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“Radioactive,” True Blood’s sixth season finale, might just go down as the series’ most polarizing episode. While the season’s secondary “big bad” is vanquished and there is a six month time jump that sees things change for several of the show’s characters, this episode may always be known as the one in which Eric dies (or, at least, probably dies, barring a last minute save from Pam).
Let’s begin with the present day storyline, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty ho-hum end to a disappointing season. After a season of waffling between Warlow being evil and Warlow being charming, the show finally settles on Warlow as a power-hungry vampire-faerie that doesn’t care about Sookie as a person and is perfectly happy to drink her blood forever. While this could certainly have been a quick fix decision by the writers to end the storyline, it reads as just plain poor storytelling. Warlow’s decision to lash out as soon as Sookie tells him she isn’t ready to marry him is just yet another example of a True Blood character suddenly acting outside of his established character for the sake of the story.
Another questionable moment is the sudden reappearance of Niall. I’m thrilled to have him back (although in the flash forward, there's no Niall in sight), his reappearance screams of deus ex machina (deus ex faerina?). Is it too much to imagine Adilyn managing to free Jason and Andy, allowing Jason to save Sookie? We really don’t need Niall to suddenly be able to escape from his faerie dimension prison so easily just to save the day. It is a cheap way to solve a season-long story that has already gone off the tracks.
Now we’ve come to the moment that will divide fans of the show: Eric’s (potential) death. Judging from Alexander Skarsgård’s busy upcoming movie schedule, it’s entirely possible this really is the final time we’ll see Eric Northman gracing our television screens. While I’m sure his final full frontal moments dulls the pain for many viewers, I’ve already heard from fans of the show who refuse to ever watch again if Eric is indeed dead.
Eric has been one of the show’s strongest characters, especially as the show has struggled in recent seasons with an ever expanding cast and confusing stories. Eric has remained true to his character throughout, always remaining a vampire that values his own survival and the survival of his family above all else. Refreshingly, he refuses to ever apologize for that set of values, making the character all the more interesting when surrounded by so many that waver back and forth in their loyalties each week. A scene between Eric and Pam, containing their excellent brand of sarcastic wit, can make even the most misguided episode wonderful.
The loss of Eric as a potential suitor for Sookie isn’t that huge of a loss for the show. The loss of Eric as one of the show’s most well written and acted characters would be a huge loss for the show. The only thing that gives me hope that Eric somehow survived (aside from the show knowing that losing Eric could potentially deal a rather painful blow to the show’s future ratings) is that Pam is nowhere to be seen in the flash forward. As I’m certain the writers value Pam as a character enough to give her a death scene were she to be dead, the only way I can see Eric surviving would be to have Pam find him and save him in the nick of time.
Speaking of the flash forward, it looks like the citizens and vampires of Bon Temps have decided to band together to fight the incoming threat of feral vampires bent on draining humans. While Sookie may have her own guard dog in boyfriend Alcide (a reveal that I’m sure pleases many shippers), I’m not sure how the good vamps will fare against the ferals when season seven returns and the imminent showdown occurs. Hopefully, it won’t turn into another blood bath - after this season’s string of deaths, there aren’t many more characters left to lose.
-- Judging from Sam’s rousing speech, Sam Trammell really needs more to do next season that doesn’t involve him separated from the rest of the cast. Having the character Sam at the center of things would be a nice change, and a really nice reward to Trammell for sitting on the sidelines in storyline hell for so long.
-- Speaking of giving people something to do, Lafayette needs a story. ASAP.
-- After everything her mother put Tara through, I don’t trust her mother’s sudden change of heart. Granted, if her husband was genuine in his support of Sam’s initiative, I guess she’d go along. But I have a hard time believing that everyone would be tested for Hep V only to have nothing come of the storyline. I’m really worried that Tara might bite the dust next season.
-- I have to say, I really like Violet. I do feel a bit bad for Jason, and I have a feeling nothing good can come of this, but Violet is certainly interesting.
-- I love the Jessica and Andy scene. Those two have really become the heart and soul of the show. I’m hoping for big things for them both next year.