Anna Paquin | Joe Manganiello | Ryan Kwanten | Stephen Moyer | Television | True Blood

'True Blood' RECAP - 'Jesus Gonna Be Here' [Spoilers]

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BY BOBBY HANKINSON

Welcome back, True Blood! The seventh and final season of HBO's off-the-rails vampire horror soap opera featured a town under siege and at least one character death that's sure to bring a smile to the face of many viewers.

We can all agree that sometimes this show is a total pile of garbage, but tonight's premiere showed some promise. It's definitely not the taut thriller it was in its first season, but, so far, the show's chaos feels contained to the Hep V spread we saw introduced last season. Let's hope it can maintain its focus. Regardless, we'll be chronicling the good, the bad and the utterly ridiculous all season with our weekly recaps.

Get up to speed on what went down this week, and share your thoughts on the premiere, AFTER THE JUMP ...

It’s a real shame that they changed the name of Merlotte’s to Bellefleur’s. I could’ve used so many old-timey headlines: “Murder at Merlotte’s!” “Massacre at Merlotte’s!” “Multiple Maimings At Merlotte’s!” There’s still plenty of action at the Bellefleur BBQ, just less wordplay.

The infected vampires, or “H-vamps,” have descended on the community mixer and they are tearing things up. Well, things and people. The pack of feral vamps are attacking the crowd, kidnapping Nicole (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Arlene (Carrie Preston), Holly (Lauren Bowles), Deputy Kevin (John Rezig) and even the town drunk, Jane (Patricia Bethune). Others end up worse than that. Take Tara (Rutina Wesley), for example.

That’s right: Tara’s dead.

She may be one of the most poorly-handled characters on a show full of poorly-handled characters (remember when she was suddenly a lesbian cage fighter?), but she has been an important part of True Blood since the first episode. Now? We don’t even get to see her get the true death. Instead, she leaps to her mother’s defense against an attacking vamp, and once the siege is over, all we see is Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) sobbing in a pile of Tara parts.

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Sam (Sam Trammell) and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) try to sniff out where the H-vamps took their victims, but lose the scent. When they return to the scene at Bellefleur’s, Sam’s spotted shifting from dog back to human. Of course the one to make the ID is Vince (Brett Rickaby), the man he beat in the mayoral election. He’s also not super keen on all the supernatual beings running wild through the town. Sam manages to convince him to keep a lid on the whole “the mayor turns into a dog” thing to prevent panic, but Vince doesn't seem wholly convinced the mayor has everyone's best interest at heart here.

Sam disperses the crowd, each human paired with their vampire. Alcide gets ready to depart, but can’t find Sookie (Anna Paquin). Oh where, oh where could she have gone? She’s just taking a relaxing evening stroll through the woods alone and throwing her cell phone away. Super smart move. Sookie's having an attack of the feels because she hears everyone being so mad at her for somehow causing all this. It’s a pretty big leap to blame Sookie’s relationship with Bill (Stephen Moyer) for the outbreak of Hep-V that’s creating this whole situation and not, I don’t know, the already tenuous vampire-human relationships that have been playing out all around the world since the show’s first episode. BUT SURE. All Sookie's fault. She's just skipping through the woods, tra-la-la, until, JINKIES, it’s a body!

Even though there are herds of out-of-control vampires and Sookie has delicious, delicious faerie blood, she makes it home safely. Alcide isn’t exactly thrilled that she was traipsing around at night alone. She explains that she's just upset because she heard everyone think that it was her fault this was all happening -- even Alcide. She can’t handle all of the blame, and he can’t handle her reading his thoughts. The lovers’ quarrel ends rather abruptly when Alcide heads up to bed. She joins him eventually -- naked -- and apparently they've agreed to disagree? It's hard to stay mad when you've got an Alcide waiting up in your bed, I suppose. Later, when confronted by a church full of people thinking she’s the scourge of Bon Temps, Sookie gives everyone an impassioned speech about loving this town and these people and how she, the person who knows the most about vampires (more than the vampires?), is in the best position to help them. We’ll see how that works out.

Sam sent Jessica’s manfriend, James (Nathan Parsons), home with Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) for protection. When they arrive at Lafayette’s place, James tells the story of him and his … friend … Danny. (There is a lot of awkward pausing when describing this relationship, which makes me wonder if Danny dabbles in doing dudes.) James was a draft dodger back before he was turned. Danny was shipped off and never came home. When James went over to give his condolences, Danny’s father beat him with a baseball bat. Lafayette, whose cousin was just killed (again), is clearly affected by his story. There’s certainly a spark between them, but how will Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) feel about all this?

