A Look at True Blood- Season 7, Episode 4: “Death is Not the End”

And here’s the episode where apparently no one cared. We dug some more into Pam and Eric’s past, while everything else occurs with no real sense of tension or surprise. What should have been big moments were brushed aside like any side plot from any episode of Power Rangers. Most of them, anyway, but that’s another conversation.

The show still manages to squeeze in too many characters for its own good. As a result, “Death is Not the End” feels very muddled with only a few pockets of entertainment.

Death is Not the End- Jackson learns that Alcide is dead

The episode begins in Jackson, Mississippi, where Jackson receives word from Sookie that Alcide has died. Jackson tells Sookie that, while he and Alcide didn’t talk much, he spoke fondly of her. Sookie advises Jackson not to come at night.

Death is Not the End- Hoyt learns that his mother has been killed by a vampire

At the same time, in Anchorage, Alaska, Hoyt hears from Deputy Jason Stackhouse that his mother was killed by a vampire.

When the Stackhouse siblings finish their respective bad news calls, Jason isn’t ready to move on. However, as Sookie points out, people are looking to him because he’s the law.   Sookie, what people? Those people are the very ones that think he shouldn’t be in charge anymore! But anyway, Sam enters. Everyone’s ready.

Death is Not the End- Pam and Eric en route to Louisiana

Pam and Eric are en route to Louisiana. Pam feeds on a flight attendant named Victoria, played by Christine Pitre, and her reward for being a good woman is she now has Hepatitis-V. Congratulations, you’re so screwed! They’re taking a slight detour to Shreveport, much to Pam’s displeasure. Eric just wants to see Willa again, despite abandoning her. Doesn’t matter if Willa hates him, Eric just wants to see her one more time before he dies.

Death is Not the End- Zeljko Ivanek as The Magister, showing Eric and Pam the video store

We then flash back to 1986 and get a brief reappearance of Zeljko Ivanek as The Magister as he shows Pam and Eric a shitty looking video store. But not just any video store: it has the largest collection of adult videos in Northern Louisiana. Enticing indeed. There’s even a tunnel that dates back to the Civil War. The Magister makes it clear that not only is Eric the new sheriff- because the Authority doesn’t trust him and wants to keep an eye on him- but he and Pam are to turn this dump into an operational business. Though Pam and Eric would rather die, they aren’t really given much of a choice. And they’re being watched day and night, so better watch your step.

Death is Not the End- Sookie visits Coby and Lisa

For some reason, Sookie pays a visit to Coby and Lisa to talk about their mother. Everyone else talks to them like they have no idea what’s going on, but Sookie won’t. She knows that Arlene is still alive and will do all she can to make sure she returns to her kids. Promise.

Death is Not the End- Sookie tries to get Holly to remember

The only lead to Arlene is Holly, who is in no condition to talk whatsoever, given the hell she’s been through this on sloppy season- I mean, the horrors she went through in that dungeon. Andy insists that Sookie leave Holly be, but Sookie made a promise! Yeah, Andy, weren’t you listening to the last scene? Sookie made a promise, damn the mental consequences!

Last thing Holly remembers is the mixer and then meeting Sookie in the woods. Everything else is a blur, so the two join hands and Holly begins to relive the memories. She clearly doesn’t want to remember, but Sookie tells her that she’s doing great! Sookie eventually figures out that the others are held at Fangtasia. With this information, she, Sam and Jason leave, while Andy must contend with a still fragile Holly.

I have a huge problem with this scene, but I’ll get into that later.

Death is Not the End- Jason and Sam argue

While Sookie goes to meet with Bill, Sam intends to drive straight to Fangtasia. Jason implores that Sam stop since rushing into Fangtasia without a plan would be suicide. Sam is tired of waiting, however, and keeps on driving…

…until Jason puts his gun to Sam’s head and demand that he stop. Soon enough, Sam brings his truck to a halt. He won’t go to Fangtasia, but he won’t drive, either. He wants Jason to take the wheel. That way, Sam won’t have to say that he’s the one who drove away. Right.

Death is Not the End- James and Jessica in bed, Jessica won't feed

In what I think is their first extended scene on-screen together, we actually get a moment between James and Jessica, whose wound is still not healing. The reason? She hasn’t fed in quite some time, as she still feels guilty about what she did to the fairies. Since Jessica won’t listen to James, he brings Bill instead. But even that does no good.

