As Eric plays relationship counselor for Sookie and Bill, the Jason-Jessica-Hoyt-Brigette love square figures itself out.
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…

The penultimate episode of True Blood‘s final season does what many viewers may have considered impossible: It makes you root for Brigette and Jason, be okay with an Eric sex scene lasting approximately 15 seconds, and imagine yet more blood being spilled at Sookie’s house. Here we go…

Bill’s decision not to drink the cure isn’t taken well: Aside from gagged Sarah demanding that Jessica not refer to her as a “c—,” there’s nothing funny about the resolution of the basement scene. Sookie is right to make Bill admit that he’s making a choice and not “accepting his fate” when the cure is right in front of him. Frustrated that Bill can’t yet articulate his reasons, Sookie slaps his face a couple of times before Eric stops her and suggests Bill leave. But first, Jessica asks Bill to release her, and he says a beautiful goodbye to her. As he stumbles off weakly, Sookie clings to Eric, and Pam, knowing what it’s like to have your maker release you, hugs Jessica. “You cry on my jacket, you’re payin’ for it, sweetheart,” Pam says. Okay, that was funny, too.

Sam and the meaning of family: Presumably, Sookie and Jessica go to Sam’s place hoping to ask him to talk to Bill, but all they find are two letters: One for Sookie, and one for Andy. Sookie’s says that Sam’s not convinced that Nicole is right about Bon Temps—folks there may just be resilient and not crazy—but regardless, he loves Nicole and wants to raise his baby girl. He thinks people live two lives: the first is for themselves, and the second is for their children, to whom they have an obligation to each all they know. Sam invites Sookie to Chicago after the baby’s born and says he loves her. Is that it for Sam? It’s sad to imagine we’ve seen the last of him, but it makes perfect sense that someone would leave Bon Temps after all this and that it would be a man with a child on the way and someone whose arc has been about finding a home, family, and love. So much of Sam’s role has been about what he can shift into—it’s nice that he leaves on a very human moment. And also, if things do get bloody in the series finale, we don’t want to have to worry about his baby’s safety. (He was shown in the promo for the finale: Are we thinking the final scene will flash-forward, and Sam will come back to Bon Temps for a visit with his daughter?)

In the last recap, I described Arlene as now dressing like Susan Sarandon (Annie) in Bull Durham—a little too excessive for the Carolina League. Well, maybe Annie really is her style guru because Arlene is clearly a fan of Kevin Costner films. When Sookie and Jessica go to Merlotte’s, Arlene informs them that she’s practicing the “If you build it, they will come” business plan. In short: She’s bringing her full staff back to work, and until the restaurant has costumers, Big John will just be cooking for them, family style. Well done, Arlene.

Sookie has to break the news to everyone that Sam is gone, and she thoughtfully takes Andy into Sam’s office in case his letter is as heavy as hers. Ha! It wasn’t: “Dear, Sheriff Bellefleur, I resign. Sincerely, Sam Merlotte.” More moving is Jessica acknowledging to James that Lafayette was right when he said she doesn’t know James well. She apologizes for not caring enough to ask him more about himself. And there’s no time to now.

Jessica bolts, and eventually, everyone sits down for the meal but Sookie. Arlene gives another one of her private therapy sessions after Sookie fills her in on Bill. How does Arlene, who’s happy with Keith even if they can’t have sex, keep starting over? The first thing she does is make up her mind she wants to, Arlene says. Sookie admits she held herself back from Alcide because of Bill—she never wants to do that to someone again. (Does that give us hope for Sookie and Eric? Hold on.)

NEXT: Eric goes to see Bill, then Sookie, then Ginger

Eric becomes a relationship counselor: Eric goes to see Bill because he thinks he can relate to him since he, too, had accepted his fate and wanted to die the true death when he was sick. He asks Bill to consider what this will do to Sookie and, in a selfless move, Eric reminds Bill that Sookie loves him. Bill insists that he’s doing this for Sookie: She’ll only learn to love someone else when he’s not on the planet. “Get over yourself, Bill,” Eric quips. But Bill tries a different way of explaining it: They’re only drawn to Sookie because she’s fae, and she’s only drawn to them because they’re vampires. It’s the pull of light and dark. It’s shocking to hear Bill say this because it again feels like he’s saying that what they had isn’t real, when viewers have decided that it was—it’s just an extreme case of opposites attract. But what Bill’s really leading to is his fever dream of Sookie having the void for a baby: All they can give her is death and darkness. Bill wants to set her free so the moth doesn’t keep returning to the flame.

