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True Blood 6.09 Life Matters REVIEW

TV REVIEW Privates on parade

True Blood 6.09 “Life Matters” TV REVIEW

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Episode 6.09
Writer: Brian Buckner
Director: Romeo Tirone

THE ONE WHERE It's the day of Terry's funeral, and the citizens of Bon Temps pay respect to their old friend. Meanwhile, the vampires go crazy when Eric frees them from the complex: there is much blood spilt (to put it mildly). While Eric gets revenge for his sister's death, Bill nips into the building and saves his friends by offering up his blood to them as they're bathed in daylight, thus fulfilling his prophecy.

VERDICT Terry, we loved you. It's sad that you're gone, and it's lovely that the writers of True Blood decided to give your character such a moving send-off. But really, didn't his funeral seem to go on forever? Every time you thought it was over, someone else got up to speak – or even sing! And as much as it was truly emotional (yes, I will admit that my chin wobbled liked a Weeble), it just seemed as though it was filling time while the events at the complex were going down. So in a rather peculiar way, Terry's funeral almost became filler: how weird is that?

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Still, while lengthy, it did contain some wonderful moments and flashbacks. Terry, Sam and Andy fishing, for example, was a really peaceful scene that worked as a stunning counterpoint to the violence in the rest of the episode. Likewise, a sympathetic Lafayette teaching Terry how to fry chips while dancing was good fun. And as for Terry's first glimpse of Arlene as Sookie read his mind – no romantic novelist could have written that scene more perfectly. Amusingly, though, Sookie told that story while Arlene gathered her courage to get up and speak herself, which was a really bad idea... because if anything was going to demolish her defences, the news that her future husband fell in love with her at first sight would do it! Quite how Arlene even got her legs to work, let alone her speech facilities, after Sookie's story is a bloody mystery!

The one thing that does make Terry's funeral even more strange is that while the humans (with the odd werewolf or shapeshifter) sit around mourning the loss of his life, over at the complex there are humans dying by the dozens as the vampires rampage. Their deaths are almost cartoonish in comparison with the seriousness of Terry's demise, and it's an uncomfortable juxtaposition, really – those guards would have had families and friends, wouldn't they? They'd be mourned too! But their deaths are almost played for laughs, and you have no choice but to accept the contrast. Not that it's much of an issue, mind you, when these deaths are so bizarrely over the top... none more so than that of the unfortunate Dr Overlark, who surely wins the award for “Most Hideous Death Ever To Appear In True Blood ”. Genitals ripped off, face stamped on... dear lord, do you remember when you weren't even allowed to say “damn” on American telly? Times have really bloody changed!

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Anyway, now the carnage is over and the vampires are free, there's the small matter of the Hepatitis V distribution to clear up. Although this episode feels as though it's the season finale, there's obviously something left to do, and Eric's sudden, Superman-like departure is interesting. We're not sure what's on the cards for Bill now, either: is he through with Lilith? And what will Sarah Newlin do next? For a moment it did look as though Jason would shoot her; kudos to both actors for selling their confrontation so well.

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CASUAL POSE OF THE WEEK Sookie looks utterly unbothered as Warlow feeds off her. If this doesn't sum up her life, nothing does.

SMOOTH LANDING Sookie throws Bill out of the faerie realm and he rather magnificently lands on his feet and skids along the ground. Not only did it look cool, it's such a welcome relief from that tiresome “three-point landing” cliché all over TV and cinema.

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WHY HELLO THERE! Alcide joins Sookie at the funeral and proceeds to smoulder all over the place, although Sookie's too distracted by Jason's absence to notice (is she dead ?). Love Bon Temps' two resident old ladies drooling all over him, too, and the way he completely ignores him.

WAS IT JUST ME, OR... Was anyone else wondering why on Earth Bill didn't just let his friends out of the white room? He got in there, so clearly he'd opened an exit. Why did he offer up his blood instead of just ushering them out of danger?

CHEATER! Last week Violet staked a claim on Jason and so, from now on, he's hers. How will she react when she discovers that he drank Eric's blood to heal himself? Isn't that like boffing someone else while you're married? Also, I can't wait to find out what enticing visions of Eric Jason will be seeing... “When you dream of me, dream of nice things,” says the vampire. Well, he had some very “nice” dreams about Warlow earlier in the season.

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DICING WITH DEATH Who knew that psychiatrist Finn was such a thrillseeker? His goading of Eric is almost painful to watch (Jason's reaction to it is priceless), but if he was hoping for a quick death from him, he was wrong. And yikes, when Eric reaches out and grabs his contact lens in the space of a heartbeat, it's enough to make your hair stand on end.

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UNCOMFORTABLE VIEWING This poor vampire waits forlornly as his maker dies of Hep V. There's something unexpectedly sad about this scene: we saw his maker bullying his fellow vamps last week, and so he was clearly a bastard. Was he a paedophile, too? The fact this guy is so young makes us wonder why he was turned... it can't have been for anything good, can it? There's a story here. And not a nice one.

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LET GRANNY MAKE IT META Hang on… is grandma Bellefleur an undercover TV critic as well as a bigot? When Big John – who’s barely been seen in the show before (he’s been in two episodes, including the very first one) – gets up at Terry’s funeral and sings the moving song “Life Matters” (hence the episode title) she complains, “I’m just saying, he’s not in the programme !” (meaning the show itself, perhaps? Most people wouldn’t remember him). When he sits down she moans, “I really don’t see what was the point of that!” mirroring what some viewers (who want to get back to the bloody action) might be thinking. It’s also interesting that the scene of Big John singing is intercut with Jason’s showdown with Sarah, in which he puts his hand to his ear and says, “What’s that, Big J?” He means Jesus, but it’s spookily like he can hear Big John singing. Can’t be a coincidence surely, especially as he doesn’t, ultimately, kill Sarah… because, “Life Matters” maybe?

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FLOWERS MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER Last week Arlene declared that she wanted “happy” carnations at Terry's funeral. Here they are on the right. Shame she didn't win about banning the guns, though, but at least she didn't mind them in the end.

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DON'T EVER CHANGE Lafayette delivering his memorial to Terry while wearing enormous false eyelashes is simply perfect.

Sookie to Bill: “Seriously? I'm gnawing at my own arm and you're gonna drop fang on me?”


Steve Newlin's last words: “I LOVE YOU, JASON STACKHOUSE!”

Jayne Nelson

• Read our previous True Blood season six reviews

• True Blood season six will start airing in the UK on 30 September on Fox

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