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'True Blood' Recap: Game Time

Bon Temps residents sacrifice themselves for loved ones as season nears its end

Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse and Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse in 'True Blood.'
John P. Johnson
August 20, 2012 10:15 AM ET

Hope you've shed your tears over Hoyt's departure, because there's no more time for brooding. The bloody mayhem that has been brewing all season arrives next week, and given the events of "Sunset," it's now every human, vampire, shape-shifter or fairy for itself. We're officially at Defcon 1: Bill has reached a chilling level of fanaticism bordering on that of history's fascist dictators, and Russell has drained the strongest fairy in Bon Temps. Meanwhile, a blood-soaked Lilith is still lurking in the corners of the Authority, pitting chancellor against chancellor – and, to quote Pam, getting on my nerves.

The second-to-last episode of Season Five was one of sacrifice, although the death toll remained relatively low considering True Blood's track record. This means, of course, that we should be prepared for some tragic losses in the season finale. Sam put himself in harm's way for the sake of Luna and Emma. Pam took the fall for Tara. Jessica incurred Bill's fire-and-brimstone wrath to protect Jason. Nora severed all ties with the Authority for Eric. And the fairies went to battle for Sookie.

Vampires and Humans and Shifters

Bill is being haunted by Lilith, who intones, "Only one can lead us, and I choose you," while commanding him to drink more of her blood. It's no wonder she's pursuing him so intently, because the biblical figure has just lost one of her most fervent disciples. Following last week's vision of Godric being ripped to pieces by Lilith, Nora has renounced her Sanguinista leanings and returned to the arms of her loving "brother" Eric, begging for his forgiveness as they indulge in a round of hardcore make-up sex tinged with tenderness.

Before they can make their escape, Nora and Eric need to play the role of chancellor one last time. The Authority has been paid a visit by (human) Gen. Cavanaugh, who has arrived demanding an audience with Roman and threatening vampire eradication now that mainstreaming has gone the way of Prohibition. The vamp chancellors admit that Roman won't ever be returning the general's calls and that they are a Sanguinist regime now, but Cavanaugh isn't deterred. He reveals that the military has video of Russell and Steve "eviscerating 22 fraternity brothers" and that the Authority is in deep goo for making the president and the entire United States government believe Russell was dead. So unless the Authority cooperates, the video will be made public – which would guarantee a human uprising against vampires. Cavanaugh, unfortunately, becomes a casualty of war in Eric and Nora's plan to extract themselves from the Authority's grasp. In order to have a reason to leave headquarters, Eric snaps the general's neck, thus necessitating a "glamouring campaign" so that all relevant government officials have no memory of the incriminating video. Because Nora knows the general's chief of staff, she and Eric are dispatched to take care of business. Bill insists they take along a two-man security detail, but Eric quickly stakes both guards at a traffic light. Their side chosen, Nora and Eric fly off into the unknown, but not before the former Chancellor Gainesborough cements her loyalty to her grateful brother by discarding her Authority necklace.

Meanwhile, Jessica is experiencing major déjà vu now that her new daddy has morphed into a religious nut. Knowing that Russell and Steve are after Sookie, which also puts Jason at risk, Jessica is intent on getting the Stackhouses out of harm's way – but Bill won't have any daughter of his concerning herself with the well-being of humans anymore. Jess tries to use the teachings of the Book of Lilith against him (guess those Bible-study classes weren't a waste of time after all!) by suggesting that she make Jason a vampire, but Bill sees through her ruse to get a message out to her friend. In a calm yet determined manner – which only makes Bill all the more frightening – he orders his progeny to follow through with her idea. With two vampire security guards in tow, Jessica lures a thoroughly confused Jason to a meeting spot in the woods, and while shaking with fear, Jess pleads with her friend to trust her right before she sinks her fangs into his neck.

The next time we see them, a Jess is tightly holding a lifeless Jason in an open grave as the guards shovel dirt on top of them. Jess tearfully apologizes in his ear, but at some point between biting him and being buried, she also relayed her plan to him – thus making the whole-Jason-becoming-a-vampire theory that has buzzed around the interwebs for the past week nothing more than a (fabulous) red herring. While the Authority vamps chat about picking up some "takeout," Jess whispers, "Do it!" and  Jason springs to life, putting one wooden bullet into each guard. Crisis averted, Jason demands an explanation, and Jess fills him in on Russell and Steve's rampage, Bill and Eric's religious transformation – and that "nobody's gonna save [Sookie] this time." Before an understandably infuriated Jason runs off to warn his sister, Jess mentions that if she really had to turn him, she truly would want to spend an eternity with Bon Temps' sexiest police officer (sorry, Andy). I think that scores you some major brownie points there, Jess.

But no good deed goes unpunished. With nowhere else to turn, Jess seeks refuge at Fangtasia, where Pam is only now schooling Tara on the concept of the Authority. See, while Pam is proud of her daughter for killing the ultra-irritating Elijah, sheriff-murder is still frowned upon in most circles. Once Jess is comfortably installed downstairs, the inevitable girl-talk session arises – Tara and Jess are on the road to slowly repairing their burgeoning friendship, with reluctant den-mother Pam joining in for a few informative minutes. She explains that Bill's cold, unfeeling attitude is called "nest behavior," which comes of vampires living together and feeding off one another for a long time. Drinking Lilith's blood, however, has turned Bill into "a nest on steroids." The slumber party doesn't last for long, though: Rosalyn descends upon the club, searching for her boy, "Sheriff Elijah Stormer." Tara tries to throw her off the trail, but Roslyn can smell her dead son on her. It looks like Tara's about to get thrown in the clink, until Pam blows all previous Mother of the Year recipients out of the water by announcing that she killed Elijah. But Pam's not heading to the Authority alone – Rosalyn sniffs out a trembling Jessica too.

