Not with a Bang: True Blood‘s Powerfully Unsexy Series Finale

Leave it to True Blood to figure out one last stake to twist into the hearts of its diminished audience. Will Sookie and Bill be together forever? Will Eric get naked one last time? Will we see some characters get a little closure? Will the show go completely off the rails and end up with Sookie becoming president of a new, vampiric, world order?

Nope!

I mean, this was once an Alan Ball show and he was responsible for the best series finale ever—Six Feet Under. But Ball is long gone. And while we didn’t go into full-on Dexter levels of lunacy or TV-punching rage like Lost or Battlestar Galactica, True Blood’s finale was definitely the most flaccid sixty-five minutes of TV in some time. Because, you know, if an excellent series finale is supposed to contain the show’s mini-thesis, True Blood’s running theme was most certainly ham-fisted meditations on conventional morality by fully-clothed people, right?

I’d love to stick to my usual episode review format and just list under each character’s name a giant “Who cares?” But I’ll try to put a little more effort into this, my 300th post, than True Blood’s writers put into this final hour.

I’m mad that this last episode wasn’t as mind-breakingly ludicrous as Dexter’s. If you’re going to watch a shitty show, it can at least have the goddamned decency to suck spectacularly.

Let’s start with the dumbness of hiring noted martial artist Will Yun Lee as the show’s lamest, most grating, Big Bad to date and having him die in a two-second explosion. Okay, good for Will Yun Lee to play against type. But he sucked. I can’t even just be polite and blame it on bad writers. He was just bad and he should feel bad.

But, yeah, bad writers, bad. So that was the big epic last standoff True Blood? And Sookie wasn’t even involved? Almost every other season ended with Sookie involved in the final conflict, but I guess she stopped being a central figure in Bon Temps somewhere around the rescue of Holly and the mysterious disappearance of every Hep-V mad fanger in Louisiana.

But we got this Eric victorious slow-jam gif:

True Blood Thank You Eric

That was the only fun thing about the episode.

What did we get instead of badass fight scenes and battle speeches and epicness? We got an impromptu wedding and babies. Damn, people in Bon Temps sure can throw a last-minute party. (Note: I attended a wedding this weekend, too, and I’m sure the newlywed couple wished planning a wedding was so easy.)

You know, because Heaven forbid that Sookie and Jason and Jessica end the series in the present, without being happily married and reproducing. That wouldn’t fit into the late bestselling author Bill Compton’s last mopey speech about life being about watching your grandkids grow up. Yes, kids are a reality for many people, but it’s not the only option. And what about Jessica and Hoyt, who can’t have kids? Was it so necessary for Jessica to get married to Hoyt when he barely remembered her the day before? I still don’t buy that Jess had nearly enough time to “discover herself“ away from Hoyt to return to him as some kind of new woman. This whole storyline was a season low point and would have smacked of the laziest possible way to tie up this character’s story if only Jason and Sookie’s last scenes weren’t even more desperate.

As feared, Hoyt’s leggy girlfriend was introduced in the eleventh hour and we’re supposed to go “Aw, look! Whatshername did fuck Jason after all and have multiple babies! Hooray! Jason is a changed man after seven seasons of almost not being a walking set of abs because he had babies.“ Or maybe we’re just supposed to be happy he didn’t die?

And Sookie.

Oh, Sookie. And Bill.

Bill didn’t even go nobly into that good night. He died like he lived. Like an asshole. He didn’t sacrifice himself to any greater cause other than a mansplainin’ “Sookie deserves a normal life.” He tried to get her to use her fairy light one last time and be normal and to her credit, she declined. But why? It’s not like her stupid fey powers mattered at all in this last season.

So we were supposed to see her as strong when she staked Bill, but I thought it was actually pretty cruel of Bill to make her do that. But Bill hasn’t had his own desires all season. He’s just been a Macguffin for Sookie’s journey towards… getting knocked up by some bearded dude whose face we don’t even see.

Fuck you, True Blood.

 

Final thoughts:

  • I loved that even the omniscient title cards at the ending were basically a shrug. “About a year later.” Way to be specific. The quick forwards into the future were pointless. True Blood ends on a shot that was basically like the big dinner party of last episode.
  • And: Sookie and her magical vagina are too special for being in love with a vampire, but it’s all good for Arlene, Lafayette, and Hoyt? Why?
  • Eric and Pam’s triumph is basically just them becoming rich and getting revenge on Sarah Newlin by tricking her out. Okay, then. That could be satisfying to someone, somewhere.
  • Eric looked bored on his throne. Why would he want to keep Fangtasia just as it was? Pride? Memories? Being close to his ex Sookie? With all of his money and fame, he could’ve launched that into something bigger and better. In a nicer neighborhood.
  • Lafayette didn’t even get a line!
  • Seriously. Bill is an asshole. ”Mourn me, Sookie, as you wash my death goop out of your one sexy funeral dress.” Because we all know the grieving love to do laundry.
  • This was definitely one of those series finales that makes me entirely uninterested in rewatching the show. I felt the same about Lost, but not BSG. I just don’t watch the last half of season four. A good finale feels complete, like a good novel. It leaves you with a the feeling that the show stayed true to itself and went out in some rousing way — where it’s the drama of Breaking Bad, the artful maddening abruptness of The Sopranos, the poignancy of Six Feet Under, the doggedness of Angel. True Blood just guttered out.

 

Next week: I will read a book on Sunday night instead. Thanks to all the regular commenters here whose insight and shared frustration made watching bad TV way more fun. You folks have iron determination!


Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com, covering TV and gaming news. She’s also a guest on the latest episode of Wired.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast discussing Game of Thrones. And the resident Hannibal fannibal at Boing Boing. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci

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