True Blood fans (and certainly Joe Manganiello fans) are still reeling over the sudden death of Alcide last week (and Tara's maybe-death earlier), and in the latest episode, "Death Is Not the End," the show gave the audience a somewhat surprising grace period in which to mourn. There were still deaths and gore and gory deaths, but not a single major character died as Sookie and the Scooby Gang tried to divine a new scheme to rescue Arlene and all from the clutches of the infected vamps. It's almost like this isn't the final season of the show — or they are setting us up for something huge.
Here's what happened on True Blood:
In the aftermath of last week's plan to use Sookie's fairy-scented blood as bait for the Hep V–infected vamps, which resulted in Holly's rescue and Alcide's death, Sookie and Jason had a few phone calls to make. Sookie reached out to Alcide's father, who sadly told her that Alcide was never happier than he was with her, which only further proves that Sookie never loved Alcide as much as he loved her. Jason put on his deputy's hat to call up his former BFF Hoyt Fortenberry and relay the news of his mother's demise. Hoyt, who was glamoured out of his memories, calmly accepts the news while Jason, who remembers everything, cries his eyes out. Both family members plan to come to Bon Temps for their kin, so hopefully we will see them both again as the season winds to a close.
Sookie stops by Arlene's house to promise her children that she will bring Arlene home safe and sound, which seems like a really bad thing to promise. In order to execute their rescue plan, Sookie and Co. need Holly to remember what she saw and where she saw it. Since Holly is in a state of shock, Sookie uses her fairy powers to search her mind. It's a brutal process for Holly, but Sookie gets what she needs and leaves Holly in a crumpled heap on the floor with Sheriff Andy to comfort her.
Now that they know the hostages are being held at Fangtasia, Sookie, Bill and Sam formulate a rescue plan that will hopefully draw this storyline to a close soon. Sam wants to go rescue his pregnant girlfriend immediately, but Jason points out the obvious fact that they will never prevail without some serious vampire backup. Bill puts out a call to all vampires in the area, and two members of James' band join the fight, alongside Violet, Jessica and James.
Speaking of Jessica, turns out she hasn't eaten in months, which explains why she still wasn’t healing from the bullet wound she got last week. Jessica won't eat because of her (very reasonable) guilt over killing Sheriff Andy's daughters and the general taking of innocent life. James decides to go full intervention on her and went to Bill about her vamp anorexia. Sookie immediately offers herself up as a buffet, but Jessica refuses to partake of fairy blood, so James fetches his new best friend Lafayette who admits that he's not innocent at all, having killed the man he loved. Assured that he's bad to the bone, Jessica breaks her fast.
Last week, Pam finally gave Eric a reason to live — to seek revenge on Sarah Newlin. The show's dynamic duo (who should definitely have their own spin-off or, at least, be cast in True Detective Season 2) make their way back to the U.S. to execute their plan to execute Sarah. But Eric wants to make a quick detour to Shreveport, first because he wants to say goodbye to Willa, his last progeny, before he dies. During their stopover, we learn the origins of Fangtasia. Back in ’80s, after they disobeyed the Authority in the Rhone Valley, part of their punishment was exile in Shreveport and the task of running an adult-video store. They were horrified, but resigned to the task. Fast-forward to 2006 and ditzy Ginger now works for them and had the idea to turn the spot into a nightclub called Fangtasia, because Eric was basically "sex on a throne." (That is just a fact.) Pam liked the idea so much that she glamoured Ginger into believing that Pam was actually the one who came up with the idea. Vampires, man.
Much to Pam's displeasure, once they are back in Louisiana, Eric insists they head straight to Bill's, ostensibly to find Willa, but mostly so he can run his hands through Sookie's hair one more time. Sookie quickly spies the thin tendril of infection trailing out of Eric's appropriately low-cut T-shirt and is devastated by the realization that he is infected. Bill kindly leaves them to a brief catch-up and, after an even shorter reunion with Willa — who has to be commanded by her maker to postpone their eventual argument — Pam and Eric join the rescue mission, because no one knows Fangtasia like they do.
The rescue mission gets under way with Sam transforming into a rat and making his way into the former sex dungeon. He reunites with Nicole and tells the remaining hostages to trust their rescuers. Unfortunately Arlene is taken by the infected vamps before the Scooby Gang can sweep in and save the day. Eric knocks on the front door, and they let him — an infected vamp — in because he has brought his own human, Sookie, who has a very interesting blood type. The rescue mission is once again interrupted by the arrival of the Bon Temps irregulars — the well-armed human-vigilante squad lead by Vince and intent on destroying anything undead or inhuman in their path. While it's more or less the same battle as last week — Sookie's Scooby Gang vs. Hep V vamps vs. the vigilantes — the results are different, and the vigilantes are wiped out as are the infected vamps leaving Sookie and friends to tend to Arlene, who is not doing well at all after serving as a human snack tray for the infected vamps. While Arlene hallucinates Terry (which is a nice extra paycheck for Todd Lowe), Sookie tells her to stay out of the white light and orders up a clean vampire to save her friend with his blood. One of James' band of expendable vampires shows up just in time, saving Arlene's life and possibly playing a new love interest.