The H-vamps take hostages as the battle for Bon Temps claims its first victim and the town turns on Sookie
True Blood S7 07
Credit: Anthony Michael 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…

True Blood seems to be doing a bit of course correction in its final season, and if the premiere is any indication, the direction it’s heading now is the right one. The action is focused back on Bon Temps, which, in a nod to Hurricane Katrina, is left to fend for itself as violent Hep-V infected vampires (H-vamps) attack. Alcide is the only werewolf in sight (hooray). And the only real reminders of the complicated Bilith and Warlow story lines are Jessica’s protective and unlikely friendship with Andy’s daughter Adilyn; Bill having to work with Andy to save those kidnapped by the H-vamps; and, of course, Eric still being MIA after the effects of Warlow’s blood wore off while he was reading nude on a mountaintop in the season 6 finale. (That last one is worrisome, but presumably, the distance between Pam and Eric and the rest of the characters will give them serious screen time together, which they lacked last season. Away from the immediate threat and responsibilities in Bon Temps, might Eric and Pam have time to reminisce with flashbacks? Fingers crossed.)

The simpler plot—H-vamps versus humans and the uninfected vamps willing to protect them in exchange for their clean blood—frees the story up to be classically scary again. That’s Jessica and a blood-drooling H-vamp having a standoff in the dark in front of Andy’s house. That’s Bill and Andy wandering through a pitch-black abandoned slaughterhouse with Andy’s small flashlight as the only source of light. That’s raising the stakes so deaths happen swiftly, brutally, and without time to be properly mourned. Let’s dig in.

Picking up where the season 6 finale leaves off, the H-vamps have a feeding frenzy at the mixer Bill and Sam had organized to pair humans with healthy vamps. Much ass-kicking ensues, but the highlights are a vamp who looks like David Arquette in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie asking sweet-smelling Sookie, “What are you?” before wolf Alcide attacks him; Violet saving Jason, which makes it impossible to completely hate her; Sam getting naked within the first 1 minute and 45 seconds of the season to shift and run after pregnant Nicole, who is taken hostage by the H-vamps along with others including Arlene, Holly, and clueless cop Kevin; and a wailing Lettie Mae informing everyone after the battle ends that her daughter Tara is dead.

Record scratch. Tara is dead. Dead, dead, dead. Rutina Wesley confirms it. Read our chat with her. It had looked like Tara had the vampire threatening Lettie Mae under control the last time we saw her, but off-camera, he killed her. It’s shocking, but when you think about it, necessary: The character was only tolerable at this point when she was around Pam, and Pam’s out-of-town. She’s central enough for her death to affect so many: Sookie, Lafayette, Jason, Jessica, Sam, and poor orphaned Willa. Not to mention Lettie Mae, who was only worried about herself in the end (cause to hate her again after her genuine reconciliation with Tara?).

In the wake of the attack, Bellefleur’s (formerly Merlotte’s) becomes a triage center for the wounded (like Lettie Mae, who reluctantly drinks Willa’s blood to heal), the self-medicating (pass the bottle, Lafayette), and everyone who blames Sookie. Jason phones Andy to tell him about Holly and Arlene, and he leaves Adilyn at home with instructions not to let Jessica inside no matter what—and callously breaks the news to Jessica about Tara’s death. (Remember that Jessica killed three of his daughters, so give him a pass.) When Andy arrives at Bellefleur’s, Alcide and Sam admit they lost the scent of the missing. Bill tells Andy that H-vamps will be nesting in an abandoned building, so while Jason and Violet are sent to check out one, Bill insists he accompany Andy to the closed-down slaughterhouse. Meanwhile, Sookie overhears Alcide blaming her for the massacre and she quietly storms off.