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Speaking of Jessica, she’s still posted outside Andy Bellefleur’s (Chris Bauer) house when they hear about the attack. Andy rushes out to go find Holly, while Jessica vows to stay behind and protect Adilyn (Bailey Noble). The two girls are bonding -- while Jessica is safely stuck outside the house -- just talking about boys, until an H-vamp shows up hungry for Adilyn’s sweet, sweet faerie blood. Jessica initiates a stare down, but when the sun starts to rise, it appears that both she and the infected vampire are going to burn up. Adilyn panics and invites Jessica in, inciting everyone’s favorite ginger vampire to quickly swoosh inside, scoop up Addy and almost --almost! -- sink her teeth into the last remaining Bellefleur faerie daughter. Instead, Adilyn sends her up to the attic to sleep away the day while the infected vampire burns alive on the porch.

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After the raid on Bellefleur’s Bar and Grill, Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire) offers Lettie Mae a taste of blood to cope with her injuries. Of course, Lettie’s V-induced visions include Tara trapped in limbo. So, if I were a betting man, I’d wager we haven’t seen the last of dearly departed Tara. Lettie Mae’s husband, Rev. Daniels (Gregg Daniel), offers to let Willa stay with the family, so expect lots more V-trips (and Tara sightings) for dear old Lettie.

While the human-vampire pairings settle in for the night, there’s still a hunt on to find Arlene and the other kidnapped folks. Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Violet (Karolina Wydra) come across a vigilante mob led by Sam’s rival, Vince. Stackhouse warns them to stay out of this, while Violet has some more … colorful … things to say. The experience is the last straw for Jason, who has been denied sex for too long and now is getting emasculated at work. He demands sex from Violet, who was just waiting for him to take the initiative, and then they do it on the hood of a car.

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The other search party consisting of Andy and Bill come across an abandoned slaughterhouse where the H-vamps had been nesting. The vamps apparently moved on, but they did find that vigilante mob, who are having a really busy evening, I guess. When they attempt to gun down Bill, Andy pulls a little trick to save them. He’s quick to remind Bill that this doesn’t mean they’re friends. After all, Bill’s the reason Adilyn’s sisters are dead. However, Andy needs Bill's help to find Holly.

Unfortunately for everyone, the infected vampires are not even in Bon Temps anymore. They’re over in Shreveport, shacked up at Fangtasia. The prisoners are chained in the basement, waiting to be brought upstairs one by one and devoured by the pack of feral vamps. Things don’t look good for the prisoners, but it’s particularly bad news for Deputy Kevin. He doesn’t even make it upstairs when he is eaten by the vampire sent down to fetch them. R.I.P. Deputy Kevin, I already miss you more than Tara.

Meanwhile, in North Africa, everyone’s favorite, Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten), is on a quest to find Eric (Alexander Skarsgård). We encounter her first playing some sort of weird vampire Russian roulette game against a devout follower of Islam. She wins, but not before dropping the excellent Pam-ism: “Your god and my god can go to a motel and have a circle-jerk, for all I care. I’ll be in hell having a threeway with the devil.” Winning earns her the name of someone who knows where Eric is. Finding him gets her a really simple map that says “Rhone” on it. Pack your passport and croissant, Pam, you’re going to France.

What did you think of the premiere? Will Arlene make it out alive? Are you sad to see Tara go? (Ha ha, no one is sad to see Tara go.)

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Comments

  1. I don't think Tara is really dead. If you watched any of the trailers and promos for this season, Rutina Wesley says in one of them that being dead in True Blood doesn't always mean that you are dead. Or, words to that effect.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 23, 2014 8:59:39 AM


  2. Everybody just seems so tired of the material and ready to move on. I didn't see sparks from anyone except the actress who plays Lettie Mae. She always brings a lot to her role.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Jun 23, 2014 9:07:56 AM


  3. I don't think Tara is dead either. I think it happened so fast the mother mistook what she saw. I'm hoping Tara is on the trail of the vamps.
    I also liked Tara fighting, it brought back the reminder that she was a professional fighter in season 3 or 4

    Posted by: spike | Jun 23, 2014 9:26:10 AM


  4. DEAD ON ARRIVAL. Tara is not dead, we would have seen it, TB loves showing a character's gory demise, not a puddle of blood. Why kill her now when she is interesting and not when we all hated her? Of course it makes no sense, none of the episode does... I just hate watch now. From the outdoor mixer to Sookie walking around alone after a massacre. Everyone sleep walking their parts... The vigilantes are more a group of taunters (not even as good as the French taunters in Spamalot), they find vamps and then insult them. Both times they are talked down. It would have been better if Jason was emasculated at the party, has his freak out, has sex on the car, then arrives home to the vigilantes who actually kill his vamp. Much better sequence of events.

