As Sookie makes a decision about Bill, Eric closes in on Sarah Newlin, Violet gets kinky, and Arlene has her moment.
Credit: John P. Johnson/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…
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This episode has some of season 7’s best moments in it: From Arlene’s sex dream and sweet dance with Keith, to Sookie and Bill essentially re-creating their first time together. Plus, Violet’s sex dungeon, and the return of Hoyt, Dr. Ludwig (!), Niall, and a hallucinated Steve Newlin. Heart, humor, horror, and horniness—everything you want in True Blood. Let’s break it down.

Sookie seemingly chooses Bill: The fact that Sookie and Bill hook up with three episodes still to go may make fans rooting for them nervous: That’s a lot of time for things to go wrong—like, for him to die. As this episode begins, a tear-streaked Jessica holds Bill’s hand while Sookie refuses to believe nothing can be done to save him. Sookie eventually encourages Jessica to climb into bed and sleep beside Bill, which hits home for anyone who’s lost a parent: You want to spend every moment you can with them because when they’re gone, it’s that feeling of closeness that you’ll miss. For a moment, when they’re resting, there is no pain on their face, and you can still reach out and touch them.

Bill keeps having flashbacks to 1855, when his father informed him that he’d be marrying Caroline. When Bill, who looks extra dreamy back then, meets Caroline, they are both pleasantly surprised to find that they actually approve of this arranged marriage after all. The moral: It’s possible to genuinely fall in love with someone you initially approached for another reason. (Cough, Sookie.)

Sookie calls on the always cantankerous Dr. Ludwig, who treated her in season 2, when she was attacked by the maenad. Ludwig examines Bill and says he’s done the impossible: He’s thoroughly grossed her out. So to recap: His fast-advancing Hep-V veins are more disturbing to her than a decomposing Pam in season 4? At first, Ludwig doesn’t seem to think Sookie’s blood is necessarily to blame for the acceleration of Bill’s disease: She’s treated a vamp infected by someone who is 100 percent fae, and the decline wasn’t as swift. But when she hears that Sookie’s of Niall’s royal line, Ludwig bolts. He’s apparently the one thing that frightens her (because fae royalty has a history of killing dwarves, Niall later admits).

The mention of Niall reminds Sookie that her faerie grandfather is pretty damn powerful himself. She thinks she’s failed to summon him, but he’s waiting for her to cook him spaghetti at her house. He’s always been watching her, but he didn’t intervene when he saw Bill getting ready to drink her infected blood? Because he doesn’t like Bill for her, he says. Turns out, he’s not there to help Bill now: There are some things magic can’t fix, and Bill’s one of them. Niall channels “nature’s memory” and shows Sookie a flashback of Bill’s wife giving birth. Death, he says, is a miracle—just like life, love, and forgiveness, especially if you can forgive yourself.

That night, Sookie runs out of her house and across the cemetery to Bill’s like she did the night they first made love. As the episode’s writer confirms in our postmortem interview, it was intentional. Instead of a long white nightgown, she’s wearing a white sundress—so the color of their first time, with the length of what she had on that night she and Bill had sex in the cemetery when she thought he was dead. Bill answers his door, and she tells him, “I’m not gonna leave you. I’m gonna stay with you until the very end. Okay?” Then she kisses him. Next we see them, they’re making love in front of the fireplace like their first time. But this time, when his fangs pop out, he can’t bite her neck because it would only accelerate the disease more. So this is them making love without her blood being in play. It’s real. No secrets. Of course, with the veins covering his back and legs (nice of them to avoid his butt, though), the question is, how long will their reunion last?

NEXT: Arlene and Keith forever

Arlene has three great bar scenes: So often on True Blood, you can tell immediately it’s just a sex dream. But playing Arlene’s like it could—and almost did—really happen was smart. She’s closing at Bellefleur’s when Keith arrives to walk her home because it’s still not safe to be out at night alone. She thinks she’s being a cougar, but he’s 515 years old, not 25. She’s always thought it’s wrong for vampires and humans to be together, but by the second kiss, she can’t even process the thought. We get to see her enjoy the perks of being with a vampire: Speeding over to the pool table, shirts (and panties) coming off quickly. After Arlene runs her nails down Keith’s back and begs him not to stop, she wakes up. Only Carrie Preston can turn “f—” into a 12 syllable word.

