True Blood‘s final season was a long goodbye, and its finale was an opportunity to craft its legacy regarding what, exactly, we were ultimately saying goodbye to. To judge True Blood on “Thank You” is, like I mentioned last week, to parallel the fan experience with the relationship between Sookie and Bill. True Blood had to end for us to live with ourselves. As Sookie said, “You’re choosing to die because I have no self respect?” And we couldn’t be more grateful. Hit the jump for the end.
Oh True Blood, True Blood … why? There was a hope among fans — those of us who held on because, dammit, we’ve invested this much time, and why the hell not — that True Blood‘s finale would somehow scoop up all of the vampire gloop of previous seasons (with a few of the worst ones in particular … you know who I’m talking about: Billith, Maryanne, the witches), and form from its remains something worthwhile. “Thank You” proved that not only could this not be done, but it probably never could have. Some shows know where they are going, and know how they are going to end. True Blood was not one of those.
But ok, fine; True Blood was never going to be on the list of Greatest TV Shows. No one was under that illusion. It was always crazy, campy, summer fun. This year, though, in its attempts to wrap everything up, it was also mostly a snore. I was impressed with a run of episodes from the middle to the end of the season (this episode excluded), where wrapping things up began happening in a more organic way than just having old characters entering and exiting scenes at random. But in the end, “Thank You” showed that none of it mattered — any of it.
The show has always been about romance, and Bill and Sookie have always been at the center of it. Once the show made the decision to kill off Bill (by Sookie’s hand), though, it needed to give viewers another “written in the stars” romantic pairing. So Hoyt came back, and he and Jessica got married within 24 hours. There’s no issue with Hoyt and Jessica ending the series together, but their reunion and nuptials were beyond forced. Hoyt is marrying a stranger, essentially, because vampire Bill wants him to. Is there no end to Bill’s selfishness? He ruined Jessica’s dreams of a romantic proposal and wedding so that he could give her away, because he wants to die. Everything is always on Bill’s timetable, exactly as he wants it. But Bill is asshole, what’s new?
Eric and Pam had a fun ending, but it was completely disconnected to anything related to Sookie and Bon Temps. And did anyone really care what happened to Sarah Newlin, or that she was hallucinating about her dead ex-husband, Steve? Even the dinner scene where everyone was back together, and in the exact same relationships as they were three years before (which is pretty unbelievable given the whirlwind pairings over the rest of the series), it felt like a rehash of that same scene at Bellefleur’s the week before. The real kicker, though, is that even though Sookie is apparently married and pregnant, her new husband is so unimportant we don’t even see his face. So even though Bill died so Sookie could have these things (they never mentioned adopting, for whatever reason), in the end, the fairy tale he imagined for her was moot because her husband didn’t even matter enough to get screen time.
Speaking of which, where was LaFayette in all of those? And no matter how poignant or well-cast Sookie’s memories about Tara were, is that any kind of substitute for actual Tara, who died for no reason to start the season? Jason marrying Bridget was also a lazy end to a story that didn’t need to be as wrapped up as the writers seemed to think it needed to be. The bottom line is that the hour-and-change of “Thank You” was largely a waste of time, and the antithesis of what most fans wanted to see.
But let’s end on a positive note. When remembering True Blood, forget about “Thank You.” Think of better times, like Jason’s one-liners, all of the gratuitous nudity (male and female, bless), the sweet character moments with Arlene, Andy, Terry, Holly and the other humans. Remember Pam’s eye rolls, Ginger’s screams, LaFayette’s AIDS burger, and Jessica and Hoyt’s romance (before it was shoved down our throats). Remember those awesomely distinctive opening credits, as the sign that summer had really started because True Blood was back. “Thank You” was a farce, even by True Blood standards. But don’t let it taint the memory of better times. Like Sookie, it’s probably time for us to move on. But we won’t forget you, Vampire Bill. (Even though maybe we should.)
Episode Rating: D
Season Rating: B-
Series Rating: C+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— My theory on how the finale would end is that Sookie would use her fae magic to kill Bill, but something ~special would happen, and he would survive, only just be human again. Then the two could live out a long, normal life together. But nope!
— LaFayette did not even get ONE LINE in that finale. Also, Sam, no one even remembered you had left Bon Temps; seriously, no one cares if you come back.
— I did enjoy Eric and Pam making infomercials and ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Good for them.
— I was happy that the word “werepanther” was snuck into this season somewhere.
— Sookie: “Bill, I’ll never forget you.” Bill: “I wish I could say the same, but I don’t know what happens next.” Oh great. Comforting, Bill. You asshole.
— “I’ve tried trusting and I’ve tried sharing, and it is not fucking working” – Eric.
— Why didn’t the Yakuza have any vampires working for them?
— Was that Charlaine Harris, creator of Sookie Stackhouse, sitting behind the monitor during Pam and Eric’s infomercial?