A Look at “True Blood” Season 7, Episode 9: “Love is to Die”

This felt familiar. “Love Is to Die,” like other episodes this season, took us through familiar territory when next up is the series finale. What little good this episode had does not overshadow the mediocre.

Love Is to Die- Bill won't accept Sarah's blood

The episode begins right after Bill’s decision to not take Sarah’s blood. Everyone is understandably pissed, particularly Jessica and Sookie. Bill can’t explain it right now, but he’s accepted his fate and will take the true death. Sookie isn’t having that. She tells Bill that if he refuses the cure, he’s making a choice. Jessica sulks and Sookie smacks him twice when he refuses to explain himself. Before she can smack him three times a lady, Eric stops her. He then tells Bill not to tell anyone about Sarah- who is probably the only happy person among them right now.

Love Is to Die- Jessica tells Bill to release her

Before Bill can leave, Jessica demands that he release her, and she’s not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Bill approaches Jessica and reminds her that he never wanted to turn her into a vampire to begin with. After all, he only turned her because he killed a fellow vampire that tried to kill Sookie. Nevertheless, Bill is still proud of the vampire that Jessica has become. The vampire Jessica eventually became, anyway. He knows she’ll still flourish and, with that, he renounces their ties.

Not long after this, Sookie and Jessica stop by Sam’s, for some reason. They enter to find the home completely empty, save for two letters.

Love Is to Die- Sam and Nicole pack up and leave

As Sookie reads the one marked to her, we flash back to Sam and Nicole packing. Sam gave some serious thought about what Nicole said about Bon Temps being a crazy place to live. Even though Bon Temps is his home, Sam loves Nicole and wants to see his baby girl grow up. Why he’s still into Nicole baffles me, but I’ll get into that later. Sam believes that we have two lives: our own, and the one for our kids. And he won’t be too far- he and Nicole are just moving to Chicago!

Love Is to Die- Andy reads his goodbye letter from Sam

Meanwhile, business sucks at Bellefleur’s, though not like it’s been booming these past few days. Arlene decides to wait it out by having another party. You know, because a party worked so well the last time. Sookie enters and wishes to speak with Andy in private, as Sam’s second letter was addressed to him. She figured that Andy would want the privacy, but all Andy learns is that Sam resigned. That’s about it. Shortest ‘good-bye’ letter ever.

Love Is to Die- Jessica and James reconcile

James and Jessica take a moment to reconcile, though Jessica admits that what Lafayette said about her was spot-on: she doesn’t know much about James because she never took the time to ask. She apologizes for that, but that’s about it. After this, she takes off.

Love Is to Die- Hoyt and Brigette argue

Hoyt and Brigette are not only still around, but they’re bickering again. Brigette wants Hoyt to explain not just why he doesn’t want kids, but why Jessica seemed to be so into him, if he supposedly never met her. Hoyt does own up to seeing Jessica, but only to deliver Bill some of his blood. Brigette quickly apologizes for freaking out-

Love Is to Die- Jessica wants to explain herself to Hoyt

-but she gets her second wind when Jessica arrives. She’s not invited in, though. She tells the two that there’s a reason she remembers him, but not the other way around him. Brigette delivers her ultimatum: if Hoyt steps out the door to hear the rest of what Jessica has to say, they’re through. So as that relationship crumbles, Brigette makes a phone call to Jason. Outside, Jessica spills: Hoyt was the first man she truly loved. When he returned to Bon Temps, she just wanted him again. Selfish as that is, she at least owns up to it.

Love Is to Die- Arlene gives Sookie a pep talk on starting over

Sookie doesn’t join in on the fun, so Arlene plays therapist to Ms. Stackhouse, while also letting her know that she and Keith are taking things slow. Sookie asks Arlene how she’s able to start over so many times. Well, it helps when you get a vision from your dead husband. Sookie admits that she never forgot about Bill when she was with Alcide, but she’ll never do that again. A little late for that, Sookie.

Love Is to Die- Eric and Bill talk about Sookie again

Eric pops by Bill’s and talks about how much he wanted to give up living around the time that Pam found him. The Hep-V virus attacks more than the body; it goes after the spirit. Bill claims that he’s doing this all for Sookie, even if she can eventually love someone else. He then tells Eric about the fever dream he had of Sookie holding a shadow, void baby. She’d given birth to death, which is what vampires are. All Bill wants to do is set her free. However, since Sookie won’t listen to Bill, he wants Eric the Relationship Counselor to play mediator.

Love Is to Die- Hoyt knocks out Jason

Jason shows up and is quickly knocked on his ass by Hoyt. Well, that was a scene.

Love Is to Die- Brigette drives to Jason's place

He wakes up later in his police cruiser with Brigette at the wheel. This isn’t legal, but this is Bon Temps, so not like it really matters. Jason doesn’t need a hospital, either. He was only out for five minutes and no one would be working at the hospitals at this time of night, anyway. He tells Brigette, flat out, that the two are not going to have sex. Even though Brigette is heartbroken and just left Hoyt, Jason just needed to put it out there. Well, I give him this: he gave her fair warning.

Love Is to Die- Pam plans to turn Sarah back into a blonde

Since Pam needs something to do this week, she has the Yakuza bring Sarah upstairs so she can turn Ms. Newlin back into a blonde.

Love Is to Die- Jason helps Brigette with her flight troubles

At Jason’s place, Brigette is unable to secure a flight back to Anchorage. Jason asks about the gender of the person on the phone. When he learns that it’s a woman, Deputy Jason Stackhouse steps in and lets his magic work. He informs the woman that Bon Temps has been under attack these past few weeks and Brigette is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. All he wants is help. In a few moments, the woman on the phone emails Brigette the confirmation for her Delta flight. With his work done, he heads to the living room for some shut eye.

Love Is to Die- Hoyt and Jessica talk about why they broke up

For Hoyt and Jessica, the night has just begun. Hoyt asks Jessica that if the two of them knew each other before, why wasn’t Jessica ready back then? She admits that she was immature and hadn’t explored her dark side until she met him. And after Hoyt shot and killed Violet, Jessica saw a future for herself when she was on the verge of death. Again. When Jessica was on the verge of death again.

Love Is to Die- Pam works on Sarah's hair

While working on Sarah’s hair- seriously, Pam has nothing else to do- Pam talks about a young woman she once knew named Mary. Mary worked at a whore house and met Pam at the age of 16 or 17. She thought herself too good to be a whore. Pam believes Sarah sees herself as something similar, but once the world knows that she’s the cure, there will be a huge price on her.

Love Is to Die- Jason tells Brigette about Hoyt and Jessica

Brigette asks Jason about what he would have done if it had been a man on the phone. Good question, but Jason says he would have still tried. Jason has just always had a way with women, even back when he and Hoyt were young. Jason would always get the girl, but Hoyt would return to his mother. This all changed when Hoyt met Jessica. As we know, that went south and became even worse when Jason tried to justify having sex with Jessica. He feels that he deserved to get the hell kicked out of him by Hoyt, but he remembers something that Hoyt told him: Jason would never have what Hoyt and Jessica had because that was real.

Jason was just someone who thought with his dick. And because Hoyt wanted to forget, he wanted Jessica to glamour him so he’d forget about the both of them. So Hoyt never lied about not knowing Jessica- he just didn’t remember. And even though Hoyt and Brigette may have been an item for who knows how long, he was always meant to be with Jessica by the transitive property of happily-ever-after logic.

Love Is to Die- Hoyt and Jessica get it on

Oh, as this happens, Hoyt and Jessica get it on with swelling music playing in the background.

Love Is to Die- Eric talks to Sookie about Bill

The party at Bellefleur’s ends without incident. Sookie finds Eric waiting for her. He tells her to talk to Bill, but she’s scared. Absurd as Bill’s explanation is, Eric believes it will make sense to Sookie when she hears it from him. He offers her a lift.

Love Is to Die- Brigette and Jason do not have sex

Back at Jason’s, he and Brigette do not have sex, so they swap secrets. Worst thing that Brigette’s done was let someone cheat off of her test. And she never told a single person about it, either. I’d say alert the authorities, but Jason’s right there and not even sarcasm would be enough for this. Jason’s big secret is that he likes pink. Brigette wants a deeper secret, despite how simple it is to admit cheating on a test. But Jason relents: he would like to have kids, but he’s fearful that, if he had a daughter, she would meet someone who is just like him. Brigette comforts Jason, telling him that, contrary to what Hoyt said, there’s nothing missing in him.

Eric drops Sookie off at his please and bids her farewell. She heads in and takes Bill’s phone call. The two plan to meet up.

Love Is to Die- Eric and Ginger about to fuck

Meanwhile, at Fangtasia, a depressed Ginger is suddenly filled with anger when an equally angry Eric storms in. Ginger is livid that Eric didn’t tell her that he’s healed. Eric, however, is frustrated beyond belief at having to help other people with their relationship problems. He begrudgingly apologizes for not telling her that he’s cured. To make it up to her, the two are finally going to fuck. Just what Ginger wanted to hear. Where’s it going to take place?

Love Is to Die- Ginger and Eric fuck, sort of

On the throne. Ginger straddles him, just as she fantasized, and after a few moments of riding Eric Northman, Ginger climaxes herself to sleep.

Love Is to Die- Eric finds Pam and Sarah bound by the Yakuza

Now, onto what Eric originally came for: he searches for Pam, but doesn’t find her until he heads to the basement and sees Mr. Gus and the Yakuza have not only rebound Sarah, they’ve strapped Pam down with a stake above her. Gus asks if anyone knows about Sarah, and just before the stake can fall onto Pam, Eric admits that he told Sookie Stackhouse about the cure. Now all Mr. Gus needs is her address.

Bill, meanwhile, knocks on Sookie’s door as the episode comes to a close.

As we approach the series finale, this episode appeared to have the growing sense of finality. We’re done with side-plots like Lettie Mae and Lafayette digging in the yard or Violet not being a very good mini-villain. We’re focusing on a few plots and the writers want to bring closure to some of them. However, while I’ve said before that less is more, it should still be interesting to watch. Not a lot is explained when there should be simple explanations, Bill’s decision being the biggest of them.

Love Is to Die- Jessica and Hoyt

Confrontation and coming to terms with your fate were some of the central focuses of the episode, with Bill resigning himself to the true death. Even though we don’t know when our time on Earth ends, rather than try to make the most of it, some accept that the end is inevitable, so there’s no point in trying to fight it. On the other hand, inevitability doesn’t always have to be bleak, as it’s what drove Hoyt and Jessica back together again.

They, like others during this season, have been given a second chance to make amends to the people they’ve hurt and right their past mistakes. They’re choosing to acknowledge their wrongs, but also not dwell on them to ensure a happy future for themselves. Even though that is a bit selfish, as Jessica acknowledges, at least people who choose this option are making a conscious decision instead of just going along with whatever life throws at them.

Love Is to Die- Party

There are a few moments this week that just didn’t make sense. I must question why Arlene felt that it was time to have a party. It hasn’t been that long since the last one and nothing happened at this one at all. It could have just been the regulars hanging out at Bellefleur’s. No need to dress it up as a party when the last one ended in disaster. We get bits and pieces of information, such as Lafayette and James have bonded more off-screen, while Keith and Arlene want to take things slow. Sookie really didn’t have a reason to be there, especially since I don’t think she told anyone besides Andy that Sam had left.

Love Is to Die- Jessica and Sookie find Sam's goodbye notes

And on that, why did Sookie and Jessica just randomly decide to stop by Sam’s house, anyway? To talk about Bill? If so, it seems odd that he’d be the first person they go to, but it just felt like a way to get them there to find Sam’s letters. If Sam’s gone, fine. I’ve lost interest.

Love Is to Die- Pam stops Sookie from smacking Bill a third time

Sookie has every reason in the world to be angry at Bill. She put her life at risk-again- by learning about Sarah being the cure, but did it for the greater good of saving Bill’s life. For him to reject it felt not like just one, but two slaps to the face. There was real venom in her voice when she demanded that Bill at least try to justify himself, but to Sookie, this was an insult.

Another insult came too little, too late. Sookie admits that, while with Alcide, she never let Bill go. She vowed to never do that again. This makes Sookie’s relationship with Alcide feel like even more of a waste because she never truly grew close to or loved him.

Love Is to Die- Bill has no words

If Bill wants to be resigned to his fate, then fine, but spell it out better than “There are no words.” It’s as if he wants to die, but doesn’t want Sookie to hate him for it. When you don’t tell the people who care about you why you’re looking forward to death, you’re guaranteed a negative response, as Bill did. After the two appeared to have reconciled their differences, Bill making this decision after last week’s cliffhanger is a disappointment. That buildup resulted in him just feeling sorry for himself and vampires alike for the harm they cause humans. I’m not interested in joining this pity party.

As for the love square that is Jason, Brigette, Hoyt and Jessica, I guess it was only a matter of time before Hoyt and Jessica found their way back into each other’s arms. Truth be told, I’m fine with whoever Jessica ends up with, whether Hoyt or Jason. I don’t have a problem with the two rediscovering their love, but I do have a problem with the execution.

Love Is to Die- Brigette and Hoyt

First off, Hoyt and Brigette, at first, seemed to be a genuine couple that cared for one another. However, Hoyt’s time in Alaska seems to have hardened him and he’s become more of a dick, flipping out at the idea of having kids. If we had to see Hoyt and Brigette break up, I wish it hadn’t been done this way since the two genuinely seemed to care for one another. Then, once Jason and Jessica entered the equation, it’s like a switch flipped on and the two became irrational and short with one another.

The same goes with Jason, as I think not putting him with someone would have been a better idea. Why not just bring Hoyt back, and then have Jason and Jessica remind him of his past? Sure, it might have left Jason alone at the end of the day, but it’d be a bolder move than the two just switching ladies. But I’m not a television writer, so I have no idea what I’m talking about, really. A switch just seems too easy.

Love Is to Die- Jason discusses the conflict between himself, Hoyt and Jessica

Credit where it’s due, Jason has come a long way since the season and even this series began. Having a crazy vampire girlfriend may have helped push him faster than he’d like, but Violet’s antics definitely played a part in him re-evaluating his life. It was quite funny to see him and Brigette literally just lay in bed and talk. For all of Jason’s wild sex antics, the man showed some restraint. And though he’s not with Jessica anymore, I’m sure their friendship will remain intact.

Bill Turns Jessica

I don’t want to spend the series finale talking about every character, so I wanted to address Jessica for a minute. While watching this character grow, Jessica has slowly become one of my favorites of this show. It’s interesting to look back and watch where this character started and what’s brought her to this point. When we first met Jessica, she was a scared, Christian girl thrust into a situation that she had no control over. By no fault of her own, she wound up being bitten and turned into a vampire.

Jessica the Rebel

From there, we watched her grow from being a rebellious kid that’s trying to relearn how the world works, to becoming one of the most vital characters on the show’s run. She found love, almost met the sun and helped train Tara after Pam turned her into a vampire. She refused to leave Bill when he originally wanted to release her, but now, after watching him refuse to help himself, she readily took liberation into her own hands. Despite her spat with James, she did apologize for not giving him the attention he deserved. Though I wasn’t a fan of her sudden hunger problem or inability to forgive herself, Jessica has had a complicated, yet still entertaining life throughout the series’ run.

