True Blood finds its dark humor again in ‘Death Is Not the End’

A time for reconciliation. John P. Johnson/HBO

A time for reconciliation. John P. Johnson/HBO

The residents of Bon Temps are reeling from the latest deaths in the town, Sookie is mourning Alcide but keeping a stiff upper lip, and Arlene is finally chosen to be vampire food in “Death Is Not the End,” the fourth episode in this final season of HBO’s long-running vampire romance drama based on the Charlaine Harris novels. The episode is full of callbacks to the first season, as the last few shows have been. The True Blood team really wants to bring everything full circle, and this week they’ve succeeded more than expected.

While death may not be the end for vampires, it’s certainly the end for a host of folks in this forsaken little southern town. The shockers continue this week, not the least of which is Eric Northman with ’90s hair, some fantastic Pam lines, and a funny little scene as Sam and Jason go to inform Deputy Mayberry’s next of kin that he’s dead. “Kevin was a good man,” says Jason. Pause. “With a funny voice.”

“Death Is Not The End”
Written by: Daniel Kenneth
Directed by: Gregg Fienberg

Alcide’s father is shacking up with a hot lady that at least looks to be the same age as he is when he gets the call from Sookie that Alcide is dead. Jason calls Hoyt (remember him?), who’s up in Alaska on an oil rig, to tell him that Hoyt’s mama is dead at the hand of vampires.

Ginger used to be pretty smart. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

Ginger used to be pretty smart. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

This week’s flashback is Eric and Pam and the birth of Fangtasia, the bar that Eric owned until last season. The building that became the popular fang-banger bar was originally given to Eric and Pam as a penance for their refusal to bow to The Authority’s, well, authority. The Magister tosses the keys to a ridiculously uncool video rental business to Pam, who refuses to catch them in pure horror at the thought of having to run a rental shop. The Magister makes a licorice joke: the shop will only carry “Twizzlers, not Red Vines.”

Underneath the video store is the porn section, which is the money making part of the venture. Eric will give The Authority 80 percent of his revenue, and become the sheriff of area 5, which is how we met him in season one. There’s also a door that leads to an old Underground Railroad tunnel which (foreshadowing) will play into the end of the episode.

Apparently, Eric and Pam end up selling videos and peddling porn (Midnight Plowboy, anyone?) for twenty years, until Ginger (Fangtasia’s vapid and screaming assistant) shows up in the 90s as a smart cinemaphile college student looking for quality vampire films, like Cronenberg’s Rabid and the 1967 classic, The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon me, Your Teeth Are In My Neck.

It’s Ginger that finds a throne-like chair and comes up with the whole idea of turning the video store into a vampire bar in 2006, when the vampires have finally come out of the coffin to live alongside humans. Pam glamours Ginger to steal her idea, and that’s probably when Ginger lost all her smarts.

"Redbone, you gots to eat." Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

“Redbone, you gots to eat.” Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

Jessica is still not healing, most likely because she hasn’t eaten for a couple of months. Boyfriend James and maker Bill can’t sweet talk her into feeding on anyone, she just feels so guilty over eating those baby fairies, but Sookie comes in, tells Jessica to cut the crap, and just feed up so she can help Sookie go save the three ladies in the dungeon of Fangtasia. LaFayette comes over (he’s James’ food-source), and doles out some LaLa wisdom and folksiness. Jess eats from his forearm. It still looks like it hurts. Jessica continues to be the warm, beating heart of True Blood, with her earnestness and kindness to all.

Sookie, Bill, Sam and Jason need to find out where the infected vampires are, and they need Holly (recently escaped at the end of last episode) to remember where they’re all holed up. Sookie holds Holly’s hands and listens to her memories and lo and behold, it’s the old vampire bar, Fangtasia! Why no one thought to look there in the first place is beyond me.

Eric shows up at the Compton place, and says, “Pam tells me that you wrote a book in which you claim not to be an asshole anymore.” Bill lets him in anyway, though Pam is skeptical. “Need I remind you,” she tells Eric, “that we have a Christian to kill?”

A time for reconciliation. John P. Johnson/HBO

A time for reconciliation. John P. Johnson/HBO

Eric calls his progeny Willa back from her seedy connection behind a dumpster, and then he and Sookie have a maudlin moment in a back room. Eric gets uppity about Sookie dating a werewolf, but Sookie tells him to stop, since it’s only this morning that Alcide died. Because, too soon, Eric. Too soon.

