After seven seasons of nudity, blood and gonzo madness, it’s time for True Blood to meet the true death.
Let’s bitch it out…
Well, I kinda have to hand it to the writers of True Blood: an impromptu wedding is a reasonable way to bring together (nearly) the entire cast of the show one last time. Never mind the fact that the only reason there even is a wedding is because everyone is placating Bill’s (Stephen Moyer) stupid decision to let himself die.
Yes folks, welcome to the Bill Compton hour. You might have been led to believe that this was the finale for a series that featured a plucky, albeit annoying blonde former waitress as its lead character, but “Thank You” firmly reveals that it is actually the annoying Southern gentleman whose flashbacks have dominated the final season who is the most important figure in Bon Temps. Essentially everything about this hour is about Bill and his decision to embrace death so that his former girlfriend can finally live a normal life. Too bad that’s a storyline that hasn’t proven particularly interesting (or worth watching) since it began to clog up the narrative several episodes ago.
The wedding of Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) is not really about them at all. It is, in fact, simply a means to an end to bring to the forefront Bill’s preoccupation that Sookie Stackhouse’s (Anna Paquin) – and by extension the show’s other characters – live a full life. In hindsight, it’s pretty clear that the entire Hep-V outbreak was engineered to do the same thing; by introducing a disease that can slowly kill immortal creatures, True Blood S7 (and part of S6) has really been a drawn-out, boring treatise on life and death. Now this might seem par for the course for a show about vampires, but TB has rarely – if ever – been able to keep its eye on the thematic prize for longer than a few episodes at a time. If you were expecting thoughtful, well-placed explorations hidden under a genre polish, then clearly you’ve been watching a different show for the last few years.
And yet, “Thank You” kindamostlysorta brings the series to a satisfying, albeit incredibly unlikely close by circling back to the beginning. The episode offers us an Andy (Chris Bauer)-officiated wedding ceremony during which he makes the observation that “love is love”, a message that clearly reinforces the parable explored during the show’s first season when vampires served as an extended metaphor for gays in America (ah, remember those days?). The “gays as vampires” metaphor has long since disappeared, but for the purposes of the series and more specifically this finale, “love is love” is clearly intended to encompass the disastrous failed relationship of Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton. Bill has effectively made the decision to kill himself because he thinks that they can never have a normal, successful relationship (his definition of one, outlined early in the hour, apparently must include bodies in the ground). Since we’re not all effing stupid like him, we can clearly see “love is love” applying to a relationship that should transcend the limitations of seemingly opposite species (exhibit A: Hoyt and Jessica who successfully negotiate this same conflict and are still clearly together in the closing minutes).
Unfortunately this isn’t the direction that the show cares to explore. True Blood‘s writers think it’s clever to invert this idea; instead of simply acknowledging that Bill is wrong and that the pair should be together, they try to cram down our throats the notion that Bill’s intentions are noble. There’s even a suggestion – introduced last week and confirmed here – that Sookie can kill him using her powers and thus become human and “set…free”. As though that’s Bill’s effing choice to make!
It’s bullshit and the rest of “Thank You” is caught in its psychosis. After Jessica and Hoyt go through the grotesque charade and get married (after Hoyt has known her for two days!), Sookie, in her infinite “go for broke” finale wisdom, tells Jason (Ryan Kwanten) to pursue a relationship with Hoyt’s stupid ex-girlfriend before inquiring about the pursuit of a “normal” life with the Reverend. It’s all very “ugh” inducing, even if it is in keeping with the nature of True Blood finales that focus on the mundane drama rather than the dramatic conclusions.