Sam’s night gets worse when Vince, the man he defeated in the mayoral race, confronts him about having just seen him shift back from his dog form. Vince agrees to stay quiet for now, for the sake of the fragile townsfolk. Sam and Bill ask the humans to go home and feed their healthy vamp escorts in exchange for protection. New James™ (recast from last season) gets paired with drunk Lafayette, while No One We Know™ accompanies Sam. Alcide tries to phone Sookie, but she throws her cell into the woods; she never should have gotten reception in anyway. Sookie stumbles over a dead girl’s body and just keeps going—she’s seen too much death to care about someone she doesn’t know.

An abrupt cut to Marrakesh, Morocco follows. Pam, who’s apparently changed her name to Go F— Yourself, plays Russian Roulette with a man who’s survived 27, make that 28 times. He believes his God loves him, Pam believes her God hates her. The point of this: You think someone playing that game doesn’t value life and has nothing to lose, but Pam’s doing it because she cares about not losing Eric. Once her opponent meets the truth death, she asks another man where her maker is. She receives the name and address of the person she has to see.

NEXT: Just two girls, talking about boys

Back in Bon Temps, Adilyn opens a window so she can talk to Jessica. It’s scenes like this one that make that old fairy story line worthwhile. Both women admit they have nightmares about the night Jessica killed Adilyn’s sisters, and Adilyn says she can’t hate Jessica even though she should. Perhaps that’s because Adilyn really needs a girl roughly her age to talk with about the opposite sex. Their chat about James and Wade, Holly’s son Adilyn is crushing on, is interrupted by an H-vamp in the distance asking what Adilyn is. Yes, maybe keep the window up so the fairy scent doesn’t travel, ladies.

Alcide arrives home to find Sookie drinking in her bathrobe at the kitchen table. At first, that conversation seems tailored for people who have never watched the show before, which is annoying—those who’ve seen all six seasons know how her telepathy works, thanks. But really, they must have Sookie address the fact that while she read his thoughts the one moment he blamed her, she’s also heard him thinking how much he loves her. Sookie asks to be alone, and Alcide has to practically duck as he exits the kitchen and walks upstairs. That man is huge.

Jason wants to stop and grieve for Tara, but there’s no time. He and Violet arrive at the building they’re supposed to check out and are greeted by Vince and a handful of vigilantes who don’t want to put their faith in Jason and Andy since the Feds are only worried about the big cities. Violet steps in, tosses around some threats, and convinces them to leave, which angers an emasculated Jason.

Lafayette invites James in to feed but insists on getting “altered” first. While they pass a bong—James can definitely take a hit—Lafayette confesses that what he feels for Tara is only relief. He grieved the first time she was killed, so there’s nothing left. James tells his back story: All his friends were killed in Vietnam. James was a draft-dodging pacifist. He was visiting his parents for Christmas when his best friend Danny’s parents were notified that their son was dead. When James went to pay his respects, Danny’s father grabbed Danny’s baseball bat and beat him with it in the middle of the street calling him a “hippie faggot.” James would’ve died-died if a vampire hadn’t turned him that night. Lafayette thanks James for the story by offering him his wrist, which James gently bites. It’s about time Lafayette gets another love interest—will it be James? That would allow Jessica to end up with Jason…

Speaking of Jason, he pulls off the road on his way home because he can’t take it any longer. Violet won’t let him do his job, but more importantly, she’s still not letting Mr. Blue Balls f— her. After exchanging dialogue that includes 10 uses of “f—” in its many variations, Jason gets the first sex scene in the final season of True Blood because he’s finally demanding enough for Violet. Despite how sexy Violet looks in that conveniently short skirt, and how hot Jason always looks when his shirt’s turn off, this scene wasn’t as steamy as you’d think. There are no feelings there, just incredible bodies rubbing against each other on the hood of Jason’s cop car.

Adilyn can’t stand to hear the H-vamp taunt Jessica and not know what is happening, so she opens the window again. Stephen Moyer, who directed the episode, shot it beautifully with the veiled-in-darkness H-vamp suggesting they could share Adilyn and have sex with her. Jessica tells Adilyn she has to drink from her so she’ll always be able to feel her and protect her. Reluctantly, Adilyn does.

