True Blood Season 7.10 Series Finale Review: Thank You
August 24, 2014 – HBO
Is there such a thing as a satisfying series finale? I can think of some finales that were universally maligned that still haunt me at night (HIMYM) and some that were divisively debated (Lost and Dexter to name just a couple), so it begs the question. It is impossible to please everyone, but one would expect that a popular show should be able to end in a way satisfying to most, even when shipper wars threaten to tear everything apart.
Now that True Blood has come to its final end, I am feeling a little numb, which is a common feeling for me when we come to the last moments of a series. After spending so many years of my life following these characters, it is jarring to be brought from this world with no promise of return. In this daze, I can only offer a preliminary review of this final episode as it will take more time, and an analysis of the season as a whole, to come to a more decisive conclusion.
I can say that in true finale style we had a wedding (which made me cry), a death (which made me cry, but not as much as expected), and a whole lot of births (though they all occurred off screen over a time jump). WIth all of these “essential” (read cliché) elements there and only a few disappointments, the series finale as a whole came full circle in what was a mostly satisfying way. Given the rocky history of finales in general, this is probably high praise. Now let me proceed to pick apart every aspect of the episode until you come away with the idea that I didn’t like it (even though I did).
Bill’s Last Request
When Bill explains to Sookie that he needs to die so that she can live a life without him, she does not accept that explanation as easily as Eric did in the previous episode. “You’re choosing to die because I have no self respect?” she asks incredulously, “That makes no sense.” As have many men who came before him, Bill decides that women do not have the ability to choose what is best for them. That is the part of his noble sacrifice that bothers me the most. He must decide that her life will be better without him and all other vampires. Let us forget that the reason Sookie is drawn to vampires is because she cannot hear their thoughts. It was hearing the thoughts of human men that made it impossible for her to date them and have that normal life Bill wants for her to have so badly.
But Bill does understand this in some way, because he is not asking that Sookie let him go. He is asking her to kill him. “Show me the true death and you’ll be setting us both free,” he pleads, asking her to use the last of her fairy light on him. It’s not enough to lose Bill; Sookie must become ordinary and be done with vampires entirely. What he is really asking her to do is not to let him die but to be the instrument of his death AND lose her fairy power. Naturally she gets extremely mad at the idea, but she decides to think about it.
From the very beginning of the series, Sookie has wanted to be normal. And yet she has never taken the step that would rid her of her fairy powers. She could do that without killing Bill. Maybe that would change things. But now that the idea has been presented to her, she has to do some soul-searching. In a nice religious moment, Sookie goes to church to speak with Reverend Daniels and reveals her misgivings beyond killing the love of her life. “Do you think some of us are just mistakes?” she asks. I have been a fan of Reverend Daniels all season, and I appreciate that Sookie has turned to him in her hour of need for some advice. She seems to come to a decision, telling him that everything will be all right.
Granting a Wish
Meanwhile, Jessica is not ready to forgive Bill for not trying to live, but she does give him the gift of telling him she will be all right after he goes. Since she brings Hoyt to the house at the time, Bill kind of wants to make sure of that himself by asking if the two have plans to get married in the future. This is all kinds of inappropriate given that they got back together that night and he does not remember anything of their time before, which Jessica quickly tells Bill in private. But when Bill shares that he was unable to walk his daughter Caroline down the aisle or to even meet her husband, Jessica unrealistically changes her tune. It might not be okay to press the issue, but if Hoyt will have her, they will get married now so that Bill can give her away.
At home, in the middle of the day, Jessica gets married to Hoyt. Sookie and Jason are maid of honor and best man, Andy officiates, and Bill gives the bride away as he never got to with is daughter. The tears start to fall during the vows, but what really gets me is that Bill is thinking of Sookie and how she should have this opportunity during the whole ceremony. And Sookie can hear him. Being closer to death or closer to humanity allows her to finally read Bill’s thoughts, and hearing his conviction for herself probably helps her decide to grant his request.
There was definitely a part of me that hoped this meant that somehow Bill’s humanity could be saved. And when Sookie stood over Bill’s grave later that night and paused with her fairy magic in her hand, I thought perhaps she would walk away. Instead, she finally realized that she could not part with her magic, as that was a part of her. But she would still help Bill. A quickly made stake later, and Bill helped Sookie plunge the weapon into his heart. He exploded into a pile of goo, as expected, and Sookie had to make a blood-spattered walk back home alone.
