having flashbacks, this time of learning that his father’s illness means that he needs to marry to ensure his mother will be cared for and of meeting Caroline, his wife via the arrange marriage. Bill’s flashbacks are interesting, sure, but I think they’d have had more impact earlier in the series. At this point, it’s just too little too late to tell us more about Caroline.

Jason meets Hoyt to discuss arrangements for Maxine Fortenberry’s viewing and funeral, and the meeting is painful to watch. Hoyt has a beautiful, blonde girlfriend named Bridgette who catches Jason’s eye despite his constant attempts to ignore her presence (this is a little annoying). Hoyt is blissfully unaware of his history with Jason, but of course Jason still remembers everything that caused Hoyt to ask Jessica to wipe his memory and send him on his way. The scenes between Hoyt, Jason, and Bridgette are both humorous and painful. For instance, Jason cannot bear to leave Hoyt after he sees Maxine’s body, even if it is odd that a deputy would return home with a person after they’ve seen the body of their deceased loved one. He doesn’t want to hurt Hoyt anymore, so he lies about Maxine’s death, saying both that she was not a part of the mob and that her killer was apprehended.

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Across Bon Temps, Andy and Holly still search for Wade and Adilyn. The kids are in Violet’s home, though, and they’re about to get a rude awakening. Violet supplies them with a veritable room of sex toys, seeming to leave the two alone, but it isn’t long before she returns and ties them up. Jessica, of course, feels that Adilyn is in danger and bolts to the rescue. And now she’s caught.

And Sarah has found the abandoned Fellowship of the Sun. She tries to hide there, but she’s found, haunted by her ex-lovers: Jason, Steve Newlin, and Guru Dutta. The Christian-versus-Buddhism arguments are pretty entertaining, as is Jason’s now-and-then “you’re gonna die tonight” intervention. And then the Yakuza/Yakomono show up.

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…Which is essentially where we begin “Almost Home,” an episode dedicated to wrapping up some story threads here at the end.

Eric and the Yakomono draw Sarah out of her hiding place. For a moment, it looks as though Eric will kill Sarah despite the deal, despite Pam threatening to kill herself, but he drinks enough from her to be cured before throwing her at the feet of the corporation. Later, we find out that the corporation wants to engineer New Blood as less than a cure—as something less than perfect so that those infected keep buying. Eradication of the disease has never been their goal. Eric and Pam are surprisingly ok with this idea, perhaps because they’re stuck with few other options.

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In Bon Temps, Lafayette and Lettie May are still at their old home, digging holes in the yard. For some reason, rather than calling the police, the family has called the Reverend, who decides to join in the V trip by taking some of James’s blood. The small family then stands by while Lafayette, Lettie May, and the Reverend are treated to a vision of a young Tara’s birthday party ruined by a drunk, abusive father. This is all a little strange, not least because the entire purpose of this vision was to lead Lettie May to a buried gun that Tara couldn’t bring herself to use on her father. The two apologize to each other (again). Now I was never really in the camp of Tara-haters, but for her season-long haunting to end this way is irritating. It’s re-hashed ground. Hopefully this time Tara is really at rest, is really gone.

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Bridgette and Hoyt, meanwhile, are arguing over Bridgette’s ill-timed admission that she’d like to have children. (This is beginning to make me think that we’re headed for a Jason/Jessica/Hoyt/Bridgette swap. Oh please, no.) Jason is with them, still, and when he receives pictures of Jessica, tied up and being tortured by Violet, he races out the door. Bridgette, though, insists upon coming along, refusing to stay in the house with Hoyt after their argument. At least Jason is smart enough to leave her in the car with a gun when he arrives at Violet’s house. Inside, he finds Adilyn, Wade, and Jessica tied up and Violet ready to torture them. And, predictably, he gets himself captured, too. But just when Violet has gone full-monologue, Hoyt shows up and shoots her in the back, bringing a quick, unexpected end to the story-line.