NEXT: Let’s kill off Lettie Mae, okay?

High on Willa’s blood, Lettie Mae claims that she can see Tara, who isn’t in heaven and needs her mother’s help. Is it wrong to wish Lettie Mae was gone already? The Rev. tells Willa not to give her any more blood because she has an addictive, slightly crazy personality (paraphrasing). Willa says she has nowhere to go since she doesn’t want to return to the home she was sharing with Tara and Eric and Pam aren’t around. The Rev. leads her to the church basement. It’s not his blood, but it’s something.

Pam finds a man named Najat at a bar, drops him some serious cash, and gets offered his daughter to feed on—children are the only clean blood in North Africa. Pam declines and asks just for the information—a map that will lead her to some place she can’t believe Eric would ever go. Why would she be that surprised that Eric would be somewhere around the Rhône?

Sookie finally came to bed, climbing in naked next to Alcide, who wrapped his arm around her and apologized. They each say, “I love you” and then have their first (true) long-awaited sex scene. You could view it as slightly disappointing that it was so short, or as tonally appropriate: There’s been so much death, they’re grateful that they have each other but emotionally drained.

Bill and Andy finally make it to the slaughterhouse. Again, this scene is shot well for suspense by Moyer. Andy’s flashlight illuminates the way as they move through the building, seeing the signs of nesting and finding humans hanging upside down like slabs of meat. Andy vomits, then goes to leave. But now Vince and his little mob are there. They’re ready to hurt both Andy and Bill until Bill tells them that Andy wasn’t at the mixer that evening out of protest. Andy is free to leave, but convincingly tells Vince that he wants to be the one to kill Bill because of their history. Vince relinquishes his gun to Andy, who then turns it on Vince and his followers. A young man named Lou holds his aim, and Andy tells him his life will never be the same after he takes a human life. The kid lowers his weapon, and while this won’t be the end of the vigilantes, this is Andy at his best. Maybe this town does stand a chance.

NEXT: Let’s see Fangtasia again

Arlene, Holly, Nicole, Kevin, and the others are being kept in the basement of Fangtasia. That makes you miss, Eric, doesn’t it? Everyone’s freaking out but Holly. When an H-vamp comes down to pick the next victim, he seems to sniff at Arlene and decide against it. (Does that mean something?) He takes Kevin, but doesn’t even make it up the stairs—he devours him in front of the ladies. [So much screaming.]

Andy drives Bill home and makes it clear that he only saved Bill because he needs his help to get Holly and Arlene back. He’ll never forgive Bill for what he did to his family. Cue the flashback to Bill saying goodbye to his wife and two kids during the war.

Jessica and the H-vamp are still having a standoff outside Andy’s home. It’s almost dawn, which means both of them are beginning to let off smoke. Adilyn invites Jessica inside for the safety of the airtight attic and still, Jessica won’t go. She doesn’t trust herself—she hasn’t fed in a while. But Adilyn comes outside on the porch, and Jessica has to zoom back and get her inside before the H-vamp nabs her. Jessica cradles Adilyn and resists feeding. As Jessica heads upstairs, the H-vamp burns outside in the sun while Adilyn listens. This is probably an inappropriate time to ask if we’ll be getting an Adilyn-Jessica blood-fueled sex dream?

The next morning, the Rev.’s church is full when Sookie and Alcide arrive late. Sookie puts her hand on Lettie Mae’s shoulder, and Lettie Mae tells her not to touch her. She says aloud what everyone’s been thinking: Sookie’s to blame. She’s the reason Tara (and everyone else) is dead. She’s not welcome in this house of worship. When Sookie hears the others thoughts loud and clear, she goes to run out but stops. She tells them she can hear all of them, and somehow, she still loves most of them. Bottom line, they’re not wrong that she played a part in what’s happening to their town. The difference is, she thinks because she knows vampires best, they should let her help save it. She begs them to, in fact.

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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