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‘True Blood’ Review: “Life Matters”

True Blood Review Life Matters
HBO

True Blood’ season 6 spurts out its 9th and penultimate episode of the year, “Life Matters,” as Bill and Eric enact their plans to free the vampires from camp, while Sookie and the others gather for Terry Bellefleur’s funeral.

The previous ‘True Blood’ episode, “Dead Meat,” saw Sookie struggling with whether or not to accept Warlow’s proposal, Jason getting to know his new “owner” Violet (Karolina Wydra), and both Sam and Alcide confronting their futures, so how does “Life Matters” set us up for the finale?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘True Blood’ season 6, episode 9, “Life Matters”!

Sookie revives Warlow with her blood, though Bill insists Warlow come with him regardless of his condition. Sookie suggests Bill take the needed blood from Eric, before blasting him back into the real world. Meanwhile, Eric daywalks into the Vamp Camp facility, and ominously eyes the soldiers guarding it, as elsewhere everyone gathers for Terry Bellefleur’s funeral.

Sookie assures Warlow she still intends to be his, before teleporting to the graveyard for the funeral, greeting Alcide, and sitting down for the service. Elsewhere at Vamp Camp, Bill finds the carnage outside, while Eric infiltrates the facility and violently castrates Dr. Overlark. Eric frees the other vampires and urges them to kill the humans, stopping to comfort another whose maker has been infected with Hepatitis V.

Andy gives the first eulogy for Terry, remembering how after the war Terry hid in their childhood fort, and would only emerge for beer. Sam delivers the next speech, remembering how Andy brought him to meet Terry with an offering of his favorite beer, and a job at Merlotte’s. The trio next went catfishing, though Terry threw his catch back upon seeing the fish’s struggle, remembering that “every life matters.”

Back in Vamp Camp, Eric finds a weakened Jason and heals him, and Jason leads him through the carnage to find the white room. Unbeknownst to either, Sarah Newlin has survived and hidden herself among the dead bodies. Eric finds the therapist, though the man has no care for his own death, having already slept with Pam. Meanwhile, at the funeral, Lafayette remembers Terry’s first shift and teaching him how to make fries.

Sookie senses that Arlene can’t yet deliver her own eulogy, and volunteers to speak. Admitting herself to be a telepath, Sookie tells the crowd her own remembrance of Terry’s first night on shift, hearing the cook believe Arlene to be the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. Back at Vamp Camp, Sarah Newlin prays as she climbs to the top of the white room, and prepares to open the hatch on the vampires below.

Sarah opens the bay doors to find the vampires inside already feeding off of Bill, thus protecting them from the sun. Steve Newlin fails to get any of Bill’s blood however, and Eric deliberately holds him in the sun — Steve bursts, though not before the former reverend screams out his love for Jason Stackhouse. The vampires saved, Eric informs Pam he saved the therapist for her, and Jason runs after Sarah Newlin.

Arlene delivers her remembrance of Terry from the night their baby was first born, while back at Vamp Camp, the surviving vampires frolic in the sun, and Bill sees Lilith’s three sirens telling him his time has come. Outside, Jason tackles Sarah Newlin to the ground and grabs her gun, but ultimately relents in pulling the trigger on her. Back at the funeral, “Big John” sings “Life Matters” to commemorate Terry.

Eric and the other vampires destroy the tainted shipments of TruBlood, though some have already made their way to Hawaii. Jessica feels Bill’s distress and races inside to help, as James offers some of his blood to prevent Bill from succumbing to the sirens. Back at the funeral, Arlene accepts the military salute and admits Terry might have liked it.

Bill joins the other vampires outside as they leave Vamp Camp behind, while Pam sees Eric in the distance before he flies off.

First off, apologies for the lateness of this review, especially considering the quality of the hour, and we’ll have a review of season 6 finale “Radioactive” later on tonight. Regardless, we’d be hard-pressed to deny that ‘True Blood’ has been much more consistently on its game this past season, and “Life Matters” very much feels like the pinnacle of that. Back at Comic-Con 2013, showrunner Bryan Buckner explained his intent to return the HBO soap to its simpler days of smaller stories, and keeping the “Life Matters” action grounded between two locations very much executes that idea.

On the vampire side of things, we were happy to see the Vamp Camp story finally come to a close as each incarcerated fanger got their chance for revenge, offering the audience some much-needed catharsis. We were sad to see Steve Newlin go, and sadder still at the thought that Eric might have left ‘True Blood’ behind for the time being, but everything dovetailed nicely to save the major characters, and apparently fulfill Bill’s purpose as a messiah.

Back in Bon Temps, Terry’s funeral afforded some nice moments of flashback and remembrance for the cast, even as Terry’s stories had become increasingly ridiculous and tangential to the overall plot. The episode’s title proves very true to the theme of the hour, in that the character mattered to the cast regardless of important his stories over the year had been. The smaller scale of using the funeral to tell stories about the man and reunite everyone under happier circumstances proved a welcome change of pace for the series, a fitting sendoff for the character, and an appropriate respite from the bloodier moments of the hour. Seriously, Dr. Overlark. Cringe.

That said, with so much of the season resolved in the mini-finale of “Life Matters,” where could things possibly go? We’ll find out later tonight!

Did you get your fill of fang-banging ‘True Blood’ action?  What did you think about “Life Matters”? Join the discussion in the comments, and be sure to check back later tonight for another all-new recap when HBO debuts the season 6 finale, “Radioactive”!

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