As a search party hunts for those kidnapped by the H-vamps, Pam locates Eric and the vigilantes find weapons
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Credit: Tony Rivetti/HBO
True Blood, Anna Paquin, ... | In the season 3 finale, vampire Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) made Bill confess to Sookie — who can't read vampire minds — that he let her…

The final season of True Blood is going to be a dark one, this we know. And even though this episode features a mass grave and strong Hurricane Katrina references, it begins with a scene that will make fans very, very happy: The wait for Jason to have a sex dream about Eric is over. (Note how much restraint it took to not use an exclamation point there.)

You’ll recall that Eric healed Jason at Vamp Camp in episode 609, telling him, “When you dream of me, dream of nice things.” Presumably in the six months that have passed since then in the show’s timeline, Jason hasn’t had that pleasure. But now, it’s time, because the show wants to bookend this hour with Jason finding dream Eric in all his shirt-open glory and Pam finding real Eric sickly with Hep-V veins marking his heavage.

Jason’s dream is a lengthy four-and-a-half minutes long and wonderfully Jason—from the ill-prepared martini and oversize glass, to the unexpected truth bomb (men who are really islands don’t need to get away from people to think), to the physicality of shoving Eric and eventually tackling him. EW spoke with Ryan Kwanten, writer Kate Barnow, and director Howard Deutch about how the sequence came together—read that here. The sexual tension is like a rubber band: It starts fun and light (Jason’s reaction to Eric’s looong pour), then turns almost violent as the power play between the alpha males takes hold. Finally, with the aforementioned shirtless tackle, it snaps into sensual, chill-inducing foreplay worthy of the show’s love theme being played and led to Deutch being told by a satisfied HBO that he should also direct porn. (It’s the pec and ab caressing. Well done, Mr. Deutch, who I hope reminded HBO that he made his directorial debut with a little 1986 filmcalledPretty in Pink.)

Jason wakes up in the church pew right as Eric’s trail of kisses reaches its destination. He, too, enjoyed this dream more than the one he had with Warlow.

Outside the church, Andy admits he doesn’t know how to narrow down the search for the people kidnapped by the H-vamps, but Sookie says she does: using the dead girl she found in the woods. They make plans to form a search party, and Sam tells the rest of the town to busy themselves during daylight hours by getting Bellefleur’s (formerly Merlotte’s) back in order for when Arlene returns.

Cut to the basement at Fangtasia where Arlene, Holly, Nicole, and the others can hear the H-vamps upstairs arguing over the one vamp, Ronnie, eating Kevin by himself and cutting down their rations. The Vamp-in-Charge is young, level-headed Jerome (played by Eugene Byrd, who Bones fans will recognize as Clark). He puts Ronnie on sleep duty and gives the role of Reaper to former school teacher Betty, who is okay killing people as long as it’s not savage-like.

When Betty goes to pick the next victim, she’s about to choose Arlene—that chartreuse dress? she deserves to die—but takes another woman instead. Arlene recognizes the Reaper—she taught her and Holly’s kids. As pregnant Nicole cramps and detoxing alcoholic Jane pukes, Arlene decides Betty is their way out. If nothing else good comes out of this kidnapped arc, at least it gives Carrie Preston a chance to deliver this line: “Listen to me, y’all: I know I’ve had some pretty s–ty luck, and it probably ain’t too reassurin’ to be in a situation this f—ed up with me at your side. But that is why you gotta believe me when I tell you that I did not survive four lousy husbands, a serial killer boyfriend, and the sorta suicide of my love Terry to die in the dingy basement of a f—in’ vampire bar. I am gettin’ us out of here. Do you hear me?” Go, Arlene. Make us forget all about that Ifrit story line and remind us why Preston won an Emmy for The Good Wife.

