9:40am PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka
'True Blood': What to Expect From the Season 7 Premiere
HBO’s True Blood premieres its seventh and final season on Sunday, and things have changed in Bon Temps.
With the six-month time jump at the end of last season, viewers learned that gangs of Hep V-infected vampires have been ravaging small towns since the virus was spread through the world’s vampire population. Newly elected mayor Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) presents a controversial solution — every human not carrying the virus exchanging one vampire’s protection for that vampire drinking their blood. But a social to promote the policy at what was Merlotte’s, now owned by Arlene (Carrie Preston) and renamed Bellefleur’s, was imperiled at the end of the episode by a group of Hep V vamps approaching.
Executive producer and showrunner Brian Buckner told The Hollywood Reporter, “It was my absolute goal and objective to narrow the number of separate stories we're telling.” With the human-vampire pairing storyline, he said, “we have this whole town of characters we're invested in, and we get to look at what those pairings will do to the relationships people are already in.”
Here’s where the characters are at the end of season six, and what the final episodes will likely hold for each of them:
Sookie and Alcide
Following the death of Warlow (Robert Kazinsky), Sookie is finally in a stable relationship. She and her werewolf beau (Joe Manganiello) banter and get along well at the Bellefleur’s social. They are confronted afterward by Bill (Stephen Moyer), who offers Sookie protection, telling Alcide, “You’re not good enough. You can growl all you want, bright eyes, but it doesn’t change the truth.” Sookie decides to take her chances with her werewolf, but will he be able to protect her?
Now a best-selling author (And God Bled: A Story of Death and Redemption), Bill is actively trying to improve human-vampire relations, devising a new pairing system with Sam. He confesses to a talk show host in the season-six finale, “The thing that we vampires are most afraid of y’all knowing is, we fear you too,” adding that he wrote his book because “even though we vampires came out of the coffin, we’ve never really been all the way out.” Nevertheless, he is difficult to trust after last season and his aggressive sales pitch to Sookie. The premiere offers some clarity about his agenda.
The previous season concluded with the possibility of reconciliation between Tara (Rutina Wesley) and her mother Lettie Mae (Adina Porter, now a series regular). In one of the finale’s most powerful scenes, Lettie Mae offers her blood to Tara. “I thought I never could forgive myself, but if you let me, Tara, I could make this right for the both of us. Come here, let me feed you,” she tells her daughter, and Tara bites her — but not gently.
Jessica and the Bellefleurs
Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) murdered all but one of Sheriff Andy Bellefleur’s (Chris Bauer) half-fairy daughters, finding their fairy blood intoxicating. She offers Andy, who distrusts vampires and refuses to go to the pairing social at Bellefleur’s, protection for him and his remaining daughter Adilyn (Bailey Noble, another new series regular) without their blood in return. Andy uneasily accepts, but this pairing and Andy’s place in Sam’s Bon Temps will be tested in season seven.
The premiere positions Jessica’s new boyfriend (Luke Grimes in season six, now Nathan Parsons) to become one of this season’s most intriguing characters. He tells a story of his past that reveals a dark apathy beneath his pacifism.
Jason and Violet
Jason (Ryan Kwanten) has pleasured his vampire girlfriend Violet (Karolina Wydra) for 178 nights in a row — “sometimes twice, even three times a night” — without sex. Will they finally do it in the premiere? And, will Violet’s temper threaten the vampire-human coexistence in Bon Temps?
Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) ended the season nude, in direct sunlight on a mountain in Sweden. He seemed to burn when Warlow’s death causes the fey blood the vampires drank to lose its daywalking effect, but could he really be dead? Buckner told THR at the end of last season, “The character of Eric will be back as a regular on our show, but I'm not promising how we're going to use him.” Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) leaves to look for her maker and viewers are right there with her.
True Blood returns to Sunday at 9 p.m. at HBO.