Those who have watched True Blood since it premiered on HBO seven seasons ago know that the show has had its trouble finding a consistent voice. There have been moments of gratuitous bloodshed to the point where it approaches parody, and enough sex and violence to get almost comedic in its interpretation. On the other hand, there are also moments (as in sister show Game of Thrones) where characters are killed off unceremoniously and very real topics like homophobia, rape, and bereavement are broached, which push the show into a more serious, dramatic vein.
This season premiere, the very last one, seemed to address that fundamental issue with the show. We pick up with the vampire-human pairing event at Bellefleur’s Diner (which used to be Merlotte’s), where vampires have descended upon, hungry. A lot of people die, including Tara. However, this happens offscreen. The only reason we know she died is her mother tells Sookie, who as Vulture points out, is a pretty unreliable narrator. The attack also gets Arlene, Holly, and Nicole kidnapped by some hungry vamps, landing them in a basement prison to be eaten in the presumably near future. This season is going to be very dark indeed.
Meanwhile, Jessica’s boyfriend-or-whatever-he-is James tells his human Lafayette (with whom he has been paired with to protect) how he was made. We had previously not known much about James—including how old he is, where his loyalties lie, or where he fits in in Bon Temps. As he reveals, he was made during the Vietnam War. He says that his best friend died in combat (James was a draft dodger) and when he went to pay his respects, the friend’s father nearly beat him to death in the middle of the street with a baseball bat. It seems like an odd reaction, doesn’t it? That’s probably because James was almost certainly implying that the deceased wasn’t just his best friend, he was his lover, and the father found out. In any case, James was made that night when a vampire saw him dying and “took pity” on him. He shoots a seriously prolonged look at Lafayette—is there a little love triangle forming here? A Lafayette/Jessica square off could get ugly.
Sookie, with her telepathic blinders off, finds out some ugly truths about what the good ole Bon Temps folk think about her following the Diner Pairing attack, including the sad thoughts of her loving boyfriend/werewolf Alcide. The half-faery is starting come come unhinged, and is fast approaching the point of recklessness (as evidenced by her unaccompanied tromp through the woods).
Jessica, still aboard the guilt train for killing three of Andy’s four half-faery daughters, vows to protect Adilyn from a tainted True Blood-drinker dying from Hep-V in an epic, high-stakes stand-off happening while Andy is looking for Arlene with Bill. Adilyn foolishly/selflessly saves Jessica from the sun at the last second by inviting her in. We’ll see what happens there next week when Jessica wakes up. Andy is gonna be piiiiiiiiisssssed.
And now, to save the best plotline for last: where in the world is Pam? Far and away from Louisiana, Pam is searching for Eric in the (literal) dark corners of the world. We find her in Morocco, standing in a bucket, playing a game of Russian Roulette for a tip from a gambler. Ballsy. Next we catch up with her, getting a location clue from another person in Morocco, who offers her his young daughter (because apparently the only people with “clean blood” in Marrakech are children) to eat. And—who knew?—Pam grew a conscience and declined feeding on the child. Good on you, Pam. We still don’t know what happened to Eric, but it looks pretty dire—sunbathing in Antarctica? Even a royal Viking vampire would have quite a rough time getting out of that pickle. Hopefully we’ll get some answers next week.