‘Thank You’ offers fans a graceful, defanged goodbye to True Blood

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It's hard to say goodbye. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO
#GoodbyesSuck Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

It’s time, Tru Believers, to watch the very last episode of HBO’s vampire romantic drama, True Blood.

Overall, this final episode is slow and sweetly-paced, funneling down from the crazy, too-many-characters and plot lines of the past several seasons to a gentle, musing (and ultimately narratively safe) tale of people trying to find themselves and growing up in the process.

Luckily, since this is TV, they all eventually do. Hoyt and Jessica, Jason and Bridgette, and — of course — Bill and Sookie all find their own version of a happy ending, with very few surprises along the way; it’s a very safe finish to seven seasons of fangbangery.

As always, spoilers ahead. So keep reading at your own peril.

True Blood services fans in penultimate episode, ‘Love Is To Die’

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Seething along with Eric Northman. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO
Seething along with Eric Northman. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

Beginning just moments after the shocking end of last week’s episode of True Blood, the final season’s second-to-last entry tightens down on the remaining relationships: Sookie and Bill. Hoyt and Jessica. Eric and Pam (and Ginger!). Jason and new girl. A little Lafayette and James, a tiny smattering of Arlene and Keith. Couples are the way to go in Bon Temps.

Once again, we’ve got character dialogue that sounds like a love letter to the fans from the writers of this HBO-powered vampire drama that airs Sunday nights.

“As much as I appreciate compelling character drama,” says Pam in full sarcasm mode, “but the Yakuza are upstairs, so need I remind you to keep it the f*ck down, volume-wise?”

Spoilers below, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Love conquers all (even vampire glamour) in True Blood episode “Almost Home”

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Violet is regal in her pretty new torturer's dress. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO
Violet is regal in her pretty new torturer's dress. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

As the eighth of the planned ten episodes in this final season of HBO vamp-drama, True Blood, “Almost Home” brings more storylines to a close, weaning us off the Bon Temps drama gently, with a few fun explodey bits along the way.

Eric and Pam get the lowdown on Mr. Gus’ final solution to the Nu Blood plan to total market domination, while Hoyt, Jason and Jessica start to clean up their complications. The missing kids and jealous vampire story comes to an abrupt yet satisfying end, and Sookie does all she can to help find a cure for her true love, Vampire Bill.

Be warned! Spoilers abound below, but as this is another talky episode, for the most part, we’re going to keep it short and to the point.

True Blood keeps the exposition coming in episode 7, “This May Be The Last Time”

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A tender moment. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO
A tender moment. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

It’s another episode full of story set up and a ton of talking this week on True Blood, the HBO vampire romance-drama that’s now seven episodes into it’s final season.

The plot moves inexorably on toward some sort of conclusion, but seems to be more of an exercise in arranging characters so that they can fall in love and have sex with each other. Eric and Pam continue their search for Sarah Newland, Holli and Andy keep looking for Adilyn and Wade, Sookie still holds out hope that there will be a cure for Bill, who she infected with the Hepatitis-V virus her own darn self.

Here’s hoping that the endless plot devices slow down and merge into a series finale we can all be excited about in the next three episodes before it’s all over and done with.

Keep reading to see all the spoiler-y detail of this week’s episode of True Blood.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn in True Blood’s ‘Karma’

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Violet is angry, like usual. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO
Violet is angry, like usual. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

It’s time for the various residents of Bon Temps to face the music. Karma’s a bitch, and in the latest episode of the final season of this hit vampire romance TV show from HBO, we’re gonna watch most of the main characters deal with the consequences of their past behavior and poor choices. Andy, Holly, Bill, Sam, Sookie: Each of these True Blood staples have to stand up and own their life choices.

This is a pretty expository episode, so we spend a lot of time watching characters explain their situations in sometimes excruciating detail. Let’s hope that our karma for watching the show will be some more action-packed and hilarious scenes in the upcoming shows left in the season, rather than a payback for following the show for so long. We still have faith, though.

Spoilers abound below, so be warned. Find out what happened on last night’s episode after the jump.

8 Hollywood vampires who broke the mold

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FULLSCREEN

Nothing's better than a bloody surprise.

If there’s one thing we like more than vampires, it’s vampires that surprise us. Forget about your grandpappy's Brylcreemed Transylvanian counts, the bloodsuckers who really matter here in 2014 are the ones that break the established rules -- whether that's being a redneck vampire biker or a pistol-packing model, inflicting nocturnal death on werewolves.

With the last season of True Blood playing out at the moment, the time is right to take a gander at the characters that have changed our ideas about what a vampire should be. Who made the cut? Take a look through our ghoulish gallery to find out.

Caleb and Mae (Near Dark)

We’ve seen a few different redneck vampire characters now, but in 1987 — when the dregs of the Hammer Horror were still a (relatively) fresh memory -- Caleb and Mae, the vampires from Kathryn Bigelow’s horror western Near Dark were unlike anything most audiences had seen. For one thing, Caleb especially isn’t a killer: something that makes him a preview of the later soft vampires of the Twilight series. The rest of the film’s vampish cast are a little bit different too: a mix of classic vampire, cowboy, and biker. It’s a strange mix — but it somehow works.

Lestat (Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles)

Lestat’s a tricky one. Today we think of the brooding, tortured, slightly foppish vampire as almost as much a part of vampire legend as the whole stake-through-the-heart, dislikes-garlic aspects of the traditional lore. Not so. While vampires always possessed a slightly sexy edge, it took Anne Rice’s 1976 novel and subsequent movie adaptation Interview With the Vampire to reimagine these monstrous bloodsuckers as the kind of perennially stylish heartthrob we think of today. Definitely a mold-breaker.

Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Originally I was going to include Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Angel on this list, but all he really did was take the Lestat model and add an (admittedly cool) dose of action hero on top of the brooding antihero model. Instead, consider Spike: The bleach-blond cockney punk turned what should have been a disposable character into one of Buffy’s most memorable players.

Buffy’s vampires tended to stick to established vampire lore, but remixed the archetypes in all sorts of inventive ways. Spike started breaking the mold by being a one-off character who turned into a series regular thanks to his surprising popularity. He continued to surprise us from there.

Selene (Underworld series)

Underworld’s Selene was what would happen if Keanu Reeves in The Matrix was vampirized thanks to a quick bite on the neck in between bullet-time sequences. Well, it would be if Reeves was a sexy lady with child-birthing hips and silver bullets. The Underworld movies may have been a bit of an incoherent mess, but the techno-inspired, leather-wearing, werewolf-gunning Selene was as far from the helpless Mina Harker female vampire as possible. Like many of the vampires on this list, it was a combination that worked bizarrely well.

Edward Cullen (Twilight series)

You almost hate to include Edward Cullen and the rest of Twilight’s sparkly vampires on a list of vamps who broke the mold, but there’s no doubt that Stephenie Meyer’s vampire saga broke with a few key aspects of bloodsucker lore: namely the whole vulnerability to sunlight thing.

While not an original part of the vampire myth (they were more active at night, but not actually afraid of the sun), this death-by-sunlight angle been included in almost every vampire story since Count Dracula appeared in the 19th century. Breaking with it not only changed Twilight by ridding its characters of a classic vamp weakness, it also ditched the whole “creature of the night” aspect for something altogether friendlier. For shame!

Eli (Let the Right One In)

Twists to the vampire legend don’t come much more heartbreaking than Eli, the female lead of 2008’s Let The Right One In. Taking the form of a lonely young girl, Eli befriends bullied 12-year-old Oskar, who is totally unaware that his new pal is anything but an equally troubled child. Their resulting friendship is troubling, surprisingly tear-jerking and unlike anything seen in other vampire movies before or since.

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Deacon Frost (Blade)

Forget Wesley Snipe’s tax-evading vampire hunter (wait, I think that’s mixing up a few details!) — the really original character in Blade was Deacon Frost. The idea of yuppie-as-vampire had been explored in metaphor previously, but this is the first time I remember literally seeing it up on screen. Apart from the whole bloodsucking thing, is there anything about Deacon Frost that would seem out of place at a Silicon Valley drinks mixer? His murder of the vampire elders in the House of Erebus was a signal moment for ushering in the vampire v2.0.

Henry Fitzroy (Blood Ties)

Where to start with Henry Fitzroy, the most memorable character from supernatural drama series Blood Ties? The illegitimate son of Henry VIII, this Renaissance vampire winds up living in Canada in the 21st century, working as a graphic novel artist set on charming the pants off a female private investigator.

Unlike seemingly every other romantic vamp, Fitzroy’s not an angst-ridden teen, but a smooth chick-magnet/charmer who gets all the ladies. In a further departure from regular vamp lore, Fitzroy rarely kills humans and drinks only from those who are willing to offer him enough blood to sustain him.

Grief offers no relief in True Blood’s ‘Lost Cause’

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Bill promises his bride that he'll survive the war. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO
Bill promises his bride that he'll survive the war. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

This week, the residents of Bon Temps confront their grief head on. Sookie mourns Alcide, Lettie Mae mourns Tara, and Arlene mourns Terry. Andy makes the biggest decision of his life, while Eric and Pam continue their quest to find — and kill — Sarah Newland, the crazy Christian we all love to hate.

This fifth episode of the final season of HBO’s True Blood series focuses on love and loss, while we all start to come to terms with the death of some of our favorite characters as well as the end of the long-running television show. It’s a more restrained — and less hilarious — episode than last week, but we can only hope that we’re being set up for more over the top fun in the weeks ahead.

Spoilers ahead – you’ve been warned!

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

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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.”

True Blood is an unapologetic killer with ‘Fire In The Hole’

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Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO
Sookie is the bait in this trap. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

True Blood’s seventh and final season continues tonight with the third episode of the season: “Fire In The Hole.”

Death comes to us all, and that’s no empty promise with this series. Reverend Daniels calls it out: “Death is a dark and blinded motherf-cker, whether you see it coming or you don’t,” he tells Sam Merlotte.

This week’s episode is all about love. Sookie’s unequal love for Alcide, Pam’s love for Eric, Sam’s love for his lost fiancee and unborn child, Reverend Daniel’s love for Lettie May, and Andy’s love for his daughter Adilyn. All the characters act out of love and sometimes lust, but even the good guys are going to need more than blind faith in each other to survive.

Spoilers below, so consider yourself warned.

‘I Found You’ brings zombies, romance and mob justice to True Blood

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The zombie-vamps are coming. Photo: Tony Rivetti/HBO
The zombie-vamps are coming. Photo: Tony Rivetti/HBO

Lots going on in this week’s episode of HBO’s vampire-romance television show, including answers on Eric’s whereabouts, more info on the infected, zombie-like Hep-V vampires, and a whole bunch of callbacks to the first season of the show.

If you missed last week’s recap, head on over and read up on the first episode of the seventh and final season of this HBO cult-hit, or read our massive recap of the first six seasons to catch up on the whole story, loosely based on Charlaine Harris’ bestselling novels, so far.

Be warned – there be spoilers ahead, so if you don’t want to know what’s going on in the world of Sookie Stackhouse, keep moving, folks.