'True Blood' Season 7 premiere recap: 'Jesus Gonna Be Here,' but not for Tara

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true-blood-season-7-premiere-tara-death-hbo.jpg "True Blood" Season 7 picked up right from where Season 6 left off, for better or worse. The Hep-V vamps attack Bellefleur's in the opening minutes of the premiere, resulting in the kidnapping of several key characters and, importantly, the death of Tara.

Lafayette describes Tara's second, true death best when he says, "I grieved the first time she died, and now the second time she died, I don't feel nothing inside." Honestly, her death happens so quickly (and off screen) that I had to rewind the episode back to the beginning to make sure I didn't miss something. But Tara is indeed dead and a pile of vampire goop on the ground, and her purpose now seems to solely be as a plot device to emotionally motivate the characters close to her going forward.

But what was the point of killing off Tara in the Season 4 finale and bringing her back in Season 5 as a vampire, only to really kill her in Season 7's premiere? Did she really not have any other storylines left to tell? Did she deserve such an unceremonious, off-screen death? Tara has long seemed like a character who the "True Blood" writers didn't know quite what to do with, but having her post-death story now be told through Lettie Mae and her maybe-visions seems like a darn shame.

The "True Blood" premiere wasn't completely overshadowed by the handling of Tara's death, though. Jessica, played by the fantastic Deborah Ann Woll, continues to be the most interesting facet of "True Blood." Her struggle with how to cope with her guilt over killing all but one of Andy Bellefleur's half-faerie children plays a major role in the Season 7 premiere. She decides to protect Adalind when Andy has to go act as sheriff, which puts her face-to-face with a Hep-V vampire intent on killing Adalind. Woll's performance as Jessica was the best of the premiere, and that emotional storyline is more intriguing than any of the pedal-to-the-metal plots taking place in Season 7.

While many of the characters are tied together more than they were in season premieres of the past, there are still some separate storylines playing out. Sam is witnessed transforming by an insurgent man in town, who now leads a group who are ignoring authority and taking matters into their own hands. Arlene, Holly, Nicole and more Bon Temps citizens are being held under Fangtasia by the Hep-V vamps. Willa is staying with Reverend Daniels and unwittingly gets Lettie Mae hooked on V. Jason finally stands up to Violet and gets laid. Lafayette and James start a bromance. And Andy has to stand up for Bill in front of the insurgent townsfolk as they hunt for the Hep-V vampires' nest. 

Then there's Pam, who at least is done moping and now is on a worldwide journey trying to find Eric. That involves a Moroccan shootout with silver bullets to get information about his whereabouts, which had Pam returning to her awesome DGAF-ing roots. While the entire sequence was worth it for her "threeway with the devil" line, Pam's storyline is going to get very stale if she doesn't find Eric soon -- and then do something interesting with him. 

As for Sookie, well, she gives her big speech to the people of Bon Temps at the end of the episode about how they all blame her for, as Jason put it, the "Armageddon-like situation we have going on here." It's just hard to imagine that people haven't become more used to the vampires, Sookie and the rest of the supernatural events playing out in the seven years it's been since Season 1 began. Honestly, has no one progressed at all on this show? Does Sookie not know better than to walk alone home in the night? Do the townsfolk really not know the difference between good and evil vampires -- just like there are good and evil humans? This seems to be "True Blood's" way of dealing with Sookie's isolation, but it felt like that had already been dealt with.

At least the characters who we love on "True Blood" aren't making decisions as foolish as in the past, Sookie's solo walk notwithstanding. As "True Blood" heads towards its series finale, here's hoping that the season quickly moves past what it was forced to carry over from previous seasons to give the show the end it deserves.
Photo/Video credit: HBO