We finally get pay off for the basement door at Fangtasia, as Eric leads the human/vampire A-Team to the back door of the bar. Sam sneaks in as a rat (“Did he just turn into a rat?” asks Arlene. “He did. He turned into a rat.”) to have a moment with his girlfriend and to lead a few vamps in to ambush the ones upstairs. Eric claims sickness and brings Sookie along as his own prisoner (a trick at least as old as Star Wars. Sookie the Wookie). One of the bad vamps then utters the lame line of the episode: “Spread your legs, blondie. I want it from your nasty place.” Ugh.

The Brit H-Vamp asks Sookie, “What are you?” which is something Bill asked her in the first episode of season one, bringing it all back for long-time viewers. Arlene has, in the meantime, been brought up as food, and is lying there dying.

Don't die, Arlene! Terry's not really there...or is he? Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

Don’t die, Arlene! Terry’s not really there…or is he? Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

Unfortunately, the human vigilantes (that have been off camera all episode until now) show up just as Eric’s about to spring the vamp trap, complicating every damn thing. There’s a big confusing fight, everyone is killing everyone else; it’s hard to figure out what’s up. Bill rushes off to help Jessica and kills Vincent, the stupid vigilante leader and Sam’s recent mayoral opponent. Seriously, it’s about time that dude died, and right in the head. Go Bill!

Then Arlene dies, because drama. Of course, they have to drag out her death scene with Terry calling out to her from beyond the grave, which has some weird fairy glow about it. The scene goes on and on, with Sookie seeing Terry via her telepathic powers, and Arlene going cold and lifeless looking before she totally dies.

Just kidding! Terry tells Arlene to go back to living and take care of them kids. And “hey, Arlene. Be happy.” Bassist vamp Keith saves Arlene. Yes!

Action Figures We Want:
NINETIES-HAIR ERIC
UNIVERSITY STUDENT GINGER
VAMPIRE BASSIST KEVIN

Funniest sight-gag:
Eric holding up a tangled VHS tape as a video-store owner, saying, “Idiots.”

  • djmiller

    I really don’t understand what all of these True Blood stories have anything to do with Apple news…

  • Ronn Roxx

    Cult of Mac used to be a great place to come to find the latest Mac news. If this keeps up, it will be time to find a new Mac news site.

  • Jason Dieter

    Must be a slow apple week…

  • Luke Dormehl

    I can’t speak on behalf of Rob LeFebvre, but as another writer for Cult of Mac, here’s the rationale as I understand it: forget “cult” meaning a small cult-like following for a niche computer company; here in 2014 the idea is that it should be short for the Culture of Mac. Over the years, I’ve noticed tons of friends who are into Apple products — be they customers, developers, Apple employees, etc. — are also interested in a lot of related topics that come under the same upmarket lifestyle category: whether that means luxury watches, coffee, high-end audio equipment, etc.

    While the focus is still squarely on Apple news, this is an effort to branch out and showcase some of the other things that will possibly be of interest to Mac and iOS fans. Apple, after all, was never the techie purist computer company: it was the tech company that made its name by appealing to graphic designers, artists, writers, musicians etc. Will we stop covering Apple news? Certainly not. Will there be missteps along the way? Of course there will. But I’d personally rather see original content out there that isn’t disseminated across every single Apple blog in existence.

    Besides, it’s easy to skip these stories if they don’t appeal. ;)

    I’m not trying to be argumentative here — just trying to chip in with what I take to be the explanation for covering this (pretty awesome) TV series.

    • FlavoredAir

      While I see where you’re going with that thought, one needn’t be an Apple fan to like True Blood, and one needn’t be a True Blood fan to like Apple products.

      What I mean to say is, there really isn’t any actual crossover. This is the same as trying to figure out why the Syfy Channel shows WWE – the primary demographic for Syfy programming is different than that of the primary demographic for WWE.

      In Syfy’s case, however, they show it because their parent company couldn’t find a channel with, ah, shall we say… “disposable programming” to replace with WWE.

      Edit: That said, though, I don’t come to Cult of Mac or Cult of Android for True Blood. I come for news about Apple & Android devices and related software/products. Not entertainment news. Please just stay topical. If you want to write about True Blood, submit articles to io9.com.

    • xocnayr

      Luke,

      Thanks for your comment I see where you are coming from but if thats the direction Cult of Mac would like to go then I think they should follow suit with sites like Lifehacker who when they want to branch out the simply start a new site using the same format and add it to their sister blog list.

