Thoughts on the True Blood Finale (More or Less)

Posted: September 10, 2013 in TV
Tags: , , , , ,
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Recently, the insightful hosts over at Geek Girl Soup had a recap of the most recent season of True Blood, HBO’s Vampire Drama. Because they’re great over at GGS they requested input from their listeners, and because they are awesome, they posted my email on their blog entry that accompanies their podcasts. (You should just go to http://www.geekgirlsoup.com and check them out. I really enjoy their TV coverage but particularly their big movie season reviews and spotlights.)
I decided that since I’d already gone to the trouble of sending a huge email to them about the season, I’d just post it here to for an easy blog entry. I’m lazy like that. And here it is:
This season of True Blood wasn’t necessarily great, but I don’t think it was the worst either (and the same goes for the finale, which I’ll defend momentarily.)
In some ways, it gets us past some of the oddness that was introduced with last season’s Authority-centric storylines.
True Blood just happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve only read the first book of Charlaine Harris’ series (which we know is the only one that really got seriously adapted for the television series.) My wife has read many of them, but neither one of us are necessarily invested in the show following the series. It’s not good, but it’s great summer-television.
I’m a fan of the concept: that thanks to the creation of synthetic mass-produced blood, vampires come out of the coffin and into the spotlight and ask to be integrated into society. I’ve often wondered what the vampires who would have preferred that their existence (as a species) have gone unknown think about this. Since they had no choice in the matter.
Secrecy to me seems to be the vampire’s greatest defense, and once the secret is out, it would take a miracle for humanity to forget vampires existed and let their nighttime vigilance drop. (I’m imaging one day vampires might decide as a species to fake their own death (or fake their true death, I guess) and go into centuries of hungry hibernation to more or less wipe the slate clean.)
So, the reason for vampires to expose themselves in this fashion would have to be offset by some great benefit. We know from Pam that vampires who nest together for extended periods of time lose their humanity (which is what happened to the Authority, even though they were strongly associated with the rationale for coexistence.) I could see that vampires would prefer a world where they could freely associate in society with beings other than vampires, so they could hold on to their humanity, and feel a part of something, and not necessarily be lonely all the time.
But for this to work, vampires should really go out of their way to reassure humans that they mean them no harm.
Luckily, humans in the True Blood universe are dumb as mud, and take no precautions to protect themselves. Most humans either seem to have no opinion whatsoever on vampires and behave as if vampires have never revealed themselves to the world, or they are extreme nosferatophiles, or crazed nosferatophobes whose anti-vampire sentiment stems largely from religious doctrine and not from a rational examination that Vampire Predator kill Human Prey.
Sure, we humans kill humans also. But in general, I don’t suspect my neighbors of eyeing me up (or eyeing my family up) as a food source. And since vampires are above humans on the food chain, I only have to observe how humans treat their domesticated animals to extrapolate how vampires might consider humans.
Yes, vampires don’t have to kill, just like we can keep dairy cows and hens for eggs. (But it doesn’t mean cattle and egg-layers have great lives.)
Anyway, all I’m saying is that it’s in a vampire’s best interest to reassure the humans around them. But usually that’s not the case. Season one set the tone with the three vampires of Bill’s acquaintance showing up at Merlott’s and behaving incredibly belligerent. Is it right that those three were killed by scared rednecks? Nope. Is it surprising? NOPE. Is it right for Eric to capture the rednecks, chain them in his basement for weeks, and kill them when tired of having them around? Again, nope.
But I don’t want to get all caught up in season one, I’d rather talk about the past few seasons. Since this season literally sprung up where the previous season cliffhanger ended, the past two seasons were almost one mega-season.
Last season, Bill and Eric were caught by the rather underwhelming Authority, who go from being brutally anti-sanguinista to pro-Lilith in the blink of a bloody-teared eye. The reveal of how lame and kind of dumb the Authority were was kind of a let down, since they were always spoken of in hushed tones in seasons past. Creepy Zeljko Ivanek as the Authority’s Magister who ordered Jessica’s turning was great as our viewpoint into the Authority. Creepy and calculated. He bossed around Vampire monarchs. But the inner council (other than Christopher Meloni) just seemed ridiculous and overly-dramatic.
