True Blood recap: 'Almost Home'
Violet's plan and Tara's message are revealed as Eric returns to Fangtasia, Bill makes a big decision, and Hoyt and Jessica meet again.
Just when you think all is right with the world and Eric Northman’s heavage is once again untarnished by Hep-V veins, Bill has to go and decide he doesn’t want to be cured. But that isn’t the only surprise in this nicely-paced hour, which also finds time to let Jason Stackhouse have two meaningful conversations: The resolution of Tara’s story line makes the long wait worth it, and Violet proves most entertaining right before she meets the true death. Here we go.
Eric is cured: Despite Sarah Newlin’s insistence that Eric kill her so she can return as the messiah, “The Princess of Peace,” he lets her live because Pam threatens to kill herself. (How many times can the show play chicken with Pam’s life this season? Anyone else beginning to worry they’ll have to follow through at some point?) Eric drinks from Sarah and lets out a giddy, triumphant call as he heals—viewers make the same yells later when Eric changes out of those borrowed clothes.
Sookie gets answers: Sookie uses her and Bill’s postcoital pillow talk to finally ask him what Queen Sophie-Anne had wanted him to do with her once he confirmed she was a halfling. Because Sophie-Anne knew of the plan to close the portal to the fae realm, she wanted to start breeding Sookie. Anna Paquin’s appalled reaction to the word “breeding” is perfect. The conversation takes an interesting turn when Sookie asks Bill to explain why he didn’t take her to Sophie-Anne: In short, the light in Sookie seemed to restore a piece of Bill’s humanity at a time when he had none. He’d thought if he could keep her safe, it would help erase his past, but now, he sees he could never escape his darkness. Sookie tells him she never could have felt real love for him if that’s all there was in him. If you haven’t already been thinking Bill is ready to die, believe it now.
Tara asks for forgiveness, and grants it: The frustration with the Tara-Lettie Mae story line this season has been that it’s dragged on and taken away screen time from characters like Sam, who was totally AWOL this hour, or Willa, whose story is really just beginning as the show comes to an end, and Lafayette and James, whose relationship we’d like to see more of. But finally, the payoff arrives as Lettie Mae convinces the Rev. to believe in her and drink from James. He joins Lettie Mae and Lafayette, stumbling into Tara’s childhood home to watch what episode writer Kate Barnow refers to as an origin story for the mother and daughter. (Read our full postmortem.) There’s one light moment—seeing Lafayette’s early love of vests and jewelry at Tara’s birthday party—but otherwise, it’s tough to watch. Tara’s abusive, alcoholic father returns home to crash the party and complain about how much money Lettie Mae must have spent on it.
Why does Tara want Lettie Mae to see this? She wants her to know that she thought about shooting her father that day after he threatened to kill Lettie Mae. But unable to pull the trigger, Tara buried the gun in the front yard, and watched her mother cry out as her father left them, wondering how she’d be able to raise Tara alone. Tara apologizes to Lettie Mae, acknowledging that bad things had happened to her mother, too, and in the process, helps redeem that character we’ve always judged and loathed. Tara asks Lettie Mae to let her go by promising she’ll stop blaming herself and live. When Lettie Mae smiles as Tara peacefully walks off into the distance, it’s a tearful ending.
NEXT: RIP, Violet
Jason, Brigette, and Hoyt to the rescue: Okay, so your boyfriend admits to you that he doesn’t want to have children, but even if you don’t want to be in the same home with him and you know no one else in town, why would you think it’s okay to go with Jason on official police business? Because the writers have to get Hoyt to follow them to Violet’s house, where Jason speeds off to after receiving bound-and-gagged photos of Adilyn and Jessica, of course.
Jason has Brigette sit in the police car with a loaded gun because it’s safer than being inside Violet’s house, and he enters alone. Seven seasons in, Ryan Kwanten has Jason so dialed in: That was his idea to have Jason touch the stuffed zebra and almost shoot at the bear—it wasn’t scripted. The way the sequence is shot is so cinematic—dark, suspenseful, with interesting angles— it’s rewind-worthy. But then Violet suddenly has Jason on the ground, perplexed as she tells him Cleopatra and Helen of Troy were hollow shells once penetrated but no one has ever wanted to leave her once they’ve been allowed in.
She quickly has Jason bound and gagged to a contraption that would have eventually stretched him until his perfect body tore apart (the horror!), but she commits the classic villain crime of talking too damn long. We hear how Wade will be the first victim, losing his fingers before his head is crushed in some medieval contraption. She’ll use the “breast ripper” on Adilyn’s “sweet, barely-formed titties” next, then slowly drain her of her fairy blood. For Jessica, it’s going to be a red-hot dildo every 10 minutes for days on end so Jason can feel the pain Violet felt when he was inside Jessica. As Violet finally admits why she’s been with Jason—she wanted a world of no wit or intellect so she could be worshiped for the perfect creature she is (cue another top-notch Kwanten facial reaction)—she’s shot with a wooden bullet from behind. It’s Hoyt. And all that’s left of Violet is a pile of expensive, bloodied clothes.