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Jessica is enamored by Hoyt, and he seems enamored of her, too. But that brings back all sorts of questions and problems. After all, this is not an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-esque situation in which both parties are unaware of what has previously happened. Jessica has full knowledge of what happened before, and even if it is cute to see the chemistry between the two actors, the creep-factor of her knowing what Hoyt doesn’t know about their prior relationship is pretty high.

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Eric shows up at Bill’s house, cured. Sookie is ecstatic, but Eric doesn’t truly understand why until she reveals that Bill is sick, that he contracted Hep V from her and that her fairy blood is speeding up the illness. Eric is surprisingly affected by the news and promises to help. And a very sick Bill has a dream of Sookie. She is sitting in a rocking chair with a baby. But when we get closer, we realize that the baby is actually a dark creature, something like a grim reaper or a demon.

But of course, Sookie cannot wait for Eric’s help. She drives to Fangtasia alone, barely makes it past the guards, and is “glamoured” by Eric before she leaves. Of course, though, she still cannot wait for Eric, and she finds that Sarah Newlin is in the basement, that she is the cure. She then manages to haul Bill and Jessica to the basement of Fangtasia with her. Bill won’t drink, though, and at the end of this episode we’re left wondering whether Bill is going to embrace his death in a way that only Godric has embraced his death on this show.

It looks like next week we’ll get some more answers as well as work up to the end-of-the-end.

True Blood: “Lost Cause” Review

Sunday night’s episode officially marked the halfway point for the final season, and it also marks the first episode of this season without a character’s death. Though not as strong an episode as last week’s “Death is not the End,” “Lost Cause” still delivers a really good hour of TV. Bill’s flashbacks seem a bit unnecessary, for example, but Andy proposes to Holly, and tensions in the James-Jessica-Lafayette and Jessica-Jason-Violet triangles finally erupt. And the Adventures of Pam and Eric (which should really be its own show) continue with a trip to a Republican fundraiser and a run-in with the Yakuza. Something for everyone, folks–even you Bill and Sookie fans.

We begin with Eric, Pam, Willa, and Ginger in the wreckage of Fangtasia. Willa is understandably angry at Eric for abandoning her and then returning, expecting her to obey. He needs information, though, and Willa agrees to give it to him if he’ll release her. She tells Eric and Pam that Sarah Newlin has a sister, Amber Mills, who is a vampire and who lives in Dallas. Poor Ginger is distraught that Eric is leaving, so distraught that she has to be literally removed from the coffin that Eric will be traveling in before it can be stored away for the TB5.5journey. I really enjoy cold opens on shows like True Blood. I’m glad to see the season make use of them. This one works really well to begin an episode about grief, laughter, and sex–about life.

We then cut to Sookie’s home, where James and Lafayette are there to take care of her. Sookie goes to bed. She wakes what seems to be sometime the next day and comes downstairs to find Alicide’s father there clearing out some of Alcide’s things. She’s a bit surprised, but then she’s even more surprised when she sees the large spread of food and drink that Lafayette and James have assembled for the party they’re throwing. Sookie balks at the idea—and that seems a bit strange coming from a girl of the South, where jazz funerals and wakes are often social events. Anyway, Lafayette manages a rousing speech about celebrating life, Jackson TB5.6joins in, and then Bill knocks at the door, offering flowers and condolences, so Sookie decides to go on with the party.

In Dallas, Eric and Pam find Amber Newlin. She’s infected with Hep V, too. It seems that Sarah paid her to stay quiet about becoming a vampire after she fell in love with a vampire who turned her. He contracted Hep V and already died; she got the virus from him. Amber has seen Sarah, but she wouldn’t let her stay there. She’s eager to help Eric and Pam, though, and tells them that the Newlin girls’ parents are in town for a Republican fundraiser, and that it’s a likely place for Sarah to approach her parents for help.

Back in Bon Temps, Lettie May wants to go to Sookie’s party, but the Reverend doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Yeah, he’s probably right. Lettie May eyes a bottle of Benadryl on the shelf. She empties some of the capsules into the Reverend’s food, and we see her tuck him in safely on the couch. She’s dressed to go out, and she leaves for the party at Sookie’s house.