NEXT: CSI: Bon Temps

Sookie and the gang find the dead girl, learn she’s Mary Beth Grant, a 25-year-old from nearby Saint Alice, and decide to road trip when they can’t get in touch with anyone there. Desperately in need of a trip, Lettie Mae visits Lafayette to get some V so she can see her again and help her get to heaven. Lafayette explains to Lettie Mae that it was just the V making her hallucinate—”Well it was most definitely Ghandi I was playin’ Chinese Checkers with that time in the bathtub,” he quips—but she insists Tara needs her. The fight ends with Lettie Mae telling Lafayette he’s going to hell; he tells her that’s what Bon Temps already is.

The clean-up effort at Bellefleur’s takes a nasty turn when former mayoral candidate–turned–vigilante leader Vince shows up. Sam being on a mysterious field trip and the discovery of corpses in the freezer makes this the right time to tell the scared townsfolk about Sam shifting into a dog. Hoyt’s mother, Maxine, says it wasn’t just the NyQuil then that had her seeing Sam shift from a bear a year ago. Somehow Vince and his followers convince the sane townspeople that dog Sam, telepathic Sookie, and Bill-protecting Andy are in cahoots and can’t be trusted. They have to arm up. Luckily, Adilyn overhears dead cop Kevin’s lady friend/coworker Rosie thinking about the weapons at the police station, so she convinces her crush Wade to leave. His brother Rocky stays behind and, on Vince’s suggestion, starts tearing apart Bellefleur’s to make stakes.

When Betty comes down for another victim, Arlene gives the speech of her life and convinces her to help them escape. Betty knows she’s going to die either way, Arlene argues, but she can choose how she goes out—saving lives or taking them. (How angry would you be if you were someone in that basement who wasn’t in Arlene’s group?)

The loud whimpering in that scene makes the silence of the drive through ghost town Saint-Alice even more disturbing. It’s like season 1 of The Walking Dead. There’s no one on the street. Messages spray-painted on the boarded-up buildings speak of looting, sleeping inside with 100 pounds of silver and two UV guns, and prayers for the sinners as death is surely coming. Sam climbs a pile of tires to get a better view of “FEMA HELP US” written on the road and “SOS” painted on a roof—shades of Hurricane Katrina. Sookie calls the guys over to a mass grave she finds—there’s no one left.

NEXT: Maxine locks and loads

With Kenya, the other cop in town, at the station, Adilyn warns her that the vigilantes are coming to arm up, and together with Wade, they start to hide the department’s arsenal… but they’re too late. The mob arrives and, in Kenya’s words, tries “that NRA hillbilly bulls—.” She knows more of them would have been killed last night if they’d been armed, but then, she’s asked to think about Andy not promoting her as promised and about him giving less-experienced Jason all the real work. Is it because she’s a black woman or just because she’s not a lead character on the show? It’s a smart card to play. Kenya goes to handcuff Adilyn, who Maxine had pointed out was a newborn the last time they all checked, and Adilyn fairy-zaps her. Adilyn and Wade are led away, and while Jessica can sense it, with it being daylight, there’s nothing she can do. (Throwing your cell away was so stupid, Sookie.) Let the mob target practice/party commence. This is why you don’t give these people guns, though that shot of Maxine practicing her trash-talk in a computer screen is perfection.

The search party finds Mary Beth’s house and through cold pizza forensics, Jason determines that she was one of the last people attacked in the town 2.5 days ago. Everyone spreads out. Andy sees wedding photos and decides he’s going to marry Holly because a man is nothing without family. Jason, in one of his tender moments, goes to comfort father-to-be Sam, who’s in a baby’s nursery. Sookie meanwhile reads some of Mary Beth’s diary to Alcide while looking for clues. Mary Beth had also met a vampire, Henry. She fell in love with him, and he took her to Fangtasia. Sound familiar? (Sookie remembers the night she giddily dressed to go to Fangtasia on her “non-date” with Bill.) She reads about Mary Beth’s sister and brother-in-law being taken and her wondering why she doesn’t just give herself and the baby sleeping pills. Mary Beth hopes someone will still have the decency to not kill a baby. Alcide stops Sookie, but that’s where the diary ends anyway.