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I was a bit upset with Bill Compton turning into a religious fanatic. It wasn’t originally clear if he was just hallucinating from drinking what we assume was Lilith’s blood, but certainly something happened when he melted and then reformed.
(By the way, do vampires just collapse into a collection of stem cells? It was the damnedest/weirdest thing when Bill reformed, flesh, bones, organ, hair, eyeballs, and memory-intact brain emerged from a pile of goo. That was just too weird, even for a show with a man who can turn into a fly or a horse.)
One benefit of this season was Bill’s more or less purge of this religious Lilith aspect (or at least the Lilith power. Bill might still be a vampire-first believer.)
Warlow was introduced as a threat to Sookie last season, implicated in the death of her parents, and in theory the big bad this season. Bill Razinsky was fine as Warlow this season, I guess. His arrival in a ditch, groaning, just seemed way over the top dumb to be taken seriously. But his backstory was really interesting.
Warlow was a fey turned into a vampire from Lilith herself, and his existence and memories prove that Lilith is not just a myth. Does this mean that the universe of True Blood really is a creationist reality? (Since Lilith is usually apocryphally linked with Adam and Eve.)
I’ve heard people complain that he was lamely killed in the finale, but his death was orders of magnitude better handled than the necromantic witch Marnie’s defeat seasons ago.
Warlow was killed in Sookie’s bathroom, where he was being held at bay by Sookie’s Faerie “Grandfather.” Grandpa (as Jason likes to call him) had been hunting Warlow for millenia, and managed to come through a portal that Warlow himself had been the cause of, from the exile dimension that Warlow had imprisoned Grandpa in turn. I have no issues with any of that.
Marnie basically was talked out of killing all of the vampires in town by the ghost of an archetypal vampire-hating burned-at-the-stake witch who *for no reason whatsoever* decided that all was forgiven. Even after spinning Marnie up into a vampire killing crusade in the first place.
The season killed off Terry Bellefleur, and although I love Terry and was sad to see him go, the previous season really made him into such a tortured individual that I felt his character needed some peace.
I like Alcide, but I just found any scene with more than one werewolf in it horrible, so getting Alcide out of pack duties was fine with me. It’s a win for the season.
So, how do I feel about the 6 (or was it 8) month jump in the timeline? I’m usually fine with those. Battlestar Galactica did it very well, as did Lost and the Dharma Initiative. (Sawyer’s rise in power was a nice thing to have sprung into being, along with his relationship with Juliet.)
So, I don’t think it’s a disaster. And it covers Emma’s age difference if she returns (hope she doesn’t) but it also gives a chance for back-filling details which could be interesting.
The finale also set up an interesting premise which intersects somewhat with what I started the email about. Vampires are in society, and if they are going to survive they need to reassure humanity that they mean them no harm.
In general, I believe that *most* vampires do mean humans harm. We’ve seen counter-examples, but we’ve also seen Jessica, one of the kindest and most human of the vampires, kill three innocent faerie woman in an uncontrollable bloodlust.
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But regardless of how I feel about vampires in general, thanks to Hepatitis V (or some less-deadly-than-Nora-got mutant strain) there are packs of feral, diseased, and hungry vampires. The smart reaction of humanity would be to read a copy of I Am Legend, fortify up at night (thank you inviolable threshold rules) and hunt vampires by day. Trying to take on  vampires at night is incredibly stupid.
But, I’m all for vampires agreeing to protect humanity, and to try to form an equitable mutually beneficial relationship. That level of trust has to be established, or else the healthy vampires really do need to fake their own deaths (unlifes) and as I said before, sleep a few centuries with complaining bellies while humanity kills off the last of the diseased vampires and comes to believe that vampires are no more. And lets down their guard. And vampires can once again very quietly, and accompanied by loneliness, feed on glamoured prey.
So… depending on what they do next season, I’m okay with the season finale.
True Blood finales almost always deal with the season big bad early on in the episode, and then launch the set up for the following season, so this finale was no different really.
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© Patrick Sponaugle 2013 Some Rights Reserved
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Comments
  1. Bob tarr says:

