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'True Blood' Recap: Sun-Kissed

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The episode "Life Matters" in a nutshell:

What happened:

  • Bill finds a way to prevent his vision from coming true
  • Terry’s friends pay tribute at his funeral
  • Jason confronts Sarah for her misdeeds

Body count: 1 VIP; many others

Nudity count: 3

New people and places: None

Best line: "I really don’t see what was the point of that." — Grandma Bellefleur

What's the deal with... Eric flying off? Where did he go?

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Like many of its HBO siblings, “True Blood” gives us a doozy of a penultimate episode. Sure, it was no Red Wedding, but there was an awful lot going on this week. Almost all of the storylines converged, in a good way, at the camp/factory.

But better than that was the time spent at Terry’s funeral. The soldier/cook was just a supporting character, but his very humanity — troubled, depressed, guilt-ridden — is something “True Blood” needed and will miss sorely.

Without the regular ol’ humans, all the vampires, werewolves, werepanthers, shifters, fairies, witches, warlocks, ghosts, and whatnot wouldn’t mean anything.

Terry’s funeral

If it weren’t such a depressing event, Terry’s funeral service could count as a who’s who of Bon Temps. Tara’s mom, Lettie, makes an appearance with Rev. Daniels. Mrs. Fortenberry is there, as well, with news on Hoyt (he’s good, has an ugly girlfriend). And Sookie zaps in from fairy land, where she’s left a recovering Warlow.

Terry’s friends and relatives get up to talk about the man they all loved. Andy recalls how messed up Terry was after the war. He went to coax him out of the woods/treehouse with beer, but didn’t know what kind Terry liked. Apparently, Raging Bitch IPA is his fave! (And it’s totally a real thing — you can check with Flying Dog brewery).

Sam reminisces about trying to hire Terry, who did not really want a job. Lafayette laughs about how a clueless Terry burned the fries his first day. Portia wistfully recounts swinging with her cousin.

Next up should be Arlene, but the widow isn’t quite ready. After reading her thoughts, Sookie runs up to the podium. Oh dear, we and the rest of the town say. She just comes out and admits to being a telepath (how funny would it have been if she’d been like, “I know everyone of y’all are just wondering if there’s an open bar after this”?).

[Related: Read Our Recap of Last Week's 'True Blood']

Instead, Sookie proves her unending capacity for kindness, and tells a story about the day Arlene and Terry met. She was a put-upon waitress without an ounce of sympathy for the bumbling cook. But after meeting, Sookie read his thoughts — that Arlene was “the prettiest woman I ever saw.”

“He loved you from the second you walked into his life,” Sookie says. Sob!

Sitting back down, she gets comfort from Alcide, who’s there because… well, we’re not sure why he’s there except for being friends with Sookie and Sam. But it’s cool, with us and with the ladies of Bon Temps, who note that he “smells like a man.”

Finally, Arlene musters up the courage to give her eulogy. She flashes back to when she gave birth to little Mikey. He wouldn’t breastfeed, so she fretted something was wrong with him and that he was evil just like his biological dad, Rene.

But Terry put aside his wackiness for a few moments to be the calm, cool, collected man of any woman’s dreams. He leads her in a breathing exercise and assures her that babies aren’t born bad.

“I love this family,” he says. “I love it so much.”

Just as Rev. Daniels is about to wrap things up, Big John steps forward. If you don’t know who Big John is, you are not alone. We looked him up, and it seems he’s been a background character at Merlotte’s. In any case, he sings a haunting rendition of a song called “Life Matters,” and it’s just perfect.

The funeral concludes with the 21-gun salute and the folding of the American flag. And as much as she protested it, now Arlene is grateful for the courtesies.

RIP, Terry. Life matters; humans matter. You mattered.

Sun stroke

A 1,000-year-old vampire is on the loose in the daytime, and that can’t be good news for anybody. In fact, Eric — sun-shielded from drinking Warlow’s blood — immediately zips over to the factory/camp and pulls a guy’s, uh, private parts out. Ouch. Double ouch.

Meanwhile, Bill is hot on Eric’s tail, trying to find some way of saving their friends himself.

Eric starts to free all the vampires in the Gen Pop rooms, and in the female area, he finds one somewhat-drained Jason Stackhouse. Now, normally Eric wouldn’t really care about Jason’s well-being, but having been a guard, he knows how to get around and where their friends are.

So Eric gives Jason some of his blood to deal. “Well, you are in for a treat,” Eric smirks. “When you dream of me, dream of nice things.”

Oh, if he doesn’t, we will!

As Jason leads the way, Eric collects Pam’s therapist Dr. Finn and Fangtasia bartender Ginger (he finds her by her distinctive, loud scream).

[Related: 'True Blood's' Jessica, Deborah Ann Woll, Speaks Out on the Prophecy]

But will they make it on time? Sarah Newlin is climbing to the roof and manually opening that sun door. Jessica, Tara, Pam, James, Willa, and the others will be toast at any moment.

Except… when Eric and Jason burst into the observation area, they find the most unbelievable sight. All of their vampire friends feeding on Bill! Guess he figured he was the next best thing to Warlow. He’s prevented the awful vision, and he did it all by himself! Gold star for Bill!

With the sun-shielding blood in their systems, the vamps start frolicking like little kids high on cotton candy. Well, not ALL of the vamps: Eric zooms in and pulls aside Steve Newlin. “Please, I was weak, but I won't be in the future,” Steve begs, trying to apologize for, well, pretty much everything.

Doesn’t work. Eric shoves him in the sun and Steve bursts into flames, with a horrified Sarah peering down at him.

Meanwhile, after Pam wonders if they’ve killed everybody, Jason realizes that he needs to go after Sarah. He chases her down off the rooftop and to her car, but even though he gets her into a vulnerable position, Jason can’t do it. He can’t quite pull the trigger. Sarah lives to see another day. Booooooo!

So long, farewell

All our vampire friends are partying like it’s spring break. But just as Jess is making out with super-cute James, she hears a voice — it’s Bill. They left him behind.

He’s on the verge of death when Jess finds him talking to the three Lilith visions. They want him to let go and come with them, but Bill’s not quite ready for that. James, who followed Jess, suggests they give him their blood. After all, they’re feeling pretty good after he gave them blood. Why not return the favor?

It seems to work, as Bill returns to the sunlight with all the other vamps. All except one — Pam notices Eric is not there.

She spies him watching their little parade with a rueful smile on his face. A terrible thought enters Pam’s mind.

“Don’t you dare leave me!” she declares.

But all Eric does is smile again. And then he takes off in flight. Never to be seen again?

That had better not be the last time we see Eric Northman. Seriously, seas will churn, the skies will turn black, and a screeching cry will sweep the nation.

Eric, we’ll see you in next week’s finale. Or else.

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"True Blood" airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.

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