He was loyal, he was protective and he was hunky, but even those admirable qualities couldn’t save Joe Manganiello’s Alcide Herveaux from True Blood’s Dead Club. Yes, it was a shocker and yes it crushes the dreams of those fans who remained #TeamAlcide, but in terms of narrative and development, Alcide’s death is the best thing to happen to True Blood in three seasons.
“Fire in the Hole” was an improvement on the first two episodes of Season Seven. However, in no way is the show all of a sudden good again, but it gives me hope that it’s now building up to an ending that will make all former and present fans happy. So while Alcide’s death — and to an extent — Maxine Fortenberry’s, lift a huge amount of dead weight off the show (literally and figuratively), I hope the writers continue the bloodbath. For two reasons: 1. It will never reach the intensity and audience devotion of Game of Thrones, but the death factor is what got True Blood fans excited about the story in the first place. i.e. Who’s going to die next? 2. The good news on that front is there are still plenty of characters that need to go: There’s self-proclaimed new mayor Vince (he’s a good stand-in for your average gun-rights-Tea Party crazy, but raise your hand if you care what happens to him next. He’s fulfilled his purpose in riling up the people of Bon Temps), Violet (I admire her warrior-woman qualities — immediately offering to help protect a human or wash Hep V blood off Sookie — but her relationship with Jason is beyond annoying), Arlene (stop fucking screaming over vampires already! How long have you lived in Bon Temps?), Holly (unless you really can pull off some Harry Potter shit you’re of no use to your friends or to the viewers), Nicole (please mention in the comments if you even know who this character is — no one would blame you if you didn’t. I don’t even think Sam remembers who she is), and, much as it pains me to say it: Willa. I had so much hope for this character last summer, but even though she was promoted to main cast this season, I have been quite disappointed in the writers’ lack of interest in her. Also, unless James and Lafayette get together and the relationship sticks, the vamp needs to go — much as I enjoy looking at him. He’s gay, Jessica is a woman (and we all want her back with Jason anyway), so it’s time for this forced relationship to meet the true death. Same goes for Adilyn, Wade and Rocky. As long as Sookie still has her faerie light, Adilyn can spend the rest of the season making out with Wade on the faerie plain, for all I care.
It’s no secret that the goal of this season is to bring Bill and Sookie back together, and the death knell was ringing for Alcide for a while now. He had settled into domesticity with Sookie (remember when that happened with Jessica and Hoyt? Didn’t turn out so well, did it?), despite the two having zero chemistry. Especially in last night’s episode, Alcide had devolved into pure caricature — going all Incredible Hulk once realizing Sookie went off with Bill to set a trap for the Hep-V vamps (he lost his shirt, his wolfie eyes lit up and he went berserk. Am I missing anything here?). The sad truth is, as much as we all liked looking at him, Alcide was always a peripheral character — he wasn’t even in the opening credits the third season, which was his only really worthwhile appearance. The writers didn’t even know what to do with him for Seasons Four-Seven, most of the time casting him in a D-level subplot that had nothing to do with the rest of the storyline. For heaven’s sake, Sookie’s flirtatious banter while BILL WAS UP IN A TREE had more heat than any skin-on-skin contact she ever had with Alcide.
Alcide’s presence was so unnecessary and irrelevant to the storyline that Sookie literally snuck out on the man she supposedly loved with her ex-boyfriend. If your boyfriend is a WEREWOLF and you’re opting for your bloosucking ex for protection, then, yeah, you really don’t need him around. Sorry, Al.
But, I was pleased with the way he went out. 1. We SAW him die (very, very important). 2. No closing-credits music, just mournful silence. Sookie, despite admitting to Bill that perhaps she didn’t love Alcide the way he deserved to be loved, appears genuinely shattered over his death, collapsing over his lifeless body in whispered weeps. But I think the most respectful thing she did for Alcide in that moment was to reject Jessica’s offer to turn him.
Which brings me to Alcide’s death vs. Tara’s death: I still believe the writers have something big in store for us regarding Tara, even if it’s in some spooky afterlife form. My theory is based on the most prosaic of factors, but I stand by it: Rutina Wesley’s name is still in the opening credits. Yes, she appeared in a ghostly form in last week’s episode, but despite not appearing at all in “Fire in the Hole,” there she was, plain as day, appearing after Ryan Kwanten’s name. In order to promote the is-he-or-isn’t-he-dead question, Alexander Skarsgård’s name was left out of the opening credits in the season premiere (Answer: Eric’s alive, albeit infected by Hep V). If Joe Manganiello’s name is missing from next week’s credits then that is proof positive that we’re going to be seeing Tara again. Especially if Lettie Mae finds more gullible vampires like Willa. There are plenty of other body parts for her to singe.