The Thursday Thirteen: Horror Films

Gene’O and I have switched off for the day—he’s writing about Tolkien in a special Thursday Thirteen at the Monster, and I’m writing here. As I sat here prepping for my comprehensive exams this weekend (and by prepping, I mean trying not to hyperventilate and eating Halloween Oreos), I thought to myself (prompted by said Oreos) “oh, it’s October, and this little monster hasn’t talked about horror films yet.” So that’s what I’m going to do today.

I’ve mentioned before that I like gory TV shows and all-things-zombie. And, naturally, I have an affinity for all manner of creatures and monsters. I also don’t mind being scared, especially if I can be scared in my own home, and especially if it’s October, which Sam and I have officially designated as a month of horror films. Below, I give you some of my personal favorites for the month.

1. Insidious, 2010.

I love haunted house stories, and I’ve watched this one with more, not less, horror each time I’ve seen it. The film maintains an excellent balance of newer film techniques with tried-and-true horror film staples. Plus, this creature that a friend and I isolated in the trailer still freaks me out, almost 5 years later.

Yeah, that thing. Night. Mare.

Yeah, that thing. Night. Mare.

2. 28 Days Later, 2002.

Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic world of contagion is fantastic. It does what the best horror movies do in that it provides us with a scapegoat to be afraid of (the virus, and those fast zombies) and then reminds us that what we should really be afraid of is humanity.

3. The Exorcist, 1973.

I was in college when I watched this for the first time, and I was absolutely frightened by it. The feeling lingered for a while, a few hours after the film was over. The re-watches don’t scare me as much, but it’s still a chilling film—superbly scripted and acted, with that spider-walk on the stairs still being one of the creepiest things I’ve seen on film.

4. Let the Right One In, 2008.

I’ve seen both this original, Swedish version and the American remake, Let Me In. And it was honestly a little difficult to decide which version to choose for the list. Each version is an adaptation of a vampire novel, and each has its own merits. The Swedish version ultimately topped out for me because of its careful timing and fantastic use of long, slow shorts and sparse dialogue to create tension.

5. The Cabin in the Woods, 2012.

This film surprised me, it really did. But then again, with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard at its helm and Kristen Connolly as its heroine, I suppose it shouldn’t have been surprised at the heady mix of cheekiness and gore. Not content just to subvert our expectations of the genre—it twists and rearranges them.

6. The Shining, 1980.

Jack Torrence is one of the scariest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch on-screen, but at least 7/10’s of that is due to the performances put in by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Long. I’ve been watching this film since I was probably-too-young-to-watch-it, and I’m pretty sure that those twins in the hallway are the origin of my fear of kids-in-horror-movies.

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Those twins. Those. Twins. *shudder*

7. Zombieland, 2009.

A zombie film with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Jesse Eisenberg? And they run into Bill Murray, you say? Sign me up. The film manages to be, at its heart, a zombie film, and while the characters are fun in a way that they rarely are during the zombie apocalypse, there are moments of tension, fear, and pop culture critique.

8. The Conjuring, 2013.

Another recent film, The Conjuring tells the story of the Warrens, American paranormal investigators, as they conduct an investigation and exorcism at the Perron family home. Using old-school scare tactics and striking cinematography, the new film manages a refreshing, cerebral take on the horror tropes of the investigator and the haunted house.

9. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962.

Fantastically creepy, the aging sisters of Baby Jane are a stark reminder of the jealousy and animosity that can sit beside us, of the things we hide from ourselves and those closest to us. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are fantastic mirrors for one another.

10. Halloween, 1978.

Difficult to make a horror film list, especially in October, without mentioning this one. Mike Meyers has haunted our dreams for 36 years now, and he shows no signs of stopping. From the moment he stabs his sister to the film’s final act, Meyers is terrifying and mesmerizing.

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Yikes!

11. Frailty, 2001.

Matthew McConaughey walks into a police station and claims to know who the God’s Hand Killer is, a terrifying serial killer who is revealed, through flashbacks, to be McConaughey’s father (Bill Paxton, in his directorial debut), an ultra-religious man who wakes up his two sons one night to instruct them on how to dispatch demons. The film is twisty-turny, and it’s a woefully underrated piece of suspense horror.

