The third episode of "True Blood's" seventh and final season was all about loss: Coping with loss, moving past loss and, in true final season style, displaying loss.
The biggest plot twist to come out of "Fire in the Hole" is the death of Alcide Herveaux. A longtime fan-favorite and Sookie's recent beau, the werewolf earned a tragic -- if not unexpected -- murder in the final moments of the episode.
The fault of this death is as much at the hands of Sookie Stackhouse as it is of the prejudiced townsman who shot him. It's no coincidence that Sookie was telling Bill that Alcide's desire to have kids is a detriment to their relationship not long before he was killed.
Sookie is and always has been a person who can only take care of herself -- if that. She frequently put herself in harm's way, often at the danger of others. This time, Alcide paid the price because she decided to use herself as bait to kill the Hep-V vampires -- who, it should be noted, had ravished an entire town.
If ever there was a time for a wakeup call for Sookie, hopefully this is it. She's dealt with a lot of loss in her life, and not always has it been her fault (even if it sometimes is supposed to feel like it is). This time, though, her actions killed the man she loved -- even if she didn't love him as much as he loved her. And with the characters of "True Blood" dropping left and right, she better be careful about who she intentionally or unintentionally leads to death's door next.
Also meeting the chopping block was Maxine Fortenberry. Maxine was a character who the writers never seemed to know what to do with, and who had an arc towards redemption that got lost somewhere in the messy past few seasons of the show. Her death was a big ol' "good riddance," though someone needs to put a rein on her murderer, Violet. The vampiress is a character who has only proved to be more trouble than she's worth, and her story arc with Jason is getting old very quickly.
Those were the two major losses of the episode, but the majority of the characters in "Fire in the Hole" had to reflect on the losses they already suffered. For Eric, the weight of the losses in his life -- Godric, Nora and even Sookie -- are enough to make him lose the will to live. He reflects on a time he chose Pam's life over that of a French woman he enjoyed sleeping with, and it's clear he's sick of having to choose. It's only the reminder that Sarah Newlin is still alive that spurs him to likely one final hurrah of undead life.
Speaking of Sarah Newlin, she has been a loss from the show more than anything else, even if it was clear that she would return after last season. Anna Camp has always been a shining light on "True Blood," especially in Season 6. Her hilarious transformation into spiritual groupy should make her presence in Season 7 as fun as it's ever been.
Sarah isn't the only long-(seemingly)-lost face who reappeared in this episode. Jessica Tuck's Nan Flanagan was back and as cold as always during a flashback to Eric's French tryst days. Finally there was a nod to the romance that should have been between her and Pam, even if it never actually panned out.
"Fire in the Hole" knocked viewers over the head with this idea of loss, and it's interesting that it comes so early in the season. Because after loss comes grief and then acceptance, hopefully implying that "True Blood" will follow the same path in Season 7. Maybe it is building up to an ending that won't leave its longtime viewers coping with the emotions that so many of its characters dealt with here.
Photo/Video credit: HBO