Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Review of True Blood's 7x04: "Death Is Not The End"

Written by Daniel Kenneth
Directed by Gregg Fienberg

Eric (re stealing Ginger’s idea): “Such a bitch.”
Pam: “But you still love me.”
Eric: “Always.”

For diehard fans of Eric and Pam, this episode must have been your dreams come true. For the rest of us hoping that the show’s quality would return, this was also a dream come true. Finally a genuine standout episode of the season.

Dealing with the Eric and Pam stuff first – I loved the trip down memory lane. While I can understand that last week’s introduction of Sylvie didn’t sit well with fans, this episode surely had to. We got to see the Magister again (still an unpleasant individual) and we learned about the origins of Eric and Pam’s arrival in Shreveport.

I was genuinely surprised that Eric being made into a Sherriff was actually designed as a punishment more than a reward but given his carefree antics in France, it did make somewhat more sense. More surprising was the fact that both him and Pam were running a video store with an underground porn section rather than the nightclub we know and love too.

The late eighties and nineties flashbacks were a delight with both maker and progeny having to settle for the not so glamorous world of selling poor vampire cinema and assumingly dealing with idiot customers before both of them became acquaintances and eventual employers of Ginger.

Ginger’s not always been one of my favourite characters but she has been funny at the right moments and her unwavering loyalty to both Eric and Pam (despite their not so great treatment of her at times) certainly endeared her to audiences but it’s actually rather sad that she was the whole mastermind of setting up Fangtasia and yet Pam glamoured her into forgetting everything. I liked seeing the more savvy Ginger and it’s rather tragic that over the years being made to forget things had affected her intelligence.

However, while Ginger was relegated to flashbacks this week, Eric decided to delay his hunt for Sarah Newlin by popping back to Bon Temps to get Willa and end up saving the day with the Hep V vampires holding everyone prisoner in Fangtasia as well. I liked that Eric actually seemed to listen a bit when Willa made it clear that she was pissed off at him for abandoning her and I also liked his scenes with Sookie and Bill in this episode as well.

The best part of this episode however was finally killing off those annoying Hep V vampires and freeing everyone else. I don’t think I could’ve taken another episode of Arlene and company in the basement and it was nice that the rescue mission boasted some pretty cool fight sequences while also doing viewers a favour and getting rid of that annoying Vince for a start too.

As for Arlene – I’ve never really bought her and Sookie as friends to be honest. For some reason it’s never rang true in the way that Arlene’s friendship with Holly did or Sookie’s with Tara but this episode did help make me believe a little though. First with Sookie promising Coby and Lisa to get their mother back, then clearing Holly’s memories and then by actually staying with Arlene until newcomer Keith managed to give her some blood and bring her back from the brink of death.

Speaking of death – I liked that the opening scene of this episode dealt with Alcide and Maxine’s in particular. Sookie had to call Jackson to tell him about his son’s death while discussing it later with Eric and Jason also had to tell Hoyt about his mother passing away. Both scenes intercut with each other well and were beautifully handled to near perfection.

Also in “Death Is Not The End”

Keeping with the deaths, Jason and Sam also told Rosie about Kevin being killed and I think Kendra also died during the Fangtasia fight.

Jackson (re Alcide): “He loved the fuck out of you, Sookie.”
Sookie: “I loved him too.”

We got a rather nice hallucination of Terry when Arlene came close to death in this episode.

Eric (to Pam): “I don’t care if she hates me. I’m sorry about Tara but Willa is my progeny and she’s still alive. I need to see her before I die.”

The Magister: “Let’s go downstairs.”
Pam: “Oh good, there’s more.”

Jessica has been deliberately not feeding out of guilt for several months. It took both Sookie and Lafayette to get her to snap out of it here.

Sookie: “You can eat off of me.”
Jessica: “You’re a fairy.”
Sookie: “I trust you.”
Jessica: You shouldn’t.”

Jessica: “Have you killed people?”
Lafayette: “I killed the man I love.”
Jessica: “How did you forgive yourself?”
Lafayette: “Still haven’t.”

We didn’t see the mysterious Japanese organisation or their assassins here (also missing was Lettie Mae and Sarah) but they were mentioned again.

Jason: “History’s a bitch.”

Standout music: Death Is Not The End by Bob Dylan and #1 Crush by Garbage.

Bill (to Eric): “See? Not an asshole anymore.”

Chronology: A few hours after “Fire In The Hole” left off.

After a really shaky start, it’s great to see the show back on form. “Death Is Not The End” was a reminder of how brilliant this show can merge several plots, pull off some great twists and provide some emotionally powerful scenes and if the remaining episode retain this quality, this show could go out brilliantly.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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