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'True Blood' Season Finale Recap: Up in Flames

The Vamp Camp survivors return to Bon Temps only to face a new kind of danger

Anna Paquin and Joe Manganiello as Sookie and Alcide on 'True Blood.'
John P. Johnson/HBO
August 19, 2013 7:55 AM ET

Great, after all that buildup about one of the principal characters not making it through the season, I still can't be certain if said character was Terry or Eric. In a deliberately ambiguous plot twist, the Viking vampire's only appearance in "Radioactive" found him sunbathing nude on a snow-capped mountain in Sweden just as Warlow's light seeped out of all the vampires who ingested his blood. After Eric burst into flames and the screen faded to black – the action then jumping ahead six months – there was no further mention of the character who has played a vital role on this show ever since Sookie walked into Fangtasia in Season One's fourth episode.

If Eric really did meet the true death in that scene, then I am officially finished with True Blood. For all of showrunner Brian Buckner's insistence that this season was all about grieving and honoring characters that died, to then have someone as important as Eric snuffed out and instantly forgotten seems not just disrespectful but incongruous: Terry Bellefleur garners the longest (fictional) funeral in the history of TV yet Eric is kicked to the curb à la Steve Newlin? It doesn't make sense. And that's why I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Eric Northman. But, if that was indeed Alexander Skarsgard's farewell performance, I'm grateful he demonstrated his lack of use for the "privacy sock," and allowed us to see every last inch of his sun-kissed body.

'True Blood' Actress Anna Camp Dishes on Sarah Newlin's Transformation

With Season Seven a go for summer 2014, "Radioactive" didn't so much wrap things up as serve a big ol' pot of unresolved subplot gumbo to whet our appetites for next year. Yes, Warlow is dead and Bill is no longer Billith (no more telekinesis, needs to be invited inside, etc.), but what happens now that: a) Niall has re-emerged from faerie limbo after a four-episode absence? b) Pam has been MIA ever since she flew off ostensibly in search of Eric? c) Sookie and Alcide have gotten together – um, who here really thinks that's going to last? d) Sarah Newlin didn't appear at all? There was also a brand-new story line that set the stage for Season Seven: A TruBlood shortage is still in effect, as well as plenty of vampires sick with Hepatitis V. Bon Temps' answer? Have every human pair up with a noninfected vamp; the humans will provide nourishment while the vampire provide protection. As insane (to quote episode guest star Lawrence O'Donnell) as this plan sounds, it may be the town's only hope, because just before the end credits roll, a horde of zombified vampires arrives in the Louisiana hamlet – and they're hungry.

Post-Funeral
The season finale, like last week's penultimate episode, was neatly divided into two parts, but that didn't make it any less batshit. The first half picks up mere minutes after Terry's funeral concluded and it dealt with the two biggest issues at hand: Sookie's impending marriage to Warlow and her vampire transformation, and Bill's realization that he has been freed from Lilith's pull, at the expense of his enhanced abilities.

The former Vamp Camp inmates – and Jason – descend upon Compton Manor, still high off of the faerie-infused blood and savoring their first sunny day in centuries/years/weeks (between 800-year-old Violet and days-old Willa, the spectrum is pretty wide). There's plenty of naked frolicking to be had, with Jason unfazed by Jessica and James' burgeoning relationship because it looks like he's actually into the über-faithful yet domineering Violet. Hell, he's not even thrown when Violet plants a huge one on Sookie's lips in greeting. Then again, Pam embracing Sookie in a bear hug is way weirder than any girl-on-girl smooch. But the impromptu outdoor party is short-lived (how cute was everyone's Target-purchased pastel-colored summer gear?) when Jess stumbles upon her brooding maker, who admits he's back to plain old Vampire Bill and, now that his Lilith-enhanced power trip has been shattered, is feeling the guilt over selling Sookie out to Warlow. And it's that tiny spark of remorse that might potentially reignite the long-dormant passion between these former lovers, because while Bill couldn't sense Sookie's fear from the faerie plain, it's no coincidence that he decided to go after her right at the very moment her life was in danger. Again.

Making good on her promise, Sookie returns to the faerie realm, where Warlow has been busy constructing a flower-adorned Maypole for their marriage ceremony. No time for a bachelorette party – Warlow is taking his bride tonight. But now that her friends are safe, Sookie broaches the idea of postponing the wedding in favor of just dating. She's definitely into him, but still isn't too keen on that whole eternity (or vampire) plan. Unfortunately, refusing the great and powerful Warlow is akin to bruising Walter White's ego – only bad things can come of it. The faerie-vampire smacks her to the ground, chokes her and uses his light to bind her to the Maypole, just in time for the sun to go down so he can begin turning her. Turns out his hatred of being a vampire was real, but at the same time, Warlow truly is a sadistic, elitist tyrant who only wanted Sookie for her body and her blood.

By nightfall, Bill has enlisted Jason, Violet, Andy and Adilyn to join him in his rescue mission. They meet at the cemetery, where two-week-old Adilyn gets a crash course in learning how to move between the human and faerie plains (when in doubt, just have a vampire frighten you into, well, "lighting" your pants). The five wedding crashers interrupt Warlow's draining session, with Violet, possessive as she may be of Jason, proving her fierce loyalty by carrying a lifeless Sookie away from her captor and then feeding her "sister" her blood later on. Adilyn flashes Sookie, Jason, Violet and Andy back to the human world while Bill and Warlow engage in the smackdown we've been waiting for all season. But it's not Bill who ultimately vanquishes this superannoying villain as expected. Once Warlow knocks their fight off the faerie plain and into the Stackhouse abode, he swiftly takes down Bill and Violet with his light power and glamours Jason into revealing Andy and Adilyn's hiding place (Sookie's vampire cubby), locking all three below ground. Cornering a weakened Sookie in her bathroom, Warlow claims his unwitting prize, until an ethereal pair of arms reach out from thin air and grab him. It's Grandpa Niall! Busting through the portal whence Warlow threw him back in Episode Five! Jason storms in (unclear if it was Niall who rescued him or if Adilyn successfully used her light to break open the locked cubby door) and stakes Warlow right in the chest, the faerie-vamp dissolving into a bright puddle of blood. Then Sookie and Jason help pull Niall out of the netherworld, only to have Rutger Hauer's True Blood return leave us all scratching our heads. Niall is never mentioned or seen again, he doesn't reveal that he's Warlow's son, and his character remains cloaked in mystery. WTF?

