This episode has some of season 7's best moments in it: From Arlene's sex dream and sweet dance with Keith, to Sookie and Bill essentially re-creating their first time together. Plus, Violet's sex dungeon, and the return of Hoyt, Dr. Ludwig (!), Niall, and a hallucinated Steve Newlin. Heart, humor, horror, and horniness—everything you want in True Blood. Let's break it down.
Sookie seemingly chooses Bill: The fact that Sookie and Bill hook up with three episodes still to go may make fans rooting for them nervous: That's a lot of time for things to go wrong—like, for him to die. As this episode begins, a tear-streaked Jessica holds Bill's hand while Sookie refuses to believe nothing can be done to save him. Sookie eventually encourages Jessica to climb into bed and sleep beside Bill, which hits home for anyone who's lost a parent: You want to spend every moment you can with them because when they're gone, it's that feeling of closeness that you'll miss. For a moment, when they're resting, there is no pain on their face, and you can still reach out and touch them.
Bill keeps having flashbacks to 1855, when his father informed him that he'd be marrying Caroline. When Bill, who looks extra dreamy back then, meets Caroline, they are both pleasantly surprised to find that they actually approve of this arranged marriage after all. The moral: It's possible to genuinely fall in love with someone you initially approached for another reason. (Cough, Sookie.)
Sookie calls on the always cantankerous Dr. Ludwig, who treated her in season 2, when she was attacked by the maenad. Ludwig examines Bill and says he's done the impossible: He's thoroughly grossed her out. So to recap: His fast-advancing Hep-V veins are more disturbing to her than a decomposing Pam in season 4? At first, Ludwig doesn't seem to think Sookie's blood is necessarily to blame for the acceleration of Bill's disease: She's treated a vamp infected by someone who is 100 percent fae, and the decline wasn't as swift. But when she hears that Sookie's of Niall's royal line, Ludwig bolts. He's apparently the one thing that frightens her (because fae royalty has a history of killing dwarves, Niall later admits).
The mention of Niall reminds Sookie that her faerie grandfather is pretty damn powerful himself. She thinks she's failed to summon him, but he's waiting for her to cook him spaghetti at her house. He's always been watching her, but he didn't intervene when he saw Bill getting ready to drink her infected blood? Because he doesn't like Bill for her, he says. Turns out, he's not there to help Bill now: There are some things magic can't fix, and Bill's one of them. Niall channels "nature's memory" and shows Sookie a flashback of Bill's wife giving birth. Death, he says, is a miracle—just like life, love, and forgiveness, especially if you can forgive yourself.
That night, Sookie runs out of her house and across the cemetery to Bill's like she did the night they first made love. As the episode's writer confirms in our postmortem interview, it was intentional. Instead of a long white nightgown, she's wearing a white sundress—so the color of their first time, with the length of what she had on that night she and Bill had sex in the cemetery when she thought he was dead. Bill answers his door, and she tells him, "I'm not gonna leave you. I'm gonna stay with you until the very end. Okay?" Then she kisses him. Next we see them, they're making love in front of the fireplace like their first time. But this time, when his fangs pop out, he can't bite her neck because it would only accelerate the disease more. So this is them making love without her blood being in play. It's real. No secrets. Of course, with the veins covering his back and legs (nice of them to avoid his butt, though), the question is, how long will their reunion last?
NEXT: Arlene and Keith forever