    Posted by: Critifur | Jun 23, 2014 9:28:56 AM


  5. Wouldn't Pam, as her maker, have felt it if Tara met the True Death?

    Posted by: Trubie | Jun 23, 2014 10:22:07 AM


  6. Jason's hot bare butt is the only reason to watch.

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Jun 23, 2014 10:39:13 AM


  7. I really liked Tara and I'm not happy to see her die (again). Sure, she almost always did the wrong thing because she was a hothead, but she always kept going, despite her mistakes. Also, she got some of the best lines, after Pam, of course (example: referring to Sookie as a gash in a sundress). Like others here I don't think we've seen the last of Tara, or, at least I hope not. She may be back only as her mother's hallucination, but I can't believe they'd dispatch her so quickly and early in the show. Officer Kevin was a funny, but minor character, therefore expendable. I hope and suspect that the captured women will survive.
    Still no clue as to whether or not Eric survived his severe sunburn, but I think Pam will find him.
    Things look pretty dire for Bon Temps, and this episode was a good setup for the rest of the season. Also it was nice to get a fresh look at Jason's butt.
    One question. Is James the same actor that Jessica met at vampire concentration camp? He looks very different.

    Posted by: Rich | Jun 23, 2014 10:49:23 AM


  8. I don't understand why Jessica doesn't want to kill Sookie when she can't control herself around the other faerie folk. Just something else wrong with the storyline.

    Posted by: Wes Phillips | Jun 23, 2014 11:29:31 AM


  9. No way Tara is gone. And why all the hate on her? Yeah, they haven't really done right by her character, but the show has spun so out of control, who couldn't you say that about? (Mind you, I'm still watching.)

    Posted by: Glenn | Jun 23, 2014 11:37:58 AM


  10. Refrain from using phrases like "we can all agree".

    Posted by: Daniel | Jun 23, 2014 11:53:03 AM


  11. Rich, James is now played by former General Hospital and Bunheads actor Nathan Parson. Last night was his first episode.

    Posted by: David | Jun 23, 2014 12:18:55 PM


  12. Thanks David. At least I know I'm not crazy. I had no idea who he was when he called Jessica in his first scene. It didn't help that I couldn't remember the character's name from the concentration camp.
    Speaking of which, I hope we get to see Sarah Newland suffer a gruesome death. Couldn't believe Jason let her go last season.

    Posted by: Rich | Jun 23, 2014 12:47:52 PM


  13. Yeah, I don't like the new actor playing James. Do you think they introduced him with facial hair while in the earlier part of the very same scene (last season's finale), he was shown without - just to signal very clearly the new actor? I don't like him nearly as much, but if he's going to go bi to get down with Lafayette, I'll accept the change grudgingly.

    It was a decent opener, not without its stupid parts. But at least they're getting away from two lame seasons of vampire jeopardy to everyone-in-town jeopardy via vampire zombies! (I like coming around to the last famous horror creature the show hasn't yet featured - even though these are not technically zombies.) So I'm warily pleased with the direction the season seems to be taking.

    Oh, and d'uh, Tara's not dead.

    Posted by: Zlick | Jun 23, 2014 12:53:01 PM


  14. The only worthwhile scene last night was Ryan Kwanten's naked butt and torso. Don't think they'll ever show a full frontal tho!

    Posted by: Kyle | Jun 23, 2014 12:55:34 PM


  15. My favorite character now is Jessica. I love her struggle for redemption after having feasted on 3 of Andy's fairy children last season.

    With that being said, can anyone explain to me how the Hep-infected vamp was going to be able to get to Adilyn had not Jessica been there? If Jessica was not there, would he have been able to glamour Adilyn into inviting him in? Otherwise, how would he be able to get to Adilyn?

    I have looked all over in blogs and no seems to address this. Any input would be appreciated!

    Posted by: Al | Jun 23, 2014 4:14:11 PM


  16. Yes, he could have glamoured her or he could have set the house in fire to "smoke" her out. I think Jessica's stand was more symbolic. Since she killed Adilyn's (sp?) sisters and vowed to protect her she stood guard to try and prove her intentions. I don't think she really needed to be there. But I don't think Jessica would have gained Adilyn's trust had she been at home watching TV. Jessica is desperate to prove herself. And Jessica is probably able to withstand attacking Sookie because she is only part fairy (she is descended from a fairy way back) whereas Adilyn's mom was a fairy. Her blood is more pure.

    Posted by: Macguffin54 | Jun 23, 2014 6:15:00 PM


  17. @AL, judging from her actions last night, constantly opening the window etc... Adilyn doesn't seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed. I don't think it would take much for the hep vamp to get at her.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 23, 2014 6:21:34 PM


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