TIME

RECAP: True Blood Watch: A Big Death Shakes Up the Season

HBO

As True Blood nears the end of its final season, the show says farewell to one of its best characters

Warning: Major spoilers for True Blood Season 7, Episode 3, “Fire in the Hole,” below

As the final season of True Blood rolls toward its end, it’s clear that fans need to brace themselves to say farewell to some of their favorite characters. After all, the show killed off Tara (mostly, probably) within the first minute of the season opener. Even with that warning lodged firmly in the brain, it’s hard to prepare for the unexpected early demise of one of the best characters on True Blood. And yet, on last night’s episode, Alcide the tough-but-lovable werewolf was shot in the head by a mere mortal. Laissez les bon temps roulez, indeed.

Here’s what happened on True Blood:

The show opens with the reappearance of Sarah Newlin, smiling, “Namaste,” in a yoga class in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Pam is trying to persuade Eric to live out his days instead of waiting around to die at the hands of Hep V. He is depressed and trying to cope with the loss of so many people, which is compounded when Pam tells him about Tara. He flashes back to the ’80s … er, make that the 1980s (one has to clarify when dealing with a viking’s flashbacks) when he was hooking up with a vamp named Sylvie, but had his coitus interrupted by the Authority. The delegate tells Eric about the invention of Tru Blood and the new set of rules and scolds him and Pam for not registering. He rolls his eyes at them with some salty language, which Pam is not sure was a good idea.

Over in Bon Temps, Alcide has emerged from his shower to discover that Sookie is gone. He tracks her to Vampire Bill’s house, still shirtless, but Sookie and Bill have hatched a new Sookie and the Scooby Gang–worthy scheme and driven off to use her fairy blood as bait for the Hep V–infected vamps who have Holly, Arlene and Nicole. Bill finally answers her question from last episode, revealing that he can’t sense her anymore, after his blood was drained by the vampires at Camp Vamp.

The Reverend Daniels has his hands full. First he counsels Sam, who is struggling over the missing Nicole, but their therapy session is cut short by Willa dragging in a freaking out Lettie Mae, who is really convinced she can hear Tara. With the reverend otherwise occupied, Sam and Matt leave, but are quickly surrounded by a now armed mob of humans who want their town back. Vince, the ringleader, has dubbed himself the new mayor and shoots Matt. Sam turns into an owl and flees.

Back at his house, the good reverend offers Willa a snack (from his arm) and then tells her that Lettie Mae is an addict and if Willa is in the house, Lettie Mae will continue to come up with ways to get her blood. As Oscar Wilde said, she can resist anything except temptation. He thinks the best thing to do is to get rid of temptation. He rescinds Willa’s invitation into his house and she goes flying out the door.

Sheriff Andy and Jessica finally free Adilyn and Wade from jail and decide the safest place to stash the kids is with Jason and Violet, not knowing they will be walking into a scene where Jason just told Violet he wants babies, because, just like Andy said last week, a man ain’t nothing without a family. Violet does not think that is a very manly sentiment, but she does let Andy and Jessica stash the kids at the house. The grownups head out on a hunt for Sookie, but are soon face to face with the mob, because Bon Temps is not a very big town, and it was bound to happen sooner or later. Maxine Fortenberry is heading up this troop of ne’er-do-gooders, and when she sees Jessica she goes bananas. She still blames Jessica for breaking up with her son Hoyt and ends up shooting Jessica. In return, Violet rips her heart out (just like what happened to Hoyt!). Jessica is fine, but isn’t healing from the badly aimed bullet. Does this mean she is infected too?

Jessica’s current boyfriend, James, is pining for her but decides to bury his feelings under a cloud of Lafayette’s really good weed. Unfortunately, Lafayette is out of pot, but does have the fixings for some other pill. As they get high, they also get down and a little bit dirty. James pulls back just in time, reminding Lafayette that he’s with Jessica.

Over at Fangtasia, the Hep V–infected vamps are bickering about food. They are hungry and their supplies are dwindling, even though they still have Holly, Arlene and Nicole to eat. That’s when Sookie’s plan kicks in. She stands in the woods as bait, whiling away the hours talking with Bill about Alcide and love before losing her patience, screaming,“I’m sick of waiting. Come on, y’all! I taste like sunshine and flowers, and I’m right f–king here!” and slicing her arm open.

Cut back to Eric and Pam, where Eric is recalling another moment from the ’80s where a goon squad from the Japanese corporation that makes Tru Blood surround Eric and Sylvie and tell him that they have Pam. Eric apologizes for his behavior and promises to behave from now on. The man tells Eric he has to choose one person to die, Pam or Sylvie. Eric requests they kill him, but the Authority wants Eric alive. Eric tells them to let Pam live and they kill Sylvie. Back in the present, Eric releases Pam while she cries her bloody tears. But Pam hasn’t played all her cards yet. She tells him that Jason let Sarah Newlin live. Eric stands up, “Let’s go find her, shall we?”

Back in Los Angeles, it turns out that Sarah is going all in on the yoga thing and is having tantric sex with her yogi. Their athletic lovemaking is interrupted by the Japanese-corporation guys. They have her picture, and they want to know where she is. After all, she destroyed their product by corrupting it with Hep V, stabbed their emissary with a shoe and decimated their corporation. The yogi bravely admits knowing her, but won’t tell them where she is, so they kill him. Maybe she should take up pilates next.

The Hep V gang finally takes the Sookie bait and heads into the wood with Holly in tow. A huge fight breaks out as Sookie and Bill are joined by Sam and still shirtless Alcide, who tracked them along with Andy, Jessica, Violet and Jason. The fight heats up, but soon the Hep V vamp ranks are decimated. When Alcide sees that Sookie is covered in blood, he doesn’t care that it’s at her own doing. Violet takes her to clean up as Alcide yells at Bill for going along with this crazy scheme. That’s when a shot rings out, followed by another. Alcide, the mighty werewolf, is down at the hands of some measly human, one of the vigilante squad who can’t tell good from bad anymore. As Alcide dies, Sookie rushes to his side. When Jessica offers to turn him into a vampire, Sookie says no, because she’s been down that path before. So we say goodbye to our weekly installment of shirtless Joe Manganiello, and the path is cleared for a Sookie-and-Bill reunion.

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