True Blood, Ep. 7.09, “Love is to Die” stages the story for series’s end

True Blood, HBO, Love is to Die

True Blood, HBO, Love is to Die

True Blood, Season 7, Episode 9, “Love is to Die”
Written by Brian Buckner
Directed by Howard Deutch
Airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO

On this week’s True Blood, Jessica runs to Hoyt for comfort, Brigette spends the night with Jason, Pam gives Sarah a makeover, and Eric negotiates the peace between Sookie and Bill.

With only one episode left in the series, True Blood makes it clear in “Love is to Die” that it’s ready for the end. Couples are splitting up, reuniting, or just beginning, people are leaving town, and all of this season’s story threads are being whittled down in a promising and reassuring way–it’s unlikely the series finale will be disappointing after a season this good.

“Love is to Die” is mostly a preparation for the end, and it’s a good episode despite very little actually happening (it’s mostly a continuation of last week’s episode; both are setting the stage for the finale). Ever since the rescue at Fangtasia’s, the action has been largely pushed aside in favor of introspective character moments, and this episode is no different.

One of the episode’s most emotionally-moving moments happens in the cold open, with Jessica and Sookie reacting to Bill’s refusal to live. Their hurt, angry reactions are spot-on, but Deborah Ann Woll steals the scene from everyone with her portrayal of a devastated Jessica asking to be released. The moment is very, very sad, and it essentially functions as a final goodbye between Jessica and Bill. Their relationship has been one of the best on the show, especially given how much both characters have transformed and developed in the course of seven seasons. The pair have gone through a lot together, and it’s heartbreaking to witness the relationship’s (probable?) end.

Jessica’s heartbreak leads to perhaps one of the best developments to happen all season: the reunion of Jessica and Hoyt. Honestly, when Hoyt left town, it seemed like that storyline was over and done, but having Hoyt return was a brilliant move. This season, the Hoyt-Jessica-Jason love triangle of past (now a square thanks to Brigette) has gotten far more (and far better) emotional payoff than it ever did before. All of these characters who’ve been around since the beginning, or at least for the majority of the show, deserve happy endings, but it’s so much better when the happy endings come in the form of a lot of reflective thinking and true-to-character decisions. Even the connection between Jason and Brigette is paying off in a way that didn’t previously seem possible, and Jason is showing quite a lot of growth (mostly in the form of not sleeping with Brigette immediately, but still, progress). Oh, and if anyone deserved a chance to escape Bon Temps and be happy, it’s definitely Sam. But all of the Bon Temps residents deserve a slice of happiness after so much craziness and tragedy.

Also, the way the director and writers choose to portray Hoyt and Jessica’s reunion, by showing the visual but allowing Jason’s explanation to provide the soundtrack, is perfect. Again, it’s far more emotional payoff than the original storyline ever hinted possible, and it works extraordinarily well.

Arguably the main relationship of the series, however, is the one between Bill and Sookie. For better or for worse, the show clearly hasn’t forgotten that. The show even brings Eric on board, though Bill’s reasoning for not curing himself still feels a little flat and somewhat selfish. Here’s to hoping the show resolves Bill’s death wish in a satisfying way (though it’s unclear which choice, killing him off or keeping him alive, will be more satisfying). 

Also worth mentioning is the hilarious and cringe-worthy sex scene between Eric and Ginger. Clearly True Blood hasn’t lost it’s touch for quirky and ridiculous humor after so many years. And lastly, Nathan Barr’s music has been truly beautiful this season, though it’s been so understated and subtle that it’s hard to notice it. The music complements each scene incredibly well and often adds an extra dose of emotional depth and levity (particularly, in this episode, to the cold open scene and the scenes between Jessica and Hoyt). Barr’s done a great job this season and throughout the course of the entire series. 

“Love is to Die” is a very fitting penultimate episode. It’s going to be hard to let go of these characters after watching them for so long, but the show seems poised to truly deliver an excellent, and emotionally-satisfying(!) ending next week.

Only one more episode left! Are you ready?

Bonus: The end credits song is “Love is to Die” by Warpaint.

 

Ashley Laggan

 

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