      This would be pretty simple to make a Cult of TV or Cult of tube or something like that …. and I should also add this

      I dont think if I had been reading these every monday from the beginning of my cult of mac viewing days I would be as upset. But to start Op-Ed pieces on the final year of an eight year long series seems silly. To have someone tell me to “vote with my feet” come on!
      i like cult of mac but i dont come here for this

  • xocnayr

    I assume that Cult of Mac is letting Rob LeFebvre write these because all this other articles about tech are useless too….. Shoulda known that some guy in Alaska would think that writing about True Blood on a tech site was Cool…. they did produce Sara Palin …………. see cult of mac this is the shitty, stupid, ignorant comments you get because you post dumb Entertainment???? articles. KNOCK IT OFF

    • Rob LeFebvre

      Seriously? A reference to Sarah Palin because I live in Alaska? How is that relevant?

      Look, guys, we write about stuff that isn’t specifically Apple-related as some extra fun for people who enjoy reading about nerd culture. Comics, games, TV shows, movies – they’re all offered up in fun. If you don’t like the posts, by all means vote with your feet and don’t read them. If you think the quality of tech posts is awful, skip them. If Cult of Mac is not longer the bastion of ONLY the news you’d like to read, then there are quite a few other sites out there.

      Personally, though, I think we do a damn good job of covering the news, Apple and otherwise, and I think most of our readers appreciate the subtle addition of a few culture items. I’ve gotten emails and read comments that say as much, and I can’t help but notice that many of these posts you’re calling out get plenty of viewers, and only a few complainers.

      And, look, I know it’s the internet and it’s super easy to be mean, but if you’ve got nothing nice to say…

      • David Bman

        If you guys want to be taken seriously as a geek culture site, you picked the wrong name. It’s like me walking into an italian restaurant and being pitched a new TV- if I wanted a new TV, I’d go somewhere more appropriately named.
        Telling people to “vote with your feet” and leave the site is a really terrible way to respond to criticism, most of which is decently well worded- you picked the most annoying one to respond to because it was low hanging fruit. The fact that you’re responding to criticism like this by saying that you’re totally right, that if I don’t like it I can leave, and that I shouldn’t say anything because it’s “mean” is not only unprofessional, it’s immature.

      • Rob LeFebvre

        So, if you walked into that Italian restaurant and they still had delicious Italian food, but also had a sign advertising a new TV, you’d never frequent the restaurant again?

        And honestly, why not admit that you have a choice in the site you choose to get your Apple news from? You totally do – if we’re not doing it in a way that makes you happy, by all means go somewhere that does. That’s not immature, it’s realistic. While I’d rather have you stick around for the nerd culture and the Apple stuff (which outnumbers posts that you criticize by a large amount), but if it’s not your preference, that’s as it may be.

        I personally like sites that cover lots of things that I’m interested in. You may not. It’s all good. Just don’t attack writers for where they live, ok? THAT is immature.

      • David Bman

        If I walked into that Italian restaurant and a TV was on the menu just like all of the other food, I wouldn’t be crazy not to come back.

        My criticism isn’t that there are sites out there that I can get Apple news from. It’s that if I go to one whose own name implies that it’s only Apple news, I’m annoyed when there is a post about True blood.

        Cult of Mac is one of the best sites for Apple and technology news and reviews. I’d rather the focus of Cult of Mac be focused on Apple and tech rather than having to find a different site that will focus on it, but doesn’t have as good writing and skepticism (i.e. TUAW).

      • Rob LeFebvre

        I hear ya, man. It’s a totally valid point of view. :)

      • xocnayr

        Rob…. Me referencing Sarah Palin coming from the same state that you are from is WAY more relevant than you posting about a TV show that has nothing to do with tech or Apple in any way.
        I assume you are Editor-in-Chief of Cult of Mac because telling me and any one else that complains about your dumb True Blood post to “vote with my feet” means you must believe you are more important to the site than its viewers, I disagree with you … here is something else you need to know as you stick your chest out with pride about the pieces you write. Just so you know if one person takes the time to write a post or comment on your True Blood or any other piece. The golden Marketing rule is (for every one there are ten that feel the same…..) note, there are no positive comments saying “yeay more true blood posts on Cult of Mac!!!!!!!!!!!

        then to post something like this….I think most of our readers appreciate the subtle addition of a few
        culture items. I’ve gotten emails and read comments that say as much
        Prove it!!!! show us all the emails and comments you get about your non tech related posts
        also tuck your emotions back in and don’t end your note with “if you’ve got nothing nice to say”

        so you know i made the as you called it IMMATURE comment because I wanted to get the attention that the first comment I left a few weeks back didnt get….
        Guess what dummy????? It worked ;)

        and yes it is immature its the internet

        if you think i wouldnt say this to your face you would be wrong I just wouldnt fly to BFE to do it

      • Rob LeFebvre

        Hah. I love it. Glad to see you’re still with us.

