True Blood Review: Taming the Beast Within

True Blood - 1st image - Season 6It’s retribution time for every vampire who suffered at the hands of their human captors over at vamp camp. And what kind of vampire retribution would it be if not a truly gory one? Well, Sunday’s episode of True Blood did not disappoint. While horrific events are going down at vamp camp, there’s a funeral taking place in Bon Temps. One of the series’ regular characters, Terry Bellefleur (played by Todd Lowe), is buried with full military honors. During his funeral, we learn more about Terry’s love for life and family through the loving speeches given by his family and friends (and several flashbacks). The poignant funeral scenes are juxtaposed, often jarringly, with the massive slaughter occurring at vamp camp. The resulting dichotomy depicts what life and death really means for both humans and supernatural beings in the True Blood universe.

Episode 9 opens with Warlow seriously devoid of blood after Eric sucked him dry. Sookie refuses to let Bill take him in such a weakened state. Bill threatens to kill Sookie if he can’t have Warlow, and in response, she fairy-blasts him right out of the fairy realm. While Warlow feeds from her, Sookie reassures him that her promise to be his bride still stands. Warlow stays behind in the fairy realm while Sookie attends Terry’s funeral.

Everyone in Bon Temps (except Jason, of course) is at Terry’s funeral — even the newly single and pack-free Alcide who looks quite dapper in a dark suit. (Does Warlow have some competition?) Many of Terry’s friends and family members share their memories. Andy speaks about trying to coax Terry to return home after his PTSD-related isolation out at their childhood hangout Fort Bellefleur. Sam also remembers when he first met Terry out there and offered him a job at Merlotte’s. Lafayette, stylishly decked out in a suit, hat, and extra-long eyelashes, recalls Terry’s first day of work at Merlotte’s. Sookie reveals to everyone (who doesn’t know already) she’s a telepath and shares her memory of hearing Terry’s first amorous thoughts of Arlene. Even Big John the cook, who I don’t think has ever uttered more than a couple of words in the entire run of the show, sings a beautiful song. Arlene calls Terry her rock and shares how he helped her get through Mikey’s birth. With all eyes quite teary at this point, the Marines fire a gun salute, Taps is played, and the soldiers fold Terry’s casket flag. Overall, a fitting tribute to her Terry, Arlene thinks to herself. Sookie, overhearing Arlene’s thoughts, feels reassured and knows Arlene will be okay.

Meanwhile, at VAMP CAMP –

Filled to the brim with Warlow’s super-blood, Eric is now able to walk in the daylight. He leaves a carnage of human body parts in his wake as he arrives at vamp camp. Using a severed arm to gain access, he finds Dr. Overlark (John Fleck). In a moment of brutal revenge, — Overlark was the one who injected Nora with Hep-V — Eric rips off Overlark’s manhood and leaves him to slowly bleed to death. (Quite the nausea-inducing scene, I must say). Eric moves on to release the captive vampires.

Bill follows Eric to vamp camp and walks in on a dying Overlark who begs Bill to end his life quickly. Bill obliges him with a swift foot-smash to the face after Overlark admits to harming Jessica. As Bill navigates the vamp camp hallways, he sees the released vampires having their own revenge-fueled party as they conduct the same experiments they suffered on their former captors.

As Eric releases the female gen pop vampires, he finds Jason Stackhouse who’s been used as a snack since his friends and vampire owner, Violet (Karolina Wydra), were sent to the white room. Eric heals Jason and they search for the white room. They walk right by a still-alive Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp) who’s hiding under a heap of dead people.

Eric finds the psychiatrist (Pruitt Taylor Vince) who reveals the details of his sexual interlude with Pam to which Jason reacts with, “Oh, you did not just go there. That’s going to cost you, Doc!” Instead of killing the shrink, Eric saves him as a revenge-treat for Pam.

While Bill is searching for the white room, Sarah is climbing the steps so she can open the room’s roof. As the roof opens, sunlight pulses through revealing a Christ-like Bill feeding his vampire disciples his super-high SPF blood. Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) scrambles for some blood too, but can’t find his way into the frenzy. Eric and Jason, along with the shrink, come upon the blood fest to which Jason remarks, “Fucking gross.” (Another great Jason zinger.)

Even though Bill wants to save Steve, Eric disregards him, calling Steve a turncoat. As Eric holds him in the light, Steve (in the episode’s best laugh out loud moment) locks eyes with his ex-wife Sarah up above and screams out, “I love you……Jason Stackhouse!” before burning up and exploding into bloody goo. (The look on Jason’s face is priceless.)

As the transformed vampires frolic in the daylight, Jason chases down Sarah. After a tussle, he decides to let her go, which leaves Sarah open to cause more havoc down the road.

While Eric and the other day-walkers destroy the batches of Hep-V tainted TruBlood, the scene cuts to a delivery truck in Honolulu where vampires kill the driver and steal all the TruBlood (which means either they got the message or they’re all about to die).

Left alone and nearly drained, Bill sees Lilith’s blood-covered sirens coming for him. Refusing to go with them, he calls for Jessica who returns to him with James (Luke Grimes). With no alive humans in sight, they save Bill with James’ blood (well, Bill’s recycled Warlow-blood really). I wonder how Lilith is going to feel about Bill’s defiance.

Eric, still grieving over Nora, visits the spot where she was first injected with Hep-V. His anger over her meaningless death seems to grow.

As the rest of the deliriously happy vampires go off to Bill’s for a celebrative blowout, Pam stops to say a reluctant goodbye to Eric who bolts into the sky Superman-style.

So, only one more episode to go this season and many questions remain. Is there still the danger of Hep-V TruBlood getting into the hands of unknowing vampires? Where was Eric jetting off to? Is Bill going to suffer the consequences of snubbing Lilith? Will Sookie hook up with Alcide and leave Warlow? It’s going to be an interesting season finale for sure.

Season 6, Episode 9: Life Matters (originally aired August 11, 2013)

For more True Blood, check out our other reviews.

True Blood airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Images courtesy of John P. Johnson/HBO.

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