Arlene has three great bar scenes: So often on True Blood, you can tell immediately it's just a sex dream. But playing Arlene's like it could—and almost did—really happen was smart. She's closing at Bellefleur's when Keith arrives to walk her home because it's still not safe to be out at night alone. She thinks she's being a cougar, but he's 515 years old, not 25. She's always thought it's wrong for vampires and humans to be together, but by the second kiss, she can't even process the thought. We get to see her enjoy the perks of being with a vampire: Speeding over to the pool table, shirts (and panties) coming off quickly. After Arlene runs her nails down Keith's back and begs him not to stop, she wakes up. Only Carrie Preston can turn "f---" into a 12 syllable word.
The next day, Arlene's only customers at Bellefleur's seem to be Hoyt and his girlfriend Brigette (more on them later), so she has plenty of time to sit and have a drink with Sam. He's deciding whether to leave town with Nicole and their unborn baby or not. You almost forget that Sam and Arlene should be this close after all the years they've known each other. There's a new sense of calm and confidence about Arlene now, presumably stemming from her conversation with Terry when she chose to stay in our world instead of joining him in the afterlife. Sam wants to know if he's a fool for wanting to rebuild his life in Bon Temps, comparing himself to someone who vows to rebuild their home on the same spot where a tornado just destroyed it. Arlene asks Sam to answer the questions we know she had to: If you were to leave, would it feel more like running away from something or running to something? And if you stay, could you be happy here without them? How great is Preston when Arlene admits she's not happy, but there's no way she's ever gonna stop trying to be. You fake it until you make it real. Everyone she loves is in Bon Temps.
Viewers haven't had enough time with Nicole to necessarily believe that she's the love of Sam's life, but if Sam does love her, that speech is telling him to go with her. As much as we want Sam in Bon Temps, how would we feel if he abandoned his child? And yes, being given an ultimatum sucks, but being stubborn in the moment and refusing it on principle could deny you years of happiness.
And finally, to what could be my favorite scene of the episode: Arlene almost finishes that bottle she started with Sam, sitting alone in a booth listening to Roy Orbison's haunting "In Dreams." Keith comes as soon as the sun goes down because he feels her pain—and he knows that it's dangerous. He dances with her as she asks if he's really 515 years old. He is, and he smiles—she's having a conversation now. She's not afraid. But when he kisses her cheek, she pulls away and tells him that she's Hep-V positive and they can't have sex. "Well then, let's just dance," he says, holding out his hand. She takes it, goes back into his arms, and cries tears of relief. She needs someone to hold her, protect her, and renew her faith in people, and Keith is there to do it. A vampire. That's huge for Arlene. Bellefleur's/Merlotte's has never looked so romantic.
NEXT: Sarah Newlin's God Complex