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True Blood Season 6 Ep. 8 Recap: 'Dead Meat'

Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

As always, spoilers lie ahead. Now read on so we can get oozy and productive…

With only two episodes left to go this season, this week’s entry “Dead Meat” begins to bring plotlines to a head for the finale as Sookie makes a hard choice and Eric puts a wrench in Bill’s vampire savoir game plan, just as his visions of Vamp Camp are starting to come true.

Let’s start with Bill and Eric, being that we ended on that horrific scene of Eric losing his shit while Nora crumbled and rotted in his arms last week. Given what happened, you figure Bill would try to strike a more empathetic tone and give him, I don’t know, at least ten seconds to grieve for his sister before bringing up his sacred mission for the umpteenth time? Nope, and Eric, already fragile and needing someone take his rage out on, unloads on him, as the two engage in pretty much the same argument they’ve been having for six seasons (i.e. Eric thinks Bill’s a love sick, self-loathing weakling, Bill thinks Eric’s a self-absorbed opportunist). The difference now, particularly for our ancient undead viking, is the stakes are higher, both internally (Nora’s death, Pam, Tara and Willa on lockdown) and externally (vampire’s impending destruction via the hepatitis V-laced True Blood).

Eric’s never been one to cower in a crisis, so it’s only right when he spies Sookie teleporting in from fairy land that he snacks on Adeline’s blood to go there himself and take a bite out of Warlow so he too can walk in the sun. A day walking Eric Norman? It’s about time. Of course, it’s not like Warlow had a choice in the matter; his arc was pretty much the same as it was last week, with him being tied up and left alone after making yet another plea for Sookie’s hand in marriage. Adding insult to injury, Sookie asks him to do her a favor letting Bill use his blood so she can save her friends from Vamp Camp.

Warlow asks Sookie she’s still in love with Bill, and she manages a believable “hell no.” At least until Bill, who seems quite comfortable in his new identity as all-powerful douchebag, despite Eric’s earlier assertion, tells her he really doesn’t care if helping him means being Warlow’s vampire fairy bride for all eternity. The reaction on Sookie’s face, along with a breathless “Oh my God,” is one of a person whose delusions have just been shattered.

In fact, many characters delusions are blown to bits in “Dead Meat.” Alcide’s belief he can handle being a ruthless pack master is undone when Rikki exposes him as liar by bringing out a very much alive Nicole and her mother, who he claimed to have killed, then challenging him to a fight to the death. Alcide also has to face the fact he’s not as ruthless as he thinks, as Rikki rightly points out she’ll catch a beatdown for going against him but knows she’ll live because he’s too afraid to kill her.  Any allusions Eric had of Bill possibly being God are laid to rest when he doesn’t save Nora; and Arlene’s view of her husband as a deeply tortured man whose demons finally got the best of him is destroyed when Lafayette tells her about the insurance policy Terry took out days before his death.

Learning Terry played an active role in his demise causes Arlene to stand up for her husband in a way she might not have, as other relatives try to hijack his funeral arrangements from her. Though rightfully infuriated at his actions– Carrie Preston was serving pissed off widow realness with a vengeance–Arlene comes to accept the tragic situation for what it is, with the help of Holly and Andy. And carnations, bacon and alcohol. When you think about, for all its camp and craziness, funerals (at least humans ones), and the family bickering, morbid curiosity and artery-blocking cuisine  that surround them, are handled pretty realistically on True Blood.

But I digress. No one character had to face the harsh truth more than Sookie. For True Blood’s entire run, she has jumped from not only from supernatural’s bed to the other, but from life-threatening situation to the next. And while she’s had moments of clarity about the perpetual drama that is her existence in previous years, they’ve never lasted this long, which might explain the cynical, weary aura she’s given off much of this season. Seriously, go back and watch a few clips from the first two seasons and compare that bubbly waitress to the Sookie Stackhouse of the present, who embraces her self-proclaimed “danger whore,” status not with gleeful abandon, but grim resignation. She’s also never been this desperate. What else would possess her to make a ridiculous confession to Sam about how he was the one she always thought she’d end up with? Oh honey, the clock struck midnight on that fantasy a long time ago.

And as Sam tells her, she couldn’t have picked a worse time, as Nicole is pregnant (he sniffed her/his unborn child out). Oh and they’re in love. Forgive my sarcasm, but his talk with Alcide about how to “play” his knowledge of her pregnancy (which she’s totally in the dark about at the moment) makes me doubt just how deep his love is, their past dalliances notwithstanding. Either way, the conversation kills any dreams Sookie had about giving up her fairy light and becoming fully human. Next on her misery tour is a trip to her parents’ graves. Anna Paquin is pitch perfect in revealing Sookie at her breaking point; on the verge of tears, she reminisces about happy childhood memories before lamenting how they’ve all been ruined by their plan to kill her. As a final screw you, she says she’d rather “walk the earth as a corpse, than spend eternity with you.” Of course she could give up her powers and shack up with Gran in the afterlife, but I guess she didn’t want to put Adele in the middle of that mess. Cut to Sookie primping in the mirror and putting on her best dress fit for an engagement party as she goes to meet Bill so they can go retrieve Warlow. Though as we know, Warlow’s been drained by Eric, who can only assume he’ll be heading to Vamp Camp to wreck shop.

Of course, he’ll have Sarah Newlin to contend with. Just as with the other characters, Sarah’s illusions of just how cutthroat she must be to keep Governor Burrell’s death and the hepatitis V operation under wraps were put to the test when his business partner Suzuki comes in demanding answers. Sarah shuffles through her stack of B.S., first treating her like a fan from her preacher’s wife days, then trying to sell some hokey sisterhood jibber jabber. Then Miss Suzuki discovers the tainted True Blood and it is ON. Fighting and chasing commences until Suzuki’s heel gets caught in a hole. Sarah’s unease about finishing her off lasts about two seconds before she starts slamming her face into the metal floor, then stabbing her in the head with her own stiletto while a vampire jumps up and sucks her dry. If there was any doubt, Sarah confirms she’s reached a new level of crazy, crying “Thank you Jesus” with total sincerity.

Jason’s arc was almost incidental, as he spent the whole episode under the numb (and fangs) of gen pop queen bee Violet as she went on and on about her medieval Catholic sexual ethics and how she would make him wait until he was crawling the walls in heat before they consummated their union. It’s strange the show would introduce a new character and give her so much screen time this late into the season, so Violet better get compelling quick, fast and in a hurry. Though I’d be willing to bet they’re setting her up to a major character in season seven.

Two more episodes left, with what’s shaping up to be an epic showdown.

Other Thoughts:

—Sookie might be willing to join Warlow in holy matrimony right now, but will she feel the same once she learns of Naill’s fate? She’ll no doubt want to put her wedding dress search on hold when she finds out about Jason’s predicament.

—How sad was it that Steve Newlin cracked under questioning while running on a hamster wheel? And that Sarah was able to trick him by calling for UV light that wasn’t even in the room? Dude you suck.

—Jessica seems so ready to meet the sun–ya’ know, having end-of-the-world sex with James and all–I wonder how she’ll handle things if she and all the other vamps live to bite another night.

—”Fuck caution! I’m pissed!” Oh, Miss Suzuki, we barely knew ye.

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