Sookie isn't the only one affected by Warlow's demise, though. All of the vampires who drank his blood have been stripped of their ability to walk in the sun. Luckily for the vamps of Bon Temps, it's nighttime when this change occurs, so Jess, Tara, James, Willa, Violet and Bill survive. Eric, on the other hand, had the misfortune being in the broad Swedish daylight, leaving his fate, as well as Pam's, unknown.

Six Months Later
The second half of the finale picks up six months after Warlow's death, but chaos still reigns as Hep V-infected vampires, as well as TruBlood-deprived ones, are roaming the streets. Sookie is relaxing on her couch, watching Bill make an appearance on The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell shilling for his newly published New York Times bestseller, And God Bled – complete with a hilarious photo of Bill from his Confederate Army days on the cover. In the book (nice quick turnaround, Bill!), the vampire formerly known as Billith admits to killing Truman Burrell, remaining cool and collected when Lawrence O'Donnell warns that such a confession could result in a murder trial. Bill reminds the MSNBC host that Burrell engineered the development of the deadly Hep V, so it's unlikely he would be convicted. Sookie is entranced by her ex's television demeanor, but just when we start thinking perhaps these two have rekindled their romance, who should walk into the living room showing off his six-pack abs? Alcide Herveaux! The werewolf's now-close-cropped hair confirmed my suspicion that Joe Manganiello must've been wearing a wig or extensions in the episode's early scenes, because why else would he suddenly look like a member of Three Dog Night? As I stated earlier, I'm not feeling the chemistry between these two, although I'm glad to see Alcide has redeemed himself after spending most of the season acting like an entitled douche. Across town, Jason and Violet are living together, despite Jason suffering from a six-month-long case of blue balls – he's allowed to pleasure her, but she won't even give him a blow job, let alone have sex. Again, I fear this is turning into another Crystal/werepanther-type situation where he refuses to leave an unsatisfying relationship. Good news is, Jason and Jessica exchanged enough longing glances this episode that I have hope their love story isn't over yet.

The following day, at a town church meeting (can anyone explain to me why the hell Sookie was dressed like Minnie Pearl in this scene?), Bon Temps mayor Sam Merlotte (huh?) unfolds his and Bill's "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" plan to keep the humans and vampires safe from further harm. Understandably, Sookie and several residents are not cool with this idea, regardless of a free "mixer" at Bellefleur's Bar and Grill (yep, Arlene now owns the restaurant once known as Merlotte's) that evening – Food! Music! Find yerself a vampire! Creepy intentions aside, the party has a substantial turnout: Sam and a very pregnant Nicole are still going strong, and with Pam's whereabouts a question mark, Tara and her mother, Lettie Mae, have an unusual opportunity for reconciliation. After spurning her vampire daughter last season, preacher's wife Lettie Mae opens her arms to Tara, offering to "nourish" her to make up for all the years of neglect. It's such a beautiful scene between Rutina Wesley and Adina Porter, despite it being a bit bizarre – nah, Tara feeding off of her mother isn't weird at all! – that I was willing to put aside the ick factor for the sole enjoyment of watching Tara and Lettie Mae get a second chance at a relationship.

Two people who didn't attend the town social, however, were Andy and Adilyn, much to Jessica's dismay. So she goes to see them at home, where she states her offer as a furious Andy points a gun at the chest of the woman who killed his daughters: She will give them her protection – without feeding off of either of them. It won't bring Adilyn's sisters back, and Jessica knows she will never be absolved of her sins, but this was the least she could do. Even though Andy slams the door in her face, he doesn't pull the trigger – which seemed like a real possibility in the episode's final minutes. Though she'll never be welcome in the Bellefleur home, Jess has come one step closer to redemption by pledging herself to Andy and Adilyn's safety.

Right as Sookie and Alcide are exiting the party at Bellefleur's, they are accosted by Bill, who inquires as to whether or not Sookie has made any "arrangements" with a local vampire. She proudly states she hasn't, because she now has a tall, dark, bright-eyed werewolf by her side. Bill implores her to reconsider her decision, due to the tasty nature of her blood, and offers his protective services just like old times. Also just like old times, Bill insists that he's "changed," and that he can be "trusted," but Sookie ain't buying any of his 175-year-old bullshit. Their impending ex-lovers' squabble is interrupted when both Alcide and Bill start sniffing the air. Within moments, a crowd of Hep V-infected, hungry vampires descends upon Bellefleur's, the numbers steadily increasing as the screen cuts to black until next summer.

Favorite Couple of the Week: Lawrence O'Donnell and Bill Compton. Anyone who gets to ask Bill Compton if he's insane is an automatic winner.

Winning Species of the Week: Werewolves. Namely, Alcide. Dude resumed being one of the good guys and he bagged Sookie Stackhouse! Enjoy it while you can, Bright Eyes!

Losing Species of the Week: Faerie-vampire hybrids. Screw you, Warlow. Your story line was tedious and while it sucks you became a vampire, it still doesn't change the fact that you were an egomaniacal, arrogant misogynist. You will not be missed.

Previously: Walkin' on Sunshine

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