True Blood Recap: Flashback City

Hi all! You’re getting me after 17 hours of sports this weekend, a day spent writing about human trafficking and a few glasses of wine, so buckle up. This week’s episode was formally titled “Death is Not the End” which could have easily been the title of the very final episode. To a certain degree, this episode felt like a love letter to some of our favorite characters. Without further ado, here’s what happened last week.

Pam found Eric and learned that he was infected with Hep V. Rather than letting him give up, she forced him out of his beautiful French abode by dangling the Sarah Newlin carrot in front of him. Sam, Andy, Violet, Jason and Jess confronted the angry/idiot mob of townspeople. Mrs. Fortenberry shot Jess and Violet promptly ripped Mrs. Fortenberry’s heart out. Unfortunately, Jess isn’t healing any longer. The Hep V-infected vamps are still keeping Nicole, Jane Boathouse, Holly and Arlene captive in the basement of Fantasia. Kevin’s already been eaten. Ultimately, the vamps take Holly on their hunting trip, run into Sookie, Bill, Jason, Andy etc. and all of the vamps are killed. Idiot townspeople who still don’t get that some supernaturals are good and some are bad shoot Alcide in the process and he dies. RIP, gorgeous shirtless creature.

This episode starts with Daddy werewolf and his hot hooker/trashy girlfriend Jenny hanging out in his trailer in Jackson, Mississippi when the phone rings. Unfortunately it’s Sookie, calling to tell Dad that Alcide has passed away. I forgot that Dad was also named Jackson…anyway, he’s appropriately shaken up. In a nice parallel (from a story structure point of view), Jason calls his old friend Hoyt (except Hoyt doesn’t remember that they are old friends) to tell him that his Mother was killed by a vampire the night before. He’s destroyed thinking that she passed because he left town. Jason tries to convince him that he had to leave but Hoyt still doesn’t remember him.

Hoyt
Aw…Hoyt

Jackson plans to come to Bon Temps after tying up some loose ends. Sookie tells him not to come at night, and he tells her that Alcide “loved the fuck outta her.” Aw. Sookie loved him too. She better have…Alcide was the bomb.

Jason tells Hoyt to call the police station when he arrives to have someone come to pick him up. After after searching for his name for a bit, he thanks Deputy Stackhouse for calling and it’s pretty heartbreaking. Sookie tells Jason he has to keep it together…he’s the law now. She wants to fall apart right now too, but she can’t afford that luxury.

After the credits roll, we see Eric and Pam on a private jet. Eric is feeding off the inner thigh of a very nice, professional flight attendant. Originally they’re scheduled to land in Baton Rouge, planning to go after a Senator Finch to whom Pam thinks Sarah may have reached out. Eric decided to land in Shreveport instead. He wants to go after Willa…even if she hates him. He casually informs Victoria, the flight attendant, that she’s now a Hep V carrier. Pam hates Shreveport, but Eric thinks it’ll be a jog down memory lane.

With that we get an AMAZING flashback to 1986. Eric and Pam are waiting in the parking lot while the old evil Magister arrives to explain their “sentencing.” It’s clearly the parking lot of Fangtasia. The Magister explains that the place smells like sperm and piss and bad hair dye and it’s all theirs. Ew. He explains that they’re to run a small business there and then gives them a tour. It’s a video store. OMG this is amazing.

VideoStore80s

They head downstairs to find that they are now renting the largest collection of porn in all of northern Louisiana. There is also a small tunnel leading the underground railroad in the very back of the basement. See? America has culture! Unfortunately the catch is that they’ll have to pay 80% back to the Authority. In the same breath, the Magister makes him the Sheriff…and reminds him that he’s being watched by night and by day by the Yakanomo Corporation and their Yakuza friends. Something tells me the Yakuza might stand out in 1986 northern Louisiana, but OK.

In the present day, Sookie, Sam and Jason head off to Arlene’s to visit with Cody and Lisa, Arlene’s kids. She gathers them together and gives it to them straight. Everyone else is treating them like they’re dumb but she’s not going to do that. She straight up admits that this “f’ing sucks.” She knows that they know what’s going on, and it’s scary but their Mom is a fighter, she loves them, and Sookie promises to bring her back to them.

At Andy’s place, Sookie barges in ready to “make” Holly remember what happened to her. Even though it may be traumatizing to Holly, Sookie tells Andy that she just promised Arlene’s kids that that she’d bring Arlene back so now she’s pretty much got to make Holly remember. Sookie’s got a mission in this episode…she doesn’t have time to mourn Alcide. After a little bit of mind reading magic, Sookie draws some key details out of Holly. Working backwards, Holly sees scenes of herself being fed upon in the woods. Before that, she sees Fantasia and then reveals that they were all held in the basement in chains. Arlene, Jane Boathouse and Nicole are alive, but Kevin didn’t make it. Sookie leaves unceremoniously, leaving Holly sobbing. She tells Andy that she might like to be held.