The next day, Arlene’s only customers at Bellefleur’s seem to be Hoyt and his girlfriend Brigette (more on them later), so she has plenty of time to sit and have a drink with Sam. He’s deciding whether to leave town with Nicole and their unborn baby or not. You almost forget that Sam and Arlene should be this close after all the years they’ve known each other. There’s a new sense of calm and confidence about Arlene now, presumably stemming from her conversation with Terry when she chose to stay in our world instead of joining him in the afterlife. Sam wants to know if he’s a fool for wanting to rebuild his life in Bon Temps, comparing himself to someone who vows to rebuild their home on the same spot where a tornado just destroyed it. Arlene asks Sam to answer the questions we know she had to: If you were to leave, would it feel more like running away from something or running to something? And if you stay, could you be happy here without them? How great is Preston when Arlene admits she’s not happy, but there’s no way she’s ever gonna stop trying to be. You fake it until you make it real. Everyone she loves is in Bon Temps.

Viewers haven’t had enough time with Nicole to necessarily believe that she’s the love of Sam’s life, but if Sam does love her, that speech is telling him to go with her. As much as we want Sam in Bon Temps, how would we feel if he abandoned his child? And yes, being given an ultimatum sucks, but being stubborn in the moment and refusing it on principle could deny you years of happiness.

And finally, to what could be my favorite scene of the episode: Arlene almost finishes that bottle she started with Sam, sitting alone in a booth listening to Roy Orbison’s haunting “In Dreams.” Keith comes as soon as the sun goes down because he feels her pain—and he knows that it’s dangerous. He dances with her as she asks if he’s really 515 years old. He is, and he smiles—she’s having a conversation now. She’s not afraid. But when he kisses her cheek, she pulls away and tells him that she’s Hep-V positive and they can’t have sex. “Well then, let’s just dance,” he says, holding out his hand. She takes it, goes back into his arms, and cries tears of relief. She needs someone to hold her, protect her, and renew her faith in people, and Keith is there to do it. A vampire. That’s huge for Arlene. Bellefleur’s/Merlotte’s has never looked so romantic.

NEXT: Sarah Newlin’s God Complex

Sarah Newlin chooses herself: The episode opens with Amber being kindly asked where Sarah is (while being prepped to be tortured). Eric thinks he can get it out of her by reminding her that Sarah killed her boyfriend; Mr. Gus thinks he can bribe it out of Amber with money. But Amber won’t give her sister up now that she’s cured her. Eric ends up staking Amber when he hallucinates and sees her as Sarah. Oops.

On the upside, Eric and Pam finally get to change out of their formal Texas clothes, even if Eric insists upon wearing layers to hide his Hep-V veins. (RIP, heavage.) Mr. Gus makes them an offer: If they help him capture Sarah, they’ll synthesize her blood, distribute it as New Blood, and Eric will own 49 percent of the company. If Japanese intelligence can help them find Sarah, Eric knows Mr. Gus doesn’t really need him. What he needs is Eric to serve as a vampire spokesman for New Blood, since vampires have lost faith in the company that infected them in the first place. Eric eventually comes around, and the two agree that they’ll just have to trust one another. (Or, you know, sign contracts?)

When Japanese satellites find Sarah, Mr. Gus’ men want him to leave sleeping Eric and Pam behind and just find another vampire spokesman. Eric and Pam awake to find Amber’s house empty. They open the door to leave, and Mr. Gus and his men are there waiting for them. It’s nice that some people’s word still means something. And also, Mr. Gus is no dummy: You don’t get a better spokesman than Eric “Sex on a Throne” Northman. (Also, perhaps Eric can get Ginger a better-paying job in the corporation, if all works out?)

