Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Love is to Die'
With one more episode to go, it doesn’t seem too premature to go ahead and award Ryan Kwanten, A.K.A. Jason Stackhouse, the coveted Hit Fix Award for Most Valuable Player of the final season of “True Blood.” As already predicted in this space, Jessica and Hoyt have finally, fully reunited, falling in bed together after Jessica has broken down and confessed to Hoyt that they used to be a couple before she cuckolded him with the irrepressible, sexually irresistible Jason, after which Hoyt asked her to erase all his happy memories of their time together before lighting out for Alaska. Hoyt is all forgiveness towards Jessica, but he does injure his fist by applying it directly to Jason’s hard ol’ head. Hoyt’s ex, Brigette, loads the unconscious Jason into her car and is driving him to the hospital when he comes to. She tells him that he needs medical attention, because he probably has a concussion. Jason has to laugh; the dear girl doesn’t know that he averages a concussion a week. Sometimes he bleeds from the ears from the strain of trying to do long division.
They go back to his place, but first he gently informs her that he’s going through one of his periodic self-doubting, self-denial phases, and so they will not be having sex, thank you very much, young lady. Once at the house, Brigette calls the airline and tries to arrange an emergency flight back to Anchorage at an affordable price; she isn’t getting anyplace until Jason, after first confirming that the customer service attendant is a woman, takes the phone and effortlessly charms her into doing his new friend’s bidding. Later, she wakes Jason up while he’s lying in a chair holding a bag of frozen peas in his lap to help keep his wedding tackle under control. (She asks if he has anything to eat or drink. He says that he only has beer and “these peas,” and she says that a beer would really hit the spot. What kind of woman would reject a man’s crotch peas?) Jason tells Brigette the whole story of the Jason/Jessica/Hoyt triangle, in a speech intercut with images of Jessica and Hoyt’s steamy lovemaking. He tells Brigette that nobody really lied to her: it’s just that Hoyt and Jessica were always meant to be together, but Hoyt forgot that for a time, but now he remembers.
Jason salutes the power of this perfect love bond, while damning himself as a weasel with a hole in his soul. (Recalling their evenings out together in their teen-horndog years, Jason says that “At the end of every night, I was always with some girl I was seeing or had just met, and Hoyt would always go home to his mom.” The nice thing about being so close to the end of the series is knowing that this is just a line that nobody working on the show recognized as sounding not quite right, and not the set-up for a really unpleasant revelation.) Brigette sees right through to his finer qualities, and drags him to the bedroom, promising to show him that he can lie next to a woman in bed and not have sex with her. Instead, they just talk, and it’s clear that Jason is on the verge of some momentous breakthrough in his dealings with the opposite sex, or at least with Brigette. This whole storyline is falling into place in a way that has yet to yield any surprises. But the memory of Kwanten warming up for the schmoozing he’s about to do with the customer-service woman by suavely giving the phone a cocky little flip—as if he’s too impatient to actually score his touchdown before doing his victory dance in the end zone—will likely prove as durable as Hoyt’s suppressed memory that Jessica is The One.
The Jessica-Hoyt-Jason-Brigette story is a plate of day-old beans that the actors have actually managed to imbue with a little heat and flavor. The real drama is supposed to be in the story of the Hep-V apocalypse, the New Blood cure, and Bill’s imminent embrace of the True Death, but the clotted, leaden narrative just lies there. At the end of last week’s episode, Bill came face to face with his salvation, in the form of Sarah Newlin and the cure for what ails him that courses through her veins, only for him to announce that, on second thought, he didn’t want to drink from her after all. Cue closing credits. Bill has had a whole week to think of a good explanation for subjecting everyone to this cliffhanger, and when the lights come up on the first scene of tonight’s episode, what does he say? “I don’t know how to explain myself.” It’s because of moments like this that Elvis used to keep a loaded gun on to his TV table, just in case.
Bill’s decision to slip away into the void seems to have something to do with accepting his “fate” and not fighting his “destiny”. It’s as if George Lucas were guest-writing his scenes. Why he couldn’t accept fate back at the house instead of letting his friends break into a building guarded by gun-toting yakuza is not made clear. Jessica is so fed up with his malarkey that she demands that he release her, and he agrees. Then he tops himself by telling her, “I never wanted to make you vampire. Turning you was punishment for taking the life of one of our own.” He says this the same way Bill says most things, as if he were racking up more tortured-nobility points with every syllable, but it sure sounds to me like the vampire equivalent of “You were an accident.” Then he tops himself again when Eric asks him to reconsider for Sookie’s sake, and Bill says that Sookie will “learn to love someone else, but not while I’m on the planet.” Eric speaks for all of us when he says, “Get over yourself, Bill.” Come to think of it, Hoyt speaks for all of us when, in a different context, he says, “I’m confused.”
What else? Well, Sam and Nicole hightail it to Chicago, leaving behind a mushy-hearted “personal” note for Sookie, and also a one-sentence “official” letter of resignation from the office of Mayor, and kudos to whoever remembered, probably at the last minute, that Sam was Mayor for fifteen or twenty minutes there. In an even more thrilling scene, Pam dyes Sarah’s hair blonde again. Telling the Japanese gangsters, who don’t speak English, that Sarah’s gag is in her way, Pam carefully enunciates, “El gag-o, I need to remove-o.” This is probably offensive on three or four different levels, but it did make me laugh. The yakuza are so unamused by it that, when Eric returns to the basement—after a sex scene between himself and Ginger that looks as if it was written, staged, and filmed just in the hope that it would yield some terrific moments for the cast party blooper reel—he finds Mr. Gus, Jr. has tied Pam down to a pit-and-the-pendulum contraption and is demanding to know if Sookie knows about Sarah’s miracle-cure blood. I’d say that this can’t end well, but I know a lot of people think that, so long as it ends, how it ends is fine by them.
Next week: the final bloodbath! Does anyone see Eric having any better odds than Bill of making it to the end? Can we agree that, if anything happens to Jessica or Hoyt, we march on HBO headquarters with pitchforks and flaming torches?