      • xocnayr

        I have that thing called a job although i am guessing you thought I was some punk unemployed kid posting on my summer break from my parents place in the Hamptons

        I am still waiting for your “proof” of the emails and comments you get

    • xocnayr

      and i should apologize to anyone except Rob as it was morning and i type without proof reading most of the time sooooooooo “this other articles” was suppose to be “his other…”

  • xocnayr

    I think its funny you take the time to reply and favorite to my tweets but you cant seem to find ALL those emails praising your non tech posts

  • xocnayr

    FYI to all who see or read these posts
    I think we shouldnt Blame Cult of Mac persay I mean its their fault but I just took a moment to look and Rob does a really swell job of game posts on the site. Infact thats pretty much all that I could see in the archive of his posts very good gamer posts.

    He is however responsible for all of the non tech, non apple posts including but not limited to well lets look at the last 30 days…

    Youtube post … shameless note that “he has a band” haahahahha no one cares

    True Blood post (no spoiler alert)

    Oh look at that some thing about what comic book characters should be made into movies

    Game
    Game

    Zero Theorem Movie trailer post this belongs in a sci fi fan site or somewhere else

    Game
    Game
    Game

    True Blood Post (no spoiler alert)

    post about guitar pedal ( this one for me is borderline if it belongs on CoM )

    Game

    Oh whats this a post about a TV show Elementary

    Post about a comic book… Wonder woman

    snap guys something relevant an Ipad Case

    Game

    A post about social media this one is borderline but i guess it could pass its lazy but it is techy

    True Blood Post (no spoiler alert)

    Game

    Virtual reality post

    Hunger Games Mocking Jay post

    Game

    Game

    True Blood Post (no spoiler alert)

    True Blood Post (no spoiler alert)

    Game

    Games
    Game
    Game

    Thunderbold drive post and not a bad one

    Game hardware post

    Game

    Boogio post

    hahahhahah Gardian of the Galaxies post

    and a game post

    So in summary I think its not Cult of Mac we need to be angry with its just one writer who thinks that we desperatly need to come to this site to get his view on all things in the entertainment industry

    Rob we are still waiting to see your proof of all the emails of support you get because
    Funny thing is i see mostly negative comments and Holy crap!!!!! almost all of them come right off of the only non tech posts of yours hmmmmmmmmmmm
    i think you be fibbin

    shame shame

    • Rob LeFebvre

      This will probably be my last reply to this thread, because I’m all for letting you say what you need to say, but wow, way to get personal.

      I’m the Culture Editor here at Cult of Mac. I was the Games and Tips Editor before that. It’s my job to write these things, and my editors asked me to write on these topics. I also write a weekly hardware review, which, like you noticed, sometimes has to do with things not directly Apple-related, like that amazing guitar pedal.

      I send any praising emails and/or complaining ones to my editors, who you may definitely email directly about my job performance. I have no need to prove to you that I’ve been asked to write about the topics you’re complaining about, nor that some folks like them.

      Thanks for your participation in this free, open dialogue, but I think we get your point. No need to keep attacking, here and on Twitter. Thanks.

      • xocnayr

        Rob did I attack you on twitter???? didnt you tweet “Ryan, I Love you”, were you just trying to be a smartass? One thing you should probably know by now its best not to join in on a string of commentors about your post. We post so that Cult of Mac editors or whomever sees them, that we are not pleased with the non tech post specifically your posts on True Blood, A non tech, non apple related show about Vampires Based around a Love Triangle-ish of a Warewolf, Vampire, Fairy and a Shifter (yeah im actually a big fan of TB). When you jump in and try and defend yourself you look really lame.
        Also im an asshole and I take pride in that, so when I tell you that I was not attacking you personally believe me It was your work or select choice of subject matter that I was attacking. This is the internet and you yourself write articles for people to read and guess what Rob? This is what happens when the people dislike what you write.

        The issue I have with you now is that you make some Grandiose statement of all the praising emails and comments about these posts. I will email your editors and most of that email I will just guide them to the comments on all non tech posts. Which you may want to go revisit yourself so the next time you get a slue of these (im guessing next Monday) you wont be so quick to say that “many people email me and post about how they like the non tech posts”(sic)

        Again there was nothing personal in my last email I Wrote down all your posts from the last 30 days. You need to check your feelings at the door when it comes to open comment threads ON THE INTERNET.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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