After last year’s season finale, you might’ve thought True Blood’s writers were high on V. Sam (Sam Trammell) is the mayor now? Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) are together? Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) might be dead? But when Sam announced Bon Temps’ new credo — a human for every vampire, and a vampire for every human — he refocused this messy, sprawling story on what really matters to fans. No more Lilith. No more wolf pack. No more Rutger Hauer holograms. Just the fanged ones we love and the mortals they snack on.
That was the plan, anyway. At the start of the seventh and final season, you’d be forgiven for thinking there are zombies out there, too. The opening scene makes True Blood look a little too much like The Walking Dead: Hep-V-infected vampires are pulling bodies out of cars, feasting on flesh, and kidnapping people from Bellefleur’s. Luckily, they’re also killing superfluous plotlines. A major player is dead before the opening credits even roll.
But there are still too many characters to keep track of, and their numbers are only growing. Humans we’ve never seen before are planning an armed revolt against the vampires. H-vamps are holding people captive in the basement of Fangtasia. Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) is hanging out in Morocco, playing Russian roulette with the locals. Sookie even discovers a whole other town that’s been ransacked by the H-vamps. Plus, Jessica’s (Deborah Ann Woll) boyfriend, James, isn’t himself: Nathan Parsons has replaced the original actor, Luke Grimes. Just when True Blood needs a close-up on familiar faces, its world won’t stop expanding.
Speaking of familiar faces — you’ve always kept your eyes on his face, even when he was naked in that deck chair, right? — Eric is back. Sort of. When he first appears, he’s letting Jason (Ryan Kwanten) unbuckle his belt, with enough candles flickering in the background to light a cake for his 1,087th birthday. But as it turns out, this is all just Jason’s dream. More silly than sexy, the scene glows as if someone had set True Blood’s Instagram filter to “Valtrex commercial.” We’ve seen this kind of cheap fake-out before, like when Jason’s romance with Warlow was later revealed to be just a fantasy. They can’t fool us again.
Is all of this enough to abandon True Blood before its grand finale? Not quite. There’s a clever twist involving Eric that could set up an exciting arc for Sookie. Whether he is dead-dead or just undead — we won’t spoil that here — he will definitely spark some suspense this season. Even if Sookie ends up with Bill (Stephen Moyer), there’s enough of Sweden’s favorite sunbather to satisfy. A human for every vampire? Then I’ll take Eric, please. B-