By Jeff Stone | Indiewire July 7, 2014 at 2:18AM
It was the best of "True Blood," it was the worst of "True Blood." On the one hand, Anna Camp. On the other hand, everything involving the angry mob. On the one hand, James and Lafayette. On the other hand, Lettie Mae and Reverend Daniels. On the one hand, Eric's flashback. On the other hand, Bill's flashback. This episode truly had it all!
I admit I was wary at the start of this episode, since it seemed to reintroduce Eric only to have him be lethargic and disease-ridden. But lo and behold, a good deal of time was spent on an Eric and Pam flashback, set in the golden days when Eric straight-up did not give a crap. The flashback gets extra points for 1) copious unnecessary nudity, 2) Eric's gloriously feathered 80's hair and 3) holy shit a CORPORATE KATANA ASSASSINATION SQUAD (because Japan's involved, I guess). That's what I'm talking about!
We also got an actual explanation for some of my concerns from last week, as Pam states that vampires can live with Hep V for an extended time, provided they have a regular, fresh supply of blood. Okay, sure. But y'know, that's the sort of information you might want to provide at the beginning of your season, rather than after people have wondered just what the hell you're up to for three hours.
Alas, this episode couldn't just be the adventures of Eric and Pam in France. (Dear HBO, if you would like to greenlight "The Adventures of Eric and Pam," I would review every episode with pleasure.) We also had a bunch of action happening in the present day, with a unruly, armed mob blocking off what I suppose must be Bon Temps's only street, seeing as how every character had to drive down it this episode. They try to murder Sam, to no avail. Why does Sam never turn into a dinosaur? I ask this mostly because Sam Trammel starred in a made-for-TV movie called "Anonymous Rex", where he played a dinosaur disguised as a human private investigator. I am not making this up. I promise that if you click that link, your life will be better.
The show seems to have gone all-in on this Lettie Mae storyline, which is unfortunate, because I can't be bothered to care about anything Lettie Mae-related, especially now that Tara is dead. They even give a perfectly fine monologue to Reverend Daniels about why he could possibly stand her, and actor Gregg Daniel does his best, but nope, the moment anyone even thinks about Lettie Mae I start wondering why we can't have more scenes with a CORPORATE KATANA ASSASSINATION SQUAD. And let's be honest, "True Blood" is a show with too many characters as it is. It's not the time to be beefing up the superfluous roles, unless you're going to start bumping people off. Speaking of which!
TARA DEATH WATCH 2014: Welp, Pam confirms that she felt Tara suffering the true death. SO MUCH FOR THIS RUNNER, I GUESS. Also, congrats to "True Blood" on the most ineptly-handled death of a major character that I can think of off the top of my head!
Oh, and RIP Mrs. Fortenberry. Your last moments were at least grounded in your character and the continuity of the show, but it's not like anyone's going to miss you. So that's probably the major character death for this week, right? Right? Nothing else to see here.
Just some quick hits from this week that were primo "True Blood":
- Sookie muttering "I have a boyfriend," as she noisily slurped blood from Bill's arm.
- KENYA: "Your daughter struck me with lightning that shot out her hand!"
ANDY: "I know, I heard, and I'm very proud of her!"
- CORPORATE KATANA ASSASSINATION SQUAD (Can you tell I'm into these guys? I am ALL IN with these guys.)
James and Lafayette got some decent moments, although most of them were commiserations about taking drugs, and I'm not sure if that's a solid basis for a relationship. Did you guys notice that they re-cast James between seasons? Because, confession time, I did not notice until someone explicitly pointed it out to me. Specifically, an article mentioning that the original James actor was uncomfortable with this season's gay content, because I guess that guy had literally never even heard of "True Blood" before appearing in an entire season of it.
Anyway, James and Lafayette might be a thing, meaning more heartbreak for Jessica, because being mean to Jessica is something this show has seriously gotten into the last few seasons, and it's not a trend I'm fond of.
Ugh, I guess I should mention Sookie. Sookie's mega-genius plan this week is to literally sit in the forest taunting vamps while Bill keeps watch up in a tree. This plan is so terrible that even the lousy Hep V vamps see through it immediately. Fortunately, the opening-credits players show up to shoot all the infected vamps (because I guess being able to move at super-speed doesn't help you dodge wooden bullets), but then the angry mob pops out of the bushes and murders Alcide. Surprise!
Hoo, boy. So they bumped off Alcide. Hilariously, the first bullet hits Alcide off-camera, because "True Blood" is great at sexytimes and camp goofiness, but really bad at bumping off major characters. Anyway, RIP AB SCAFFOLDING. Man, this season is really into arbitrary murder! Did the writers finally get around to watching "Game of Thrones" and think they shouldn't have the monopoly on random surprise murders?
Anyway, tune in next week, when probably Sam gets crushed by an asteroid or something. I don't know.
Jeff Stone loves cartoons, wrestling and hour-long prestige cable dramas. You can follow him on Twitter @WheelbearGo.