Death is Not the End- Sookie doesn't give a shit about Jessica's problems

Sookie arrives to the rescue and tells the boys to leave so she and Jessica can have some hard talk, woman to woman. This talk? Sookie just doesn’t give a shit about why Jessica isn’t eating. She doesn’t care about what Jessica did or any of her personal problems. Right now, Sookie needs all the vampire help she can get. This is the strangest girl talk I’ve ever heard.

Death is Not the End- Flashback, Ginger visits the video store

We flash back to 1996. The video store is up and running. In walks a very young Ginger, yet Tara Buck doesn’t look any younger. In fact, she just looks like a female version of Garth from Wayne’s World. Anyway, Ginger is really into vampire cinema.

She’s then in awe at the sight of a clean looking Eric walking in slow motion. Instantly, Ginger wants to apply for a job.

Death is Not the End- Sam and Jason tell Rosie that Kevin is dead

Sam and Jason pay Rosie a visit to tell her about Kevin. She’s distraught, but still isn’t above calling Sam a freak. To be honest, this scene wasn’t necessary, especially given what happens later.

Bill admits that his side will be greatly outnumbered when they converge on Fangtasia, but he’s doing this for Sookie because he owes her. Well, isn’t that special?

Death is Not the End- Lafayette talks with Jessica

Since no one else could help Jessica, they decide to bring in the big guns: Lafayette. He gets right to it- he won’t pretend to know what Jessica is going through. Jessica fights back. She may be a vampire, but Lafayette has no idea what it’s like to kill an innocent person. Except Lafayette does. He never forgave himself for it, but he accepts that he’s flawed. And even though Jessica is technically dead, she can still be worse than she is right now.

Death is Not the End- Flashback, Ginger brings Pam a shitty looking chair

We then flash back to 2006, where Ginger is dressed like Harley Quinn from Batman: Arkham City. Not Asylum, but City. There’s a difference. In Asylum, she’s dressed more like a nurse, but in City, she-oh, never mind. I’m getting off track. Anyway, she brings in a shitty looking chair and has quite the proposal for Pam: the space is theirs, so why not just turn it into whatever they want?

When Pam continues to listen, Ginger pretty much describes the bar we will soon come to know as Fangtasia. And since Eric Northman embodies sex, he can sit on the shitty chair like a king. It’s still a shitty chair, Ginger. Pam likes the description and Ginger’s suggestion for a name. In fact, she likes it so much that she glamours Ginger and decides to take the idea for herself.

In the present, Eric’s impressed that Pam would do such a thing. Nothing less from his progeny.

Death is Not the End- Assembling before the attack on Fangtasia

The time for attack has come. Bill called all the unaffected vampires he could, but only managed a few. No word from Willa yet, but she does suddenly sense something and leaves the human she’s feeding on.

Death is Not the End- Pam and Eric arrive

A knock at the door later, Pam and Eric arrive. That was fast. Sookie speaks to Eric alone and embraces him. Sookie doesn’t want him to die on her. Since they last saw each other, Eric has had quite the life: he triggered an avalanche, went to South America, all over the world until he ended up in France.

Death is Not the End- Willa confronts Eric

Suddenly, Willa enters and demands to know why her maker left her in such a huff. She doesn’t give a shit about what Sookie’s going through- she just wants an answer. Eric tells Willa that, as his maker, they will talk about it later. Well, I guess that settles that.

Death is Not the End- Sam finds the hostages

Sam enters the dungeon as a rat and informs the ladies that help is on the way. But they still need to trust the vampires.

Death is Not the End- Hep-V vampires feed on Arlene

As he leaves, however, one of the Hep-V vampires comes down and seizes Arlene. She’s taken upstairs, where the others begin to feed on her.

They stop when they hear a knock at the door. Eric tells the vampires that he is in need of help and even has a savory human along with him. Before the vampires can feed on Sookie, Eric’s reinforcements attack.

But just as this happens, Vince and what’s left of his ragtag mob- directed by Rosie- throw Molotov cocktails into Fangtasia and fire into the bar.

So things get a little crazy, the vampires fight and Arlene needs clean blood. She’s at death’s door to the point that she’s hearing and seeing Terry. Just as she’s ready to cross onto the other side, one of the vampires, Keith, played by Riley Smith, gives Arlene some of his blood. She lives.

Meanwhile, the good vampires apparently won and the mob looks to be all but dead.

All right, I guess. This final season really seems like it wants to wrap up as many loose ends as possible, but almost as soon as they begin. The Hep-V vampires are crumbling, as is Vince’s mob, and Alcide’s death is all but forgotten by the end of the episode. The trouble is that the season is moving too fast for its own good and we can’t fully take in what we’re given. It’s like the writers aren’t interested in telling a cohesive story. If the writers want to introduce multiple story arcs and bring in as many as characters to fit into an episode, they’d better do something meaningful with them instead of trying to force an emotional response from the audience.

