True Blood: “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” finale review

That’s it. Another season has come and gone. There was blood, there was romance, climaxes and new beginnings. A wedding. A death or two. Another round of vampire Yahtzee. And, of course a heaping helping of crazy, both the Maryann-induced kind and the kind that comes so naturally to Sookie. If that seems like a lot to cram into an hour, for better or worse, it was.

The tone of True Blood‘s second season finale was all over the place. I liked the pacing of the first half best, picking up where last week left off. With Sookie surrounded by black-eyed Tara, Eggs, and Lafayette. And the egg. Which was thankfully not laid by any characters on the show. I never want to entertain a thought like that again. It was just an ostrich egg to go into Maryann’s meat pergola for her big wedding to her god. Strangely, that is a much more reasonable explanation.

I loved Lafayette in these scenes. He was really frigging scary commanding Sookie to take off her dress, but once downstairs, he went into full-on bridesmaid mode, clapping like a little girl and fiddling with the straps on his Greek goddess dress. At first I wondered where Maryann got five identical, beautiful costumes, but I’m just going to assume that Karl made them before he died. Maryann’s been preparing for this ritual all season.

Things moved very quickly once the ritual began, with the arrival of Sam and Bill. I was way off in my predictions last week. Sookie was just bait to get Sam. You’d think Sookie would make a more powerful offering, being more unique. And if only Sam, the virgin who came to Maryann years ago and was drawn to her little bull statue, was the only acceptable vessel, why didn’t Maryann just kill him years ago? Even Maryann couldn’t answer that. And does it change the fact that Tara summoned Maryann to Bon Temps with that voodoo ritual in the first place? Not getting it, but not really caring much since Maryann and this boring plot died in spectacular fashion.

I was so glad to be wrong about Sam getting killed off. Bill really came through with a decent plan. But it was Sam who was incredibly brave. Sam is just a great character. A little dumb, but fiercely loyal and possessing a big heart. I know he can shift into other animals, even if the rules seem completely arbitrary, but I think that’s the reason his go-to shift is a dog. He was willing to die to protect all of the people he loved, not just Sookie. Damn Alan Ball, making me think Sam was a goner for even a minute. But when that huge white bull came out of the forest, I could only smile when Maryann was gored at her most vulnerable. It was beautifully shot, too. The lighting was eerie. Did Bill and Sam pop by a farm before heading to Maryann’s? Where did Sam ever see a bull like that? But again, who cares? Maryann has ceased to be. And with thirty minutes left to spare.

That’s where things got a little strange.

The townspeople seem to remember some, but not all of what they’ve been doing. Some are just happy to be living in denial. I’m kind of with Lafayette on this one. Best to just leave it alone. Although maybe everyone should get themselves to a free clinic for a once-over. I loved the scene at Merlotte’s. Theories flying, people gossiping, Sookie back in her uniform, Arlene with her kids. Charlaine Harris cameo. Sam, ever the outsider, thinking about Daphne and what he is. Bill sending Sookie a pretty dress and a formal request for a date.

But Eggs is still alive, acting (well… “acting”) like a lost little boy without Maryann. Why couldn’t he have been crushed under the falling meat sculpture?! Did I imagine a look of morning-after regret on Tara’s face when Eggs was hunched over the sink, trying to wash blood from his hands? Even Sookie looked more irritated than concerned. I thought I could hear her thoughts: “This is the ‘strong, beautiful’ man my best friend wanted to risk her life for? We so need to talk over ice cream. But tomorrow because I have to go upstairs and cuddle with Beehl. Screamin’ and cryin’ puts me in the mood.”

It’s bittersweet that Jason and Andy never got their heroic moment, but what was interesting about the denouement was that Jason believes they did do something and is content, but Andy’s remains low on the town totem pole, even with a badge and drinking only Diet Coke with liiime. I was loving the new Jason this season, but I’m worried his killing of Eggs will kick up a whole nest of racial tension and guilt and general angst next season. I didn’t think Eggs was going to kill Andy, but then again, he was acting really unstable. And normally I would think about the more serious context of the situation. But it was fucking Eggs. I wonder if Tara’s feelings for Jason will resurface and he’ll be carrying this secret with him. No one should feel bad for killing Eggs.

There was a distressing lack of Eric in the finale. The brief scene was good, but it would take a lot to top last week’s performance. I was less irritated with Evan Rachel Wood’s portrayal of the Queen this time around. Much less eye-rolling and facial tics. The revelation that it’s her blood Eric is pushing makes her character a lot more interesting. The rules of vampire blood are a bit murky to me. Pure vampire blood gives humans an intimate, sexual connection to the vampire. Bill gave Sam a large drink of his blood. Is Sam going to be having erotic Bill dreams? V doesn’t affect everyone the same way, but is the Queen selling her blood to keep tabs on the people in her state? We also learned that Sookie’s special blood also makes vampires fall in love with her.

Which leads to Sookie and Bill’s dinner date. I’m not normally a big shipper, but I do like Bill and Sookie together. They’re perfect for each other in their self-righteous ways and I think they have great chemistry together. Or did, in the first season. All that pining and grave-sex. When their guitar theme music swells, I can only say, “Awww.” And I did when Bill proposed. Then Sookie flipped out about not knowing who she was and what happens when she gets old and killed the mood. Thinking about it some more, it’s been two “years” of the show, but in Bon Temps-time, only about four months have passed. But it made Sookie come across like a head-case when she presented these valid concerns then went to the bathroom and looked at her shiny new ring and immediately changed her mind.

And found Bill gone before she could tell him. Total soap opera move! Clearly a vampire has kidnapped him, but I don’t think it was Eric. It’s too easy. Bill said the last time he had been in a French restaurant was 70 years ago, i.e. right around the time he was still with Lorena. I bet she was involved. But his absence leaves Sookie open to Eric’s advances. And Bill’s ward Jessica without his good influence, so she can go out and kill humans with abandon. It wasn’t nearly as suspenseful as last season’s cliffhanger where I spent the hiatus hoping Lafayette was alive. No matter who took Bill, I’m pretty sure he’s not in any real danger, so instead of dying of impatience for season 3, I’m just really looking forward to seeing my favorite characters return. In June 2010 or so. Dammit, bitches!

Here’s a nice interview with Alan Ball to give people a taste of what’s to come. Mild spoilers in the interview, but, I was warned, big book-related ones in the comments.

Theresa DeLucci is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop. When not hunkering down to write fiction this fall, she is looking forward to watching House, Dexter, and Stargate: Universe. She will also give HBO’s Bored to Death a look despite her extreme prejudice against Brooklyn hipsters.


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