So many questions here, starting with this one.

The past couple episodes have overtly addressed the issue of whether Bill and Sookie’s love was real. More subtly, the show seems to be proving through Eric’s actions that he genuinely cares for Sookie, too. If Bill didn’t believe that Eric cares for her, he wouldn’t have expected him to agree to do that final favor—trying to convince Sookie to see Bill so he can explain his death wish and give her closure.

While Pam has Sarah Newlin brought upstairs so she can take her back to blonde and explain how Sarah’s about to become the highest paid prostitute in history thanks to her blood, Eric heads to Bellefleur’s to speak with Sookie outside.

You’ll recall it was outside Merlotte’s that Eric happily took Bill away from Sookie to have him face the Magister in season 1, but now he’s there to bring them back together, if only to say goodbye. He tells her Bill wants to call on her that night, and that Bill will say he’s doing this for her, and it won’t sound crazy when he explains. He offers a teary-eyed Sookie a lift home, literally: He picks her up and flies. When they land at her house, it’s a Superman moment—that sweet and innocent. Eric can hear Sookie’s phone ringing and knows it’ll be Bill asking to come over. She invites Eric in (good to know he can enter in the series finale), which means she trusts him. But he tells her goodnight. Was that him knowing it was more important for her to deal with Bill, and that he’d just be a shoulder to cry on at the moment and he needed to get back to Fangtasia anyway—or is he going to let Sookie go as well? Has Bill made Eric realize that he can only give Sookie the lights of Bon Temps from above?

Eric, Ginger, and the funniest scene in the show’s history? As Bill makes his way to Sookie’s—stopping at his wife’s tombstone in the cemetery—Eric returns to Fangtasia to find a pissed off Ginger sitting at the bar. She’s mad because he didn’t feel the need to tell her he’s going to live. He tells her he’s been flying around dealing with other people’s relationship problems and sarcastically apologizes for not running to her first. And then… he says he wants to apologize by finally f—ing her. [Pause for screams heard all across America.] Eric asks her where she’s imagined doing it, and of course, she says that throne that she has no clue she brought to the video store in 2006. “Well on the throne it is,” Eric says, leading her up the stage and into a twirl as “Fade Into You” begins to play in the background.

“What happens next?” Eric asks huskily. “I straddle you,” Ginger says with all the pent-up sexual frustration about to burst. He tells her to do it, and off come her shoes. As she mounts the throne, the camera shoots from behind Eric, but you can still tell there’s a smile on Alexander Skarsgard’s face—because how could he not laugh at this? Eric drinks from her, since he’s now immune to Hep-V, and then he reaches up the word’s tiniest micro skirt and tears off her panties. Ready to go, Ginger pumps three times and comes. EW had actress Tara Buck break down this scene (the hand through his hair was her idea), and originally, the joke was going to be that Eric was a bad lay. Inconceivable, right? Instead, the writers decided the punchline would be that Ginger’s waited 15 years for this moment and it’s over in seconds. She’s still letting out high-pitched moans and aftershocks when she slides backward off Eric and onto the floor. “You’re f—ing fantastic,” she tells him breathlessly. “Thank you.” She gives him a thumb’s up when he’s confused enough to ask her if she’ll be okay. And then she falls asleep and snores like a dude as Eric stands, straightens his hair and his clothes, and steps over her body telling her goodnight. AMAZING. There was no kissing, which would have made it seem too real and personal. This was perfect: There’s no one that makes Eric feel more like himself than Ginger, and Ginger deserves this.

Eric goes looking for Pam and finds her in the basement. Mr. Gus and the Yakuza have Pam silvered to a table with a giant stake dangling above her. The Yakuza cut two of the three ropes keeping it from ending Pam’s undead life before finally, Eric admits that Sookie knows about Sarah. Mr. Gus’ next question: Where does Sookie live? We don’t see Eric answer, but we do see Bill arrive at Sookie’s front door. What happens next? Eric has to tell them where Sookie lives and then somehow find a way to get there in time to help save her, right? Will Bill die in the struggle, so his death truly is for Sookie? Will (gulp) Eric die protecting her and Bill? Will Pam die after Eric, or in place of Eric?

