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True Blood – “Death is Not the End”: Another Strong Episode

Well, I have to say I have been very impressed with True Blood of late. After the show’s stumble in the season’s second episode, I was fearing the worst, but things are looking up. “Death is Not the End” is the type of episode that could easily feel cheesy, as it’s full of reunions and flashbacks from dearly departed characters, but somehow it all works beautifully.

From a storyline perspective, we have wrapped up the immediate Hep V threat and taken care of the stupid vigilante storyline. Sure, there will almost certainly be more Hep V vampires and probably some lingering effects from the vigilante squad, but the main plot line has been nicely tied up and dispensed with. We know where Eric, Pam, and Willa are headed (and I for one cannot wait for the inevitable confrontation between the trio and Sarah Newlin), but things are a bit more hazy for the rest of the gang. I’m assuming there will be some healing to be done, some relationships to rekindle (certainly Bill and Sookie- since he’s now no longer a jerk, at least by his own admission- and possibly Hoyt and Jessica, should Hoyt actually return to Bon Temps), and likely some more death before all things are finished up.

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In all honesty, while I’m enjoying this season a great deal more than I ever imagined I would, I’m still not all that invested in the goings on in Bon Temps. The series could end the storylines of all the Bon Temps residents after this episode and I would be pretty alright with where they are. Would I miss them? Sure, some of them. But things are pretty well telegraphed as to what the endgame will be for the majority of the show’s characters. I’m only holding out for the Eric crew’s story because I can already envision how delightful it will be to watch, as Eric and Pam combined with the sass of Sarah Newlin is a recipe for a cracking good time.

Speaking of Pam and Eric, this episode kept up the Eric/Pam flashback sequence, this time taking us into the founding of Fangtasia. I’m enjoying these trips into the past a great deal, but a large part of me is sad that we didn’t get some of this insight during the previous six seasons. I refuse to believe that the writing staff didn’t realize that Pam and Eric interactions are one of the show’s greatest assets, and I don’t buy the argument that they were simply saving these revelations until the end. Had the series taken the time to flesh out this relationship throughout the course of the series (along with giving us more meaningful Bill flashbacks), I think it might have kept a strong narrative voice even when mired down with some of the story dreck of past years. But, hindsight is truly 20-20, so I certainly can’t fault the writers for capitalizing on the exquisite work of Alexander Skarsgaard and Kristin Bauer van Straten now.

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Final Thoughts:

— This episode had quite the revolving door of familiar faces, with Jackson Herveaux, Hoyt, the Magistrate, and Terry making appearances. I half expected Jesus to pop-up, along with evil Rene. But I have to say all the moments worked very well and really drove home the emphasis on the power of love (of all stripes) and death in the lives of the residents of Bon Temps. True Blood often kills characters with little to no reaction from those who loved them, often offering only an episode of reflection on the life of the passing character. These appearances allowed us as fans to reconnect with how difficult loss can be, even if the show is up to its old tricks next week in this area.

— It was lovely to see Ginger back and not screaming. I loved seeing who she was before Pam and Eric’s glamoring took so much away from her.

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • The return of several beloved characters
  • A well-constructed plot
  • Great Pam-Eric banter
Cons
  • Still not enough happening in Bon Temps to make some characters interesting

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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