Wild plot, backside nudity and lots of well, blood, are what we’ve all come to expect from the fantastical world within Bon Temps, Louisiana. For better or worse, the first two episodes of the final season of HBO’s “True Blood” certainly deliver this. The end of last season left many viewers perplexed, and reasonably so. With Sam (Sam Trammell) now Mayor, Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) seemingly going steady and Eric’s (Alexander Skarsgard) sun bathing putting him in deathly peril, there were a lot of questions to be answered. By the end of the second episode, if anything there are probably more questions, but you’ll likely be so distracted by everything that’s happened it will take you a while to realize. It does seem clear, however, that this final season will be returning to its roots. That is, bringing the focus back to the people of Bon Temps and their relations with vampires. This time an even more dangerous variety.
The season premiere kicks off immediately following that shot from last season of Hep-V infected vamps preparing to crash Sam’s vampire-human barbecue mixer. Each healthy human is to be paired with a healthy vampire, exchanging protection for midnight snacks. The party goers don’t have much time to be choosey before the arrangement becomes a near necessity with all hell breaking loose fast. The first few minutes of the premiere episode have the chaotic feeling of a disaster movie and when the immediate danger disperses we’re left with a shocking death. Yes, a major character won’t make it past the opening credits and I’m sure it’s not going to be the last loss of the season.
Once the dust and guts have settled, the story slows down a bit to give us a glimpse of where all of our familiar characters find themselves in life and let them deal with this new crisis. As expected, everyone goes about it in a different way. Along with the usual faces, we are introduced to an assortment of town citizens as the struggle becomes increasingly humans vs. vampires. Sookie and Bill (Stephen Moyer) are most representative of this, the plot almost inevitably set to bring them back into each other’s lives somehow.
But Bill’s not the only one looking for a comeback. Everyone’s favorite Nordic vampire does make an appearance, but it’s not in the way you think and probably not with who you’d think either. You’ll see a resemblance in this scene to a humorous fan favorite from last season. As for whether he survived his extreme sunburn? That’s still up in the air.
The start of “True Blood” season 7 definitely feels like the beginning of an end. There’s an air of finality in everything that happens, not surprising given the desperate situation many of the characters find themselves in. These aren’t the Sookie and gang of season one, regarding the unfamiliar vampire race with parts wonderment and fear- although there is a nostalgic look back in the second episode. It would be difficult for the show at this point to recapture the feeling of its early seasons, but these two episodes also feel distinctly different from the tone of the show’s previous Lilith (and don’t forget, Billith) dominated arc.
For the show’s longtime fans, this final season will no doubt be bittersweet. From the setup provided by these beginning episodes, I am interested in seeing where the show will go and most importantly for a final season, where it will end up.
The seventh and final season of “True Blood” premieres June 22nd at 9 pm on HBO.