By the time Bill is ready to confront Jessica for her wayward behavior, he is on such a power trip that it makes us wistful for Roman's straitlaced reign. Lilith has come to him again and given him another taste of her blood that makes him feel as if he is on a higher spiritual plane than anyone else. But Bill is not the chosen one he'd like to believe he is. When he enters the chamber holding the vial of Lilith's blood, he is astonished to find Kibwe on his knees, rejoicing over Lilith's decision to make him the vampire leader. Bill isn't having any of that, and he beheads Kibwe in a jealous rage, refusing to relinquish what he believes is now his God-given right. Jess' insubordination only fuels Bill's fanatical anger and he castigates her for saving the life of a human over that of two vampires. She tries to reason with him, appealing to his love for Sookie and reminding him that the man she saved is "not a human, he's Jason." But it's no use – when she suggests that his nesting is making him crazy, it's met with a swift blow to the head that sends her flying across the room. "Who are you to defy me?" Bill seethes. "I am the chosen one! Lilith chose me!" I don't think Jessica has been this terrified since she was about to be turned, but at the same time, I like scary Bill. He's way more interesting than treacly, ambivalent Bill. And considering that Lilith gave Salomé the exact same spiel that she gave Bill and Kibwe, this power struggle is far from over. 

Perhaps it will take Bon Temps' all-around good guy to break Bill out of his zealous mindset. Sam and Luna, who sneaked into the Authority in last week's episode via Steve Newlin's briefcase (as mice) and located wolf cub Emma locked in a cage next to various naked humans. But since the shape-shifters were just as lacking in clothes, the guards assumed they were escaped prisoners and started herding them into nearby cells. Just as a third guard arrived to procure "Chancellor Compton's breakfast" (which explains the nude humans), Sam, selfless as always, offered himself up as his former neighbor's meal.

Humans, Fairies and Vampires

Sookie, who's been hiding out at the fairy nightclub for her own safety now that she's the hunted subject of a 300-year-old business deal, is brought to meet the Fairy Elder, the only person who can possibly shed some light (no pun intended) on the mysterious M. Warlow/John Stackhouse contract. Maurella and Claude explain that the Elder, the oldest fairy to escape through the portal that brought them to Bon Temps, has a tough time focusing due to having lived in so many different realms: "She operates on many frequencies at once." They weren't kidding. Once the Elder appears in a beam of light, wearing a long, filmy blue dress (Sookie is sporting a hot-pink dress and matching spangled cardigan, an ensemble that could only have been put together by her fairy kin), she carries on her conversation amid a dance that is two parts tribal and one part Elaine Benes. While the Elder grills Sookie on her opinion of Ke$ha, John Cougar Mellencamp and Boyz II Men, the Merlotte's waitress does a bang-up job of keeping up with the fairy's ADD line of questioning.

Long story short, the Elder knew John Stackhouse, she knows why Sookie "sluts her heart out to every cute guy out there with fangs" and she knows who M. Warlow is. But before the Elder is able to impart any useful wisdom, she's interrupted by a frantic Jason, who's arrived with the news of Russell's impending attack. The Elder is not pleased to learn that Russell is still alive, but she backs up Sookie's decision that the fairies must fight the megalomaniac vampire because he won't stop until he's drained them all dry. That night, Jason uses himself to bait Russell and Steve by keeping watch on Sookie's porch armed with a shotgun. Within minutes, Russell has glamoured Jason into leading them to the field where the fairies are ensconced – not before waxing poetic on meeting Jesus Christ: "He was a boring hippie who stank of patchouli."Sookie and the fairies remain invisible, watching Russell and Steve zip around the grass inhaling their fragrant scent from the safety of the nightclub.

Just as the fairies prepare to attack, the Elder orders them to hold back. She's not willing to let her people be killed, so she enters the field alone. Baby vamp Steve is no match for the Elder's "turbocharged" light power, but 3,000-year-old Russell is a different story. After he deflects her electrical charge onto Jason, Russell gorges himself on the Elder, effectively killing her and ostensibly ridding Sookie of any opportunity to learn more about M. Warlow. With the blood of the most powerful fairy inside Russell, Sookie and the other fairies are fully visible to him now – and he speeds toward them, hungry for more, as the screen goes black.

Favorite Couple: Andy and Holly. She makes him breakfast just the way he likes it. He asks advice from Terry and Arlene on making a relationship work in the long-term. Too bad he accidentally impregnated Maurella and swore a light vow. I'm predicting a witch vs. fairy smackdown next season.

Winning Species: Any vampire not trapped in Authority headquarters. Nora, Eric and Tara are civilization's best hope for survival right now. If only they can bust out Jessica and Pam.

Losing Species: Fairies. The most powerful vampire has just killed and ingested the blood of the most powerful fairy. Does anybody have a clue as to how Sookie and the Claudes are going to get out of this pickle?

Previously: Going, Going, Gone

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