12. Psycho, 1960.

The king of horror films, Psycho still manages to be scary, over 50 years after its release. Norman Bates is a character of horrifying beauty.

13. Alyce Kills, 2011.

This is a new one for me, as I watched it for the first time last week. It has a bit of a sagging middle, but the opening act and the final act are fantastic. It’s plenty gory, though most of the gore is contained in the last 20 minutes of the film, and it’s also darkly funny and painful to watch Alyce, whose friends have missed all signs that she’s a budding psychopath, come completely unglued because of her guilt over a friend’s accidental death.

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Let me know what would make your list, and hop over to Part Time Monster and see Gene’O’s Thursday Thirteen over there!

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True Blood: The Final Two Reviewed

Today, I’ll cover the last 2 episodes (ever!) of True Blood. I have mixed feelings about the way the series ends, so let’s just dive in:

“Love is to Die,” the 9th episode of True Blood‘s 7th season (its penultimate episode of the series), centers around Bill’s decision not to drink the antidote that is in Sarah Newlins blood. Sookie and Jessica are both distraught, of course. Bill has been a vampire father to Jessica, more real than her own living father, more prescient and important to her. Bill has been Sookie’s lover, and I think we’re supposed to gather that he was her first real love. And, ya know, the antidote is standing in front of him and would take about  90 seconds, if that to consume. So the girls (like most of the rest of us) are scandalized.

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I cheered when Sookie slapped Bill, because he was being insufferable. He presents his choice as something else, as some kind of compulsion or fate. Sookie makes him acknowledge that with the antidote to his “fated” death by Hep-V standing right beside him, it’s no longer fate. It’s an active and willful suicide. Bill can’t really articulate his reasons yet. Jessica asks to be released rather than watch him die, rather than deal with giving up his suicide. Bill releases her, and I’d have felt more sympathy for his words if he didn’t have the cure standing 10 ft away from him. When Eric stopped Sookie’s tirade and told Bill to leave, I thought we were hopefully close to Bill’s point of demise rather than having to spend a lot more time on it. Damn, was I wrong.

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Jessica and Sookie, after leaving Fangtasia’s basement (where Sarah Newlin is being held captive) go to Sam’s house. Now, I’ve no idea why. There’s no reason for Jessica and Sookie to go to Sam’s. But go they do, and they discover an empty home and 2 letters. One is for Sookie, and she opens it and reads Sam’s goodbye. He cant stay in Bon Temps–he has to go with Nicole and raise the child she’s about to have. And god, I wish they’d do this sooner. Sam was a favorite of mine for years, and this season he’s been so ill-used as a character that it’d have been better to write him and Nicole a goodbye when she wanted to leave half the season ago.

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So that’s it for Sam, and Sookie goes to Bellefleur’s to break the news to everyone and give Andy the second letter Sam left. It’s a very short “I resign” letter. Arlene and the whole Bellefleur’s staff are there. They’re dining and partying together with the hopes of drawing in customers with the place newly clean and cheerful again. Jessica speaks to James, who is there with Lafayette. She admits that she doesn’t–didn’t really know him and apologizes, says that’s she’s happy that he’s happy. Then she runs off. Sookie stays in the diner, but she doesn’t immediately sit with the group. She and Arlene have a quick, heartfelt conversation though about how Arlene is always able to start over again, and then Sookie joins the crowd for dinner.

Meanwhile, Eric goes to see Bill in hopes of talking him out of death and dying. But Bill is set on doing what he’s doing, and this time he is at least able to explain himself. He tells Eric about the dream of the faceless child and about how Sookie will always be attracted to the dark in them (vampires) because of her fae light, and they’ll always be attracted to her light because of their dark. His solution? Death. This is all puzzling (does Bill think he and Sookie don’t have a real love, that its just a chemical attraction; does he think he’s the only vampire she’s attracted to; why does he get to be the arbiter of her happiness), but Eric agrees that it’s for the best (?) and flies off to convince Sookie to talk to Bill.