Lettie Mae accidentally burns her wrist cooking, then purposely fries her hand so Willa can be talked into healing her with her blood. Doesn’t part of you wish Willa, startled by being woken up, had killed Lettie Mae when she tossed her? As sudden as Tara’s death seemed in the season premiere, how much do you really want this Lettie Mae story line dragged out? High on V, she sees Tara, wearing a white dress and a live snake around her body, hanging on a cross. Tara angrily speaks in tongues as Lettie Mae shouts that she needs answers.

On the drive back to Bon Temps, Alcide proves he really is a good boyfriend by telling Sookie that neither she nor Mary Beth is responsible for bringing vamps to their towns or making H-vamps. All Sookie is guilty of is falling hard and fast for her first love—and that makes her human. When Sookie says she’s worried about their town following in the dead footsteps of Saint Alice, Alcide suggests they could just keep driving and save themselves. That’s not the answer, Sookie says.

NEXT: Bye, Betty; Hello, Eric

At Fangtasia, we learn the H-vamps take 15-minute naps. Does that mean they must feed every 15 minutes? Damn. Betty asks to be the sleep monitor and plans on using the time to free Arlene and Co. She hasn’t slept and she’s weak, so she needs to feed before they move. Arlene offers herself, and it must be the femoral artery, so the bite marks aren’t obvious. Betty takes a taste, stops, then really digs in. You’re worried she’s going to kill Arlene until Betty dissolves into a pile of guts between Arlene’s legs. It’s so gross, it’s funny. You assume all the screaming wakes up the sleeping vamps. (Or that they’ll all die in their sleep if it doesn’t?)

Andy arrives home, and Jessica has no choice but to call him to the attic. He, of course, thinks she’s eaten Adilyn, but she forces him to see that she’s there to help him. She’s going to find Adilyn when the sun sets. The question is, is Andy coming? Another question: Jessica hasn’t eaten in a long time, that’s why the bite she took of herself to feed Adilyn her blood hasn’t healed. Who’s she going to feed on? Andy? (Maybe Jason, if he’s called in?)

After the road trip, Sookie makes her way through the cemetery alone to Bill’s house. She asks him if he can still sense her fear if she gets herself into some serious s—. So maybe she does remember the mention of Fangtasia in Mary Beth’s diary? A guess: She wants to head there to look for the taken and doesn’t want to endanger anyone else going along. That’s why she gave Alcide that passionate kiss before she left. She was saying goodbye, just in case.

Cut to Pam walking solo into a home (or church?) in France’s Rhone Valley. “Un-f—in’ believable,” she says, then heads downstairs. There are two lingerie-clad women, one who complains that “he” won’t take her blood. Pam sees who it is. We know. It’s Eric. “You found me,” he says, echoing the opening scene with Jason. He’s sitting in a chair. His black tank top shows the Hep-V veins on his chest. Even his hair looks sad. Nooo. We’ve spent the last nine months wondering how Eric would survive bursting into flames—still going with an avalanche theory, personally—only to lose him to Hep-V?

It almost feels like a punishment for fans who’ve objectified Skarsgard all these years (with our Skarsgard Your Loins PopWatch category, we’re guilty), but truly, you’ve got to think it’s being done to give Pam and Eric quality scenes together before the end of the series. We’ve seen how he turned her in 1905, but there’s so much of their history to still explore. The writer of this episode tells us we’ll find out in the next hour why Pam is so shocked that Eric would go to the Rhone Valley. Is he there looking for a cure, or there to die in a place that has some kind of significance to the two of them?

Also, why would Eric turn down blood? Guess: Once infected, vampires can sniff out the Hep-V virus in human carriers. That one vamp had sniffed and avoided Arlene in the premiere—if she’s a carrier, and Betty was too tired to notice, that could explain Betty’s rapid demise as she fed. Can Eric be saved?

Episode Recaps

True Blood, Anna Paquin, ... | In the season 3 finale, vampire Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) made Bill confess to Sookie — who can't read vampire minds — that he let her…
True Blood

Sookie, Bill, Eric, Lafayette, Sam and the other residents Bon Temps deal with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shape-shifters—not to mention romance and drama

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