"True Blood" has been one of summer's greatest, goriest, not-so-guilty pleasures for six years, but now it's time for the vampire saga to come to an end. I've screened the first two (crazy awesome) episodes, and have complied seven spoiler-free things you need to know if you're thinking about tuning in.
1. If you missed a season or two, you can jump back in.
The premise is pretty simple — at the end of Season 6, some evil humans poisoned the True Blood with a deadly, fatal, and highly contagious disease called Hep V. None of our favorite vamps were infected, but this still left them starving without a non-human food supply. Mayor Sam Merlotte found a peaceful solution in each vampire pairing up with their own personal human blood bank (the humans received protection against the infected in return), but the season finale found hoards of the infected closing in on
Merlotte's Bellefleur's Bar and Grill, where everyone in Bon Temps was having a massive party.
So now, we have an apocalyptic, us-against-them situation on our hands, with humans and vampires (and the other supes, natch) needing to band together to fight their common enemy — which, of course, is not going to be easy...
2. It's a bloodbath.
... because this enemy is a nightmare! The Hep V infected vamps are slowing dying, and while they're not exactly zombies — their brains are still fully functioning — they certainly eat like them. They feed much more frequently and savagely, which we see right away when they tear through Bellefleur's and eat everything but the burgers.
Oh and yes, the rumors are true — as TVGuide confirmed, a major character bites it in the show's opening moments, with very little fanfare. It's a brutal fate for someone who has been an integral part of the series for years, and it instantly sets the tone for the rest of the season. No one is safe. No one.
3. Sookie has had it up to here.
The show is at its best when it fully utilizes Anna Paquin, and angry, tough-as-nails Sookie is back in full force in Season 7. She's tired of working endlessly to save the ignorant Bon Temps-ers who hate her, which leads to some great verbal smackdowns that were a painfully long time coming. Her ability to read minds is getting more and more torturous as the years go on (because unlike Professor X, she can't control it), and I wouldn't be surprised if the series ended with Sookie finally making the ultimate decision — the posters for the final season show Sookie crying blood, which heavily suggests that they want us to at least think that she might choose to become a vampire.
4. It focuses on the characters you truly love.
Alcide. Arlene. Lafayette. Jason. All of these rich, lovable characters (played by fine actors, including recent Emmy winner Carrie Preston) have been sidelined in favor of vampire councils, packs of were-panthers, and whatever Lilith was in recent years, but the show makes up for it by giving some of them — the ones who survive — ample screen time this season. They know what we want and who we want to experience it with, and the show is better for it.
5. It's a throwback to Season 1, kind of.
Yep, the humans are being racist (species-ist?) jerks again. After the massacre at Bellefleur's, public opinion on supes quickly sours. So in addition to the potentially apocalyptic Hep V event, our heroes also have to deal with bloodthirsty humans. Fun.
6. They're not going to make the whole Eric thing easy.
Nope, you're not going to find out right away. And nope, I'm not going to tell you what I do know about the fan-favorite by the end of episode two, if anything. Some secrets are well worth keeping.
7. It's going to be the True Blood-iest season of 'True Blood' yet.
There's a particular scene in episode two (you'll know it when you see it) that's pandering so hard to the show's amorous audience that I actually laughed out loud. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing — the show's creators know what you want to see in the final season (sex, stupid Jason Stackhouse moments, violence, sassy Lafayette moments, more sex) and they're giving it to you. Well, some of it, at least. There's still going to kill your favorite characters. Sorry.
"True Blood" returns to HBO on June 22.