Meanwhile, Pam dyes a panicked Sarah Newlin’s hair, taking her back to blonde and preparing to sell her like a prostitute. The highest paid in history, in all likelihood, because of her pure, antidotal blood. Well, that’s dark.

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Eric picks up Sookie outside of Bellefleur’s and asks her to speak with Bill. She reluctantly agrees, and Eric flies her home. It’s pretty cute, actually, and though we know the show isn’t going back down the Sookie-and-Eric road, it’s a nice little moment. They land, and Eric hears the phone ringing, knowing that it must be Bill. Eric leaves, and Sookie talks with Bill over the phone. She agrees that he can come over, and she waits for him there.

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Back at Fangtasia, Ginger finally has her moment. In one of the most bizarrely funny scenes in the show’s history, Eric tells Ginger that they’re finally going to [redacted so this will be SFW]. And they do. For about 10 seconds, anyway, and then Ginger’s done and lying on the floor, snoring happily away. Eric is a little confused, but he straightens his clothes and heads to the basement, where the Yakuza have captured Pam. They almost kill her before Eric admits to telling Sookie about the antidote. Mr. Gus asks for Sookie’s address, and we don’t see the answer Eric gives.

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Across town, though, Jessica has made her way to Hoyt’s house. She interrupts an argument that Bridgette and Hoyt were having about her, about who she is to Hoyt. Jessica explains that she knows Hoyt but he doesn’t know her because they were together before but his memories are gone. Bridgette is furious and gives Hoyt an ultimatum. Unsurprisingly, Hoyt chooses to hear out Jessica, and Bridgette calls Jason to pick her up. When Jason arrives, Hoyt punches him, and he wakes up in his squad car with Bridgette driving. While Hoyt and Jessica talk out their past and their possible future, Jason and Bridgette work on getting her a flight back to Alaska that won’t cost $1200. They get in bed together, with Bridgette assuring Jason that she’ll teaching him “how to not have sex.” It’s a funny, cute moment, even if we’ve all seen Bridgette and Jason’s relationship coming from a mile away.

And that puts us at the beginning of “Thank You,” the show’s final hour. And honestly, I wish it had been better. I spent a lot of time frustrated by Bill, ready for him to just die already. It’s no  secret that he’s never been one of my favorite characters, but he seemed especially boorish in this episode, especially when he finally showed up at Sookie’s, which is where our episode begins. Bill can’t give Sookie children. He can’t do this or that or the other thing for her. And he can’t make her normal…Unless he can. His solution to everything? Sookie should use her fairy light to blast him, meaning she’ll lose all her fae powers and kill Bill in the same instant. What the hell? So it’s not enough that he’s got the sexist mentality that he knows what’s best for her when she’s clearly telling her that it’s not, but now he also wants her to give up an essential part of herself to kill him when 1) he’s already dying, quickly, and 2) he could stake himself or go stand in the sun and accomplish the same thing. Screw you, Vampire Bill.

Meanwhile, Eric glamours Sarah Newlin and makes her drink Pam’s blood. He knows they’ll be able to sense her fear and that Pam will be able to find her, and so they set Sarah free. They do some handy fighting-work to kill the Yakuza still in the room, and Mr. Gus, who has gone through the basement tunnel after Sarah, gets the fire-in-the-hole treatment. Eric then goes to kill the Yakuza who’ve shown up at Sookie’s, and Pam goes to find Sarah. She’s in an abandoned park, in the carousel. She offers to be Pam’s new progeny and to be Pam’s lover. But Pam wants nothing except inoculation. She drinks from Sarah, making her immune to Hep-V.

