In this second episode of True Blood‘s final season, Arlene says something to the effect of: “I did not survive four husbands, including a psycho murderer and the loss of my beloved Terry, to die in the basement of a vampire bar!” This is surely how many fans felt after the season premiere: whatever, we’ve come this far — let’s press on. And there was a reward. Sure enough, “I Found You” settled down and did exactly what had been promised: less supernaturals, more focus on Bon Temps, and the beginning of a long farewell. Hit the jump if you’ve been blaming the Nyquil.
“I Found You,” was bookended by the finding of Eric, first via one of those trollish True Blood cold opens where two characters (usually two men, and usually two men who don’t like each other) have some kind of romantic or roughshod sexual encounter, which is exactly what happened to Jason in his dream about Eric. Of course, Jason — being a man with an extremely sexual nature — wasn’t anything more than mildly curious about the dream when he awoke, as if, “why hadn’t I thought of this before?”
The final shot showed a much different scene with Eric, though — he’s infected. True Blood did a great job last season of setting up the Hep V storyline, and it has been a rare one that has carried over into another season. “I Found You” did a lot to build up the parameters of this particular bit of mythology as well. While Sookie, Andy, Jason and Alcide went searching to neighboring Saint Alice to find out what happened to them in the wake of the outbreak, Arlene and Holly were able to give us a look at what infected vampires were doing about their situation. Both were incredibly grim.
The trip to Saint Alice was one of the most genuinely creepy things the show has ever done. True Blood has always traded in the extreme and the over-the-top grotesque, but the ghost town — with the SOS and other signs for help painting on the sides and roofs of buildings — created a real sense of horror. The short, panned-out shot of the mass grave was also one of the most affecting images on the show, ever. Death came here, incarnate. And Bon Temps is next.
For their part, Arlene and Holly had several great scenes in the basement with Betty the Vampire Teacher. It gave Holly a chance to inject some humor when mentioning her dimwit boys (one of whom seems poised for a tryst with Adalene, which is, again, a great way for the show to integrate humans and supernaturals), and it gave Carrie Preston as Arlene some actual material to work with. It seemed clear that Betty would help them, but it was a great and disgusting twist that she died (melted, really) while sucking Arlene’s femoral artery. That also raised the stakes (no pun intended) on Holly and Arlene’s imprisonment. And, of course, it showed what’s potentially in store for Eric.
Like in the season premiere, Sookie’s story remains the most interesting, and the most relevant in tying together this final season with the first. Her reading the dead woman’s diary betrayed a romance between a vampire and human, which triggered Sookie’s memories of first meeting (and going on a date with) Bill. But Bill and Sookie have something that she and Alcide don’t, and her running to Bill in the end to make sure he could still save her showed her forever codependence on him. She doesn’t fully trust anyone else, even after all they have been through.
That theme, much like the vampire-human connection (which was more or less mandated by Sam for the community, but is also the love-arc on which the entire series is built) coursed throughout “I Found You,” showing that this season is, in fact, a lot more promising than its premiere suggested. There’s a narrative cohesion the show hasn’t seen in several years, possibly ever. With the end in sight, things are much tighter, and there are more references to past storylines, like Lettie Mae getting addicted to V (like Jason did so long ago), Arlene’s mention of all her husbands, Sookie’s flashbacks, and the townsfolk becoming relevant again. The glue that holds True Blood together may be Bill and Sookie’s love for one another, but the major conflict has always been humans versus vamps. Even when the Bon Temps mob was complaining about Sam being supernatural, they referred to him as a “dog vampire.” In “I Found You,” this seventh season has begun to prove it knows where it’s going: it’s by giving us a long goodbye.
Episode Rating: B+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I want to make mention again of Tara’s death. I thought that, potentially, this second episode would address some emotions or fallout from characters who knew and loved her but … nope! In the last episode, Lafayette said that he had mourned her once, and had nothing left to give when it came to her “true” death. But Sookie and Lafayette were so distraught at the idea of Tara dying that they begged Pam to turn her. And now, she is really gone, and they have nothing to spare for her? The show has nothing to spare from a single character regarding the emotions of her death?
— Jason’s pizza forensics made me type, “True Blood is back!” This is the humor I missed. Jason always brings it. The fact that he not only could tell how long they had been gone via the pizza, but also that he took it with him and continued to snack on it … hilarious.
— When the episode started I thought I had the wrong episode/season/something on. Those random vampire-blood-induced sex scenes always fool me when they start out!
— Not only did Sookie’s telepathy matter again this week, but Adalene’s did as well. She’s also having a super-fast version of what happened with Sookie and her powers, as far as discovering them all in, apparently, one day.
— I’m not sure I’m the biggest fan of the reworked scene (from a new perspective) of Sookie’s infamous red and white dress that she wore to Fangtasia. The way it played originally was innocent, like she didn’t know her own seductive power, or downplayed it. Here it was overt.
— “Damn! And I’ve been blaming the NyQuil!” – Maxine Fortenberry, who slays me at every turn.
— The mob mentality and the gun craziness at the police station was such typical heavy-handed True Blood. But it was still kinda fun.
— “She was the only teacher who said they were smart. I didn’t believe her but, bless her” – Holly. Holly also saying that Teacher Betty finally taught Wade to read when everyone else had given up was such a great line.
— It’s it so strange, looking back, that Andy Bellefleur has become one of the most likable and capable characters on the show?
— “And you a drug addict, you trifling bitch” – Lafayette. I was worried when I read Lettie Mae was going to become a regular character this season, and so far I feel justified. I don’t need her drug-scheming ways on a regular basis unless there’s a larger point to them. Replacing Tara with her mother is the worst idea ever.