As they’re leaving, Jason and Sam discuss what’s going on. Sam is sick of waiting. He pulls a U turn and says he’s going to Fantasia instead of driving to Rosie’s house on official business. Jason has a moment of intelligence when he pulls a gun and reminds Sam that they need to wait for the vamps to make a run at Fangtasia.

At Bill’s house, Jess is struggling with her bullet wound to the shoulder. James, her adorable boyfriend, tells her she needs to eat. It turns out that she hasn’t eaten since she ate Andy’s faerie daughters weeks ago. James runs to get Bill and Bill gives a very fatherly, “How long has this been going on?” speech. Sookie arrives in the midst of this speech and Jess welcomes her to her intervention. Sookie offers to feed her, but Jess refuses. Sookie asks to speak to her alone.

Jess is sure she’s going to get a speech about not eating and the fact that she’s hurting the people around her but that’s not why Sookie’s there. She doesn’t care why she’s not eating. She doesn’t care about a bunch of dead faeries either. Nearly everyone she knows is dead and she doesn’t care about Jess or her problems. She needs Jess at full strength to save her friends and that’s her only worry. Sookie stomps out and tells James to call Lafayette. She and Bill need to talk.

Next we get another amazing flashback, this time to the video store circa 1996. Wow, I’m impressed they made the video store thing work for so long. Then again, ’86-’96 were pretty prime years for video rentals. Who else should walk in to the store but long suffering Ginger! At this point she’s a grunge-tastic, idealistic college student looking for obscure vampire movies. She’s taking a class entitled “Monsters in our Midst” which explores the “others” in society and how they’re treated through vampire lore. Not that she believes vampires are real, or anything. Just then, Eric in glorious mid-90’s heartthrob attire walks in and gives Ginger the vapors.

90sEric2
Walking in to Garbage’s “Crush”? Killer 90’s entrance, bro

He and Pam charm the living pants off of her, explaining that they own the place and were on and off for a while but have been “off” since they’ve owned the store together. She asks for an application.

90sEric&Pam

Back in the present day, Jason and Sam roll up to Rosie’s house to notify her that Kevin is dead. Jason says he was a good man with a funny voice. Rosie thinks she’s being arrested but Sam assures her they can leave the night before totally behind them. She calls him a freak. They go inside and give her the bad news…Kevin is dead. Sam explains that Holly gave them the bad news and that the vamps are keeping other people at Fangtasia. They lay out the plan and promise to get the bad vamps for her.

At Bill’s, Sookie asks Bill to round up all the health vamps he can muster to make a raid on Fangtasia. The vamps that showed up at Bellefleur’s had something to gain from showing up…humans that could feed them. Many died and the ones who are left are scared. They’ve got nothing to gain from a raid on Fangtasia, so he’s not super positive about potential turnout. Sookie offers herself to Bill and lets him feed. She tells him “It’s just lunch” and the terrible, cynical part of me wonders if that was actually product placement.

In another part of Casa de Vampire Bill, Lafayette makes an appearance. He calls Jess “Redbone” and I love him so much. Jess is distraught…she feels like an empty shell. He calls James “hooker” and tells him to step aside for a real “hooker.” I really wish I could get away with calling people “hooker” now and then. Jess is having trouble with her basic vampire nature…they’re not immortal if their immortality depends on feeding upon innocent people. Lafayette is good with that, because he’s not innocent. They have a quick battle of “who’s done worse shit” and when she asks if he’s killed people, he says that he killed the man he loved. He still hasn’t forgiven himself, but he’s accepted that he’s deeply flawed and will always be shaking in his boots, scared of what death is like. People can get a whole lot deader than Jess, and she knows it. He convinces her to feed (finally) and she heals.

We get another rad flashback to the video store, circa 2006. At this point, Ginger is firmly enmeshed in vampire culture. She’s very glam-alt (with a goth edge) and is driving a hearse. She unloads a familiar looking chair from the back and brings it into the video store, where Pam is stocking coolers of True Blood. She has an idea…now that vamps are out of the coffin, what’s stopping Pam and Eric from transforming the video store into any kind of business they want to run? She lays out detailed plans for Fangtasia…a bar, a DJ booth, a dance floor with stripper poles, etc. Most importantly, she sees her “shitty chair” as a throne upon which they can display Eric Northman. After all, they make most of their money on porn because sex sells…and Eric is pure, unadulterated sex on a stick. Pam actually gets it…she thinks it such a good idea, in fact, that she glamours Ginger and steals her idea. She’s relaying this story to Eric on the private jet and he calls her “such a bitch.” I concur…idea stealing is bullshit! He still lovers her though.

At Bill’s house, the few vamps willing to show up (all two of them we haven’t met yet) are going over battle plans with James, Jason, Violet, Bill and Jess. As it turns out, they’re both in James’ band. Jason attempts to give an inspirational speech calling it “their Normandy.” Bill explains to him that Normandy might be a bad comparison and Jason says “History is a bitch.” Ha. Suddenly, Pam and Eric arrive. Eric mentions the book Bill wrote in which he “claims not to be an asshole anymore.” Bill simply stares at his Hep V lines. Sookie rushes up to hug Eric and sees that he’s infected too. They’re there for Willa and summon her to Bill’s home.

