An episode like “Sunset” leaves me with a chuckle, a sigh and several shakes of my head. But ultimately, as we close in on the end of the season, I think overall it can be deemed successful. True Blood is never going to go down in the canon of great television, but it has an ever-growing audience of devoted (if wary) fans who get sucked back every year because the series is pure, addictive summer candy. It’s silly but it has heart, it’s illogical but full of laughs (some intended, some not), and one thing that has already elevated it from prior seasons (particular last year’s mess) is that with one episode left, it looks like not everything is going to end neatly tied up, with major season-long villains killed off conveniently at the last minute, or alliances made clear. The battle is only beginning, and for once I’m sad to see things come to a close. For more on this penultimate episode and why you should never bullshit a bullshitter, hit the jump.
Earlier in the season I touched upon the character of Bill, and how a desire that the show has to keep his pairing with Sookie pure was interfering with the overall story. Not so anymore! Bill, in “Sunset,” solidified himself as a complete and total dickhead. Maybe it’s the “nesting” mentality, or maybe he’s just finally free to be himself, but the Bill of this season has been mostly insufferable, and none more so than tonight.
While Eric runs off with Nora for love and trust of Godric, the Authority continues to crumple at the hands of what Eric calls in the promo for next week, “a mad god of destruction.” Good riddance, truly, to most all of the Authority members and that entire story. But for once the deaths of the season’s villains come with larger consequences. Pam explains to Tara that the church runs the vampire government, but a schism is occurring before our eyes. The war that is being set up this season surely cannot be even remotely touched upon or handled in the finale to any satisfying conclusion, which is a very good thing. It allows time for, one hopes, further world-building and the creation of alliances.
Of course, amidst all of that promise there are still plenty of stumbling blocks. The introduction of the fairy elder who, despite eons of knowledge seems to only focus on pop music and interpretive dance and doesn’t have a good or clear plan for destroying Russell, was typical True Blood — introduce someone just to kill them off. And while the fairy elder was in our presence, and Sookie’s, she failed to provide the only information Sookie asked her for in the first place, regarding Warlow (who may also carry over into next season?)
A single Sookie has also been a blessing upon this True Blood season. With Eric, Bill and even Alcide busy, Sookie has become more likable, and though she still doesn’t seem to have much sense or control of her life, she is trying a little harder than usual (and not making as many stupid decisions). Plus, her relationship with Jason has gotten closer, something that the show has not used enough in the past.
Elsewhere in Bon Temps, the moments that ground the show and keep it amusing are also getting better — Holly and Andy are the most prime examples of this. From the beginning of the season the pair have provided some comic relief but also a lot of sweetness with their little snippets of screen time. It hasn’t related much to the overall story until now, with Mirella and her baby (that is an amazingly fast gestation period), but it’s been fun. Tearing them apart now just seems cruel. Of course, as Arlene says, you never know when some Iraqi ghost lady is going to put a curse on you and your entire family. This is Bon Temps, after all! If your boyfriend impregnates a fairy and swears on a beam of light, you just have to go with it.
While Sam’s story and Pam’s — both of whom seemed to be orbiting in their own space for much of the season — are finally tying in together with the Authority, Alcide remains on his own planet. Not much time has been given to the wolf pack, but they seem to surely be an integral part of the impending war. There has been some light foreshadowing, physically manifested near the end of the episode, regarding the roving bands of baby vamps, and that’s a particular bit of depth True Blood hasn’t shown for a long time.
Still, there’s a lot of blood and a lot of silliness and a lot of naked Lilith, but that’s all part of True Blood‘s appeal, and also its failings. The question is, is a really decent show starting to build itself up? Has this year just been a precursor to an even better season to come? Have we ever had such hopes before? Maybe this candy has a little more substance to it than we first thought. Or maybe we’re just getting a sugar high.
Episode Rating: 9.3
— Bill’s hair looks a lot better this season, has anyone noticed? He’s not wearing a wig anymore, is he?
— I really loved Jessica and Tara’s moment of bonding. “I’ll try to bring you a fangbanger later or something.”
— Unfortunate that Pam took the fall for Elijah’s death since she’s expecting to see Eric at the Authority. But nope, it’s just mean ole Bill!
— “I just feel more comfortable with someone of the same species” – Andy
— “If Ke$ha is a poet that is alarming, because her spelling is atrocious” – Elder Fairy
— Was anyone else kind of rooting for General Cavanaugh? I’m excited to see what these new weapons are …
— I guess we’re even on nakedness this week. Lilith and Luna breast exposure up against Eric sex scene and long shots of Alcide’s abs and him chopping wood. Everybody wins!
— Pam’s hairdo confused me for reasons of science. The physics involved amaze.
— Bill is seriously the worst. He wants so badly to be chosen by somebody for something, anything, and he’ll do anything to get it.
— Jessica wants to spend eternity with Jason? Hold on there girl, you thought the same thing about Hoyt for a minute there too. Roll it back.
— “One of the lessons I learned from being QB1 is that the best defense is offense” – Jason “John Madden” Stackhouse
— “Do you think I’m an idiot?” – Bill. Don’t answer that one …