RIP, Eric's lost love: If you were an actress/actor, would having to go full frontal be worth it to have multiple sex scenes with Alexander Skarsgard as a guest star? Regardless, applause to Buckner for figuring out a way to grant us Eric sex scenes even while he's sick. Pam confronts Eric in France's Rhone Valley, tells him that she felt Tara meet the true death while she was in Morocco (so that answers that), and learns he started showing symptoms of Hep-V about a month ago in Russia. He's been on the move because he didn't want her to find him and try to convince him to fight because he's Eric F---ing Northman. Is it odd to only hear of Sylvie now? Perhaps. But linking a love we never knew Eric had—one he speaks of in the same breath as Godric and Nora—with Eric's history with the Authority (hello, Nan Flanagan) made it totally worth it.
In 1986, Eric was in the Rhone Valley rocking Duran Duran hair and heavage and making the moves on Sylvie, a vintner's daughter. Why was he so enthralled with the art history student? We're never told, but one would think it has something to do with her easily removable white pajamas, Eric's previously established penchant for making love outdoors ("It feels better in the moonlight," he tells Nan after she busts them in the vineyard), and his fondness for brunettes (like Nora). In short, Nan wants Pam and Eric to fall in line—register with their local sheriff, pay taxes—now that the Authority has partnered with Yakanomo Corporation to produce Tru Blood and promote mainstreaming. Pam, who Nan says she may have been friends with under other circumstances—"I can see it. What size shoe do you wear?" Pam quips, making us think of those pumps she ruined in season 2—is willing to play nicely, but Eric tells Nan to go f--- herself.
Eric reminds Pam that she falls in line with her maker, who's never failed to protect her, and she relents. The next time we flash back, Pam is going down on a woman she's bitten multiple times indoors while Eric has sex with Sylvie outside by a tractor. He's interrupted by Men in Black, with swords, sent by the corporation. Eric tells Sylvie everything will be fine—they would have already killed them if it wasn't just a threat. But then the Men in Black say either Sylvie or Pam has to die. Eric can't bribe them, so he offers to die instead. (Wow, he really loved Sylvie.) But the Authority wants him alive. Even though we obviously know he chooses Pam, the scene is tense. Finally, he says Pam lives, and poor Sylvie, who doesn't speak English, is stabbed from behind and falls. Eric moves as though he feels the blade, too, and seeing him teary-eyed and on his knees before he and Pam are led away in silver, you know he cared for Sylvie (for some reason). But he has to protect his progeny.
In present day, Eric says he didn't contract Hep-V on purpose, but he also wasn't taking precautions. Pam tells him they're working on a cure and vamps are living longer with the virus, but life holds nothing for him now. Eric tells her to leave, but she turns around and utters two words: Sarah Newlin. Hearing that Jason let her live, Eric finds revenge is a strong motivator. "Well, let's go find her. Shall we?" he says, standing. Eric F--king Northman is back. Now if we could just have Pam give him highlights again before they leave, that would be fantastic. The dark hair is a downer. Give us something, True Blood.
What's good about the flashback: It makes you see why Eric was happy to play his part in killing Nan and makes his interest in Sookie more believable. It also explains why Pam always hated Eric's fascination with Sookie (another human). But it's odd that the subject of Sookie never came up with Pam when they were discussing his depression. Judging from this, is anyone holding out for an Eric-Sookie-Bill triangle in these final episodes just kidding themselves? Has the stage been set for us to see Eric sacrifice himself to save Pam (or Pam and Sookie)?
Does knowing Sarah Newlin's returned so Eric can destroy her make you happy she's back? She's currently in Los Angeles, eat-pray-loving her way through the Institute for the Unchained Spirit with dark hair and a new name (choosing to believe it's spelled Nomi, after Showgirls). After Sarah breathes and climaxes in unison with her instructor, she goes to fetch a bottle of wine for them and overhears the Men in Black killing her lover. The corporation must have figured out she killed Ms. Suzuki with her stiletto in Vamp Camp and finally caught up with her. (Side note: Did anyone else get a Pitch Perfect vibe when Sarah blew her bangs out of her face while doing yoga? It felt like when Aubrey found out the Bellas were going to Lincoln Center while working out.)
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