Love Is to Die- Jessica

Deborah Ann Woll has been both sweet and vicious when it comes to this character and I never got tired of watching her in this role. She can be menacing while embracing Jessica’s darker side, but in a seamless transition, she shows deep affection and care for those around her. One of my favorite performances on this entire program.

Love Is to Die- Eric the Relationship Counselor

Pam and Eric are fun to watch, but don’t get much to do this week. Pam’s here to work on Sarah’s hair and try conversing with the Yakuza, while Eric goes through hell as an impromptu relationship counselor.

Love Is to Die- Ginger climaxes herself to sleep

That said, at least Ginger finally got hers. The look of pure excitement and ecstasy when she rode Eric for a few seconds and climaxed herself to sleep was the most enjoyable part of the episode. She worked herself up to this moment and even got Eric to sit on the shitty chair, and it’s over before it even begins. That’s funny.

This was still a slow episode. What little good there is doesn’t make up for the uninspired and sometimes unexplained character motivations, lazy storytelling and telling us things that, as an audience, we already know about these characters. It’s the second to last episode! Give us a little credit!

Any questions, comments, concerns, issues or complaints? Would like to hear them, if’n you have them.

A Look at “Masters of Sex” Season 2, Episode 5: “Giants”

What are three things we want in live? Stability? Safety? Sex? Maybe a combination of all three? Well, that proves difficult for the characters in Masters of Sex, as this week’s “Giants” gives the characters some not so friendly reminders that even if they want to change, their questionable pasts will come back to haunt them.

Giants- Virginia and Libby with the baby

The episode begins with Libby and Virginia watching Baby John. Libby was in the area and stopped by Virginia’s while trying to get the baby to fall asleep. Virginia tells Libby that she hasn’t seen much of Bill recently, but that’s all about to change, according to Libby. She asks if Virginia knows about what is about to happen or if she’s given Dr. DePaul advanced notice. Even though Bill is picking up speed with his career, she worries that, given that this is the third hospital Bill’s been to, she doesn’t want him to screw it up.

Giants- Virginia meets Bill to discuss their affairs

At the Chancery Park Plaza Hotel, Virginia’s not in the mood for food when she finally arrives. She’s also none too ecstatic about Bill giving her the keys to her new office at Buell Green since Bill didn’t bother to run it by her first. However, even though Virginia may be on board, she still doesn’t have an official title. Though that can be decided on later, Virginia would prefer to know as soon as possible before upending her life since she still has two kids and doesn’t have the income that Bill is able to bring in. After all, she still has a great opportunity with Dr. DePaul, but Bill tells Virginia that Lillian probably doesn’t regard her that highly now that she knows about the two of them.

Giants- Betty suggests she and Gene adopt children

Gene heads down to sleep on the couch, ignoring Betty’s singing that, to his ears, reminds him of migrating geese. Betty’s insulted. After all, she was Miss Melba Snyder in her high school production of “Pal Joey” before she got booted out. Now, there’s a flashback I’d like to see. Gene is still sore because Betty lied, but he’s not giving Betty the reaction that she’d like: overt anger, yelling and that sort. Instead, he’s treated her with icy disregard. Betty still wants happiness, even if she can’t have children, but she is willing to adopt if it means that the two can have a family with kids that will be theirs. Gene warms to the idea, but needs to think it over. Yay, progress.

Giants- Bill shown around Buell Green by Dr. Charles Hendricks, played by Courtney B. Vance, and meets Dr. Cyril Franklin, played by Jay Ellis

The next day at Buell Green, Bill is shown around his office by Dr. Charles Hendricks, played by our second Law and Order: Criminal Intent alumni, Courtney B. Vance. Changes had to be made for Bill’s arrival, much to the chagrin of the other doctors. Bill’s new exam room is next door. Even though the staff may be unhappy, Bill assures Charles that he’ll soon bring in a steady stream of patients. He tells Charles that he needs an employment contract for Ms. Johnson, but contracts aren’t given to members of the support staff because their guarantee is week to week. However, Bill asks him to make an exception. Bill, don’t burn the bridge before you fully cross it.

We also meet Dr. Cyril Franklin, played by Jay Ellis, who specializes in gynecology. Cyril is a fan of Bill’s and followed his work in fertility. Bill, none too boastful, is glad to take any referred patients. A clearly taken aback Cyril changes the subject to Bill’s office, which might not be big, but at least Bill didn’t get booted out of his office to make room for the new employee, like Cyril did.

Giants- Lillian and Virginia argue

Over at Washington University, Lillian answers the phone because Virginia can’t be bothered. A man in mimeo has a ten minute window between jobs, so Virginia can bring him the paperwork. Virginia wants to talk about Virginia, though. More specifically, she feels that it doesn’t matter what she does on her own time as long as she does a good job. We’ll get into that later. Lillian says that it most certainly matters to Libby Masters. Virginia goes on the defensive, saying that her and Bill’s work is still work, as they’re tracking the same physiological data as their other patients.

If it never interfered before, why should it now? Is this to punish Virginia? Lillian says that Virginia did that herself, but was also capable of waiting for a job she earned by using her ‘abilities.’ Now she’s made it harder for women after her. Virginia, single mom extraordinaire, doesn’t have the money to wait around for the perfect job opportunity. She says that Lillian had it easier, prompting Lillian to say that Virginia is the girl whose upset that she didn’t get asked to prom by the boy she didn’t even want to go with. Not entirely sure why Lillian chose that as her analogy, but let’s go with it. Lillian gave her work to someone who could secure its future, as she would never trust it to Virginia, who wants responsibility, but would just follow Bill anyway. Virginia leaves in a huff. Lillian yells for Virginia to try and not perpetuate the sick belief that women need to open their legs to get a leg up! Oh, those poor other women in the office.

Giants- Sarah Silverman's Helen speaks with spirits

Suddenly, Sarah Silverman. Silverman’s character, Helen, uses her precognitions to speak with ghosts while Gene watches- the ghost in question belonged to a 93 year old man named Saul, or Paul, who choked on a chicken bone. Betty enters and is surprised to see Helen, a friend from her past, back when Helen used to read palms. Gene tells Betty that his friend, Al, would hit it off with Helen. Betty disagrees.

Giants- Virginia arrives at Buell Green

Virginia arrives at Buell Green and finds Bill’s office still stacked with tons of paperwork and unopened boxes. Staring at it won’t make it go away, Bill. Human Resources did manage to draw up a contract specifying Virginia’s employment. He then tells Virginia that he’s open to resume their sessions either in the exam room or the hospital. He’s flexible. Virginia wants a third option: stop. After all, aren’t the possibilities exhausted and it’s time to reassess their objectives? She then asks Bill if personal involvement is a condition of employment. After a few seconds of silence, Bill says no, but he meant yes.

Giants- Virginia tells Bill to strip

That night, at the hotel, Bill’s ready to go, but Virginia doesn’t remove a single article of clothing and is adamant about staying that way. Instead, she tells Bill to strip for her. Bill laughs, thinking this a joke, but Virginia does not flinch. Bill strips to his pants. Next up, Virginia wants him to touch himself, without sitting down. That’s probably a better way to do it if you’re trying to pound one out before you go to bed. That way, your chair doesn’t squeak, but I digress. Bill goes to work while Virginia asks what he’s thinking about and notes how quickly he closed his eyes. When Bill tells Virginia that he’s thinking of her, she beckons him forward, where he proceeds to go down on her.

Giants- Virginia can't help with directions

The next day, Errol, played by Cutter Garcia, is looking for radiology to drop off some X-Ray solutions and asks Virginia for directions, but obviously she has no idea where that is because she’s new. He has a quick, but uncertain glance at Virginia’s flier on the sex study. Following this, she gets to work at calling the patient list to provide the updated location.

Giants- Robert, played by Jocko Sims, talks to Libby about Coral

At House Masters, Libby receives a visit from Robert, played by Jocko Sims, who wants to talk about Coral before she arrives. See, every night, he asks Coral about her day and things are usually fine. Recently, however, Coral’s behavior has changed due to an incident involving having her hair washed. To the point, he’d like it if Coral went back to enjoying her days at House Masters. And there’s no need for her to know that Robert popped by, either.

Giants- Helen and Betty talk about their past together

Betty meets up with Helen, who is still upset about Betty breaking her heart years ago. Betty still believes that her marrying Gene was the best thing, but for her. Before that, neither woman would have a good future since they both secretly love women. Betty’s fucked a lot of men, but she won’t apologize for her past because now she has a hat for every day of the week, can eat beef bourguignon and lives in a home complete with gold faucets. Well, good for you, Betty. She doesn’t want Helen around, but it’s time for Helen to get the brass ring.

Giants- Mrs. Turnsworth, played by Melanie Paxton, isn't a fan of the Negro neighborhood

Back at Buell Green, Bill and Virginia talk with Mrs. Turnsworth, played by Melanie Paxton. Turnsworth is set to have another child, but, if possible, would prefer to be at home. Her husband, Earl, just got her a new car and she doesn’t want to leave it just parked for hours. Not in this neighborhood. It’s an El Dorado! Anything could happen to it. She also wants to know if Masters and Johnson intend to be at this current hospital for long, but Bill says Buell Green is a good hospital. Sheesh, lady, these Negroes work in a hospital. Do you really think they want to steal your car?

Giants- Libby confronts Coral about her talk with Robert

Libby confronts Coral on her unexpected visit from Robert. You know, exactly what Robert wanted. Libby knows what the world is like. After all, she’s older than Coral, if that wasn’t obvious by the obvious age difference. But Libby just wants Coral to be safe. She’s worried about her being with this Robert boy that threatened her. Seriously, Libby? Did he threaten to take your purse or something? Lucky for Robert, Libby won’t call the police, but she does want Coral to leave Robert. Coral agrees…for a moment, but she reconsiders after remembering that not only does she live with Robert, he makes her bad feelings go away when they’re in bed together, with his soft hands and lips. It’d be pretty hard to leave that. But it was worth considering. Coral then asks if Libby would like her to make both beds. Boom, score one for Keke Palmer!

Giants- Virginia suggests separating the data by race

Virginia sees that the flier she put up has been taken down. Not only that, she tells Bill that it will take considerable effort to get willing subjects. Hence, the two should prepare to lose their regulars. Virginia considers the idea of separating the data by race. Bill argues that they never did that before, but they also never had Negro patients before since they’d never been exposed to recruitment at a White hospital. Virginia just believes there may be a value in separate data since society thinks there’s still a difference. Oh, and a Mrs. Kennedy canceled her appointment and doesn’t want to reschedule. Guess she doesn’t want her car stolen, either.

Giants- Libby talks about sex being used as a way for people to make up

That evening, Libby, from her bed, tells Bill that sex is used as a way for people to make up and iron out their differences. Bill’s not so sure of that. He thinks Libby is angry with him, but she isn’t. So, the two have sex, and Bill misses Libby’s orgasm because she didn’t want to wake the baby. How very considerate of her.

Lillian receives a surprise pick-up from Virginia, while Libby tells Coral that she’ll clean up her bedroom.

Giants- Betty and Gene talk about Helen's gambling problem

While Gene is hard at work, Betty misses the meaning of the word subtlety as she begins vacuuming, something she rarely, if at all, does. When Gene stops her, Betty tells him that she’s just burning off anxiety. Oh, and newsflash, Helen’s not good at bathing. Like Napoleon and Josephine, the more she stank, the more he loved her. Betty doesn’t want Helen to sink her hooks into Al, especially since she loves to gamble and spend time at the horse tracks. Guess what? Al loves that, too! Thanks for being so honest, Betty!

Giants- Patient Penelope Drake, played by Jules Lambert

Patient Penelope Drake, played by Jules Lambert, is here to have her fertility history taken. However, some shouting from down the hall gets Bill and Virginia’s attention.

White man has Black man in choke hold because White man didn’t like how Black guy was apparently looking at his wife and might have tried to slip his hand into her purse. When the White taunts the Black, the Black throws a punch that ends up connecting with Bill.

Giants- Libby tells Bill about her bad day

When Bill explains it to Libby, he can’t believe how a bit of mixing can turn the best of men into Neanderthals. Guess what, Bill? Libby’s had a hard time, too. She got a visit from a large Colored man who banged on the door and threatened her! Banged?! Oh, for the love of-anyway, she mentions the Colored man’s accusation, prompting Bill to ask Libby whether she did force Coral’s head under the faucet. Libby gets defensive, wondering why he would take Coral’s side, but Bill is doing no such thing. He just wants the truth and says that Libby should apologize. Frankly, she got off easy.

Giants- Double Date

The double date goes as planned, as Helen hits it off with Al, played by Johnny Sneed, who owns a pepperoni business. Helen shares a tale about a time she was in Kentucky and bet on a horse named Beautiful Betty. The horse had the odds heavily stacked against it, at 13:1. She gave the ticket to Betty, who had been feeling blue that day, to prove that when the odds are against you, someone will always bet on you. Sounds like a neat story until we learn that the horse broke a leg and had to be shot. The girls laugh for quite a while. Seriously, ladies, it wasn’t that funny.

Betty heads to the powder room in tears, quickly followed by Helen. After a moment, the two kiss.

Giants- Patients separated by race

The next day, Bill sees that Cyril has separated the patients according to race, based on yesterday’s incident. Bill doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

Virginia, meanwhile, gets a phone call and heads to meet Lillian, who fainted on the floor of the ladies’ room and was found by a wandering 10 year old. Lillian could only be released to a responsible party and, quite frankly, she didn’t know who else to call.

Giants- Lillian and Virginia in car outside Lillian's house

When the two head to Lillian’s, rather than get out, Lillian just wants to sit in the car and talk. She has no plans to return to the hospital as a doctor. Patient, maybe, but not doctor. After all, her condition is worsening each day. She’s afraid for what’s ahead, but can’t afford to be upset.

Giants- Libby fails to apologize to Robert

That evening, at House Masters, Libby meets Robert and tells him she overreacted. Good. She just had a baby and is having a few moments. That’s fine, but Robert believes that Libby should apologize to Coral, who just happens to walk out. Libby, however, has no such intentions since Coral deliberately disobeyed her. Robert is disappointed, but reminds Coral that this is what to expect from when dealing with White people that are unable to take responsibility and do the right thing. Coral gets in the car and the two drive off, unable to hear Libby gloat that her doctor works at the Negro hospital. Libby, stop talking.

Giants- Charles talks to Bill and Virginia about the future

Charles recommends that Bill sees Dr. McAlpin over in ophthalmology to make sure there’s no damage to his vision. Bill admits that he misjudged people’s reactions and is resigned to the fact that he’ll inevitably lose patients because he and Virginia work in the Negro hospital. Charles is disappointed, but throws an analogy at the two: how do people get in a cold lake? Do they go inch by inch to stave off the cold, or do they take the plunge to get it over with and hope that their body will adjust to the cold?