They ultimately locate Sarah at the rundown Light of Day Institute. When she arrives during daylight, breathless and sleep-deprived, she hallucinates a shirtless Jason playing flag football. Well done. In case you were too distracted by his abs, he basically just keeps telling her she is going to die because Eric is coming for her. Inside the building at night, she freaks out in a corner and hallucinates Steve, her Buddhist guru, and Jason taunting her as she lies about the number of sex partners she’s had in her life (hello, severed head of Gov. Burrell). They confront her about her fickle religious beliefs: Would she die a Christian or a Buddhist? Neither, she says. She chooses herself. She’s the cure, the messiah. Good luck with that, crazy lady.

NEXT: Fifty Shades of Violet

Dungeons and Strap-ons: Did anyone see this coming? Violet takes Wade and Adilyn back to her house and tells them when she was their age, she used to f— her brother, too, a lot. She encourages them to use their imaginations in her toy-filled S&M dungeon. She kisses Adilyn hard before she leaves them alone with a fond farewell, “Have fun f—ing.”

Bless their hearts, Wade and Adilyn aren’t too afraid to actually enjoy themselves. Adilyn reads Wade’s mind and hears that he’s only attempting to figure out which toy to try because he thinks she’s into it, and you do whatever you need to do to please your woman. (Holly is raising him right.) They realize they were both each other’s first time and aren’t ready to experiment. True love. Of course, when Violet wakes up the next night, she tells them it’s okay that they didn’t use the toys because she’s going to use them now. She tosses Wade aside and puts the handcuffs on Adilyn. If she’s doing this to draw Jessica to her, it works. Jessica bolts up feeling Adilyn’s fear.

Andy had phoned her earlier in the episode to tell her Wade and Adilyn were missing. After failing to find the kids at Fort Bellefleur, Holly thinks Wade might have taken Adilyn to his dad’s lake house. She and Andy don’t find them there, obviously, but Andy has a beautiful scene where he breaks down looking at the peaceful lake—so different from the dark reality Bon Temps has been immersed in. Warning: I’m about to make a 9/11 reference here. It reminded me, someone who was in NYC that day, of how friends and I felt visiting another friend in LA two months later. We walked along a beach that was free of that weight, and it felt surreal. Holly promises Andy a happy ending. Let’s hope she’s right.

Hoyt returns, with a +1: To quote Arlene upon seeing Hoyt’s microbiologist girlfriend Brigette, “s——–t.” Arlene phones Jason and interrupts him vacuuming in his boxers to tell him Hoyt’s in town and doesn’t know him. Brigette looks like Crystal, Jason’s werepanther ex—maybe that’s why he can’t take his eyes off of her. Or, maybe he’s just so afraid of history repeating itself re: Jessica, he can’t NOT look at her. Either way, you kinda wanted to slap Jason because he should be thinking about Jessica since they just slept together. (Does this mean they won’t end up together? Or is it just that Jason Stackhouse is always going to look, and the maturity is that he won’t touch?)

Brigitte seems a bit too interested in Jason at Bellefleur’s, but by the time they all get to the morgue so Hoyt can see the body (“God, what I wouldn’t give for one more guilt trip”—ha), her focus is back on Hoyt. She asks Jason to talk to him, since he knew Maxine. Jason lies and tells Hoyt that Maxine wasn’t one of the vigilantes that night she died and that they had captured the vampire who did this to her. That’s incredibly kind of Jason, but also, would Hoyt really buy that his mother, of all people, wouldn’t have taken up arms with Vince? Still, the guys hug, and you wonder if that’s it: Will Hoyt leave, or will he stick around? His girlfriend being a microbiologist seems fortuitous…

Lettie Mae and Lafayette go digging: They wouldn’t ask the family that lives there now first? They’d just start tearing up the yard? Less Lettie Mae more James, please.

With three episodes left, do you like where we sit? Do you think Eric (and Bill) get cured next episode, or will we have to wait until the series finale to see who drinks the antidote and who doesn’t?

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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