And at the party, Bill is watch the revelry around him when he has a flashback. He’s with Charles DuPont, an obviously wealthy and powerful man in town. They’re talking about Northern troops amassing, and later DuPont gives a rousing speech in a local tavern, calling for the town to for its own regiment. Bill is seated at a table, saying very little and scowling. But he finally speaks up, professing his opinion that the South is outgunned and out-manned and will fall if war occurs. The townspeople are angry to hear him say such a thing, and the tavern owner throws him out. This flashback seems so incredibly out of place in this scene. That Bill was able to see the Lost Cause as a lost cause before everyone else is really interesting, but it just fits so oddly here. Why this memory in this place at this time?

Anyway, in the present, Jackson Herveaux raises a glass to Alcide, praising Sookie and talking about how much Alcide loved her. Sookie looks some cross between sad and guilty, and I suppose that’s probably how she feels, too. Right about this time, Lettie May shows up, and she talks a bit about Tara before raising a (non-alcoholic) glass in her memory. Outside the house, Andy talks to Jessica. They’ve a few moments of moving dialogue, in which Andy admits that he just doesn’t know how to proceed other than to move on and be thankful. Yes, she killed 3 of his fairy daughters. But she’s protected the one he has left, and she’s protected him, and everything’s a mess. The way she holds onto her guilt, too, affects Andy. And he wants to be happy—he wants to propose to Holly.

Jessica enlists the help of Jason and Sookie to find a real ring for Andy to propose with. They offer Andy the ring that Gran left Jason, and Andy holds the ring nervously. Once the group goes downstairs, Andy manages a really beautiful proposal to Holly, who of course accepts. Sookie is clearly very strongly affected by this, and Arlene offers to take her upstairs. There are some really heartfelt moments between Sookie, Arlene, and the bottle of tequila that they TB5.2secret upstairs. Arlene talks quite a bit about Terry and about his death, admitting that she often used to put on his jackets “to feel his arms.” I got a bit weepy there, I have to say. I always liked Terry as a character. Anyway Jackson overhears all of this, but I’m not sure what to make of that. Outside, James and Lafayette sit together talking—and then they kiss.

And in Dallas, Pam and Eric are getting ready to go to the Republican fundraiser. Pam has this bright blue, sequined gown, and Eric has a full-on brown suit with cowboy hat and bolo. But before he can wear it, Pam has to put makeup on his visibly infected veins. As he takes off his shirt, she notices they’ve spread further, meaning that he’s Stage 2. I don’t really know enough about this disease to know what that means, but I gather than it’s pretty bad. Pam cries a bit as she applies the makeup, with Eric assuring her TB5.7that things will be fine but that she has to get used to the idea that he’s going to die. Oh, True Blood–don’t be so cruel.

Meanwhile at the party, drunk Sookie and drunk Arlene are being hilarious. They’re returned downstairs, and the vampire that gave Arlene the blood that saved her life is staring at them. Sookie informs him that he’ll have to stop doing that, while Arlene plays coy, hiding behind her. The vampire tells Arlene that he’ll wait, that she’s “the most beautiful woman [he’s] seen in 300 years,” and that he’ll see her in her dreams. Well. Arlene almost isn’t awkward, but then she says “I have to make tinkle because I’m, you know, human.” Oh, dear.

And speaking of oh, dear….Jessica goes looking for James, who she finds having sex with Lafayette in the car. The two argue, and James appears to want to talk, but Jessica runs inside and quickly tells Jason what happened, acquiescing to her request that he rescind James’s invitation to the house. Jessica storms upstairs, and Jason goes after her. The two are talking about James, about Jessica’s surprise and Jason’s lack of surprise that he’s also interested in men, when Lafayette interrupts. He gives a short apology for the embarrassment and pain of the situation but rebukes Jessica for not knowing more about James, asking her to please let him go if she doesn’t love him.