NEXT: Jessica and Hoyt “meet”
Love at first sight (again): Eventually, Jessica gets to thank Hoyt and introduce herself. As Jason and Brigette watch them just standing and talking, the image recalls how great Jessica and Hoyt looked together. Brigette is curious about Jessica—and whether she’s Jason’s girlfriend. We all see this coming, right: Brigette and Jason want kids, Hoyt and Jessica don’t…
Jason drives Jessica home, and they have one of the loveliest TV goodbyes in recent memory. Deborah Ann Woll and Kwanten fill that car with the innate sweetness that exists in both those characters. You half expect the windows to fog up from the goodheartedness in the air. They’re both growing up, and while seeing Jessica with Hoyt reminded Jason how complicated their relationship is, for Jessica, Jason is one of the least complicated relationships in her life. She knows he’ll always be there when and how she needs him—which is all he was doing that night they had sex at Sookie’s party. How beautiful was Jason’s line: “I feel like when we’re together, we’re in a little bubble, you know, just floating above the ground. And I know we can’t stay there, but it makes coming back down to earth feel better.” Woll’s smile wasn’t acting—viewers were doing it, too.
Even after they agree to label their relationship a “beautiful friendship,” Jason makes sure Jessica knows he’s there for her if she needs him. She kisses him, and there it is: They’re never, ever, ever, getting back together, and they’re both fine with that. Truly.
The next day, Hoyt comes to Bellefleur’s where Arlene is now dressing like Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham (a little excessive for the Carolina League, but it makes her happy, so we’re happy). Hoyt saddles up next to Jason at the bar, and with one exchange, we’re reminded why these two were such good friends: Bubba will obsess over serious things, and well, Jason doesn’t. Hoyt admits it’s thoughts of Jessica that kept him up all night, and Jason, proving he’s really putting an end to that love triangle in his mind, assures Hoyt that he and Jessica are not an item.
Jason tells Hoyt about Bill’s condition and how hard it is on Jessica, and Hoyt delivers another poignant line: Good things getting destroyed is the definition of unfair. Next we see Hoyt, he’s trying to secretly leave a note and a bag of his Hep-V negative blood outside Jessica’s door for Bill. She invites him in, and he explains that thinking about what she’s going through suddenly made him aware that maybe not knowing his mother’s time was coming was a blessing, and he just thought he should try to help Jessica out if he could. Such a good man.
One of the best moments of the hour is Hoyt turning back around with tears in his eyes when Jessica asks him if he misses his mother. “Yes and no,” he says, honestly. “It’s just no matter how grown up you get, or how well you can stand on your own two feet, the death of a parent just makes you want to go back, just go back to when you were a little kid and knowin’ that you were loved was all you needed. Just go back, you know.” If you’ve lost a parent, you burst into tears and wanted to hug Jim Parrack. At least I did. It could be his finest moment on the series. Perhaps because he was just so exhausted and emotionally raw: He shot his True Blood scenes on Mondays, flying to LA from New York, where he was appearing on Broadway six days a week in Of Mice and Men.
NEXT: Sookie’s mission to save Bill
Sookie causes Eric trouble, again: If you thought Mr. Gus’ plan was simply to synthesize Sarah’s blood so the Hep-V epidemic would be over, you were wrong. He tells Eric and Pam that they can’t have New Blood be perfect when they release it. Just like we have to keep buying razors and batteries when they could be manufactured to last a lifetime (is that true?), he wants infected vampires to have to keep buying New Blood—a healthy habit, not a cure. Eric and Pam are fine with this because it means more money for them. But the catch is Mr. Gus insists no one know about Sarah Newlin being the cure in the meantime—the trade secret can’t get out and fall into more altruistic hands.
Eric, however, has one person he wants to know that he’s healed:
Ginger Sookie. He shows up, and she immediately notices his heavage, as is only natural. She’s happy he’s well, but really, her first thought is about how he could help save Bill. Eric tells her the cure isn’t ready yet, and she doesn’t buy it. He tells her to trust him, he’ll return the next night, and off he flies (love it when he does that). You want to believe Sookie does trust Eric but is just too worried that Bill won’t make it through the day, so that’s why she ultimately hops in Alcide’s truck and heads to Fangtasia.
The Yakuza try to scare her off, but don’t, because she’s Sookie Stackhouse. Eric pretends she’s just a fangbanger (where’s Ginger, by the way?) and Mr. Gus is prepared to kill her to prove it. But Eric tells him her cop brother will come looking for her; the better call is to let Eric glamour her. It must be challenging to pretend to be glamoured—you have to do it just bad enough that viewers know you’re faking it. Sookie uses the time to read Mr. Gus’ mind and finds out there’s something important in the basement.
Since Sookie is all about taking action these days, she breaks into the basement via the tunnel used to save Arlene and Co. earlier this season and reads Sarah’s memories after she re-gags her (thank you). Sookie leaves her there and goes to Bill’s to grab him and Jessica. Sookie telling Jessica it’s all going to be okay when we have two episodes still to come? Dangerous.
Before they can wake Bill, he has a fever dream of walking in on Sookie rocking a baby. When he looks at the baby, it’s just darkness, no face. They tell Bill there’s a cure, and he doesn’t seem relieved.
At Fangtasia, Mr. Gus informs Eric and Pam that he’s flying to Dallas, but his men will be watching them. He tells them not to do anything stupid, which, of course, Pam knows they’re doing when they go down into Sarah Newlin’s dungeon of hell. Eric is going to take some of Sarah’s blood to Bill, but in a second, Sookie enters with Bill and Jessica. Jessica may not hold a grudge against Jason for being a dick, but she tries to scare the hell out of Sarah for all she did to her in Vamp Camp.
Bill hesitates when it’s time for him to drink from a whimpering Sarah, and Pam tells him to hurry up before they all die. “No,” he says. “I don’t want the blood.” [Record scratch.]
Does Bill want to die because he’s ready to go? So he doesn’t jeopardize the healing of other H-vamps? Or so he won’t be the darkness in Sookie’s life? With two episodes left, the question really is whether it’s now predictable to have Bill die or to have him be talked into healing?