Charles has been down this path. If he wanted to change people’s minds on segregation, he’d bring in a young, unassuming White resident and let patients slowly get used to them. However, Charles has too much he wants to get done. Bill is a cold lake. He didn’t ease people out of ignorance to sex- he exposed them to the truth, no matter how uncomfortable. Charles tells Bill that he needs to call patients and let them know that this is what it is right now. This is how you move history forward, even though that’s outside Bill’s purview. Charles doesn’t buy that, since Bill wouldn’t keep doing the study if that was the case. One must embrace the future, and that includes integration. Though Bill isn’t one for wooing patients, he believes that Virginia is more than capable of that.  Dr. Hendricks leaves the two to think it over, before he takes down a flier on the sex study while continuing down the hall.

There’s a lot take in with this episode. It deals with progressivism and how it takes time for society to prepare for change. We can’t always look as far down the road as others and, at times, we don’t want to move as fast. More than this, through the different storylines, we see who is ready to change, who is reluctant to change, and who refuses to because they’re steeped in tradition.

Giants- Mrs. Turnsworth doesn't want to lose her new car

Change isn’t always a positive, sure, but depending on the circumstance, as we see with the class and racial angles, it can be inevitable. Inevitable as that may be, that doesn’t mean that change comes without challenge because the status quo is being threatened. Soon, however, societal changes come to embrace what becomes their destiny.

Like “Fight,” but nowhere near as well done, the episode gives us some significant power struggles that go against character’s expectations. We see more of the perception versus reality through the eyes of pairs like Bill and Virginia or Helen and Betty.

Giants- Betty and Helen in bathroom before they kiss

Betty has no shame or regret about what she’s done to get where she is. It’s a past she’d rather not acknowledge, but she doesn’t deny it. In her mind, she’s suffered and paid her debt for her sins, so it’s time for her to be happy. Through her suggestion of adoption, it’s clear that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure her and Gene have that happy family life they’ve dreamt of for so long. She wants to save her marriage because it’s all she has, golden faucets and all. Now that she has a life of luxury, she’s doing whatever it takes to keep it.

Giants- Betty and Helen Kiss

Helen is another reminder of Betty’s past that she’d like to ignore, even more so because she doesn’t want to fall back into the temptation of loving another woman again. However, from the kiss shared, the desire looks to still be there. As far as Sarah Silverman’s performance goes, she’s good. It’s probably the straightest role I’ve seen her play since, maybe, Greg the Bunny. It is hard for me to separate the actress from the role because, at the end of the day, it’s still Sarah Silverman. If she wasn’t already so recognizable to me, that wouldn’t be an issue.

Giants- Lillian knows Virginia always planned to go with Bill

I like that Lillian is slowly becoming more assertive, despite her fate. From being willing to drink alcohol at work, to giving away her study, giving Austin Langham the time of day, showing far more emotion than ever and telling secrets- for a person who normally doesn’t engage in such behavior, they come off as the actions of someone who doesn’t have long to live.

I love Nicholson’s performance in this episode, particularly during her argument with Virginia and how she slowly shifts from cold and emotionless to anger. She’s disappointed in Virginia, yes, but she’s even more upset because Virginia didn’t trust her and probably would have gone to Bill anyway. Her line about women opening their legs is very telling- women in this day and age have to say and do a lot to get ahead or just be heard. Heck, the other women in DePaul’s office probably would love to make the salary that Virginia or Lillian make just because it’s more than what they get.

Giants- Lillian smiles

Despite all of this, even after her disappointment, Lillian still sees Virginia as a close friend and companion. Sure, she’s angry, but she also realizes that her list of friends is very thin, so burning her bridge to Virginia won’t do her any favors. Even though she’s dying, Lillian isn’t letting the inevitability of death of control her.

Giants- Libby and Coral

Libby, however, is losing control all around her. She’s trying to force kindness upon Coral and, as such, her apology lacked any feeling of being genuine. She feels the need to protect Coral, who has done nothing but try to be the best nanny possible, by passing on her so-called wisdom, but she comes off as more patronizing than anything else. She becomes defensive when Bill doesn’t side with her after describing her “horrific” incident. Again, I really don’t want to think Libby has some dislike of Negroes, given her friendship with Walter last season.

But then she goes and exaggerates her story to Bill about being confronted by Colored Robert, as if Libby was one of those White women who would falsely claim that she had been raped by a Negro. Where does this all come from? If it’s a way to make the audience dislike Libby, then no, I’m not a fan of that. And boasting that Bill works in the Negro Hospital? What, does that make her good with every Negro ever?

Giants- Awkward sex

As the season has progressed, Libby sees that there’s nothing for her at home, which used to be her domain. Her sex life, which has never been glamorous to begin with, is at its end here. The scene where she and Bill have sex is just awkward. There’s none of the banter and passion that we see with other couples, and Libby doesn’t even look at Bill the entire time. It felt very wooden and mechanical. And for Coral to throw that at her shows that, as wise as Libby thinks she is, she’s still not getting any when between the sheets. Libby wants a happy future, but she finds it harder and harder to get that, as her happy, suburban life is crumbling all around her.

Giants- Bill talks with Libby about Robert

Bill may be a loving husband, but he’s not faithful. This, we know. He’s less likely to treat Libby like a patient, as he did for a lot of last season, but there’s no passion in their relationship. Each time Bill and Libby talk, Bill looks as if he’d rather be anywhere else. He misses Libby’s orgasm, for goodness’ sake. Maybe if he’d said the phases aloud, like last season. For now, it looks as if Bill just tolerates Libby. He’s clearly not afraid to call her out when she’s wrong, but he still comforts her when necessary.

Giants- Bill touches himself in front of Virginia

With Virginia, however, the two are locked in combat, as if their battle from “Fight” never ended. Most of the time, Bill’s been the dominant figure between the two. However, during their session at the hotel, control switched and Bill found himself on the defensive. In this moment, he felt completely powerless and exposed. He’s in a vulnerable state, while Virginia, clothed and clinical, assumes control. It’s not a position Bill’s accustomed to, which made this a more interesting scene to watch. He’s so used to controlling the situation, but he sees that sex won’t always play out with him calling the shots.

Giants- Bill tries to stop fight

This also translates to his job, where he had expectations of employees falling in line to back him, instead of the blowback he received. He came off as very arrogant when he told Cyril that he’d be willing to take on referred patients, like he can just waltz in and assume command based on reputation alone. He pushed a doctor out and thinks things will be the same before he arrived, but doesn’t see the reality in front of him, as evidenced when he gets subtle and not so subtle racism from White patients. Seriously, at least people who are overtly racist let you know it up front and don’t try to cover it up with code words. These Whites, for obvious reasons, aren’t fans of the Negro, so they won’t just warm up to change overnight. Bill, however, is an ambassador of change, if the sex study is evidence of anything, so he has another battle to fight.

Giants- Virginia watches Bill pleasure himself

The line about Virginia being able to woo patients shows her importance to the study. Last week, she told Henry and Tessa that you can only depend on yourself, but here, we see just how much Bill depends on her. She’s integral not just to him, but the study as well. Virginia does for herself, but here, she flat out takes power from Bill. Sure, we’ve seen that she’s capable of pleasuring herself, but during “Fight,” she followed Bill’s lead or countered him. Here, she’s in charge instead of having to wrestle control from him. And even better, she never reverts control back to him, which I like, because it shows how much more assertive she’s becoming.

Giants- Virginia argues with Lillian

Granted, she doesn’t back down against Lillian either, but Lillian forced her hand. She goes on the offensive regarding her research with Bill, but she’s being very contradictory. In the first season, Virginia often reminded Bill that he had a wife he’d been neglecting. Here, she doesn’t think that her personal life should have any bearing on her personal. I disagree. It affects her integrity, for one! Like Bill, Virginia harms her relationship with her superior, but while Greathouse can find another doctor, Lillian has few people to turn to. Their friendship remained intact. And, like Bill, Virginia is a trendsetter, but as DePaul says, her actions may make it harder for women who come after her.

We see the House That Bill and Virginia Built begin to crumble. This was a strong episode that threw a lot of messages at us, but managed to do so without overstuffing it, even if some of the racism was a bit cartoony and ridiculous. We know that Lillian DePaul’s time is almost up, but for Bill and Virginia, despite the obstacles they face, their challenges have just begun.

A Look at “True Blood” Season 7, Episode 8: “Almost Home”

So it looks like we might be getting somewhere. Heavy on the ‘might,’ if only because it looks like “Almost Home” is trying to wrap up a lot of loose threads and moving the plot along. Sure, things ramp up a bit, but at the same time, we retread familiar territory. Some of what we got was a bit too predictable, but we did get an interesting end that did manage to interest me to see how the plot would progress from there.

Almost Home- Eric ready to kill Sarah

The episode begins with Sarah dreading her inevitable death, even though she’s convinced that she will return as the Princess of Peace. She surrenders herself, but Eric goes in for the kill. Rather than fight back, Sarah actually pleads to be killed. Pam, realizing that Sarah must be kept alive, puts a gun to heart and threatens to kill herself if Eric kills Sarah. Instead, Eric takes a quick bite and in moments, he’s fully healed!

Almost Home- Sookie asks Bill about Queen Sophie-Anne

After their rendezvous between the sheets, Bill and Sookie talk. Sookie’s been wondering why Queen Sophie-Anne sent Bill after her in the first place. The plan was for Bill to find out if Sookie was, indeed, Fae, and if she was, bring her to the queen so she could begin breeding her. Yeah, it’s like that. But, as we know, Bill didn’t bring Sookie. He accepted the mission without risking it, and spending time with Sookie reminded him of his humanity and all the darkness he carried. However, Sookie believes that there was love present.

Almost Home- Lettie Mae and Lafayette still digging in yard when Reverend Daniels shows up

Lafayette and Lettie Mae are still digging in this poor family’s yard. Reverend Daniels, even though he has no real reason to be there, apologizes to the family. He’s still unconvinced by what the two have told him about Tara, so Lettie Mae asks him to join them, courtesy of James, who picked the perfect time to arrive. Obviously, the Reverend doesn’t want to, but Lettie Mae reminds him that he once wanted her to take a blind journey and asks him to believe in her. Yeah, pretty sure your terrible parenting and drinking problems don’t measure up with this, Lettie Mae.

Almost Home- Flashback, Tara’s dad, Joe Thornton, played by Malcolm Goodwin, learns about Tara's birthday party

So the three go on a V-trip and Tara leads them into the house, where a young Sookie, Tara, Lafayette celebrate Tara’s birthday. You know who wasn’t invited to the party? Tara’s dad, Joe Thornton, played by Malcolm Goodwin, enters and throws a fit about not being invited. After knocking Lettie Mae around, Joe looks for his gun.

Almost Home- Brigette and Jason look over photos of Hoyt

In the present, Brigette and Jason look over some photos of Hoyt. Brigette brings up the possibility of having kids, but Hoyt isn’t on board with that, given all of the things that his family has been through. As this happens, Jason receives photos from Violet. No nudes, though- just pictures of a bound Adilyn and Jessica. He quickly calls Andy and Holly, who are still far away, and rushes into action. Brigette decides to tag along.

Almost Home- Mr. Gus' proposition to Eric and Pam on how to use Sarah's blood

Mr. Gus talks with Eric and Pam about synthesizing Sarah’s blood for their new product. He doesn’t want the finished product to be too perfect or work too well. It shouldn’t fully heal the infected vampires, but just alleviate enough of their symptoms that they’ll want to come back for more. And the more vampires purchase, the more money for the people higher up. Eric and Pam are on board with more money, but no one else can know about this plan.

Almost Home- Violet's red hot phallus

Jason arrives at Violet’s villainous lair and arms Brigette with a gun while she’s in the car. Yeah, she won’t be joining in on the fun. Not long after Jason enters, Violet gets the jump on him and puts him in one of her many torture devices. Side-note, why does Violet even have so many devices if she’s not going to ever use them? She gives a long, drawn out speech that most villains give while the hero prepares to make their sudden, but inevitable and telegraphed counterattack. All she wanted was for Jason to worship her. She does have an order to how she’ll go about this torture: Wade first, so Adilyn can see him suffer. Adilyn will be next and get to experiment with Violet’s handy-dandy breast ripper, and then she’ll be drained slowly. Jessica is next and will be subject to a red hot phallic poker. Again, why does Violet have these things? But before we can start the fun-

Almost Home- Hoyt enters and kills Violet

-boom, in enters Hoyt, who puts an end to Violet. So there’s that, I guess.

Almost Home- Flashback, Young Tara burying gun

Back in Flashback Land, young Tara pulls her father’s gun out of her dresser drawer and is very close to pulling the trigger, but decides against it. Instead, she heads to the yard and buries the gun while her father gets in the car and leaves.

Almost Home- Tara apologizes for not shooting her father

In the present, Tara apologizes to her mother for not pulling the trigger when she had the chance. Lettie Mae says that responsibility wasn’t on Tara, but Mae should have been a better mother. No one’s questioning that at all. A lot of bad things happened to the two of them, but Lettie Mae needs to forgive herself and let Tara go. She does, and with that, Rutina Wesley walks off the True Blood set one last time.

Andy and Holly return after the fun, but still console Wade and Adilyn. Hoyt introduces himself to Jessica, while Brigette and Jason talk. She asks if Jessica is Jason’s girlfriend, but to be honest, Jason doesn’t even know what to call Jessica right now.

Almost Home- Sookie sees that Eric is fully healed

Eric pays Bill a visit and reveals to Sookie that he is fully healed. He can’t tell her how, despite the fact that Bill is very sick, but the cure isn’t ready yet. Hey, if it worked on Eric, it should work on Bill, right? Eric hesitates, unsure what to say. He tells Sookie that dawn is approaching, but she doesn’t give a shit about that. Eric promises to come back tomorrow night and leaves. Sookie, not satisfied with that, heads out into the night.

Almost Home- Jessica and Jason talk

Not long after, Jason and Jessica pull up. The two talk about the whirlwind of events they’ve been through. Jason decides, again, to stop making bad decisions, but his affection for Jessica was never a mistake. Despite everything Jessica has been through, she never felt that Jason betrayed her. In fact, she feels that their relationship hasn’t been too complicated. They made sense. After the two share a brief kiss, Jessica heads inside and lets Bill know that she’s there.

Almost Home- Sookie heads to Fangtasia by herself to meet Eric

The next day, Sookie heads to Fangtasia, alone, to meet with Eric. She’s let in, though Mr. Gus is curious about the relationship between Eric and Sookie. Eric tells Mr. Gus that Sookie is just a fangbanger, coming back for more. However, she shouldn’t be killed. Not just because she’s the main character, but because her brother is part of the Sheriff’s Department and if something happens to Sookie, the authorities will come after them. Eric tells Mr. Gus that he’ll glamour Sookie, but it’s obvious that he’s playing him. Oh, and that musical sting that plays whenever a vampire glamours a human? It doesn’t play for that long, either. But Sookie does take the opportunity to read Mr. Gus’ thoughts and learns that something important is downstairs.

