Sunday's episode of the HBO drama began with a few phone calls.
Still reeling from the deaths of her best friend Tara and her boyfriend, Alcide, Sookie (Anna Paquin) was tasked with breaking the news of the werewolf's death to his father, Jackson (Robert Patrick), while Jason (Ryan Kwanten) called up his former best friend, Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack, making his first appearance on the show since season 5), to inform him that his mother had been killed by a vampire.
With no time to mourn herself, Sookie heads over to the house of Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) to give a pep talk to Arlene's kids, who are understandably in a funk over the fact that their mother has been kidnapped by a pack of vampires infected with Hep-V. Sookie also visits with Holly (Lauren Bowles), who is suffering memory loss from PTSD (and glamouring). But thanks to Sookie's fairy powers of mind reading, Holly is able to recall that she had been held in the basement of Fangtasia along with Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Nicole (Jurnee Smollett-Bell).
With that knowledge, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) takes off to rescue his pregnant girlfriend but is convinced by Jason to wait until nightfall, when their vampire allies can assist them.
Back at Bill's, despite James's pleas, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) refuses to feed and therefore is not healing from the bullet wound inflicted upon her by Hoyt's mother. Sookie uses her tough-love medicine to convince Jessica to feed on Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) so she can be strong enough to help rescue the kidnapped residents of Bon Temps. Sookie also offers herself up as a meal to Bill (Stephen Moyer) to keep him in peak form for their rescue mission.
In a flashback, the history of Fangtasia is finally explained – and in a surprising twist, it was the brainchild of Ginger (Tara Buck), who did not start out the glamoured mess she would eventually become. Ginger's plan to convert the video store Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) had been running since the 1980s would unfortunately be stolen by Pam, who finally reveals the true genesis of the idea to Eric as they are midflight to Bon Temps.
With Eric and Pam back in town, the rescue mission commences. But not before a stolen moment – and a loving embrace – between Eric and Sookie. The chemistry between the two is undeniable, but there are more pressing matters than potential romance.
Using a tunnel that was originally used for the Underground Railroad, Pam and Bill leave Eric – who is weakened by his Hep-V infection – with the rest of the group. Pam leads Nicole to safety while Bill goes to find Arlene, who is already being fed upon by the infected vampires (but not before Pam advises him not to do anything heroic, because a reunion with Sookie is never going to happen).
Although he is weak, Eric uses Sookie to be invited into Fangtasia and distract the infected vampires while the rest of the rescue team sneaks in for a surprise attack. All looks like it is going to be fine until the gang of vampire-hating Bon Temps residents arrives and chaos breaks out.
Sookie holds Arlene as the redhead lies weak from blood loss. As Arlene hovers between life and death she sees her deceased husband, Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe). A drink of a vampire's blood brings Arlene back to health – giving viewers at least one episode this season without a fan-favorite character meeting their death.
True Blood airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on HBO.