Outside the house, Bill has another flashback. He and his family are being led by a black man, probably a fugitive slave, and they’re running away. They try to stay still when DuPont and his men ride by, but they are discovered. DuPont shoots the leader, but Bill burns the map the man was carrying, a map that would’ve led DuPont to a safe-house for fugitive slaves and TB5.3runaways. DuPont warns Bill not to do anything so stupid in the future, and he and his family return home. About this time, Sookie runs into Bill, interrupting his thoughts. She remarks on his disinterest, but he attributes the party and the vampire/human mix to Sookie. More “Bill and Sookie are getting back together” alarm bells are going off.

…Which is right about the time Sookie’s alarm bell goes off. She can hear Lettie May searching for Willa’s blood. Just as she notices this, though, Lettie May runs from behind Willa and stabs her in the shoulder. She’s pulled off of Willa, whose wound quickly heals. Lettie May reminds them again that she can hear Tara when she’s on the vampire blood, but no one’s listening to her claims, and she’s thrown out. Meanwhile, Nicole’s rage and confusion about why there would be a party when everything is so dark and desolate spills over. She screams and shouts a bit before Sam takes her home.

Upstairs, Jason and Jessica are talking about their choices of mates. Jason admits that he is very unsure about Violet, and Jessica admits that Lafayette is right about her relationship with James. Jason wishes that Violet would be more—normal. And I suppose that’s a fair wish to have if you’re with a centuries old vampire who is as intense as Violet, especially if you’re a guy like Jason Stackhouse. Jessica finds this sweet and leans over to kiss him. Jessica and Jason sexy-times are back. Violet, who has come upstairs to check on Jessica after what happened with James and Lafayette, hears them from the door and stops short of going on. There’s murder in that glare, though. Uh-oh.

Back in Dallas, Pam and Eric have arrived at the fundraiser and where Sarah Newlin has cornered her mother in the bathroom. She asks for help, and she knows that it has to come from high up. She asks her mother to put in a call to Laura Bush, but her mother says that Laura stopped answering because of Sarah. There is no help, even though the Yakuza are after her. On the party floor, Eric is about to glamour an answer from Sarah’s father on her whereabouts when the Yakuza show up. Everything is chaotic, and lots of folks are shot, including Newlin’s mother and father. Eric finds Sarah, but he releases her momentarily to kill the Yakuza who killed Sylvie. I’ve a feeling this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of the Yakuza, though. That’d be too easy for an organized crime group.

Back in Bon Temps, the party has ended. Sookie wraps herself in Alcide’s jacket and lies next to his spot in the bed. This is a really effective scene—an everyday moment so different from one day to the next. And back at Bill’s house, he notices a huge, visible vein running up his chest, a clear sign of Hep V.

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Looks like next week we will see some more Yakuza as well as some more of Bill’s Hep V infection. (Seriously? I don’t even like Bill that much, I’m just annoyed at killing off All the Characters as an end to a show. Harumph.)

Doctor Who Series 5 Review: The Eleventh Hour

by William Hohmeister

Doctor Who, series 8, is due out August 23 starring Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, after three seasons with Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. Steven Moffat, who capaldieyestook over as head writer and executive producer after Russell T. Davies left the show at the end of series 4, continues on as the “show runner.”

I recently watched series 2-4, starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and there I stopped. I need a break between Doctors, or I resent the incoming actor. I wanted to watch Matt Smith as Eleven without any prejudice.

It’s been a few months; I decided to watch series 5-7, the entirety of Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor, and review the series’ as I went along. I hope this acts as both an interesting talk about the Eleventh Doctor, a refresher for returning Whovians, and an introduction for new folks. When series 8 arrives, I’ll also be reviewing it here.

The Eleventh Hour

The first episode of series 5 is well done and serves two purposes: to separate the 11th Doctor from the 10th, and to establish the theme of the new series. It fulfills both while telling an interesting story and setting up a potential series story arc.

Eleven is more boisterous than Ten; the first scene he’s in shows him hanging out of the Tardis and nearly colliding with Big Ben. The Doctor clambers back inside and crashes into Amelia Pond’s garden.

Amelia Pond, an orphan left alone in a too-big house, prays to Santa for someone to help her with a scary crack in her wall. This crack is actually a Crack in reality. She stops praying when she hears the Tardis and rushes outside to meet the Doctor.