Almost Home- Hoyt and Jason talk at Bellefleur's

At Bellefleur’s, Jason is loving the eggs. Just thought that was worth mentioning. Hoyt shows up and the two talk about the previous night. Hoyt asks about Jason and Jessica, though he makes it clear that he still loves Brigette. She’s just in a rough place right now.

Almost Home- Hoyt gives Jessica his clean blood

Next thing we know, Hoyt shows up at Bill’s doorstep. After heading into another room, Jessica lets him in. Hoyt offers up his own clean blood to help alleviate Bill’s pain. When Jessica apologizes about the death of Hoyt’s mother, Hoyt admits that he does miss her, but at the same time, he doesn’t. He would just like to head to an easier time when you’re a child and the only thing you need to get you through the day is a parent’s love.

Almost Home- Sookie finds Sarah Newlin chained up

Sookie uses her fairy powers to enter the side wall that the vampires previously used to enter Fangtasia and comes face to face with Sarah Newlin. Sookie reads her thoughts and learns that she’s the cure. Again, Sookie makes the practical choice of actually not letting Sarah go.

Instead, she returns to Bill’s and tells Jessica that there is a cure and promises that Bill will survive! Sookie, don’t make promises that you can’t keep.

Almost Home- Bill dreams of a shadow baby

Bill, meanwhile, dreams of a life with Sookie and their…evil, black, shadow demon ghost baby. All right.

Mr. Gus is heading to Dallas, so Eric and Pam better not cause any problems while he’s away! Some of his men will remain with them. When Gus leaves, Eric tells Pam that he plans to give some of Sarah’s blood to Bill.

Almost Home- Jessica confronts Sarah

When Bill, Jessica and Sookie arrive, however, and after Jessica briefly considers biting into Sarah’s flesh, even though Eric is offering the cure right in front of him, Bill refuses to take Sarah’s blood.

Well, what do you know? The writers must have realized that the show ends in two episodes, so they’re trying to tie up as many loose ends without creating new ones. The episode feels like it has less filler moments- there’s no Sam and Nicole, for one thing, and no Andy admiring the silence. It’s just dealing with the season’s plots as best as possible. That doesn’t mean the execution was handled all that well.

If last week’s episode dealt with one final shot at happiness, this one feels with making a choice to ensure a good future and prolong your life. If we had a second chance, would we go about doing things differently, and should we even have to? More than that, the episode dealt heavily with forgiveness. As profound as these messages may seem, they’re nothing new to True Blood or even this season. The show is just retreading messages, which is a letdown that we have to enter familiar territory so close to the end.

Almost Home- Violet on the war path

Violet was an odd one. I’m upset she’s gone, if only because she was so beautiful, but man, did her whole kidnapping amount to a lot of nothing. Like most villains, rather than just do what she wants to do, she has to talk about it. I mean, don’t tease us with a red hot dildo or breast ripper and then don’t use it! I don’t understand why Violet didn’t just drain Adilyn and kill Wade when she had the chance. Jessica clearly wasn’t able to stop her, or she wouldn’t wound up as a hostage. If this was supposed to make for easy drama, it failed, and even worse because this subplot dragged out for so long and it was Hoyt, of all people, who put her down!

Almost Home- Brigette and Jason talk

Jason, meanwhile, looks like he’s up to swap Jessica for Brigette. I mean, he couldn’t keep his eyes off of her last week, so this seems obvious. But he’s talked of wanting to grow up before, so I don’t see why we needed to hear him say it again.

It doesn’t seem right for Jason and Jessica to have no regrets about their relationship, considering what it led to with Violet. Jessica’s vampire vagina can’t be worth Adilyn and Wade suffering. But I’ve never had it, so what do I know?

Almost Home- Jessica and Hoyt talk

If Jessica somehow ends up back with Hoyt, then fine, but I wish this transition was handled better. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the scene where Hoyt talked to Jessica about a parent’s love, but I thought he was a bit too irrational when he got on Brigette for talking about his pictures and wanting to have a kid. It came out of nowhere. He says that Brigette is in a rough place, but she certainly doesn’t give off that vibe.

Almost Home- Tara's on-screen send-off

And then we’ve got Tara. This was just foul. So, we have to settle with the fact that Tara was killed off-screen. We’ve had to endure Lettie Mae admitting that she was a bad mother and confronting another addiction issue. We’ve already seen and heard of Tara’s past. So what was the point of all of this, if only to give Tara a proper on-screen sendoff? At least it wasn’t an episode-long funeral. But Lettie Mae has had chance after chance to come to terms with Tara’s death. We did not need to have this stretched out as long as it was. And I’m not sure what compelled Reverend Daniels to eventually concede, just because Lettie Mae threw his words about a blind journey right back at him. He’s not struggling with an addiction.

Heck, he even made Lettie Mae choose between him and Tara, and she chose Tara! Why even ask that if you’re eventually going to join in anyway? This entire subplot was ridiculous and a poor sendoff for a character that has been around from the beginning. Treat one of your longest standing characters with some dignity, True Blood. Though, for me, Tara should have met her end when she was killed the first time, before Sookie decided to have her turned. Oh, and what was up with all the crosses and snakes and unrecognizable language? Couldn’t Tara have just led Lettie Mae to the house from the start and saved us all some time?

Almost Home- Sookie with Sarah

I like that Sookie was a bit more proactive this week. Instead of waiting for something to happen, she confronted Eric on her own and refused to help Sarah, given all of the trouble she’s caused. And we learn about even more stuff she doesn’t give a shit about.

Almost Home- Eric healing

At least Eric’s healed. I get why he’d want to keep the cure a secret from Sookie for now. At the same time, we see that he’s willing to use Sarah to help Bill. The fact that he doesn’t glamour her, despite promising to, shows that he wants to keep her safe and alive.

Almost Home- Pam threatens to kill herself if Eric kills Sarah

And I still love just how loyal Pam is, willing to follow Eric, even into death.

This was just a decent episode, as has been the trend this season. We got some nice moments with Jason, Jessica and Hoyt, wrapped up Violet’s storyline and Eric’s healed. In that sense, we’ve progressed. Where the episode stumbled was how it handled Tara’s sendoff, given how long she’s been around and the amount of time spent on this subplot.

Almost Home- Bill refuses to take Sarah's blood

And what’s up with Bill not taking the blood?

Any questions, comments, concerns, issues, complaints, would love to hear them.

A Look at “Masters of Sex” Season 2, Episode 4: “Dirty Jobs”

Just consequences all around this week. Secrets spill out and we get one uncomfortable moment after another. “Dirty Jobs” is another strong installment with good performances throughout. Unlike “Fight,” where Bill and Virginia battled each other, here, they battle everyone around them. The results are not in their favor.

Dirty Jobs- Virginia in dream sequence

The episode begins with Bill and Virginia discussing Freud’s theories on sexual desires. Virginia is impressed with the amount of people Bill has covered so far in his study, but he’s still done it without her help. The board, Bill says, just was not impressed with her application. From their point of view, Virginia has limited experience and no higher education. Virginia claims she stopped taking courses because of the study, but Bill knows better than that. Virginia only has herself to blame. After all, on the application, she did write “Mistress” under her current occupation.

Wake up, Virginia! Turns out that she’s been asleep for an hour. Bill figured she needed it, so he didn’t bother to wake her. Virginia was supposed to be at home by 10, but it’s only 9:15, so she has plenty of time.

Dirty Jobs- Austin Langham spots Bill and Virginia leaving hotel

Elsewhere, Austin Langham watches television with his kids. Well, he’s watching, anyway. They’re fast asleep. But the doctor pops out of his room just in time to see Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson entering an elevator. The plot, she does thicken.

Virginia’s car is already overflowing with files. She asks Bill about when she can come to Gateway, but Greathouse can’t authorize Bill to hire Virginia until the board signs off on her. In the meantime, he’d like Virginia to put the files into order since Barbara can’t even alphabetize. Somehow, she’s a secretary, though.

Dirty Jobs- Betty tells Bill her story

The next day, Betty shares with Bill a story about a parking attendant who referred to her as Mrs. Moretti instead of Mrs. DiMello. She feels like she’s pretending to be someone she’s not. I wonder if that’ll come up later.

Dirty Jobs- Libby tries on dresses while Coral changes the baby

At House Masters, Libby tells Coral about an article she read about how a new baby can be traumatic for a man, as if his entire life is now transformed. Libby is also focusing less on her baby and more on what dress to wear to her luncheon with the wives of Bill’s colleagues. She figures that she could do some good that way. Oh, and Coral places a Dixie cup on little Johnny’s weenie while changing his diaper so she doesn’t get a certain shower.   I have to wonder who first came up with that idea.

Dirty Jobs- Virginia and Lillian wait

Dr. DePaul and Virginia discuss how many sample pap smear kits should be ready for one Dr. Georgois Papanikolaou to take with him to Florida. The doctor is in St. Louis once a year for the Thalberg Conference. DePaul is nervous, but she’s not trying to impress the doctor. He’s a respected figure in the field and his support would be very useful. As the two talk, DePaul’s name is called.

When the doctor leaves, Virginia talks to the secretary, Mariel, played by Maitely Weissmann. Mariel’s been there for three years, but isn’t in love with the job since she’s around so much suffering. But you know what gets Virginia through the day? The Cal-o-metric diet.

At Gateway, Bill has no luck with a potential study subject named Angie. Even though it’s the same study that she once took part in at Washington University, Angie’s husband allowed her to take part back then because there were two doctors: a man and a woman. But just a man? No dice.

Dirty Jobs- Doug comes to talk with Bill

As she leaves, Doug enters, with Bill taking another chance to push Virginia’s name since she helps put people at ease. The board still sees Virginia as just a press secretary, but someone like Barbara is at least essential…to Doug. He promises to bring it up at tomorrow’s board meeting.

Dirty Jobs- Langham eats with Virginia

At Washington University cafeteria, Langham sits down with Virginia and talks about his situation: since Elise moved to Alton, he has to pick up his kids and take them to a hotel. As luck would have it, one night, he happened to spot Virginia and Bill. What’s all that about? Virginia, unfazed, tells Langham that she and Bill have decided to go ahead and publish the study, but they are still in the early stages. Obviously, Bill’s not welcome at the hospital, Virginia isn’t clear to work at Gateway yet, and neither of their homes are suited for this, so they go to a hotel instead. But as to why she stopped officially working for Bill, Virginia warned Bill that the faculty wasn’t prepared to see the study, but Bill disagreed. This led to her quitting. Bill later apologized and asked Virginia to work with him again.

Dirty Jobs- Libby's luncheon with wives

Libby’s luncheon is attended by Tatti and two other women, Bee and Serena Buckley, played by Brianne Davis. The women ask Libby for the inside scoop on the sex study, but she calls her brief role in it boring. Coral comes out with the baby and the women, minus Libby, are impressed with how well she takes care of the child. When Coral leaves, Bee can’t help but notice something crawling in John’s hair.

Dirty Jobs- Virginia presents sales figures to Flo Winters

Virginia presents her sales reports to Artemis-I mean, to Flo Winters. The numbers are good, but Flo’s not overly impressed, more so when she learns that Virginia did not go by the script. Virginia doesn’t like that the script deliberately makes women feel bad about their bodies, but women who look great don’t buy diet products. Virginia also doesn’t want to get good at this selling gig- she already has a job and just needs the extra money. So Flo asks if Virginia knows William Elvis Sloan. This is the man who came up with how to make a toilet flush. Very important, you know. Anyway, that may not have been his calling in life, but he still died a rich man. But, Flo sarcastically concedes, maybe Virginia is special.

Bill is all ready to collect the check when Virginia arrives at the hospital and mentions that Langham spotted them, meaning that if he saw them, anyone can.

Dirty Jobs- Libby in cleaning mode

When Bill arrives home, he finds a stressed-out Libby in the middle of a cleaning spree. Baby John has lice, so she’s cleaning as much as possible. Without any evidence, she blames Coral for bringing the lice, even though there’s no indication that anyone brought it into the house. Plus, all Libby needs to do is clean the baby’s items and get him some medicated shampoo.

Dirty Jobs- Lillian and Virginia talk with Dr. Papanikolaou, played by René Auberjonois, about the pap smear kit

Lillian and Virginia speak with Dr. Papanikolaou, played by René Auberjonois, about wanting to expand access to early screening through an outreach effort to physicians and hospitals. They’d also like to establish a research facility at Washington University for new detection methods and treatments of cervical cancer. The doctor himself is already in the process of making a research center at the University of Miami. He’s shown a prototype of a kit, which includes a skort frim slip. It also includes, as Virginia says, a short film strip. That sounds about right.

Bill finally asks Betty whether she times it to enter around the same time that he does, but she and Gene just wait until they see his car. Speaking of Gene, Gene’s there to give a generous donation of the swimmer variety. He also wants to know when Bill and Betty will move forward with their testing.

Dirty Jobs- Bill tells Barbara that tonight's study will be about old men masturbating

The three rush past Barbara, who informs Bill that Greathouse would like to know the start time of tonight’s session. It begins at seven, but Bill wants Barbara to make sure Doug knows the focus will be on elderly men with enlarged prostates that engage in auto-manipulation. In other words, old men masturbating. Well, that’s one way to try and ward off your boss.

Dirty Jobs- Libby gives Coral shampoo for lice

Libby presents Coral with the medicated shampoo meant for the baby, but gives it to the help instead, even though Coral doesn’t have lice.

Dirty Jobs- Test results

While Gene rubs one out, Betty wants Bill to tell Gene that he has bum sperm, which Bill can’t just say after looking at a cup for a few seconds. Bill won’t lie to Gene and tell him that he’s sterile just because of his wife’s tubal ligation. When Gene eventually finishes, we hear that Bill received test results from Betty’s very last test, which shows that Betty is unable to conceive.

As the couple leave, Betty is just ready to go home, but Gene wants to pay for the fertility treatments now and get it over with.

Dirty Jobs- Virginia speaks with Dr. Papanikolaou about the Williams Prize

Virginia speaks with Dr. Papanikolaou about his position on the committee that awards the Williams Prize. She says what she feels Dr. DePaul won’t: that Papanikolaou’s endorsement would be invaluable to the program. She talks up how DePaul has done this on her own steam and the university had to have its arm twisted just to provide minimal support. Papanikolaou did not expect to be impressed. Regardless, Virginia hopes that he considers it.

Dirty Jobs- Bill with Joanne, played by Donna Pieroni

Bill’s at work with another study subject named Joanne, played by Donna Pieroni, who doesn’t like the cold feeling of Ulysses. Virginia used to warm it up with a hot towel, but Bill just forgot.  But maybe the friction will increase the temperature.

Doug shows up despite the warning of old men masturbating. He spoke at length to the board about Virginia and even though they’re open to it, they haven’t made a decision yet. Bill offers to talk to them himself, but Doug assures him that they’ll get there eventually.