That’s not to say this episode didn’t have some positives. Eric and Pam’s flashbacks did help flesh out their pasts and showed how Fangtasia came to be the bar we know it as. And Pam taking the idea seems like something she would do without hesitation. Jason had a funny moment where he compared the upcoming attack on Fangtasia to storming the beaches at Normandy, only for Bill to point out that said battle lead to 200,000 casualties. And though I never liked the Hep-V vampires, I’m glad their arc seems to be over.

So while there are elements of this episode that I liked, where the episode suffered for me was in the writing and characterization. Not that what we saw was out of character, but selfishness was evident in the amount of characters who didn’t give a shit about anything except their problems.

Death is Not the End- Sookie makes Holly relive nightmares

Let’s start with Sookie and return to her scene with Holly. She knew that Holly was broken and didn’t want to relive the horrors of the Fangtasia dungeon, but she used her anyway. Making her relive a nightmare just to get the location of a place you should have suspected in the first place is unnecessary. And what’s worse is that Sookie doesn’t seem the least bit remorseful by what she did. She just leaves with her information, but at the cost of Holly’s already fragile psyche. Sam and Jason don’t even say anything about it.

And then she doesn’t give a shit about Jessica’s situation. Fine, since the two haven’t interacted much, anyway, but this was only because Sookie had a use for Jessica. After everything that’s happened, with Sookie pleading the town to let her help, she just starts demanding whatever she wants? It’s not a stretch that Sookie would be this selfish, though.

Death is Not the End- Sookie and Eric embrace

I don’t personally care who Sookie ends up with when this is all over, but I just hope we avoid another love triangle between her, Eric and Bill. Pam even tells Bill that nothing would come of him and Sookie. We’ve seen this play out many times.

Also, there was no reason to show Sookie talking with Arlene’s kids. Could have just gone straight to Holly.

Death is Not the End- Arlene on the verge of death

Speaking of, if Arlene had died, I wouldn’t really complain. Heck, I probably would have welcomed it, even though I’m a fan of redheads. The scene where she almost died looked like it was supposed to be tense, but it wasn’t. We got a very unnecessary cameo by Todd Lowe as Terry, just to give us one last look after he got almost an entire episode dedicated to him. Really, if the show wants to kill off anyone, just axe Nicole. That’s all I want.

Death is Not the End- Sam and Jason

Sam and Jason mostly play tag-along, but they have their moments. I thought it was nice of Jason to call Hoyt to deliver the news, while also trying to pretend that the two never met.

Death is Not the End- Jason pulls a gun on Sam

But what in the world was up with him putting a gun to Sam’s head? And even worse, what made Sam think Jason would have pulled the trigger? That sort of reckless behavior would only get them killed faster.

Death is Not the End- Jessica argues with Lafayette

Here’s another question: when did Jessica decide to stop feeding? We never got any sort of indication that something was wrong with her before. At all. Now, all of a sudden, she doesn’t want to feed because she feels bad about what she did? She’s had chances to talk with Adilyn and the two appear to have a connection, so why not share it with her? If, in fact, Jessica has felt guilty, I refuse to believe she’d just keep quiet about it. But hey, I guess it’s a good thing she got shot. Otherwise, we never would have known her problem. Or, follow me on this, it would all too convenient. And Lafayette’s reduced to being the magical sage Negro that gets her to bare her fangs. And really, Jessica couldn’t have been all that useful to Sookie since she almost got killed.

Death is Not the End- Pam and Eric in flashback

With Eric and Pam active again, they were, by far, the most enjoyable part of the episode. Not just because of their chemistry, Eric and Pam are just more fun to watch interact. If this is Eric’s last hurrah, hopefully he’ll be a lot more involved outside of his search for Sarah. And, again, I did enjoy seeing how their dump of a video store became Fangtasia.  Hopefully Eric and Willa resolve their mess, though.

And at the end of the day, a bunch of people and presumably vampires die during that awkward final fight scene. Vince is gone, so the mob won’t last much longer. Who else died? No idea. And who cares?

With this episode, it’s like the writers of True Blood are actively trying to make me dislike the characters or the storyline. The episode moved at breakneck speed with questionable character motivations, particularly from Sookie. If the final season wants to wrap up every single thread, then fine, but do it with care. The final season isn’t an excuse to shove as much into the show as possible. No amount of funny moments can overshadow that. We heard a lot of characters not giving a shit this week. Right now, I have to wonder if the writers even do anymore.

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