Last Sunday, after seven seasons, HBO’s True Blood finally took a stake to the heart. Yes, after several lackluster seasons that failed to recapture the trashy, over-the-top soap opera antics of the first three seasons, the residents of Bon Temps have finally called it a day. Season seven was maybe their best season in years, perhaps because the producers knew it would be the final one from the get-go. At the very least, they were able to give every story and character a definitive ending. Still while there was some great stuff in this last season, it wasn’t all wonderful, so I’m going to get into the nitty gritty of the good, the bad and the truly ugly parts of True Blood’s final year.
Needless to say, but there are SPOILERS for the finale in this article.
The End of Sookie and Bill
I’m sure to be in the minority on this one, but I actually loved the end of the Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) romance. I know this is going to be divisive. A lot of long time fans of the show probably hate how Sookie and Bill ended, hoping for a more romantic send-off for the two. Instead, at Bill’s request, Sookie put a stake through his heart and helped him die. And that was the sound of Sookie/Bill “shippers” the world over screaming bloody murder.
Here is why I think it was great. Despite their chemistry over the years, despite the fact that that both characters really loved each other, Sookie and Bill were bad for one another. Let’s not forget, Bill lied to Sookie about why he was sent to meet her in the first place and he let her almost get killed in the very first episode of the series so he could feed her his blood. AND he nearly raped her. The list of awful things that Bill has done to her goes on and on. He also knows that Sookie wants children, something he can never give her (unlike Hoyt, who doesn’t want kids, or Arlene, who already has several, and both Hoyt and Arlene end up with vampires). As long as he’s around, Sookie won’t ever let him go. And not only is he dying, he already died in season five, so technically he’s on borrowed time anyway.
So many stories in pop culture send negative messages to women about romantic relationships. In Sex and the City, Mr. Big spends six season treating Carrie Bradshaw like crap, only to suddenly change his ways and give her a fairy tale ending. And let’s not even talk about Twilight and the horrible message that sends to young girls. At least True Blood (finally) knew better than to overly romanticize a dysfunctional relationship. Removing himself from the equation was the best thing Bill could have ever done for Sookie.
I also liked that Sookie refused to give up her own fairy powers to kill him. This is who she is and how she was born, and she’s not going to give it up to make her life easier. It’s a tragic ending to a tragic romance, and the important thing is, Sookie gets to move on with her life. We see her at the end pregnant and married, and no, we don’t know to whom, because it’s not important. The point is, she’s finally in a healthy relationship. And Bill’s sacrifice allows that to happen.
Jessica & Hoyt 4 Eva!
Forget Sookie and Bill/Eric/Alicide/whoever. The sweetest and most believable love story of the show was easily that of baby vamp Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Woll) and good natured bumpkin Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack.) When their romance ended in season five, after Hoyt’s best friend Jason (Ryan Kwanten) slept with Jessica, Hoyt was written out of the show and we thought we’d never see him again. Hoyt begged Jessica to make him forget he ever knew her or his best friend Jason and took off to Alaska to start over. The writers tried to make a Jessica/Jason thing happen, and then they even introduced a new vampire to be Jess’ boyfriend, but neither of them captured the magic of Jessica and Hoyt. One of the best things the series did in its final season was bring Jessica and Hoyt back together where they belong. Maybe it’s fan service, but it’s the kind of fan service I want.
The Eric and Pam Show
When the season started, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) was a depressed sad sack with Hep V and was ready to let himself die. All the losses in his life — his maker Godric, his sister Nora — turned him into a bit of a mopey mess. Look, that’s Bill Compton’s role on the show, not Eric’s. We want Eric to be badass, and thankfully, Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) shows up to get badass Eric back again as they go on a hunt for vampire public enemy #1, Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp). On top of all that, we get great flashbacks to how Eric and Pam first acquired their bar Fangtasia back in the ’80s, and all the scenes with their human slave Ginger (Tara Buck) were pure gold this year. At the end of the show, Eric has saved the vampire race, become a billionaire with “New Blood”, and got to kill a bunch of Yakuza, all with his progeny Pam by his side. That’s all we could have asked for. Oh, and we also got to see Eric and Jason get it on. I didn’t mind that one bit, either.
The secondary characters really got shortchanged this final season. While True Blood has been guilty of forcing every character, no matter how minor, to have their own storyline (remember Terry and the Yfrit? Or all the lame drama with Alcide’s werewolf pack?), it was almost as if they went in the complete opposite direction this year. They didn’t know what to do with longtime characters like Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammel), Arlene (Carrie Preston), and especially poor Lafayette. Lafayette, played by Nelsan Ellis, has long been the series’ secret weapon, making lame episodes (and lame seasons) watchable with his sassy one liners. While I’m glad he got a happy ending with his hot new vampire boyfriend James (Nathan Parson), there wasn’t nearly enough of him this season. He didn’t even have a speaking line in the final episode! Come on, True Blood. I liked the Lafayette and James pairing (just like I liked Arlene and her new vampire beau Keith), but we needed to see more. They all deserved better.
Ok, we need to talk about Tara Thornton. Easily the most unforgivable thing about the final season is how they treated Tara (Rutina Wesley). A main character since season one, Tara was Sookie’s childhood best friend. In the first four seasons of the show, she was used, abused, raped, and finally, shot in the head. Then in season five, she was turned into a vampire by Pam, and the hope was that this character, who had been a powerless victim for so long, would finally have some control over her own life and never be abused again. Instead, Tara was killed offscreen before the opening credits even rolled on the season’s first episode, like a red shirt on Star Trek.
It’s a complete waste of a great actress. Yes, Tara appeared a bit throughout the season as ghost/vision for her mother Lettie May, but she barely speaks. It’s clear that Rutina wasn’t fired, she was just killed for shock value, or maybe because the writers just didn’t know what to do with her. Considering this was a show set in the South, there was a serious shortage of African American actresses on it, and it would have sent a powerful message to have Tara, who has been victimized for so long, finish the series in a good place (preferably at the side of her vampire maker and lover, Pam). What they did to Tara was just tragic.
What were your favorite (and least favorite) parts of True Blood‘s final season? Let us know in the comments below.