Dirty Jobs- Lillian and Austin drink

As DePaul works into the night, she gets a surprise visit from Austin so she can get an earful about his woes. The worst part about being the divorce isn’t the lawyers. It’s not about driving to see his kids. It’s that he’s reduced to having potato chips for dinner. Most people would probably let Austin go on about his troubles, but DePaul shuts him down in favor of having a drink, even though she should be grading papers. The two toast to Virginia and DePaul realizes that her initial impression of Virginia was completely wrong.

Even though Virginia is closer to DePaul than anyone else, DePaul doesn’t know just everything about her. Austin mentions the hotel encounter and laments how, after all this time, he didn’t pick up on the fact that Bill and Virginia had been sleeping together along.

Dirty Jobs- Libby asks Coral about the shampoo

As Bill informs Libby that he’ll be late coming home, Coral enters with her hair unchanged. No, she didn’t use the shampoo, much to Libby’s anger. It costs Libby four dollars to get her hair done and she doesn’t want to mess it up. Besides, according to Coral’s brother, Negroes can’t get lice. Bill concurs- Negroes have tightly coiled, low-density hair, which makes it inhospitable for lice, something he read in the Wellford Journal of Medicine. I’ve never heard this before, but now I at least know I have little chance of getting lice. Regardless, Libby feels that this conversation should only be between her and Coral.

Dirty Jobs- Lillian tells Virginia about the time she cheated during calculus

In the waiting room, a suddenly open Lillian tells Virginia that she once cheated in calculus. She could never crack a B+. Oh, you poor thing, having to settle for a B+! Anyway, she figured medical schools wouldn’t turn away a straight-A student. She purchased the final exam from the previous year from a graduate student for only $10. After all, it’s just taking a shortcut and that shouldn’t diminish all the work that came after. So, now that Lillian’s told one of her secrets, she opens the floor for Virginia to share one of hers. After all, Virginia has seen DePaul at her worst, from being naked on a hospital sheet to limping out after radiation. Virginia, however, says that her life isn’t that interesting. How disappointing.

Dirty Jobs- Libby tells Coral to sit so she can wash her hair

Libby calls Coral to the bathroom and says that their relationship is about trust. Libby leaves her baby with Coral every day and can’t be sure that Coral will be completely honest if something happened to John. She tells Coral to take a seat so she can administer the shampoo, and if she doesn’t, she’s not welcome in their home anymore. A reluctant Coral takes her position while Libby tells her that if she ever has any problems, she should come to her about it, not Dr. Masters. They need to stick together. When the work is ‘finished,’ Libby gives Coral some money to get her hair redone.

Very uncomfortable moment. You know, Libby, there are certain four and five letter words that perfectly describe you right now.

Dirty Jobs- Lillian tells Dr. Papanikolaou that she wants him to take her study with him

Back at Washington University, Lillian tells Papanikolaou that she’d like him to take her program with him to Miami. Papanikolaou thinks Lillian wants a job, but no. She says that Washington University doesn’t have the proper personnel to fully realize the program. Papanikolaou promises that if he oversaw the program, he’d inform her of any major decisions. That’s perfectly fine. Once DePaul hands over the work, her role is done.

Bill apologizes to Doug about the previous night, but also forgot to warn him about the transference effect- which doesn’t completely involve attractive women. You see, watching sexual activity can produce tension in the observers. From this, they may discover uninvited erotic sensations, even between two men. Bill is immune because he’s been doing this for so long, but for other men, the danger is high. They’ll be drawn in and come out different the way that they came in, sort of like wrestling. That’s right. An erotic sensation is exactly like wrestling.

Dirty Jobs- Bill with Leslie, played by Mariel Neto

Anyway, Bill gets to work with another subject: Leslie, played by Mariel Neto. Leslie is nervous, but Bill is livid when he goes to the other side and sees that Doug has brought four doctors with him. Bill and Doug go into the hallway, with Bill declaring that his work is not like some stag film played in a frat house. His work will not be mocked. He wants the exam room cleared, demands that Doug stay away from it and that Virginia be authorized to work, starting tomorrow.

Doug doesn’t back down. He tells Bill how secretaries work: they don’t get promoted to cushy positions above their pay grade or titles like research assistant. Doug never brought up Virginia to the board at all. This way, Bill won’t be perceived as a man who thinks with his cock instead of his head. Despite this, Bill heads back in and puts his boxing abilities to good use. As this happens, Leslie’s pleasure intensifies, but Bill shuts down the session.

Dirty Jobs- Lillian tells Virginia to mimeograph files that are to be sent to Dr. Papanikolaou’s office at Cornell

Lillian hands Virginia a stack of files that are to be mimeographed and sent to Dr. Papanikolaou’s office at Cornell, since he’ll be taking it with him to his research center. Virginia’s offended that Lillian would give the program away without consulting her, but hey, not like she needed permission. Virginia tries to get DePaul to look at the bigger picture: she wouldn’t have been a footnote in this work. Lillian tells Virginia that she didn’t enter the world of medicine just to see her name on a study.

Dirty Jobs- Virginia talks to neighbor Loraine, played by Rebekah Ward

That evening, Virginia talks to neighbor Loraine, played by Rebekah Ward. Loraine is wise to the diet plan schemes, but with enough prodding, the neighborhood’s ambassador of Cal-o-Metric manages to hold Loraine’s attention.

Bill arrives at home, but before he can talk to Libby about his day, Austin Langham is already there and making friends with Baby John. Whoops.

Dirty Jobs- Gene and Betty at dinner

Betty and Gene eat dinner, though Betty talks about how Betty Crocker was a fake, just made up by men. Gene, though, calls Betty the expert on phony Bettys. Despite what has happened today, Betty tells Gene that she’s not going anywhere. However, that’s not the issue. The issue is that she knew before their marriage that she couldn’t have kids. Betty believes that Gene wouldn’t have married her, but Gene says otherwise. Dating back to their first encounter- at a brothel, not church, as Betty believed- Gene had always been shy around girls, but Betty was so nice to him. When he saw her the next day at church, he knew they were meant to be. He married her because he thought she was the love of his life.

Dirty Jobs- Langham talks to Bill about infidelity

Back at House Masters, Langham again talks about his failed marriage. He thought marrying Elise would cure him of his philandering and constant need to chase ass, but it didn’t. The bachelor life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not all the time, anyway. As Langham thought poorly of himself, he wondered why he couldn’t be more like Bill. Now, however, after the hotel encounter, Langham is convinced that the two are the same. Though Bill denies everything, Langham advises Bill not to do what he did, or at least keep it under wraps. With all that Bill has earned, is Virginia worth losing all of that?

The next morning, Libby channels her inner Betty Draper as she tells Bill about the most absurd phone call she received from Tatti. When Bill confirms that he lost his temper, Libby lashes out at him, but also for learning about him from other people. This is the second job he’s had in two months and soon, no hospital will want him. How’s he supposed to provide if all he does is find reasons that something isn’t good enough for him? Bill tries to assure Libby that all will be well, but after squandering so many opportunities, she’s not so sure. Bill has to think about how to do right by Libby and the baby.

Dirty Jobs- Virginia tells Tessa to stop asking Henry for help on her math

At House Johnson, Tessa works through her math homework with Henry’s help. Actually, she’s just asking him for the answers. Virginia tells Tessa to stop since Henry won’t be around forever. She needs to rely on herself since you can’t count on others for everything. Sure, Virginia did once, but no longer.

Dirty Jobs- Bill takes his business to Buell Green Hospital, a Negro Hospital

Bill takes his business to Buell Green Hospital: a Negro Hospital.

All right, if “Fight” was about proving your worth in battle, then “Dirty Jobs” is about proving your trust. The episode continued some of the themes and messages of “Fight,” such as standing on your own feet and doing things without help. This week, though, we see the positives and negatives of doing that. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be independent, but we’re all fallible and subject to disappointment. If we trump up some fantasy where we believe we can be fine on our own, then the reality is all the more shocking when we realize we’re not as powerful as we believed.

Trust was another central message this week. Yes, trust is important when you want to strengthen a bond, but if come across as too forceful or give away too much, then it’s a bigger letdown when you aren’t met on the same level as the person you’re trying so hard to please. There’s a serious danger that comes with letting people too close into your personal life because you expect them to do the same. When you don’t get it, it feels like a betrayal, even though no one is obligated to provide the same level of trust that you gave them. We can’t always live up to other people’s expectations. If we do, we end up being someone that we’re not. And we end up hurting the people we care about because we kept secrets from them.

We saw the crumbling of several relationships this week, all centered around the danger of keeping secrets and betraying trust. Can we always remain faithful or stick to our principles while deceiving our loved ones? No.

Dirty Jobs- Libby and Bill after argument

I did enjoy the direction of this episode. Not as much as the previous three episodes, but I enjoyed the way the conversations were framed in close-up, similar to Bill and Virginia’s talks during “Fight.”

Dirty Jobs- Betty and Gene talk about Betty's past

Betty’s relationship with Gene has been based on keeping secrets. She would prefer not to mention her past, despite constant reminders, and wants to look forward. And as a result of trying to mask her own problems, she hurt the man who cared for her regardless of her past. It crushed Gene even more because Betty has lied about why she couldn’t have kids and spent her time in Bill’s office, accomplishing nothing.

Dirty Jobs- Lillian asks Virginia to tell her a secret

Lillian has come quite a long way since her introduction, where she wrote Virginia off as a woman who would use her wiles just to get ahead. She began as frigid and unapproachable, but at this point, she’s warmed up to others to the point where she stops doing paperwork just to have a drink with Austin Langham of all people. She bares her soul to people she would have otherwise ignored and has established a level of trust with her coworkers.

Dirty Jobs- Lillian's radiation

For all of her progression, though, she slides backward because of her health. As she tells Virginia, the radiation takes its toll on her. But not just physically, Lillian is emotionally hurt by Virginia’s betrayal. Here’s a woman she initially dismissed because of her looks, but slowly learned to trust. She saw Virginia less as a colleague or coworker and more as a friend. For Lillian to not only learn that Virginia has been sleeping with Bill, but that she kept this from her at every conceivable point, is a huge betrayal of trust, though that could be Lillian learning the danger of getting too close. In the end, it not only hampers their bond, but it also confirms exactly what Lillian thought of Virginia when they first met. It should be expected that Virginia admit some secret after Lillian did, right? Wrong, as nothing compelled Virginia to do so. What she did do, however, was fail Lillian’s test.

Much like Bill and Virginia, at the end of the day, Lillian is all about the work. Despite her condition, she has never lost of who she is as a person and the importance of making sure that her work perseveres. As she told Virginia before, it may not be done at rapid fire pace, but it will be done at her speed and it will be honest work. The keyword being honest, which Virginia, in Lillian’s eyes, is not. It was a crushing blow not just to hear about what Virginia had done, but that she refused to own up to it.

Dirty Jobs- Austin knows about the affair

Lucky that Langham was there to reveal that to her. I’m mixed on Langham. Sure, it’s wise of him to speak of how his philandering ruined his marriage, even though he seemed to embrace his lone wolf status earlier on. Austin has been down this road and doesn’t want to see Bill and Virginia, two colleagues who have worked hard to get where they are, throw away all they’ve worked before in the name of infidelity. Screwing around behind your family’s back isn’t worth it and I like how Langham isn’t doing this out of ill will. He doesn’t come off like the type to try and sabotage Bill and Virginia’s affair just to be a prick. That said, I do have a problem when he says that he’s essentially the same as Bill. The circumstances are very different: Bill is cheating on Libby with one woman. Austin cheated on Elise with many, including his own damn sister-in-law! Very different things, Langham!

Dirty Jobs- Libby the asshole

And what the hell is up with Libby? She’s trying to be the every woman, but she’s alienating the closest thing she’s had to a connection with the way she treats Coral. She tries meeting with the wives of Bill’s colleagues, but that doesn’t amount to anything. In effect, she has little lasting impact on Bill’s life right now. The house is her domain, but that’s all she has right now. Is Coral supposed to be her competition? I don’t understand where all this restrained anger comes from. She says that her partnership with Coral is based on trust, but it’s not genuine. She takes every opportunity to shut Coral down, even telling her that the wives at the luncheon aren’t interested in her family history, even though they just asked about her hair.

Dirty Jobs- Libby washes Coral's hair

That scene where she works on Coral’s hair was just awkward to watch, the way she’s forcing herself to say that she and Coral are partners who don’t need Bill to help them solve a problem. I get the sense that Libby knows her family is falling apart and home is the one place where she feels she can be herself. But honestly, does she have to be such an asshole?

Side-note, I’m no expert on lice, but if Bill, Libby and Coral didn’t have it before, where did it come from?

Dirty Jobs- Bill won't own up to affair

Bill still has problems letting people in. For example, he’s fine with watching Virginia sleep when it’s just him, but when it comes to the study, no one such as the likes of Greathouse should be permitted to watch. He shows a great deal of aggression, both apparent and restrained. When he punches Doug, it feels like something that he’s wanted to do for a long time. When Libby argues about his job status, he begins hyperventilating. Credit goes to Sheen’s performance and the writers for being able to make such a tightly wound character seem more interesting and compelling than he was in the earlier parts of the first season.

Dirty Jobs- Bill calms Libby down

By closing people out of his life, he does more harm to the relationships he’s formed, personal and professional. What Bill needs to do is evaluate whether such harm is worth it if he can still be with Virginia. He’s looking at things from an odd angle. He keeps telling Virginia that he’s a happily married man, but his home life is anything but happy. Whenever Bill comes home, he’s focused on being within himself and seeing that the baby doesn’t keep him awake. He had a brief, genuine moment when he calmed Libby down after learning that the baby had lice. Too bad that warmer side of Bill doesn’t appear more often.

Dirty Jobs- Virginia has no secrets

And Virginia. The woman is showing two different personalities: like Dr. DePaul, she wants to do everything on her own steam and keep her integrity, but she’s also lowering her standards by taking part in this affair and going by the diet pills script, when she was so confident that she wouldn’t need them. Like she tells Henry and Tessa, you can’t count on others for everything. And yet, when Dr. DePaul didn’t count on her and gave away the study of her own accord, she became offended by that.

She’s being very naïve. When Langham confronts her on the affair, she deflects it with such confidence that it’s as if she prepared to be asked about it. She thinks she’s played so much of a part with DePaul’s work that she talks to Papanikolaou on her own, assuming that DePaul would be grateful. And she thinks that she has nothing to hide, so she continues to lie to Lillian about any secrets she may have. Like Bill, Virginia’s judgment has been clouded by this affair and if she’s been caught once, it will happen again.

Overall, “Dirty Jobs” was a good follow-up to “Fight.” While the direction and performances weren’t as strong, it created more dilemmas for the characters and posed an important question: if you’ve built up a comfortable life for yourself, is it worth throwing away for your own selfish affairs? As Austin Langham tells us, the answer is no.

