'True Blood' Recap: Is Eric Gone For Good After 'Life Matters'?

Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 6, Episode 9 of HBO's "True Blood," titled "Life Matters."

Spoiler alert: This was the best episode of "True Blood" ever. Excuse me while I gush.

Revenge of the Sub-Plot
I thought Sookie was dressed to become a vamp last week, but that lace number was for the funeral. You've heard me snark on Terry, but I'll be gosh-darned if Arlene didn't throw a good funeral. The flashbacks were far from gratuitous -- they were beautiful. Can we talk about Chris Bauer as Andy Bellefleur? He has always been good for a mid-episode laugh, but when he flashed to calling his cousin out of PTSD-land in the woods with a Raging Bitch IPA joke and brings Sam along for a catfish hunt? He kills me. Sign this man up! There's something about the gurgle in his voice, how he says sweet things but sounds like he's angry -- there's something so human about him. After all of this time, I realized that Andy, Lafayette, and every scene at Merlotte's hasn't been for naught -- it's what makes the show so very magically real. I will never be able to fry anything again without thinking of Lafayette putting some back into it. We all complained about the Terry plot. But it was taken back tonight. It was the perfect mix of nostalgia running alongside the vamp action. We weren't saying goodbye to just Terry -- we were wishing Bon Temps as we know it farewell. For now, at least.

Team J-Eric
Along with minor character porn, for the first time in seasons, this episode was all about aesthetics. The first scene, when Sookie sullenly gave Warlow her wrist just before the credits, could have been a spread in a high-fashion magazine. We also got gore. Lots of it. Eric, full of fairy blood, mauled the guards outside of the prison and let all of the vamps free. He foiled Bill's plan, but got to the point. He ripped out a doctor's genitals just before Bill followed and stomped his face in, finishing Eric's work.

Riding on the high of great dialogue in the flashbacks, Eric found Jason and they teamed up. Don't think I wasn't relieved to know that Eric can't remember if Jason's ever fed off of him before. Looking good! Together, they freed all of the vamps, left the Hep V infected to goo all over the morgue, and conquered. Bill was on their tail, looking to get to Northman because he foiled his plan, but it was Eric who cleared the path. Bill spent a lot of time shaking his fist tonight -- "Northman!"

Sarah Newlin escaped from under the Tru-Blood CEO she murdered. She prayed to Coolio -- as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death -- and pulled the roof open to let the vamps burn. It was the moment we'd all been waiting for since Bill's vision. But the vamps were already feeding off of Bill, surviving. Eric and Bill saved each other unwittingly. Gangster's Paradise.

End Times
It was not a good night for the almighty. I wanted Jason to pull the trigger when he caught Sarah Newlin. I may or may not have shouted at my television. I thought we would see Sarah, Bill, or Eric die tonight. We didn't. Racism bubbled over at the funeral, Big John sang sweet nothings, and Jason, always humble, spoke for Jesus. Who is Sarah Newlin to decide the fate of vampires? Big J let her go. Sarah peeled out of the parking lot, the vamps rioted over Tru-Blood, and Bill lived because Jessica made James give some blood and had the courage to walk through the hallucinations and save her maker.

The vamps had their weird maypole dance and Tara went "Call of Duty" on the cases of infected Tru-Blood. Jason was stuck with Violet on the way out and Eric just flew away, Bilith style. Where is he going?! How does Pam's hair always look so good?!

Also, Sookie was dressed and ready for Warlow until Alcide showed up at the funeral. He cleans up so well. I think she's re-thinking the whole becoming-a-vampire-for-Warlow thing. Who could resist that werewolf in a suit? Lean on his shoulder, Sookie. Lean in.

"True Blood" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

"True Blood"