Well, that was a premiere.
True Blood returns for its seventh and final season with mixed results. While things got off to a frantic start, I didn’t feel that much attachment to the characters, primarily because the cast has expanded that I found it difficult to keep up with who’s who. That and an early ending make for a very frantic moving premiere.
The season picks up immediately following the ending of Season Six, with the Hep V-infected vampires attacking the social gathering. Some are killed, others are kidnapped, but upon hearing a whistling sound, the infected vampires scatter. Among those missing are Holly, Nicole and Arlene.
Andy gets a frantic call from Jason for help. Jessica will still standing guard to make sure Adilyn remains safe, but Andy orders Adilyn to not invite Jessica into their home. Sounds simple enough.
Oh, and after the attack, Lettie Mae is covered in blood, meaning that Tara is apparently dead.
Once everyone has regrouped from the attack, Bill states that the Hep-V vampires nest throughout Bon Temps, preferably in buildings without windows. So it’s dangerous for humans to travel alone. Well, it’s already been dangerous to travel alone, but I guess it’s more dangerous now. The plan is for the vampires to escort their humans home and the town will meet at the church tomorrow to plan.
Sookie, hearing the spiteful thoughts of everyone around her, leaves Sam’s bar without a word.
Vince confronts Sam about seeing him shift. Sam would prefer that his transformation is kept under wraps. People are already hurting after the attack, so revealing this would freak them out even more.
On the walk home, Sookie ignores Alcide’s phone calls and flat out ditches her phone altogether. She also trips over the body of a young blonde woman.
Meanwhile, in Marrakesh, Morocco, Pam plays Russian Roulette with one of the vampires there. Round after round and neither gets the bullet. Pam’s opponent has lived 27 times, and now 28 when he survives again. But then he pulls the trigger and bam goes the vampire! With that game settled, Pam continues her search for her maker.
Back at House Bellefleur, Adilyn tries to make conversation with Jessica and begins by apologizing about Tara’s supposed death. Adilyn still has nightmares about the time Jessica almost drained her. She should hate Jessica, but doesn’t. Before the conversation can switch to James for long, Jessica spots a vampire in the distance.
Alcide finally arrives back and confronts Sookie about walking home by herself. Sookie, however, is more ticked off not just about everyone’s thoughts, but that Alcide himself partially blamed her for the attack. Alcide counters that it isn’t fair of Sookie to push him away just based on his thoughts.
Jason and Violet have a run-in with Vince and three other small town Americans who are prepared to take matters into their own hands, starting with Violet. Jason tries to intervene, but he’s torn between two sides. However, Violet’s threats are enough to ward off Vince and his team. Jason isn’t too pleased with Violet’s behavior. Hey, you belong to her, pal. I wouldn’t complain too much right now.
Lafayette and his vampire, James, head to Lafayette’s humble abode. Lafayette lights up in order to get in the right mindset. Though Lafayette should be upset by Tara’s supposed death- her second death- he actually isn’t. Heck, he’s actually relieved, as fucked up as that is, and he admits it. After all, she’s already died once, so he doesn’t feel anything this second time. Plus, you know, Tara was technically already dead.
James shares his story: all of his friends died in Vietnam. He was a draft dodger, however, because he didn’t believe in violence. During one Christmas, officers came to the house of his best friend, Danny, to deliver the news to his parents that their son had died in battle. When James went over to offer his sympathy, Danny’s father beat him and called him a faggot. A vampire took pity on James and turned him that night.
Since then, James sees zero point in feeling pain. You can laugh, cry and smoke, but to the larger universe, it makes no difference.
Jason is still enraged about Violet embarrassing him like that. More than that, he’s got a major case of blue balls since Violet still won’t let Jason have sex with her. Jason’s solution? They’re gonna fuck right then and there.
About damn time. Violet presents herself and the two bone on the police cruiser.
Jessica and the vampire hidden in shadows continue their stand-off. The unknown vampire wants a taste of Adilyn’s blood. Jessica, thinking quickly, gives her blood to Adilyn. That way, if the two are separated, Jessica will always know where she is.
Lettie Mae speaks of hearing Tara’s voice, which doesn’t help her current state in the eyes of Willa and Reverend Daniels. Willa doesn’t have a place to go because she roomed with Tara. Daniels, calling Will a lost sheep, offers her a spot in the church cellar.
Back in Morocco, Pam continues her search for Najat and throws down a wad of cash to show that she’s serious about her quest. She’s given a map, but whatever she does with it is her choice.
At Stackhouse Residence, Sookie disrobes and gets into bed. But she’s not wearing any night clothes under her robe, so why even wear a robe to bed if you had nothing on? Why didn’t she just walk around the house naked? I think we would have all appreciated that. Anyway, I’m going on about this much more than I should. Sookie and Alcide are the only ones in the house. I’m thinking about this much more than I should, but moving on, the two apologize.
Bill and Andy arrive at an abandoned building where Bill believes the Hep-V vampires are nesting. The two eventually find a room with bodies suspended upside down and drained.