A Look at “True Blood” Season 7, Episode 7: “May Be the Last Time”

I tell you what: during the production of “May Be the Last Time,” it seems like the directors chose to just let the cameras roll and allow the characters to go about their business at their own rate. Their own, very slow rate. Really, this episode felt like one giant waiting game. Sure, some of what we got was applicable to the main storyline and we get a sense that things are building to something big, but there’s no sense of urgency or panic. We got the surprise return of one character and there are moments that could have gone somewhere, but ultimately, not a lot happened this week.

May Be the Last Time- Amber chained, interrogated by Eric, Pam and Mr. Gus

The episode begins with Eric, Pam and the Yakanomo folk questioning a now restrained Amber, who at first refuses to reveal how she’s now healed from the Hep-V virus. Mr. Gus even offers money for information, but no dice. Amber does eventually admit that Sarah is the cure, but says that she is a good person. Eric doesn’t think so. After all, it’s because of Sarah that vampires like him, Jeremy and so many others have and will die. Amber still won’t reveal Sarah’s location, so Eric does the most practical thing possible.

May Be the Last Time- Eric kills Amber

He kills Amber.

May Be the Last Time- Andy calls Jessica about Adilyn's whereabouts

Andy and Holly arrive at Fort Bellefleur and find nothing. Andy calls Adilyn’s phone, but, of course, the phone is still up in the fort. So Andy then calls Jessica, as she has Adilyn’s blood and would be able to sense if Adilyn was in any danger. However, Jessica hasn’t felt anything off, so Andy can at least assume that Adilyn and Wade are at least still alive. Holly remembers that Brian has a lake house about a half hour north of Oklahoma City. Road trip!

May Be the Last Time- Violet with Wade and Adilyn

Violet takes her supposed captives-I mean, newfound friends, to a mansion. She’s so upset that her parents won’t support their love. Violet knows exactly what Adilyn and Wade are going through. After all, she used to fuck her brother, too. All right, no, Violet. Just no. She then introduces the kids to her assortment of erotic devices. You know, strap-ons, shackles, the works. If they want to mess around, they’re more than welcome to. Violet doesn’t even offer to give the two an instruction manual on how to use the devices. Poor Wade doesn’t even know what a strap-on would be used for.

At House Compton, Jessica and Sookie notice the virus making its way up Bill’s neck. Sookie reminds Bill that he wrote in his book about experimental treatment in India, but such treatment is still years away. There is no available cure. Sookie refuses to accept this.

May Be the Last Time- Keith pays Arlene a visit

At Bellefleur’s, Arlene is shutting down stop when Keith enters. Arlene is shocked, but Keith is only there to see her home. It’s dangerous to go alone. She’ll need a vampire guide. When Keith puts the moves on Arlene, Arlene makes it very clear that she’s not a fang banger. That doesn’t stop her from giving in and eventually having rough sex with Keith on the pool table.

May Be the Last Time- Arlene wakes up

Oh, never mind.

May Be the Last Time- Mr. Gus' proposition to Pam and Eric

Pam chastises Eric for killing Amber, but Eric shows no remorse. He still wants to kill-not capture- Sarah, even though she’s the answer to saving his life. Mr. Gus has a proposition: find Sarah, but then synthesize her blood as a product: New Blood. It will still be a tall task to find Ms. Newlin, but luckily, the Japanese government is hard at work on tracking Sarah’s location.

So why does Mr. Gus need Pam and Eric? Well, the new product will need a spokesperson, as the general public doesn’t trust the Yakanomo Corporation. Eric initially refuses, but soon changes his mind.

Back at House Compton, Bill finally manages to fall asleep. Sookie tells Jessica to get in with him, weird as that is. Jessica asks what Sookie will do, and Sookie plans to go searching for answers. She says that people don’t generally believe in miracles, but they exist all around them.

May Be the Last Time- Flashback, Bill speaks with his father

As Bill dreams, we flash back to 1855, where he speaks with his father, William Compton Sr., played by Michael Rothhaar. Compton Sr. wants his son to marry Caroline Shelby, even though she and her family haven’t been in town for very long. Oh, and for land purposes. But mostly for the land.

May Be the Last Time- Hoyt and Brigette visit Bellefleur's

Business finally arrives at Bellefleur’s. Arlene receives an unexpected visit from Hoyt and his pretty young thing of a girlfriend, Brigette, played by Ashley Hinshaw. Hoyt’s in town to see his mother one last time, but also to speak with Deputy Stackhouse. Arlene, confused as to why Hoyt doesn’t remember Jason, makes a phone call.

May Be the Last Time- Jason takes phone call from Arlene

From this, we see that Jason hasn’t caught up to the modern world as far as portable music, as he vacuums while listening to music on a cassette player. He does manage to hear the phone ring, though. Upon learning that Hoyt has arrived, Jason rushes to get dressed.

He arrives at Bellefleur’s not much later. Hoyt isn’t ready to see his mother just yet. Though Jason would prefer as little interaction as possible, Brigette insists that he dine with them.

May Be the Last Time- Dr. Ludwig arrives

Dr. Ludwig arrives in a monstrous looking vehicle that she should not be driving. Or own. Why does she have that? Anyway, Sookie takes her to Bill, but let’s spend more time in the past.

May Be the Last Time- Flashback, When Bill Met Caroline

We flash back to When Bill Met Caroline. Neither is what the other expected: she expected Bill’s father, but just younger looking. Bill isn’t a fan of the fact that his father described Caroline as comely. As the two feel the eyes of their parents staring into their souls, the two decide to go for a walk.

May Be the Last Time- Dr. Ludwig with Bill

Back in the present, Dr. Ludwig tells Sookie that the virus would not have transferred from her to Bill as a result of the cut on her arm. She’s seen a similar acceleration rate before, but nothing like Bill’s. When Ludwig learns about Sookie’s particular fae line, she shows herself the door.

May Be the Last Time- Jason consoles Hoyt

Hoyt sees his mother one last time, while Jason can’t keep his eyes off of Brigette. She brings him in to talk with Hoyt for a moment. Hoyt asks Jason about how his mother died, and Jason changes a few facts around: Hoyt’s mother was not, in fact, part of the mob, but one of the good people. Funny how that worked out, isn’t it?

Sookie tries to call on Grandpa Niall Brigant, but she gets nothing but the wind.

May Be the Last Time- Sookie cooks for Grandpa Brigant

But then she finds him in the kitchen, hungry for her spaghetti. Even though there are more pressing things to deal with, Sookie fixes up some food first. I mean, why not? Nothing else is going on right now. Grandpa Brigant isn’t surprised that Dr. Ludwig suddenly didn’t want to help out anymore- dwarves have a fear of fairies, maybe because fairies killed some of them in the past. That could have something to do with it.

Sookie asks that if Grandpa Brigant could see her at all times and knew that she was infecting Bill, why didn’t he stop it? His answer is very simple: he doesn’t like Bill for Sookie. Sookie, however, begins to see very little advantage in having fairy abilities. I mean, she only gets to use the power so often, it may as well be pointless.

May Be the Last Time- Sarah arrives at the Light of Day Institute

Sarah drives to the Light of Day Institute and hears voices of the past, but then sees Jason. He addresses her by her new name, but then tells her that Eric is coming for her, meaning death. She argues with him long enough to suddenly realize that no one else is there.

No one else except the Japanese government, which has now spotted her by using the most advanced form of Google Earth known to man.

May Be the Last Time- Arlene talks with Sam about happiness

Because Sam needs something to do this week, he talks to Arlene about Nicole’s ultimatum. Oh, just forget about her already! He talks of people who rebuild their homes where tragedies once took place. As bad as Bon Temps is, he can’t really see himself leaving. Arlene knows that Sam has run from many places, but Bon Temps is the one place he really considered home. If he left, is it to run from something or to it? Arlene, however, is not happy. She probably never was, but she fakes it. The more she fakes it, the more real it is until happiness feels real. Sort of like this season, really. Her whole life is in Bon Temps, shitty as it is.

May Be the Last Time- Holly and Andy at the lake house

Elsewhere, Holly and Andy arrive at the lake house. That took no time at all. The kids aren’t there, but Andy can’t help but admire how peaceful it is compared to home. He blames himself for Adilyn leaving, but Holly consoles him.

May Be the Last Time- Grandpa Brigant and Sookie after flashback

As Grandpa Brigant takes Sookie to channel nature’s energy, we get a brief flash back to Caroline giving birth to a young girl. The point of that little trip, Brigant says, was to show that the dream itself was a miracle. Death, forgiveness, they’re all miracles. Sookie thinks this little reunion may have just turned into a way to trick her, but then Brigant gets to the point: not everything can be fixed with magic.

Oh, and Lettie Mae and Lafayette go digging in someone’s yard. Why this scene is just randomly in the episode at this point, I don’t know.

May Be the Last Time- Arlene and Keith dance

Back at Bellefleur’s, Keith shows up, but for real this time, as he felt Arlene’s pain. Before things can escalate, Arlene tells Keith that she’s Hep-V positive, so they can’t have sex. That’s no problem with Keith. The two can dance instead.

May Be the Last Time- Violet after her nap

Violet, fresh from her rest, knocks out Wade while cuffing Adilyn to the bed.

This gets Jessica’s attention, so she springs into action.

At the same time, Eric and Pam awaken.

May Be the Last Time- Sookie stands with Bill

Well, Jessica picked a good time to leave, as Sookie runs to Bill in a white dress and pledges to stay with him until the very end.

May Be the Last Time- Sarah hallucinates

Sarah, meanwhile, sees visions of not just Jason, but Steve and Guru Sanbir Dutta as well. Dutta and Steve offer her a choice between Christianity and Buddhism, but she chooses neither. Instead, she chooses herself as the Messiah. Either way, death is still coming.

May Be the Last Time- Sookie and Bill fornicate

And so are Bill and Sookie.

With only three episodes left, the stakes should feel higher, but don’t. There’s no sense of buildup or anticipation. What we got with this episode was mostly conversations and characters searching for answers, but being fine with not finding any.

This season has been very uneven. When episodes give us too much too quickly, we’re not allowed to soak in what happens. But when an episode such as this moves so slowly, we get little out of it. I’ve said that less is more, but less shouldn’t equal nothing. Or next to nothing.

May Be the Last Time- Arlene on happiness

One of the overarching themes I noticed with this episode was happiness, or a last shot at it. We don’t know when our end is, so we try to make the most of our time on Earth while we have it. We see characters say and do things just to give others some joy in the face of danger, as Jason does with Hoyt. Sookie talks a lot about believing in miracles, and maybe it’s crazy to believe in such things when you live in places like Bon Temps. Nicole may not entirely be wrong on that account.

Even though Bon Temps is a proven hellhole, that doesn’t mean that the people who live there don’t deserve something that will better their lives, even if, as Arlene mentions, faking it until happiness feels real. When the characters take themselves out of their element, it’s a literal breath of fresh air, as was the case with Holly and Andy. Sure, Bon Temps is all most of these people know, but they aren’t doing much to try and change their situations. They aren’t acting like Bon Temps is all Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows either, but they’ve become complacent, and that is very clear in this episode, as characters just walk from scene to scene with little urgency pushing them. Problems can’t be solved overnight, but show some fight in the face of danger.

May Be the Last Time- Sookie believes in miracles

Sookie tries to be the optimist this week by believing in miracles. Well, at least that’s something she gives a shit about. However, as much as she’d like to help Bill, she’s able to take time out of her not so busy day to make spaghetti. Seriously, she wants to look for a miracle, but she moved a lot faster when she rushed to have sex with Bill. I appreciate her telling off Grandpa Brigant about the ineffectiveness of fairy powers which, let’s be fair, are almost entirely situational. Sookie being a fairy turns her into even more of a target than she already was.

Oh, and she was in such a hurry to have sex with Bill again. She wanted to remain loyal to Alcide at first, and then she tried to remember Alcide after he died, but now it’s like that doesn’t even matter. If the show was in such a rush in trying to make us forget a character like Alcide, it was pointless to keep him along for so long or even put him in a relationship with Sookie in the first place. And let’s not forget Sookie’s brief moment with Eric when he and Pam arrived back in Bon Temps. The girl needs to make up her mind.

May Be the Last Time- Brigette and Jason

Jason had a moment to be genuine without messing things up, and he did, but ogling Brigette wasn’t necessary. He’s over Violet, but like that, he’s onto another girl that’s with Hoyt. Hopefully this doesn’t sour things between the two of them again. At least he gave Hoyt a final, happy memory of his mother, even if he did muddle the details.

May Be the Last Time- Violet and Wade and a strap-on

Speaking of Violet, this was another waiting game. Her having sex toys felt right up her alley, but what’s her end goal? It’s as if she wants to be caught. At first, I thought she only wanted to just keep Adilyn and Wade hostage, but in hindsight, now I wonder if she’s trying to draw Jessica to her. If Violet wanted to kill or drain Adilyn, she’d have done it. This also means that Holly and Andy are stuck just playing catch-up.

May Be the Last Time- Lettie Mae and Lafayette digging

By the way, what’s up with the random inclusion of Lettie Mae and Lafayette? The scene just randomly appears in the middle of everything else that’s happening and, to be honest, felt like more of a distraction.

May Be the Last Time- Sex on the pool table

Dreams as a result of vampire blood are nothing new for True Blood. Hell, we saw Jason have an erotic fantasy with Eric. So when Arlene’s pool table sex with Keith turned out to be a dream, it did throw me. Again, she’s here this week to drop some wisdom with Sam on faking being happy until it feels real so she’s not just here to sit around at Bellefleur’s. I still attribute this to her near death experience, but she has a point: Bon Temps is an awful place to live, but she’s making the most of it, even if she is Hep-V positive.

May Be the Last Time- Eric and Pam

Even Pam and Eric are forced to sit around and wait, after starting on a quick note with Eric dispatching of Amber with little hesitation. We’re with them for a few scenes, then the next thing you know, they’ve overslept. I mean, what the hell, show? Don’t take the most entertaining part of this season and reduce them to a long nap.

May Be the Last Time- Sarah calls herself a messiah

It’s funny how Sarah has given herself this godlike complex. She has to know she can’t hide forever, but ingesting the cure does still give her an advantage, because it ensures she’ll stay alive just a bit longer.

This episode felt very uninspired. Nothing really happened! We mostly had to wait for things to take place, and the things that did happen weren’t all that interesting. A slower paced episode didn’t feel any more engaging than the faster paced ones. I keep holding out for some great setup, but even that’s becoming a chore. The season as a whole has had trouble finding its footing, and with three episodes left, that’s not a good thing.

A Look at “Masters of Sex” Season 2, Episode 3: “Fight”

In what I think is the strongest episode of the season so far, “Fight” keeps things contained and puts its focus on our two main characters as they physically and mentally duke it out in an episode that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.

Fight- Virginia and Tessa talk about the tooth fairy

The episode begins at House Johnson. Virginia’s making breakfast for Tessa, while Henry is working on his hair. Why? Because Diane Delmonico said that he looks like Howdy Doody. Huh. Tessa wants her father’s address because she’s staying there tonight. She’s writing a letter to the tooth fairy princess, because she may not know where to pick it up. Virginia says that the tooth fairy isn’t a princess, she’s just a fairy with a special interest in teeth. Virginia, don’t ruin the fantasy.