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And Jessica and Hoyt show up at Bill’s house. Jessica wants to tell Bill that she’s come to terms with what is happening and will be ok. And somehow, Bill manages to guilt Jessica and Hoyt into getting married. Like right then. Andy comes over to perform the ceremony, Sookie comes through with some white dresses, and Arlene, Holley, Jason, and Sookie are witnesses to a ceremony that I think the writers assumed would make fans happy but that only felt clunky and sad to me. As Jessica says, Hoyt’s memories of her only go back a day. How long before he gets tired of everyone in town knowing more about himself than he does? How long before Jessica either gets tired of him again or finds that the differences wrought from memory changes and a new life are too big? Anyway, Andy gets to inherit Bill’s house, since he’s the closest living relative, and he agrees to rent it to Hoyt and Jessica for $1 after Bill’s death. And, mid-wedding, Sookie can hear Bill’s thoughts for the first time. He’s really, really sick.

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After having a chat with the Reverend about free will, Sookie decides that maybe Bill’s plan is best. She meets him in the cemetery after dark, having made all of the arrangements for his grave to be dug up. There’s a coffin there, but of course no Bill. He climbs into the grave, and Sookie stand above him for what seems like a thousand years, contemplating her light-ball. But she can’t do it. Being fae is part of her. Cue my sigh of relief that the show didn’t do something that idiotic. Sookie does, however, climb down into the grave, stake Bill, cry for another eternity while she’s covered in Bill-goop, and then somehow manage to climb out of that grave and go home.

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Cut to about a year later and a horribly hilarious infomercial for New Blood featuring Eric and Pam. About 3 years later, they’re at the NY Stock Exchange, and a year or so after that, they’re in Fangtasia with Sarah Newlin chained in the basement, being sold for about $100,000 a minute for vampires to drink her blood. Sarah’s losing her mind—Steve Newlin is haunting her again. It’s a dark moment before we switch to Thanksgiving at Sookie’s house, where a very pregnant Sookie is getting everything together for a meal. We see Bridgette and Jason with their 3 kids, and most of our other couples as well (Lafayette and James, Holly and Andy, Adilyn and Wade, Lettie May and the Reverend, and Sam and Nicole with their children). Notably absent are Pam and Eric, but I think we’re to assume that Pam and Eric aren’t very involved in Bon Temps anymore. Sookie’s significant other is faceless–we only see his back and a hint of brown hair and beard.

All in all, a decent ending, but it lacks the punch that True Blood once had. Instead of an episode that was thrilling, it was an episode that was predictable and slow-paced. If it were a paper, I’d give it a C-.

The End

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: “Karma” Review

The final season of True Blood is now in the downswing, with Sunday’s episode marking the sixth of ten episodes. “Karma” reminded me, much like “Death is Not the End,” of why I’ve spent 7 years watching True Blood. There was a heady mixture of dark humor, heartfelt moments, and plot twists that worked.

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At episode’s opening, Eric is still tearing through the Yakuza who showed up at the fundraiser in last week’s “Lost Cause.” It’s only a moment, though, before a group of Yakuza round the corner with a captured Pam covered in silver chains. Eric stops fighting, of course. If we’ve learned one thing in all our years of watching the show, it’s that Eric loves Pam and will do damn near anything to save her. It’s a bit annoying, though, to see a strong character like Pam get caught twice in one season by Yakuza henchmen…She’s tougher than that. Pam and Eric are ushered to the Yakomono Corporations Dallas headquarters (in 3 tricked-out street-racers, no less—hi, racial stereotyping), where they are put in a room with windows open.

But I digress. We cut to Bill, who is still shocked about his Hep-V positive status and trying to cope with the knowledge that death is not far away. He picks up the phone and calls what seems to be a lawyer. We can only hear his side of the conversation, but he’s asking about getting his affairs in order. Jessica, who is walking up the stairs, overhears Bill’s conversation, including his admission that he is Hep-V positive. When he’s off the phone, though, he acts as nonchalantly as possible, and though Jessica is aware of what has happened, she pretends not to be.

Meanwhile, Lafayette and Lettie May have returned from the party and are at Lafayette’s home. He refuses to let her out of his sight because of her attack on Willa. Lettie May maintains that this is not about addiction but about saving Tara. The conversation is interrupted by the appearance of James, who has somehow let himself into Lafayette’s home and is waiting inside. He asks for a place to stay, and Lafayette agrees that he can stay there. Lettie May is warned not to try anything, but James, upon hearing her story about contacting Tara, convinces Lafayette that Lettie might not be as off-base as she seems. Before going to rest for the day, James offers Lettie May and Lafayette drops of his blood so that they can try and contact Tara together.