The relationship between Amelia and the Doctor is strange and interesting from the start. I had never seen the Doctor with a child Companion before. I was surprised at how rude and unsympathetic he seems. Amelia rolls with him well, serving him food that he spits all over her kitchen until he finally drains a bowl full of custard.

The Doctor examines the Crack briefly and meets an eyeball that claims “Prisoner Zero has escaped”. The Doctor closes the Crack, but has to leave when the Tardis blares an alarm. He promises to return for Amelia in five minutes and take her with him. He leaves, she packs and waits outside all night. She does not see him for 12 years. When the Doctor returns he is knocked out by an older Amy Pond. When he wakes he doesn’t recognize her, but tells her about the hidden room in the house, hidden behind a perception filter; Prisoner Zero, a shapeshifter who escaped through the Crack in the wall 12 years before, has been living there in secret the entire time. When Prisoner Zero confronts them the sonic screwdriver breaks; the hero’s sword is sundered.

This is the point when I see Eleven set himself apart from the previous Doctors; Amy Pond reveals who she is and the Doctor blames her for the time that has passed. He never apologizes or admits fault. Eleven is a jerk, but I like him. He still acts like the Doctor, but he’s not nice about it, and that is an interesting change.

Shortly after Amy and the Doctor reunite we meet Rory Williams, a nurse and Amy’s boyfriend. Prisoner Zero shifts its form by placing humans in a coma and using their dreams. Rory notices that the supposed coma patients he works with often wander around town. His photos help the Doctor solve the mystery; the Doctor tells Amy and Rory to get to the hospital while he enacts a plan. In the end, after Prisoner Zero steals Amy Pond’s form (it appears as the Doctor holding young Amelia Pond’s hand, which is great and sad), the Doctor tricks it into appearing in its own form. The jailers, who have been threatening to incinerate the earth, take the prisoner back and prepare to leave. The Doctor calls them back.

The climactic scene both sets the Doctor up as his own new man and establishes the theme of the episode as fairy tales. When he first met Amelia the Doctor even commented that she had a “fairy tale name”. Amelia is a little orphan girl with a magical friend who fell out of the sky, is in love with the simple village boy, confronts a monster that borrows from the changeling legend and the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, and is about to embark on an adventure. The Doctor’s old screwdriver breaks, but the Tardis forges a new one. The only thing left is to establish the Doctor’s role as the hero, the most important part of every fairy tale; each character has to play a role.

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True Blood: “Jesus Gonna Be Here” Review

HBO’s True Blood is back for its final season. Before we hear the iconic theme song, we’ve lost a major character, and after it, things don’t get much better. The town of Bon Temps is in a chaotic state after the vampire attack that ended last season. Eric has yet to make an appearance, though we see Pam searching for her Maker in the only portions of the episode that happen outside of the small town.

As a fan, I’m not sure what I want to see this season. True Blood is among a small list of shows that I’ve seen in their entirety—LostSix Feet Under, and Weeds are the only things that come to mind. I have tendency to start shows but then to lose the thread eventually because of scheduling or loss of interest. And I did do that with True Blood—more than once. But I’ve always picked back up the thread, and I’ve enjoyed doing so. Truthfully, it’s one of the best for binge-watching, adding one guilty pleasure to another. Add popcorn and peanut M&Ms, and you’ve got a triple threat.

I’m not binge watching anymore, though. I’m all caught up, and I turns out that’s a good thing. The episode hits the ground running. There’s no “previously on” or “last season” montage to catch-up. We’re thrown immediately into the horrific attack on the vampire/human mixer in Bon Temps, the infected vampires in their rampage. The attack is called off, and we start to see the aftermath—some of have been taken, and some are dead. (Warning: Spoilers below!)