Tessa counters that men can’t be fairies, so Virginia offers a hypothetical: what if a prince was on his way to rescue the princess, but got trampled and his face got disfigured. Tessa says that the princess would have to see him first on order to know what he looks like. That way, she would know that they would live happily ever after. Once the princess kisses him, she’ll return him to his normal face. It’s inevitable. Virginia likes that about her daughter- she knows how the fairy tales will end.

Fight- Bill with the Bombecks

At Gateway Hospital, Bill helps deliver a newborn. However, there’s something very different about this child. The mother, Francine Bombeck, played by Sarah Sido, calls Bill’s attention to the child’s genitals. According to Bill, it’s a sign of adrenogenital hyperplasia. Try saying that five times fast, it’s fun. The husband, Nate, played by Josh Randall, isn’t pleased that his new child has odd genitals, but Bill assures him that it’s still a boy because he has the XY chromosome. Nate still thinks this thing is a freak. He doesn’t even want to leave the hospital with that thing and wants the genitals to look normal.

He wants Bill to operate, but Bill sees no advantage in that. In fact, he’s not the best person qualified. What Francine and Nate want is a doctor that specializes in pediatric endocrinology. Even so, Nate thinks that his thing won’t be able to perform well in the bedroom. Despite the father’s obvious anger, Bill won’t buckle and, in his own way, tells Nate that he should take some time to think about it and save his child from his own poor judgment.

Fight- Bill and Virginia about to have sex in bathroom

At the Chancery Park Plaza Hotel, a maintenance man fixes the television for Mr. and Mrs. Holden. When he’s done, Mrs. Holden enters. Virginia is ready to start working, but Bill is too focused on the boxing match. However, the moment she enters the bathroom to draw a bath, Bill is on her in seconds and they have a quick romp.

In-between this, doctors examine the Bombeck baby.

After sex, Bill and Virginia discuss their days. Virginia’s was without incident, aside from Bill’s sudden burst of anger. Bill brings up the baby, which is a rare case of utero. Up until now, he’d only heard about and read on the subject, but never saw it in person. He scoffs at the idea of turning the child into a girl on the basis of convenience and fear just because the father is a bully. Virginia suggests naming the child with a boy’s name- maybe that will solve the problem since all men want a certain kind of son- the kind that beats another boy. She wouldn’t want her son to end up like that. Honestly, looking at Henry, I’m positive he won’t turn out like that at all unless he had some sort of nervous breakdown and just snapped. Maybe if he lost his comic book collection.

Virginia isn’t all too interested in the fight- she thinks that the colored fighter has an unfair advantage. However, he’s the reigning champion- Archie Moore. According to Bill, Moore planned to retire if he didn’t retain the title against challenger Yvon Durelle. The more Bill discusses the fight, the more Virginia is impressed with his apparent expertise on the subject. Bill picked it up while at boarding school. In fact, it’s the very first thing he asked about when he arrived. He just became enamored with the sport. When Virginia asks what spurred this interest, he ducks and dodges the question or Virginia’s hunches. He becomes testy and tells her that it wasn’t an interesting story.

Fight- Bill and Bellboy Elliot watch the fight

Bellboy Elliot delivers some food and offers a morning breakfast for the couple, but Dr. Holden tells him that he and his wife have to leave early in the morning.

Once Elliot leaves, Virginia and Bill discuss their ‘stories:’ Virginia will be going to Louisville to take care of her mother, who is suffering from a case of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He will return to work at Kansas City as a radiologist. Virginia doesn’t find these cover stories all that imaginative, but Bill wants to maintain the semblance of an ordinary couple. Regardless, Virginia tweaks the story a bit: her mother was blinded in a prison fight and is serving time for tax evasion and contributing to the delinquency of a minor when she tried to seduce a bag boy at the Piggly Wiggly. Virginia just visits to read the Bible to her.

She even edits Bill’s tale: he’s not just any radiologist- he works for the government and is working on a radioactive pen that will be sent to the Kremlin via the Soviet diplomat, Gustav Antonovich, even though Gustav is a Russian name, not German. Also, the two have no kids. Virginia thinks that Bill is now just making fun of her, but just what are the two of them, anyway? Bill asks if Virginia liked the rough sex. She responds by showing some skin.

Fight- Doctors examine the Bombeck baby

In-between this, the Bombeck baby is placed in front of an X-ray machine while doctors continue their examination.

Virginia’s alias is now given a name: Lydia. There were other suitors before Francis came along, but only one person counted. While at the Louisville public pool with a friend, she lost an earring that she told others was real. When a man dove in to get it, he ended up sending it down the drain. Lydia gave him an earful, you can count on that! But then she ended up meeting the man at an army dance. He took out a piece of colored glass that he had someone fish out. However, this man was also engaged. The fiancé just seemed to vanish. This man was very intelligent, knew his astronomy and even taught Lydia a little bit of French.

One day, she drove him to the train station. He kissed her, got on the train and bid her farewell. Sometime later, he got married. But then, with a devoted couple, where would there have been room for a fiancé? No. Lydia states that she would never marry a man she didn’t love and desire.

In-between this, doctors look at X-rays of the Bombeck baby, get their tools ready and put the baby to sleep so they can begin the procedure.

Fight- Bill teaches Virginia about boxing

Round six of the fight begins. Virginia’s reminded of her father, who liked to listen to fights on the radio. She could never get into it. Bill says that boxing is all about an unspoken conversation when the fighters circle each other. Playing weak is an insult to the other fighter. Virginia still doesn’t get it, so Bill gets her up to give her a demonstration. The two put up their dukes. The key is to undermine the other fighter’s confidence. Bill will throw a punch and she’ll block it. She tries to counter, but there’s no surprise to it- Bill sees it coming

It’s not so funny when Virginia’s bracelet gets stuck in Bill’s hair. Well, it’s a little funny. When the matter is solved, Virginia now tries to fix the divot on the side of Bill’s head. She thinks that Bill enjoyed making her feel weak. She calls the fight unfair, but Bill just thinks she’s just being a sore loser. If she won, she’d probably gloat about it.

But Francis Holden Sr. taught Dr. Holden everything that he knows. Not through explicit teaching, though. One day, Holden Sr. drove his son to New York at the age of 14 to a boarding school. The two got haircuts. Holden Sr. was good at the feint. He would do one thing, but then he’d throw you for a loop. One such loop involved leaving his son on the steps of the freshmen dormitory with the taxi idling at the curb. Holden Sr. said that his son won’t be coming home for the holidays or, really, at all. But Holden Jr. didn’t cry. In fact, this toughened him up, made him into the self-reliant man that he is today. Oh, and a broken nose might have helped.

Fight- Virginia disrobes in front of Bill

When the fantasy ends, Bill orders Virginia to disrobe, and no covering her breasts, either! He just wants to see her. He asks if he can touch her. She nods. He then wants to hear her say how much she wants him to make her feel good. She won’t do that. She can do that herself and does just that as she begins to pleasure herself in front of him.

After the two are dressed, the fight still rages on. Virginia can’t tell who is ahead, as it’s hard to tell who the clear winner is in a boxing match. Bill drops some more boxing knowledge: it’s not all about landing the hardest punch; it’s about being able to absorb blows. Soon, you stop feeling pain and resist your body’s urge to run. You master your response- it gives you power.

Virginia asks about the broken nose. Bill claims that it was due to horsing around and, again, dodges Virginia’s questions. He did, however, come up with a good defense: he just stopped putting up his hands. That’s the ultimate insult: inviting your opponent to take their best shot. He might have been able to stop it if he begged for mercy, but he never did. He took it like a man.

But, Virginia, says, he was just a boy. There would have been no shame in stopping the fight. If Moore had gone down in an early round, would he have been called a loser or a human? Sure, boxing builds character, but Virginia won’t let her son become a boxer. Again, Henry doesn’t come off like the type to be a boxer.

In-between this, a doctor takes a look at a textbook while operating on the Bombeck baby.

Elliot comes to retrieve the food cart and speaks with Mrs. Holden. He offers to put in a standing order for the next time the Holdens stop by. Mrs. Holden gives her own tip despite Bill already giving his own. The two speak of marriage, with Elliot telling Mrs. Holden that women appreciate nice gestures. Mrs. Holden suggests that Elliot drop hints, but take his significant other seriously.

Fight- Fantasy is over

Bill emerges fully dressed, with Virginia now noting that the match looks like love- it’s the two against the crowd. That’s a different way to look at it, I guess. Bill plans to write up the report, but Virginia will do it herself. Role-playing was constant throughout. Before leaving, Bill makes a quick phone call in the hotel lobby.

Fight- Bill pleads with Mr. Bombeck to let his son be who he is

From there, he rushes to the hospital and speaks with Josh in the lobby. Bill orders Nate to stop the procedure and give it some more thought, but it’s already done. Bill begs Mr. Bombeck to let his son be what he is, but no, the operation was a success. Nate and Francine are going to call their daughter Sarah, because better to be a tomboy than a sissy.

Fight- Virginia and Barry Watson watch fight

Virginia heads to the lobby, but before she leaves, she spots a crowd watching the boxing match in a nearby hotel bar. She pops by to watch. A man, played by Barry Watson of 7th Heaven fame, asks about her interest in boxing, but she doesn’t have any. No. She’s not into the fight. She just wants to see how it ends.

Definitely a fantastic episode we’ve got here and one that works even better played against the boxing match. While I like the multi-story arcs and how Masters of Sex has been able to balance them all out without problems, “Fight” is a much stronger episode because, for the most part, is contained and plays out like a boxing match itself.

Each time we cut away to the Bombeck baby, in some very awkward and uncomfortable moments, it feels like the stand-in for a ring girl that would come in and introduce the next round. By the time the episode ends, you’d think you knew everything there was to know about boxing.

Fight- Bill and Virginia

But each round here is another internal and external bout between Bill and Virginia, or Francis and Lydia, as what begins as fantasy slowly transcends into reality. The episode examines gender roles- not just the measure of a man, but femininity through Virginia’s talk with Tessa about a princess that could survive without a man’s help.

I like how the episode is framed, whether in the long focuses on the characters through the mirror or the close-ups of Virginia’s face as she pleasures herself in front of Bill. Amy Lippman, who wrote this episode, made an effective use of the boxing match to illustrate the ongoing battle between Bill and Virginia as they work through their affair.

And yet, their battles against each other are as big as their ongoing one against society. They’ve been shunned because of the sex study, but they’re still pushing forward, despite the odds.

We’ve gotten bits and pieces of Bill’s backstory before, but it comes spilling out in the form of his cover story. And the anger displayed toward his father is not unlike that we’ve seen him show Essie. Bill isn’t a fan of letting people into his life or seeing him in a state of vulnerability, yet it’s through his cover identity that he unravels his troubled past.

Fight- Nate Bombeck argues with Bill

Mr. Bombeck is representative of what Bill hates about the world around him: unflinching and uncompromising in the name of fear and paranoia. When Mr. Bombeck tells Bill that he prefers his child a tomboy as opposed to a sissy, Bill sees his father in this man- he can’t accept what his child is, so he tries to force him to be something different. And that anger comes out when he forces himself onto Virginia in the bathroom, as well as when he tells her to stop covering her breasts.
Fight- Bill wants Virginia to beg him

But even though Bill figured that he could dominate Virginia, she pushes back. It’s her feistiness that drew him to her, and we see her defend her stance when she refuses to let Bill make her feel good, but does it herself. She won’t allow herself to become subservient because she’s not the kind of woman that takes orders.

We want people to be who they are, yes, but that’s hard to do when you have to deal with others who are too steeped in tradition. Now, am I saying there’s anything wrong with doing things the way that you’ve always done them? No. What I am saying is that there’s a difference when it comes to forcing someone to be who they aren’t, as Mr. Bombeck did with his child and what Bill’s father did to him.

And as far as performances go, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan were absolutely on-point. This didn’t feel like two actors acting out a scene, but like an actual boxing match. I know I don’t have as much to say about this episode as I have previous ones- partially because I’ve been away at a convention this week- but this is an episode that should be seen as opposed to reading about. It pushes Bill and Virginia’s friendship, relationship and affair further and gives us another look into their individual back stories. Definitely one of the show’s strongest episodes so far.

A Look at “True Blood” Season 7, Episode 6: “Karma”

“Karma.” What an apt episode title name. That or “Irony” would do it. While True Blood, I feel, still hasn’t found its footing this season and still has a scattered plot, this episode had some nice character moments and a few surprises in an episode that shows, in the end, that what goes around, comes around.

Karma- Eric stops fighting to see Pam captured

The episode begins immediately following Eric’s battle with the Yakuza. In fact, he’s still carrying around the face as a souvenir. Through blurred vision, he spots more Yakuza, but deals with them. Before another battle can begin, some Yakuza bring forth Pam, her neck wrapped in silver chains.

Karma- Eric and Pam captured

The two are brought to the Yakamono Headquarters and are placed in a room with a view. A man places a clock counting down how many hours remain until dawn. How about that? All this madness, but Eric and Pam still find time to have their first sunrise together. Very romantic.

Karma- Bill speaks with Jessica before heading out

A few states over, Bill makes a phone call and sets an appointment. Jessica enters the house and overhears Bill state that he’s Hep-V positive, but he’s unaware that she’s returned. When Bill prepares to leave, he simply tells Jessica that he’s fine when asked about his condition.

Karma- James offers his blood to Lettie Mae and Lafayette

Since the good Reverend will be knocked out for some time, Lettie Mae’s shacking at Lafayette’s, as is James. Lettie Mae still believes that Tara is speaking to her and needs some of James’ blood. Surprisingly, James offers it up, but Lafayette, still against this, decides that he will trip alongside Lettie Mae. This is the last time, however, and it’s only for closure.

Karma- Violet sits Jason down

Outside of his home, Jason prepares to face Violet. He heads in and finds lit candles all around. Violet walks out in a very skimpy and sexy outfit- all as a surprise for Jason. But more than that, she wanted to show Jason how much she appreciates him. She came from a different time, but she can adjust to this one just fine. Jason should feel in control. Even though she still knows that Jason is hers, she belongs to him, as well.

Karma- Bill at Kapneck Offices with other infected vampires

Bill drives to Kapneck Law Offices and finds it packed. The clerk, who sounds like he’s been here for quite some time, just tells Bill to take a number and have a seat. The wait is only five to seven hours.

Karma- Eric and Pam speak with Mr. Gus, played by Will Yun Lee

As Eric and Pam await their oncoming death, a man enters the room. This is the North American President of Yakanomo, Mr. Gus, played by Will Yun Lee. Yakanomo is now bankrupt and he needs Pam and Eric’s help to rectify the situation, mainly by providing the location of Sarah Newlin. Eric won’t cough up anything and gets into a prick measuring contest with Gus over who can be the bigger prick and who gets to kill Sarah first.