Across town, Jason has come home. Violet, who left the party after hearing Jason and Jessica together, has lit candles and sprinkled rose petals all over the house. She steps into the room in lingerie, talking to Jason about how they belong together, apologizing for how forceful she can be, explaining that she is from a different time. This is all getting very dangerous. I don’t trust that vampire.

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Bill has arrived at the lawyer’s office, and it is absolutely full of vampires with protruding, dark Hep V veins. The clerk explains that the wait will be 5 to 7 hours. Bill is concerned, and annoyed, but there’s nothing to do besides wait. He takes a number and a seat. Bill (and another vampire sitting next to him) notices that his Hep V veins are spreading incredibly fast. I’m not sure what the impetus for Bill’s sickness spreading so quickly is unless it’s either Sookie’s fairy blood (which up until tonight I thought might be the Hep V cure) or something to do with the fact that just a season or two ago he was Billith. Having a god inside you and then not-inside-you has to wreak havoc on one’s immune system.

In Dallas, Yakomono operatives, including the North American president of the company, Gus Jr., surround Pam and Eric. A digital clock is counting down the minutes to sunrise. Pam and Eric have about 3 minutes before they burst into flames, and the Yakomono want information about Sarah Newlin before they’ll pull down the shades. Pam agrees to tell them everything they know in exchange for freedom, but Eric wants to go a step further. He adds to the conditions that he will be the one to kill Sarah Newlin, but the Yakomono Corporation can have the body after she is dead. Just as Pam and Eric are really beginning to sizzle, the corporation president accepts their offer and lowers the shade, saving Pam and Eric from a fiery true death.

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Elsewhere in Dallas, Sarah Newlin is on the run. She breaks into her sister’s house. Amber almost kills her, but the Hep V has so weakened her that she passes out before she can truly damage Sarah.

Back in Bon Temps, Andy finds Adilyn and Wade having sex, and he chases Wade out of the house. Holly and Arlene are awakened by the noise, and when Holly realizes what has happened, she is furious with Andy for his treatment of Wade.

Jessica calls Jason and asks him to pick up Sookie and come to Bill’s house. Jason is visibly torn, but he heads off to pick up Sookie. Downstairs, Violet has overheard everything, and in a fit of anger begins destroying the bedroom. I’m wondering at what point all of this is going to bite Jason in the ass, and I’m just hoping that the bite doesn’t come in the form of Violet killing him. That’d be a terrible ending for both characters, as Violet’s anger is justified and as Jason is an integral character.

About this time, Jason arrives at Sookie’s house. He hasn’t been able to get her to answer the phone (which I think might still be in the woods anyway). Sookie is curled up in Alcide’s jacket, sleeping away the day. She has a hangover, and Jason has a difficult time rousing her from the bed. But when she hears that Jessica has news she cannot and will not say over the phone, she knows something must be seriously wrong, and she leaves with Jason for Bill’s home. It’s nice to have some Sookie and Jason time again, as in recent season the two haven’t had the type of relationship that was so endearing in the first two seasons of the show.

Then we have a brief moment of Sam and Nicole. They’re at home, and Nicole has just gotten off of the phone. She tells Sam that she’s leaving, going back home, and that he can either come with her or stay in Bon Temps. She asks him to think about it. At this point, I think Sam would be better off going with her as a way to tie up his character. In the past few seasons he’s been little more than comic relief, and the strength of character established in the first few seasons has been wasted.

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In the meantime, the vampire blood that Lettie May and Lafayette ingested has taken effect. They see Tara on a cross, a snake around her neck, just as in Lettie May’s original vision. She’s talking, but she can’t really be heard. Lettie May manages to help Tara off the cross, but when she cradles Tara, she realizes that Tara is gone. She’s running through the woods, and Lettie May and Lafayette follow.

