Review: True Blood 6.9 “Life Matters”


True Blood

When the history of True Blood is eventually written, Life Matters will be remembered as the best episode of season 6 and perhaps as one of the best episodes of the entire series.

For a show that has occasionally been a tad too complicated and a bit too dependent on easy snark as opposed to genuine sentiment, tonight’s episode was both focused and sincerely emotional.  If an episode of True Blood could ever make you cry while still making you laugh and occasionally jump, Life Matters is that episode.

Tonight, True Blood was all about death.  While the citizens of Bon Temps gathered to say a final goodbye to Terry, the vampires got their revenge on the humans at Vamp Camp.  The Rev. Newlin finally met his well-deserved demise at the hands of Eric and the sun while Jason came close to murdering Sarah Newlin before finally relenting.

At the end of last week’s episode, Bill and Sookie were standing over Warlow’s drained body.  Well, it turns out that Warlow is not dead.  He’s just weakened.  After Sookie allows him to feed on her, she leaves for Terry’s funeral while Bill heads to Vamp Camp.

The rest of the episode very skillfully cuts back and forth from the powerful emotion of Terry’s funeral and Bill and Eric’s bloody rampage at Vamp Camp.  While those at the funeral speak of the value of celebrating life, Bill, Eric, and the vampires are literally killing every human that they can find.  While Andy and Sam talk about (and we see flashbacks of) the first time they ever met Terry, Bill is killing a human scientist by stomping his face in.  While Sookie gives her eulogy and also outs herself as being a telepath, Eric is releasing all of the female vampires and announcing, “Go forth and kill all the humans!”

Sarah Newlin, realizing that she’s literally one of only two humans left alive at Vamp Camp, climbs up to the top of the roof of the sun room and turns a wheel that opens up the ceiling.  The sun shines down on the vampires below but all of the vampires have now fed on Bill’s blood and are now immune to the sun.

Every vampire except for the Rev. Newlin, of course.

Newlin begs to be allowed to feed on Bill’s blood but none of the other vampires are willing to allow Newlin to get near him.  Finally, Eric grabs Newlin by the throat and holds him in place as the sun shines down on him.  As Sarah watches from above, her ex-husband starts to burn and then explodes into a mess of red goo.  Newlin’s last words are to declare his love for Jason Stackhouse.

As for Jason, he catches Sarah as she tried to flee Vamp Camp and, in a rather uncomfortable scene, holds a gun to Sarah’s face while she begs for her life.  Jason finally allows her to escape, saying that he doesn’t want her blood on his hands.  As hateful a character as Sarah is, I’m glad that Jason didn’t kill her.  Jason may be many things but he’s not a cold-blooded murderer.  That’s one reason why we all love him.

Bill, weakened after having been drained, lies on the floor of the sun room and has a vision of Lillith’s sirens approaching him.  They tell him that it’s time for him to come with Lillith.  Bill says that he’s not ready to go.  Fortunately, Jessica and James find him and James feeds him.

Meanwhile, Terry’s funeral ends with Arlene accepting an American flag from the Marine honor guard and Big John singing “Life Matters.”  A random old lady wonders why there’s so many black people at Terry’s funeral.  That’s just life in Bon Temps.

As the episode ends, Bill and the other vampires are celebrating in the daylight.  However, Pam sees Eric standing some distance away.  Pam tells Eric that he better not leave her.  Eric responds by doing just that, shooting off into the sky and leaving Pam by herself.

Tonight’s episode of True Blood felt almost like a series finale.  As I watched it, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t watching the end of the show or even the end of the season.  Instead, I was watching the 9th episode of a 10-episode season.  There’s one more episode and at least one more season to go before True Blood concludes.

I just hope that Eric comes back.

Random Observations:

  • Considering just how marginal his character often seemed to be in the grand scheme of things, I was a bit surprised at how touching Terry’s funeral truly turned out to be.
  • Still, as a friend of mine pointed out on twitter, dead Terry got more screen time during tonight’s episode than he ever did while he was alive.
  • If an episode of True Blood ever deserved an Emmy for editing, this is the one.
  • How is Season 6 going to end?  Is there more to the Lillith story or will next week’s episode just be about setting things up for season 7?  Your guess is as good as mine.
  • I’m sure that those of you who got this review in your e-mail might be wondering if I really did accidentally type Big Brother instead of True Blood in my initial draft of this post.  Yes, I did.  Whoops.  I also write a daily blog over at the Big Brother Blog.  My mistake was the result of me trying to write reviews of two very different shows at the same time.
  • “I love you, Jason Stackhouse!”
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11 responses to “Review: True Blood 6.9 “Life Matters”

    • Lol, yes, you caught the biggest typo of my film and TV reviewing career. :) I also write for a Big Brother blog and I was switching back and forth between writing about Big Brother and True Blood earlier tonight and that’s how that odd mistake happened. :)

      For the record, True Blood was far superior to Big Brother tonight. :)

  1. Stay Supple?

    What does that mean, exactly?

    I can’t believe you write a Big Brother Blog! Why in the world? Not only is the whole show scripted (which you already know), but I would even go so far as to say that the whole “voting people off” thing is rigged. I know this because I remember they used to have “vote for your dream match” on World Championship Wrestling, and the poll would always be rigged.

    Speaking of unbelievable things, I can’t believe this fellow sitting next to me is playing computer soccer on his mobile phone. That’s pretty lame.

    • How I came to write a Big Brother Blog is a long story that’ll have to wait for another day. :) I agree with you, however, that this season is totally and completely rigged.

      As far as “Stay supple,” is concerned, that came about three years ago when I realized that I needed a catch phrase. Like all catch phrases, “Stay supple” means nothing but people seem to respond well to it. :)

      I hope you grabbed that guy’s phone and threw it in the street.

      • Hahahaha! Well, I was sitting in the library at the time, and I just found it really odd, you know, for many reasons.
        When I was a kid, I was always really jazzed when a new computer game would hit the arcade and it would have some massive screen. To me, any ball sport game would seem to necessitate the biggest screen possible. As a child 25 years ago, if you’d told me that in the year 2013 millions of people would be playing computer sports on something the size of a Donkey Kong handheld game, I wouldn’t have believed you. What sort of progress is this? Also, being on the internet, I’m sure he could’ve had his choice from any of a number of online games.

        It’s a strange world, because those same school teachers and parents who looked down upon children for playing computer games in the 1980s are now senior citizens stuck to their tablets and mobile telephones, playing games that were supposedly time-wasters for children in the 1980s. Likewise, I remember all the grief I caught for being a fan of pro wrestling back in the day, and people asked me how could I watch it when it’s all so fake, blah blah blah. Well, I’d hazard a guess that many of those same people are now addicted to (un)reality television, but the difference is, whereas many wrestling fans know how the business works, an overwhelming number of (un)reality-TV fans think that their shows are real.

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