Bill gives Sookie and Eric some alone time to talk it out. He asks her what kind of trouble they’ve gotten into. She explains that her boyfriend died, and then has to explain who her boyfriend was in the first place. She asks where Eric has been and he explains that first he went to Sweden and it was beautiful…but unfortunately he triggered an avalanche that killed a whole ski village (insert inappropriate LOL here). Then he went to South America, then to Africa and finally on to Spain and France. He figured he’d see the world one last time. Again he asks what trouble she’s gotten into.

Willa
Willa makes an entrance

Willa arrives and expresses her hatred for Eric. She was only two weeks old when he abandoned her. He commands her to talk about her issues later. Instead, they all head off to help Sookie with her problems, as usual. Eric can show them another way in to Fangtasia.

We see a rat making its way down that very convenient underground railroad tunnel that leads right to the dungeon at Fangtasia. The rat turns out to be Sam, who turns back in to Sam form when he reaches the dungeon and the small band of survivors.

Arlene

Sam tells them that vampires will be coming through that tunnel shortly and that he needs them to trust these vampires. He turns into a rat and leaves. Soon, a sick vamp is marching down the stairs into the dungeon.

Outside, a weak Eric can’t smash through the brick wall leading to the tunnel, so Bill does it for him. Pam insists on going before Eric and soon the healthy vamps are on their way into the dungeon. Unfortunately Arlene is already upstairs being fed upon by the sick vamps.

Our friendly vamps get Nicole and Jane out and Pam tells Bill not to be the hero because “it’s not going to happen with Sookie.” Bill sneaks upstairs and while he’s hiding, Eric knocks at the door. He explains that he’s the former sheriff and that he’s diseased. He asks for entry and explains that he brought his own human. Obviously he’s got Sookie with him, and all the vamps can smell it. Sookie sees a very dead-looking Arlene laying on the table.

Idiots
IDIOTS

Unfortunately we then see that Rosie has rounded up the Bon Temps idiot squad and told them where to find both the sick and the healthy vamps (the healthy vamps who are TRYING TO SAVE YOUR HUMAN FRIENDS, IDIOTS). They’re preparing molotov cocktails and planning a raid of their own.

Inside Fantasia a sick vamp tells Sookie to spread ‘em because he wants it from her “nasty place.” Yikes and ew. All the vamps are salivating. Meanwhile the healthy vamps are stealthily sneaking in through the tunnel. Eric tells the sick vamps that they must sip Sookie like a nice glass of Barbaresco. Right as Eric reveals that he’s brought some friends, the idiot squad throws a firebomb into the bar and all hell breaks loose. The jerks mows down a number of sick vamps with automatic weapons while the rest face off with our healthy vamp friends. A slo mo vampire fight goes on outside while Bill saves Eric inside. “See, not an asshole anymore.” Nice comeback, Bill. Pam extinguishes the fire and sets one of the idiots on fire when they threaten to throw another molotov cocktail. Outside, Bill runs to Jess’ rescue while Arlene fades away inside. Sookie needs a healthy vamp to feed her stat, or she’s going to die.

This is where this episode takes a seriously, seriously fucking stupid turn. Arlene, in her dying thoughts (which Sookie can obviously read) hears Terry calling to her. Sookie keeps telling her that the real Terry would want her here, that it’s not real, etc. Arlene looks up to see him in the door and at this point I get confused…is there actually a vision of him in the door? Does Sookie hear and see him too? What the hell is going on?

As Arlene feeds from one of James’ bandmates, Terry stops by for a quick chat, asking about the kids, etc. Arlene finds her will to live, Terry tells her she better stay, She agrees in a a very nonchalant way, they exchange “I love yous” and Terry tells her to be happy. She comes back to life and looks up at Keith and I feel like that’s now going to be a thing…Arlene and Keith. Sorry everyone, but this is one scene in ALL THE SCENES in the history of this show that I just.didn’t.buy. So dumb. So unnecessary.

As though even the writers of this show knew that this was some weak ass punch they just served up, Jason says “that was intense” out loud. Oy.

Outside, the healthy vamps have triumphed! After a moment of suspense fearing the worst for Eric, Pam finds him feeding on Rosie in a minivan. Good riddance, idiot squad. No one will ever, ever miss you morons. Inside, Eric and Sookie exchange knowing glances and she cradles her dear friend (basically her remaining friend), Arlene.

Sooooo….yeah. I LOVED the flashbacks to the video store. I LOVE Ginger’s “origin story.” I didn’t mind Bill being a good guy again and I’m glad all of the idiot townspeople are dead (even though that leaves Bon Temps with a population of roughly 10 people). I LOVE any scene with Lafayette in it, especially when he calls people “hooker.” I can even deal with all the knowing glances between Sookie and Bill and Bill and Eric and Eric and Sookie…the show is wrapping up, I get it. But this dying vision thing was BULLSHIT. BULLSHIT I say. I hope it’s never spoke of again.

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