Sookie and Jason have arrived at Bill’s house, and Jessica tells them what she overheard. Jason tries to rationalize the conversation, suggesting that Bill might have been exaggerating because he wanted to get his affairs in order in the event of being infected. But Sookie remembers the fight with the infected vampires and the open wound that she had. She suspects that she was infected when the Hep V vampires exploded on her, and she asks Jason to take her to the clinic to be tested.

In Bellefleur’s, Arlene is trying to mediate between Andy and Holly, who are still fighting about how to handle the kids. Holly blames the occurrence on Adilyn’s fairy nature and is angry that Andy blames most of it on Wade. Arlene is a pretty good mediator, and the whole scene serves as a commentary on parenting, double standards, and slut-shaming. (Holly: I’m sorry I called her a slut.  I don’t even…Believe in that word.) They return home only to find that Adilyn and Wade have run off to the fort/tree-house together.

TB6.8

And across town, Sookie is in a health clinic. Blood is drawn, a label attached to it, and then all that’s left to do is wait. Jason is about to take Sookie home, but she doesn’t want to be at home. I’m not sure I blame her. Again, this leads to some wonderful Jason-and-Sookie moments that we haven’t seen since the first few seasons. It’s also a stark commentary on transmittable diseases and the nothing-to-do-but wait when you are almost positive that you’re sick in a way that cannot be fixed.

Lettie May and Lafayette, meanwhile, are still on the V, still chasing Tara through the woods. She leads them to their old home, and she’s digging in the yard for something. But before she can finish, before Lettie May and Lafayette can figure out what is going on, the Reverend arrives and interrupts their vision. Both Lettie May and Lafayette are annoyed by this intrusion. When the Reverend gives Lettie May an ultimatum—the V or me—Lettie May stands firm, saying that this is something she has to do, with or without him.

TB6.4

Jason and Sookie are dealing with different sorts of relationship crises. They sit in the back of a truck, waiting for the phone call from the clinic. Jason and Sookie talk about Violet. He admits that he’s afraid of her. This is as close to admitting that Jason is in an abusive relationship as I’ve seen the show come, but I’d really like it to acknowledge that in a bigger way somehow. And then the phone call comes—Sookie is Hep V positive.

In the law office, Bill’s number is finally called. He wants to pass his estate to Jessica, but due to complications with the law, he cannot do so. He becomes frustrated by the legalese (the law doesn’t recognize progeny or posthumous wills) and the extortion that is attempted ($10 mil buys a front-of-the-line spot), and he stabs the lawyer in the throat and kills another vampire on his way out. Aside from showing his frustration, I’m not sure what the purpose of that tirade was—it’s very out of character.

TB6.6

Back in Dallas, Amber wakes up after having passed out earlier. Sarah is waiting there for her, relieved that Amber isn’t dead. Sarah tries to tell Amber that she’s a new person, Noomi (“new me”?), grounded in Buddhist teachings and fully enlightened in a way that she wasn’t before. Amber is infuriated by her sister’s attempt to absolve herself of her past crimes. But then we get a major twister—Sarah drank the antidote to Hep V when the lab was attacked, and she is now the walking antidote to the disease. She can heal everyone. Karma indeed.

In Bon Temps, Sookie tells Jessica that she gave Bill Hep V, and Jason returns home, prepared to break up with Violet. But she’s left him with a note and lots of broken furniture in the bedroom. Jason seems relieved, but it’s a bit too early for that. Violet arrives at Fort B and convinces Adilyn and Wade to come with her. I can only assume that she’s up to something very, very bad.

In Dallas again, Eric and Pam lead the Yakomon Corporation to Amber’s house. She opens the door, and the first thing that Eric notices is that she’s cured. Cue everyone’s surprise and “how did you do that.” We cut back briefly to Bill’s house. He opens the door and sees Jessica and Sookie sitting on the staircase, tears running down their faces. He knows they know. The door closes, and the episode ends.

TB6.3

Next week we’re set to see more of Amber, who appears to have shifted to protecting her sister. I hope we’ll also see more of why Violet chose Adilyn and Wade, of all the Bon Temps residents, to go after, though I suspect that Adilyn’s fairy blood has something to do with that.