Everything leads to a somewhat strained romantic climax as Sookie agrees to kill Bill with her Faerie powers, and then comes to the (correct) realization that her abilities are a part of her (quote: “my truth”- because Sookie is apparently some kind of Oprah/Beyoncé apostle). This brings about one of the few legitimately memorable moments of the finale as Sookie and Bill profess their love for one another before jointly driving the stake through his heart. We all figured that the finale would bring about the end of Bill Compton, and while I was hoping for a stay of execution (if only because it would have been unanticipated!), at least this ending does feel appropriate for the pair. Sookie and Bill were once the driving romantic heart of the series, so it is fitting that they bring about his end together. Plus his gory end allows us one final iteration of Anna Paquin’s beautiful face covered in slimy vampire viscera, which has unintentionally proven to be one of the series’ more iconic images.
The final moments add some closure (albeit silly/stupid closure) by jumping ahead several years. Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) and Pam (Kristin Bauer von Straten) get rich off of New Blood, Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp) pays for her crimes as a hostage in the basement of Fangtasia where she goes insane (naturally), Jason and whatsherface have kids, and everyone that got randomly thrown together in the run-up to the finale is still (inprobably) together. Plus, just to really hammer home the fact that Bill was right all along, Sookie is pregnant and possibly married to some rando whose face we never see. The message is clear: it’s not important who he is, just that Sookie has embraced Bill’s philosophy, moved on and begun dating a f*cking human who can knock her up.
Ugh. Oh True Blood…sappy, preachy and riddled with BS right up until the bitter end.
- Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) appears solely in a non-speaking cameo capacity during the last five seconds. This is unacceptable and makes me want to kill the finale with fire. Sam (Sam Trammell) appears for approximately the same amount of time as Lafayette. Rutina Wesley, on the other hand, does not appear at all. Jason’s stupid effing girlfriend, meanwhile, gets an entire end-story and plenty of lines. WTF?!
- Side Note: I haven’t spoken about the casting of the teen actors (they come and go), but the young actresses who play Sookie and Tara totally nail the vocal inflections of Paquin and Wesley. Also: how awesome is it to see Gran again?
- Early on we learn that the reason Eric didn’t just kill the Yakuza is because he was trying to be diplomatic or some shit. This in no way makes up for the last few episodes (like at all), but thankfully this stupid plotline is put to bed quite quickly so that we can move on to all of the Bill ridiculousness.
- I love how “Thank You” positions Bill as the supreme narrative driver, as though he’s the main character whose whims and desires should drive (read: eff up) everyone’s life. Not only is questioning Hoyt’s intentions for Jessica totally presumptuous, it’s incredibly inappropriate (something Jessica brings to Bill’s attention…and then immediately throws aside so that she can throw on a wedding dress). The whole BS excuse about missing his own daughter’s wedding definitely doesn’t excuse Bill’s actions, nor does it redeem the writers’ decision to actually go ahead with the marriage like marrying someone after knowing them for two days isn’t batshit crazy. Even Frozen, a goddamn children’s movie, knows better than this.
- Fashion watch: Sookie’s mini-cowboy boots and short-shorts when she goes to visit Jason? So wrong. Somebody needs to get her out of Louisiana. Also: Jessica’s wedding dress is basically just a sundress. I know it’s last minute (no one even bothered to get rings?!), but she essentially wears her regular clothes. Boo.
- Finally, I just want to say that even though I come down on True Blood pretty hard, this show does hold a very special place in my heart. I’ve got a lot of memories tied up in watching this show over the last seven years, including my coverage of it on bitchstolemyremote for the last three years. Thanks for reading and contributing your thoughts during that time. Hopefully in the future we’ll find a show that’s dumb and addictive enough to replace it.
- Pam (when Eric asks if she wants to kill Mr Gus Jr with him): “Oh I am so fucking with you.” Who wants a Pam spin-off?
Your turn: what did you think of the finale (and by extension this final season)? Are you happy that Sookie seemingly got her happy ending, or disappointed that it didn’t include Bill? Would you have preferred that she end up with Eric? Are you satisfied that nearly everyone got matched up and survived? Do you feel bad for Sarah Newlin, rotting away in the basement of Fangtasia? And what would you have liked to have seen in this final episode? Sound off below.
True Blood has now finished its run. Thanks for reading!