I expected to cry, but I think I was in complete shock that it actually happened. I do think Bill and Sookie would always be drawn together, but I do not think that Bill had to die for Sookie to have the family she wanted. Heck, there’s always adoption, and I’m sure the infestation of rapid vampires from early on in the season might have left a few orphans in need of a good home. Yes, let’s not forget about that. I appreciate the symmetry of starting with Bill’s introduction and ending with his death, but couldn’t we have simply said that Bill decided he had lived long enough when he was faced with his mortality? Why did he have to drag Sookie into it? I cannot fathom True Blood without a Bill Compton somewhere, but with this being the final episode I can accept his death. But did it really have to go down like that?
And They All Lived Happily Ever After?
A very heavy episode requires some levity. Eric brought that tonight. My favorite Eric moment of the night has to go to a blood-spattered Eric dancing in the car with a pile of dead Yakuza in the backseat. Because although he did not interact with Sookie at all over the extended hour, he did show up to neutralize the threat he had sent to her front door. Even without Sookie, Eric seems to sort out his life. He dispatches of the Yakuza and Mr. Gus, and he and Pam take over New Blood. In a few short years they are millionaires who still work out of Fantasia, where they offer one-on-one time with a still crazy Sarah Newlin for cash only. For all of her sins, Sarah now is a permanent resident of their dungeon, and she is haunted by the specter of her dead vampire husband. That’s karma.
In Bon Temps, everyone has received their happy ending. Jason marries Bridget and pops out the family they both want. Jess and Hoyt, James and Lafayette, and Arlene and Keith are still going strong after three years. And as they all get together for Thanksgiving, we see a glowing Sookie, pregnant with an unnamed man’s child. We never see his face, but we can assume she is living the life Bill wanted for her.
Everyone got closure even if there was not sufficient screen time to go around. We may not have had another classic quote from Lafayette or more than a few words from Sam, but we know that they are with their chosen people and they appear happy. I can understand why Sookie’s chosen man was not shown, as people shipping her with Eric or Bill would have pitched a fit. But I still think it’s a bit of a cop-out. It’s better than fixing her up with someone we already know (there is a reason I could not finish the book series), but it feels wrong. And even though there are vampires at the table, the absence of Eric (and Bill) is dearly felt. The writers have been saying this season would be going back to True Blood’s roots, but I think they missed what the series was originally about. Yes, it was about the townsfolk in a way, but we really started with Sookie Stackhouse, the girl who was different from everyone else in that town. I love seeing her so surrounded and accepted by the people left, but it all started when Bill walked through that door and sat down in Merlotte’s. Sookie may have moved on from that, but I have not.
At the very least we started with a drink and ended with one, as New Blood is fully stocked in Sookie’s fridge. And there a few other nice things I have yet to mention: Bill remembers that Andy is his relative and will inherit his belongings when he dies, and Andy promises to “rent” the house to Hoyt and Jessica so that they are taken care of; Sookie and Jason have a heart-to-heart that ends with Jason ensuring her that he will love her powers or not. So in the end it was not all bad. And as I’ve said, even the parts I object to I can understand. As finales go, things may have wrapped up too quickly, but there was an attempt at closure all around which is necessary. And no matter how much I complain, I don’t think I could imagine it ending any other way.
Throughout its run, True Blood has reigned in its advertising extras. As it signs off, so too must it sign off in its social media presence. Take a final look at Jessica’s blog to find a wonderful wedding album. There you will also find Bill’s hidden message to Jessica, which is embedded here. I had expected Bill and Sookie’s goodbye to leave tears streaming down my face, but it was this extra that really did me in.
Quotes of the Night
“I’ve tried trusting. I’ve tried sharing. It’s just no fucking working for me.” – Eric to Pam regarding their business agreement with Mr. Gus.
“To be honest, I kind of skimmed the whole thing looking for the parts that were about me.” – Pam on Billl’s book.
“Maybe the problem was I was meant to be the woman behind the woman.” – Sarah reflecting on trying to be the woman behind the man while begging Pam to turn her.
“There are no limits on you if you don’t put them on yourself.” – Gran to young Sookie
“We all remember, Ms Newlin. She was the televangelist’s wife who had a second career as an international mass murderer before disappearing into thin air.” – Eric in his infomercial for New Blood.