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Among the dead is Tara, who we saw fighting another vampire, desperately trying to save her mother, but whose true death we didn’t see. Lots of people are speculating that this suggests she’s alive; over the seasons, True Blood has taught us that if we don’t see the character die, then (s)he isn’t dead. But I’m inclined to think that Lettie May screaming, covered in vampire remains, is enough of a confirmation that this is Tara. I’m ambivalent—I admire the gutsiness of killing off such a major character so quickly and of killing such a major character off-screen.TB3 We learn about the death in the way that normal people find out about death—-when they’re told. But the two combined are just too much for a character that has been an integral part of the show for 6 seasons. Even Lafayette seems ambivalent, though Lettie May’s dramatic reaction is predictable, as is the vampire blood addiction that it’s already evident she’s beginning.

Once the humans and vampires that are left have gathered inside Bellefleur’s, we realize that Holly, Arlene, and Nicole have been taken. Later, we see them in the basement of Fangtasia, chained up and terrified as a group of vampires feeds on another prisoner above. In the meantime, we see the price of living after the True Blood factories have been bombed and with Hep-V vampires on the loose. Sam is mayor of the town and is working with Bill as much as possible; they declare “one vampire for every human.” The humans’ jobs—to feed the vampires; the vampires’ jobs—-to protect the humans. This seems a more tenuous operation than ever after the infected vampires attack the party, especially given one man’s observation of Sam’s shape-shifting, prompting even more suspicion and concern.

A small mob forms, and despite warnings from Jason go after Bill. Later, this leads to a tense TB4situation between the group and Bill and Andy, who has stayed home from the mixer entirely, vowing instead to protect his daughter Adilyn, the only one of his half-fairy daughters still living. Jessica, who killed the other girls and almost killed Adilyn, sits outside. She has promised to protect Adilyn at any cost in an effort to make up for the loss of control that led to the death of the other girls, and she almost has to pay with her life. Andy leaves after hearing of the vampire attack, and Jessica stands on the porch, aware of Tara’s death but unable and unwilling to leave Adilyn. When Bill and Andy encounter the mob, they form an uneasy alliance, as Andy protects Bill. Moyer and Bauer are at their best here, and the tension between them is mesmerizing.

Sookie is once again an outcast, blamed for the situation by most of the townspeople. It isn’t long before she can’t listen anymore to the multitude of negative thoughts in Bellefleur’s and walks home. Even Alcide succumbs to “what if” thoughts, blaming Sookie for her fascination with dead things. We see the two discuss this, later, their emotional distress obvious. Alcide isn’t my favorite Sookie pairing, mostly because I’d just like to see her on her own for a while, but they seem better matched than she did in her previous relationships.

Jessica (Deobrah Ann Woll) and Adilyn (Baily Noble) have some of the best scenes of the night, as we watch Adilyn talk to Jessica through the door, Jessica clearly struggling to TB2maintain control and Adilyn clearly struggling against fear and revulsion, the two reaching out to each other and talking about friendship, boys, and Jessica’s transgressions. When an infected vampire shows up, Jessica enters a stand-off that lasts until dawn. Against the advice of both her father and Jessica herself, Adilyn invites Jessica in just as the sun is rising; the infected vampire bursts into flames, and Jessica locks herself away in the attic.

Outside of Bon Temps, Pam searches for Eric. We see her play a game of Russian roulette with another vampire, refusing to drink the only clean blood in Africa because it is child’s blood, TB5and moving through informants in Morocco to find her maker. Kristin Bauer van Straten is still one of the best parts of this show—Pam is darkly funny, and van Straten manages to make her likable and almost fragile at times. I hope she’ll soon be reunited with Eric, both so that Alexander Skaarsgard will have screen time in our final season and because I enjoy watching the two actors play off one another.

In the episode’s final scene, everyone is gathered for Tara’s funeral. Sookie places her hand on Lettie May, who unleashes a torrent of anger in the middle of the funeral. When the outburst has ended, Sookie can hear the townspeople’s thoughts, and they are as ugly as they were after the infected vampires attacked Bellefleur’s. She gets up to leave, and then turns to give a heartfelt speech about her love for the town and the people, asking them to let her help. And so we end our first hour of the final season with Sookie’s martyr complex, but at least this time it seems to make sense. “Jesus Gonna Be Here” is one of the most engaging season premiere’s that I’ve seen for the show since its second season, so I’m interested to see what happens here at the end.