NEXT: Jessica and Jason grow up

Jessica and Hoyt forever: Until last episode, most fans were probably rooting for Jessica to end up with Jason. But this episode, written by showrunner Brian Buckner, really makes you feel how much Jessica cares for Hoyt. She realizes he’s the one who had cared to know her best and that he’s the one she wants to be with on a night when she’s this alone. Hoyt returning to town could mean salvation, and unlike Bill, she’s choosing to go for it. She shows up at Hoyt’s mother’s place right as Hoyt manages to convince Brigette that Jessica isn’t someone special to him. When Brigette gives him the choice of hearing Jessica out or staying with her, he chooses Jessica. Who else thought Hoyt might kiss Jessica when he said he wanted her to try to catch her breath? It’s too soon, of course. Instead, he tells her he wants her to catch her breath so she can tell him the “story of us” and simply hugs her.

Naturally, Brigette calls Jason, who leaves his mac and cheese on the stove and grabs his keys once he hears that Jessica is telling Hoyt the truth. As expected, Bubba punches Jason as soon as he arrives, and when Jason comes to, he’s in the passenger side of his police car and Brigette’s behind the wheel. Since he’s had so many concussions—which is precisely why he should’ve gone to the hospital, if anyone had been working the night shift—they head to his house, where they will not be having sex. Did anyone buy her, “I’m too heartbroken to even think about having sex with you, Jason Stackhouse” comeback? No. Jason’s right, it needed to be said. We need to know he’s trying to make different decisions this time around.

Wearing one of Jason’s Bon Temps Football tees and a pair of his boxers, Brigette has it out on the phone with a Delta agent who wants to charge her $1,200 for a flight to Anchorage the next day. Jason, holding an action figure, sweet-talks the agent into giving her a better deal, as only Jason can—with a double entendre that you’re not 100 percent sure he even intended.

As Jason ices his groin with a bag of frozen peas, Hoyt is back inside his mom’s place icing his hand with frozen carrots. He asks Jessica to explain why she wasn’t ready to be with him back then: because she’d found him before she’d had a chance to explore her dark side or figure out what she wanted. How does she know she’s ready now (because remember, she still is pretty young): For the first time in a long while, she’s been able to see a future for herself, and it’s with him.

Brigette can neither sleep nor believe that Jason is anything less than sweet and kind. Over beers, he tells her the story of Jessica and Hoyt and how he screwed it up for them. This sequence is one of the series’ most romantic—so perfectly crafted that for a moment, you believe Jessica and Hoyt are the real love story of True Blood. It cuts back and forth from Jason telling Brigette about his friendship with Hoyt and how it was love at first sight for Hoyt and Jessica, to Hoyt and Jessica sharing their second first kiss and first time together. Jason also tells Brigette about Hoyt beating him up the first time he learned the truth, and how Hoyt had insisted that what he and Jessica had was real and that Jason would never have it with anyone because something inside of him was missing.

It was missing then—that desire and respect for love. But he has it now. “Nobody lied to you, and you didn’t pick the wrong guy,” he tells Brigette. “You just happened to pick a guy who’d already met the girl he was supposed to be with. He just don’t remember her. But they do, Brigette. Hoyt and Jessica belong together.” Hoyt and Jessica climax at the same time as the sweet yet epic musical score—and chills. Even Brigette has to smile as Jason finishes the fairy tale. There’s comfort in knowing that your dream was shattered for something that’s real and right.

Brigette decides she wants to teach Jason how to not have sex with someone, and damn it, I start to like her. Though it’s “f—in’ weird” for Jason to lie in his bed with a woman and (gulp) talk, that’s what they do. She suggests they each reveal a secret no one knows: She once let someone cheat off her during a test (code: she is a nice girl like Jessica), and he admits that he likes pink. Classic Jason. Asked to go deeper, he admits he wants children but is afraid he’ll have a daughter and she’ll meet a guy like him. In actuality, it might be too soon for Brigette to be saying Jason is everything a man should be, but she means it—and so does Jason. He needs a woman who appreciates more than his abs, and Brigette may turn out to be that. It comes back to caring enough to get to know someone.

Looking ahead to the series finale: Does a season about taking death seriously have to end with a death? While my heart wants everyone to live, my head says someone has to die in the finale. Who would you bet on?

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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