Vince and his entourage also arrive and are incensed by what they find. They turn their ire to Andy and Sam for convincing the citizens to trust vampires. Bill jumps to Andy’s defense, saying that the idea to mix vampires and humans was his idea and that Andy wasn’t even at the social gathering when the attack took place.
Looking for blood, Vince tells Andy to leave so he can kill Bill, but Andy wants to do it himself for all of the trouble Bill has caused him.
However, Vince falls for the ruse quick enough for Bill to train his gun on one of Vince’s followers, Lou, played by Lucas Adams. Andy asks Lou if he’s ever fired a weapon, which he hasn’t. Pulling the trigger means that his life will change forever. Andy already knows what that’s like. Lou eventually lowers his gun. Bill is thankful, but Andy makes it clear that he only helped because he needs Bill to help him save Holly, Arlene and the others.
The kidnapped humans aren’t having any fun in their situation, though it’s Deputy Ellis who ultimately loses his life when a vampire decides to feed on him.
Jessica’s most amazing standoff continues to the point where dawn is coming. Jessica refuses to budge, but she’s not given a choice when Adilyn, against Andy’s wishes, invites her into the house. The wandering vampire soon burns a fiery death.
At church, the population discusses the attack, but goes silent when Sookie arrives. Lettie Mae doesn’t want her there, as she blames her for Tara’s death.
Sookie finally reveals that she can hear everyone’s thoughts and despite what everyone thinks of her, she still loves everyone she’s met. They aren’t wrong. Sookie is partially responsible for what’s happened, but Bon Temps can’t go back to the way things were. Sookie, however, knows vampires better than most and wants to help. Will the people let her?
Well, we don’t know, since that’s where the episode decides to awkwardly end.
This is a very messy beginning for True Blood’s final season. So many characters carried over from last season leaves little room for the regulars to develop. There’s a lot of set-up, but with few exceptions, we as an audience aren’t given time to soak in what we can gather from the premiere.
The stakes for this season also don’t seem as high compared to previous seasons mostly because the Hep-V vampires just appear to be wild, but should pose no threat for the more seasoned vampires. I’m not saying every villain has to be the level of Russell, but compared to previous seasons, the Hep-V vampires just seem like an irritation than an actual threat.
More than that, if the Hep-V vampires are capable of killing and draining humans, why go through the trouble of kidnapping Arlene, Holly and the others? Just seems like it’s there to give Andy and Sam someone to find.
Also, humans seem to be playing a bigger role in fighting back against vampires, as seen with Vince’s team not wanting to play nice with the vampires or expecting any progress from Andy, Sam or Bill. Problem is, of course, they’re ill-equipped and not well prepared.
The issue with the premiere for me is that it moved too fast. We didn’t need to see nearly every character’s storyline because we can’t absorb all of the information. Less is more in this case. It also doesn’t help that, in instances where we deal with one set of characters, we have to cut away to another group before coming back to them, rather than just making one scene a few moments longer.
At least Andy’s attempting to be taken seriously, even if Bon Temps isn’t on his side right now. He still doesn’t trust Bill and I can’t say I blame him, but I did like how he talked Lou out of pulling the trigger and changing his life forever.
Another man trying to be taken seriously- Mr. Jason Stackhouse himself. Let’s be honest, chances are no one will ever take him seriously. At least he got rid of his blue balls by taking Violet. Who knew that he just had to demand sex in order to get it?
One of the character interactions I enjoyed this week came out between Adilyn and Jessica. Despite what Jessica did last season, you can see she’s at least making an effort to get to know Adilyn a little better. And their moments were slower paced, so the buildup of trust between the two felt natural and not rushed. And now we see how much Adilyn will trust Jessica after inviting her in. Side-note, they didn’t really think this protection plan out that well. I mean, unless the vampires have somewhere to go during the day, I don’t think they’d just park out in front of their humans’ home and let themselves burn.
Another chance for development came from Lafayette’s interaction with James. I sort of feel like Lafayette is speaking for the audience when he mentioned how numb he had become to all of the crazy shit that he’s seen. Tara’s second death didn’t carry any weight because he’d already seen her die, so seeing it again doesn’t do anything.
And then there’s Sookie, who miraculously managed to walk home by herself without a scratch. I agree with Alcide that it’s not entirely fair of her to judge him based on his own thoughts, but at the same time, she got a huge burden off of her chest when she revealed to everyone that she can read their thoughts. The question is whether her speech at the end will do any good, since the episode just abruptly ends.
As for Pam’s search for Eric, it’s a nice distraction away from Bon Temps and she’s driven to find her maker, so she has good motivation. Plus she still gets good, snarky lines.
Oh, and can we kill Nicole? I don’t care if she’s pregnant. Kill her. I do not like this character.
By the way, is the show really trying to convince us that Tara is dead? We didn’t see it happen and given how the show made a big deal of bringing her back by turning her, I call foul on this, and I know I’m not alone here.
All in all, this was a mixed bag for the premiere. The pace felt too frantic with too many characters shoved on screen, only a few getting decent development. Hopefully the Hep-V vampires actually prove to be somewhat of a threat. The episode began fast, but after the opening, it just fizzled. Maybe I’m just burned out by the series as a whole, but this was not a strong opener for the final season.