The heat is literally on as the sun begins to rise. As she and Eric begin to turn red, Pam, rational, lovely Pam, breaks up the argument. While Gus and Eric fight, Sarah Newlin gets the last laugh. If the two don’t make a deal, they’ll all lose. So the deal is Eric will kill her, but Gus gets the body. A deal is reached just before Eric and Pam burn to death. Time to pay Amber a visit.

Karma- Amber throws up blood on Sarah

Sarah beats them to it. After some breaking and entering, Sarah enters the house, but Amber gets the jump on her. This is before she starts vomiting blood and passes out on the ground.

Jessica calls Jason, who slips away to the kitchen- and away from Violet- to talk with her. She needs Jason to find Sookie and bring her as soon as possible, but can’t say why just yet. When Jason leaves, Violet reacts how you’d expect her to: destroying the room.

Karma- Andy after finding Wade and Adilyn having sex

Andy overhears Adilyn and Wade making sweet love. How sweet. He storms into the room, throwing the two into a panic and sending Wade out of the house. Naked. Andy demands that Wade keep away from Adilyn, while Holly comes to her son’s defense. She and Wade leave in a huff.

Karma- Sookie sleeps the episode away

Someone apparently didn’t tell Sookie that the next episode started, because she’s fast asleep like the series had already ended. Jason comes in and wakes her up, but she’s still pretty groggy. Jason tells Sookie to answer her phone, and Sookie should probably tell everyone that she ditched her phone.

Karma- Dream sequence, Lettie Mae and Lafayette take Tara down from cross

In Dreamland, Lettie Mae and Lafayette take Tara down from the cross. She repays them by running off. All right.

Karma- Nicole tells Sam that she intends to leave Bon Temps

Sam comes in as Nicole finishes a conversation over the telephone. Nicole plans to leave and go home because she just doesn’t belong in Bon Temps. Hallelujah. I could not agree any more. However, she also wants Sam to come with him, even though this crazy town is the only place where he’s ever felt safe. That, in and of itself, may be crazy. Anyway, Nicole’s parents will come to get her tomorrow.

Karma- Jessica tells Sookie and Jason about Bill

At Bill’s, Jessica fills Jason and Sookie in on what she heard. Jason still thinks that Bill, given his abilities from last season, should be able to survive. Sookie has a brief flashback to the night Alcide died, when she wound up covered in Hep-V vampire blood, after she’d cut herself to draw the vampires. Sometime after that, Bill did feed on her, so it’s possible that she infected him. However, now she needs to get tested, just to be sure.

Karma- Arlene and Holly arrive at trashed Bellefleur's

Holly and Arlene arrive at Bellfleur’s, which is still trashed from the night Vince’s mob trashed it. Pity that no one bothered to clean it up, but hey, not like Holly and Arlene have anything else to do.

Back at the clinic, Bill listens as other vampires talk of the early stages of Hep-V. He looks down and sees that the virus has quickly spread to his arms.

Karma- Sookie gets tested

Sookie, however, is already being seen. The nurse, played by Mandy Levin, packages Sookie’s blood, which is sitting right along many other vials. Sookie should receive a call later on in the day with the results. When she meets up with Jason, Sookie tells him that she would rather go anywhere but home right now.

Karma- Dream sequence, Tara leads Lettie Mae and Lafayette to old home

Back in Dreamland, Lettie Mae and Lafayette continue to chase Tara, but can never catch her. Not sure why. She’s not moving that fast. They finally stop when they see Tara digging in the yard of a house, the house they used to stay in when Tara was young.

Karma- Reverend Daniels and Lafayette

The dream ends when Reverend Daniels wakes Lettie Mae up. Lafayette breaks up the fight, telling the Reverend that he didn’t believe Lettie Mae either, but after going on the V-trip, he’s convinced that Tara is trying to tell them something. So now they must go to the old house to find out what Tara wants them to know. The Reverend won’t stand for this, so he gives Mae a choice: him or her dead daughter. Mae chooses dead daughter.

Karma- Holly and Andy argue about sex

Andy arrives at Bellfleur’s so he and Holly can argue about those crazy kids and their sex thing. Arlene the Mediator tells them that this is the least of their problems. After all, Adilyn and Wade are at that age.

Karma- Sookie learns she's Hep-V positive

Sookie and Jason have a moment to talk about their past love lives. Despite everything that’s happened, Sookie can still sense Bill’s presence. There’s just something about your first true love. Jason, however, doesn’t feel much when he’s with Violet. In fact, he’s sometimes afraid of her, even though love shouldn’t make you scared of anyone. After all, none of us know how much time we have left, so that time shouldn’t be spent with someone you don’t love. With that, Jason plans to have a talk with Violet.

However, Sookie receives the phone call she’s been waiting for. We don’t hear it, but just based on her reaction and facial expressions alone, it’s not good news.

Karma- Bill meets Madeline Kapneck, played by Kathleen York

After seeing that the virus has spread over his chest, Bill’s turn finally arrives and he meets Madeline Kapneck, played by Kathleen York. Bill gets to the point: he wants to turn over his entire estate to his progeny. The problem is that the state doesn’t recognize vampire progenies. Bill’s will was drafted in 1894, but he was turned in 1865. Technically, Bill was impersonating a human at the time he drafted his will. The only real option would be for Bill to adopt Jessica, but such a process could take five months to a year. Obviously, Bill doesn’t have time for that, so Ms. Kapneck offers to move Bill to the front of the line…for the modest sum of $10 million.

In response to extortion, Bill tries to glamour Ms. Kapneck, but like Eric’s attempt on the Governor last season, it falls flat. The humans are learning, it seems. Kapneck doesn’t see herself in the wrong. Vampires have had centuries at to live as they please. Humans don’t have as much time, so she shouldn’t be at fault for wanting to make some cash.

Karma- Bill kills Madeline Kapneck

Well, since glamouring didn’t work, Bill settles on murder instead. A messier alternative, really.

Karma- Andy and Holly find Rocky

Holly and Andy head back to confront Adilyn and Wade, but the two are missing. I mean, it’s pretty clear from the moment the two don’t get a response that Adilyn and Wade probably aren’t there. They wanted to be alone, so they swore Rocky to secrecy about their location. That works until Holly threatens to gut him, even though they’d never find out if she did that.

Karma- Sarah and Amber argue

Back in Texas, Amber wakes up to find Sarah still there. Sarah needs a place to hide and Amber, of course, is insulted that Sarah had the nerve to show her face after everything she’s done. Sarah has gone spiritual, however. After finding a place where she didn’t exist, Sarah has made peace with herself.

Oh, and there’s an antidote to the Hep-V virus. She drank it all, as we see in a flashback. Hence, she is the antidote.

Karma- Jason finds Violet's letter

Jason is ready to confront Violet, but he won’t have to. Her room is a wreck, but she did at least leave a note, telling him that their relationship just wasn’t working. Jason is excited, to say the least.

Karma- Violet finds Wade and Adilyn

So where is Violet? She’s watching Wade and Adilyn, who are literally sitting in a tree house, not F-U-C-K-I-N-G, but just K-I-S-S-I-N-G. All right, they’re lying down, but close enough.

Violet warns the two about being out so late at night, especially since Adilyn’s fairy scent could be tracked by other vampires. Violet offers her protection, but just to be safe, she has Wade and Adilyn toss their phones so they won’t be traced. Sounds reasonable.

Karma- Amber is healed

Eric, Pam and the Yakuza are all ready to pay Sarah Newlin a visit. What they’re not prepared for is the sight of a now fully healed Amber, which was kind of obvious, given how the camera followed Amber from the back, never showing her face.

The episode comes to a close as Bill enters his home. He’s greeted by the sight of the visibly upset and tear-stained faces of Sookie and Jessica.

Again, this was an aptly named episode. What goes around definitely came around this week. After last week’s mostly focused episode, “Karma” went back to multiple storylines, and I understand that the show needs to wrap up as many threads as possible before the series ends, but the execution is still weak, in my opinion. In fact, most of the subplots felt like filler compared to the larger stories that involved either Eric and Pam or Sookie and Bill dealing with the Hep-V virus.

While I’m not a fan of the multi-story episodes, they do at least build off of what happened at the party last week. The characters tackled the inevitability of life and how to make the most of a shitty situation. Some things you can try to avoid or yell your way out of, as Holly and Andy attempt to do, or you can take the proactive approach with Eric and Pam by trying to fix your problem. We can’t stop the inevitable, but we can sure as hell try. But if you’re too late, the most you can try to do is salvage what’s left while remembering the good times you had, but squandered because you got distracted.

Karma- Sookie and Jessica

So we got a payoff to Sookie being covered in Hep-V blood. Though she told Alcide that she never got any in her mouth, it was still on her body. It’s very possible that the disease would spread through direct contact, but maybe Sookie thought the virus only hit vampires. After all, vampires were the only ones that we saw infected.

And it’s even worse because she’s the cause of bringing pain to the man who has come to know her better than most. I don’t know what Sookie could have done differently, but she at least took the time to get herself tested, rather than just blaming herself on a hunch. Throughout the season, we’ve watched Sookie use others for something that she needed, mainly getting rid of the Hep-V vampires. Now the very sickness that infected vampires is inside of her.

Karma- Sookie and Jason have a moment to talk

I appreciate the moments she got to spend with Jason that didn’t involve any craziness- it was just a brother and sister having conversations, which I like. They could be people for a few moments and not constantly worry about some supernatural threat. And the way they talk of their first loves gave them something to bond over. For once, the characters could reminisce without the use of flashbacks.

Karma- Violet goes down on Jason

So it looks like Jason might want to give things another shot with Jessica. This I’m fine with. I think Jason and Jessica could have potentially worked out the first time, if not for the drama with Hoyt. That said, the man should not be elated over Violet breaking up with him via letter. If her destruction is significant of anything, it’s that she’s not done yet. But I do agree that he doesn’t feel anything for her anymore. Hell, the woman gave him a blowjob and he didn’t even flinch. I said during “Fire in the Hole” that I didn’t understand Violet’s beef with Jessica and that it felt like forced drama. Now Violet actually has a reason to be pissed at Jessica, but I don’t think the writers were being clever or trying to foreshadow this.

Karma- Violet about to destroy room

And really, what are Violet’s intentions? If she wanted to drain Adilyn, she could have just done it. Surely she doesn’t just want Adilyn and Wade to suffer.  I mean, that’d be too easy. And cliché.

Karma- Holly and Andy

As for Andy and Holly, I can’t say I’m all that interested in their arc. It’s not out of character for them to bicker, I just wish it was more interesting than ‘the kids are having sex’ stuff. However, given everything they’ve been through, this is probably the most normal thing to happen to them. Savor this.

Karma- Arlene

Arlene seems to have gone through a complete transformation since her dungeon experience. I almost want to call this shift too sudden, but given how she was on the verge of death, I suppose it’s not too unrealistic that she would actually want to turn her life around, with her being the voice of reason and moral compass when Andy and Holly can’t seem to get along.

Karma- Bye, Nicole

So Nicole wants out. Good. No, really. Good riddance and I hope she doesn’t run into any sort of distraction that would keep here there. I don’t think I’ve disliked a character on this show as much as I do Nicole. She feels like a distraction. She says she doesn’t belong and I can’t really blame her. I wouldn’t have as big of an issue with her as I do if she hadn’t made that comment last season about her grandparents being the ones to kick off the Civil Rights Movement, essentially making her family pioneers in a movement that spanned decades before that.

That’s what made me hate the character, even though that’s just one line. And she can’t leave soon enough for me. While it would be good for Sam to find some normalcy, I hope it’s because he actually wants to, not just because he feels obligated to Nicole and their unborn child. Hell, now that Nicole is with child, she and Sam have even more to lose, should they fail. To give credit where credit is due, she was spot on with her comments during the party: celebrating life during so much chaos is maddening. I just don’t care about her or Sam’s plot, really.

Karma- Lettie Mae and Lafayette trip

The same can be said for Lettie Mae. All right, now she wants to be the good mother? Not until she lost the person most precious to her does she now want to play a role in helping her. Sucks that the Reverend was left out to dry, but he gave her a choice. In the end, Lettie Mae chose family. Dead family, but family. It’s a clear choice for her, but it’s also certainly a late one. The only thing keeping this plot interesting to me is Lafayette’s involvement. The fact that Rutina Wesley’s name still appears in the credits makes it seem as if the writers are going to try and bring her back.

Karma- Bill learns he could adopt Jessica

As for Bill, I like that he’s trying to pass off his legacy to Jessica. It makes sense, given that he’s her maker, but aside from Sookie, Jessica is one of the few people who Bill actually trusts. We’ve watched Bill flash back to his family life during the Civil War to show the importance of family to him. The possibility of losing your current family would be enough to throw someone into a frenzy, but Bill at least tries to salvage what he has.

We could have done without the political context, though. That’s something I feel True Blood has never been able to do right, even when Russell went on live television. We get that vampires are an oppressed people. Don’t beat us over the head with the message that’s pretty obvious. Bill murdering Ms. Kapneck may have been excessive. True, she tried to extort him out of his money, and glamouring didn’t work, but there were other people still at the center. Surely someone saw or heard him, right? Right?

Karma- Pam and Eric prepare to share their first sunrise together

It’s becoming repetitive for me to say that Eric and Pam are my favorite part of the episode. Their banter energizes the scenes and the two have been the most consistently entertaining part of the season. I like how exasperated Eric was when he thought he’d have to endure another fight. And like how the virus spread quickly to Bill, we saw a glimpse of it worsening Eric’s condition through his hazy vision.

And for as much as Pam doesn’t give a shit about almost anything, good on her to keep a level head when her maker almost got them burned due to his pig head. There’s no point in everyone fighting each other when Sarah Newlin is their common enemy.

Karma- Sarah tells Amber that she drank the Hep-V antidote

But how ironic is it for Sarah to be the key to the Hep-V virus? I hope this doesn’t just become a repeat of last season, where the vampires fed off of Bill just so they could survive in the sun for a while. Sarah is living in her own world and can’t see things for how they truly are. Amber was correct when she said that Sarah couldn’t just pretend like all of the horrible things she’s done just didn’t happen. With Sarah downing the antidote, I can’t tell if she did it out of desperation, if she’s that clever or just stupid. She had to know that vampires would come after her if they ever learned about this. But this at least guarantees that she won’t die as early as she may have previously thought, now that she’ll be of use.

“Karma” was all right. Not bad or great. Like “Lost Cause,” it had its good and bad moments. This one I’d rank under that because the storylines involving Sam and Nicole, Andy, Arlene and Holly, and to an extent, Lettie Mae, just weren’t as interesting as the other plots. But, again, the Eric and Pam stuff made for more interesting television. There’s a lot of set-up with Sookie now knowing that she may have infected Bill, not to mention Sarah being the ultimate cure. As bad as True Blood is this season, they still find a way to sneak in one or two little bits that keep me interested.

Any questions, comments, concerns, issues, complaints? Would like to hear them, if’n you have any.