    Indeed, this was not the worst season of True Blood. That
    honor goes to last season with the boring Authority and the
    incomprehensible transformation of Bill from a vampire
    agnostic to a Lilith devotee. For a long time I thought
    that Bill was faking his new-found belief in Lilith, but,
    nope, it was all real.

    So what about the Season 6 finale gets my old-man grumps
    riled up? In every True Blood finale we take care of the
    Big Bad and set up the next season. (Except for Season
    Five, as you rightly point out. That had the big cliff
    hanger ending leading right into Season 6).

    First, taking care of the Big Bad. Season 5 definitely made
    Warlow out to be a really scary dude. And despite the
    arrangements he was making in Fairy Land for the wedding (a
    decorated May Pole? Really??), I did feel the final
    confrontation between him and Jason and Sookie made him seem
    like a real bad-ass. Oh no, he has Sookie cornered in the
    bathroom. And Jason is locked in the vampire crib
    downstairs. How is she ever going to defeat him? Why by a
    little deus ex machina. Grandpa appears through the portal
    to grab Warlow’s arms and Jason appears at the same time to
    finish him off. Can’t a big, bad fairy like Warlow use his
    powers while someone holds his arms?? Didn’t I see him do
    this at some point?? Anyway, this all was a big letdown and
    a lame ending for Warlow.

    Was it the worst offing of a Big Bad? No, I agree that the
    Season 4 Marnie defeat was the worst. But it wasn’t just
    Antonia that convinced Marnie to stand down. What about the
    heartfelt plea of Sookie’s grand-mama?? No one can resist
    Adele’s charms!

    Next, the setup for Season 7. How does True Blood usually
    do this? First, we have some “How is everyone doing now
    that the Big Bad is dead” scenes and then we have some
    exciting hook to lead into the next season. The murder of
    Miss Jeanette at the end of Season 1, the kidnapping of Bill
    during a date with Sookie at the end of Season 2. All great
    stuff. And this season? A herd of feral vampires
    approaching Bellefleur’s? It just did not do anything for
    me. Humans outnumber vampires, what, ten to 1? If there
    were really gangs of crazed vampires roaming the streets at
    night, the humans would be taking care of things. We would
    not need any protection by other vampires. Why, Jason
    himself would have cleaned up Bon Temps! The final scene
    did not get my heart pumping. Looked like an attempt to
    cash in on The Walking Dead craze.

    Oh, and if you go on TV and announce that you killed the
    Governor because he was a bad man and killed lots of
    vampires (and/or people), you would still be arrested for
    murder. What’s up with Bill going free?

    So, in my book, this was the worst TB season finale.
    Although Season 4 had the worst Big Bad defeat (Marnie), it
    also had Sookie killing Debbie and then cradling the dying
    Tara in her arms. That fantastic setup for Season 5 made up
    for the Marnie debacle.

    Like

  2. Awesome reply Bob! I’ll have to think of a suitable riposte. The game is afoot!

    Like

  3. Okay, Bob and I are mostly in agreement. He and I agree that this was not the worst season of True Blood. (Season 5: Authority, we are looking at you.)

    He and I agree that Warlow’s demise/defeat as the Big Bad was not as bad as Marnie’s anticlimactic resolution in Season 4.

    We are in some disagreement about the season finale being the worst ever. The feral vampire setup did not work for Bob, but it did work for me. To be fair to me, I did say I was reserving final judgment on the finale until next season to see if the feral vampire packs pay off, or are dealt with in the first 10 minutes or whatever in some dumb fashion.

    So, at the moment, I’m labeling Season 5’s non-finale finale (I mean really, it was totally a mid-season type of episode) as the worst. It had a lot of stuff that didn’t make sense and hasn’t been dealt with.

    1) Bill drinks Lillith’s blood, becomes GOO. Then becomes bloody Bill again. And then he pretty much snaps out of crazed Bill aspect. Why have snarling scary Bill if he’s not going to run with it?

    2) Jason is a vampire killing machine. I mean it made no sense that Jason could outshoot someone who apparently could dodge bullets. Vampires are super fast. They move so fast as to nearly be invisible. How could Jason shoot them? Because he was under the influence of his parents ghosts? That ended pretty quickly this season, I guess. If that is what it was. If ghost possession is what it takes to turn humans into Chow-Yun Fat level gunmen, then humanity needs to start investing in combat spiritualists to start training a vampire shooting corp. Anyway, that whole storyline dropped.

    Sure, I could blame season 6 for dropping that, but season 6 worked out okay without those elements, so I blame the season 5 finale for playing them up in the first place.

    So: Season 6 Finale > Season 5 Finale. Because Season 5 was dumb. Season 5’s finale was dumb.

    Feral Vampire packs running amok? I’m behind that. Er, I mean, I approve, not that I’m responsible for it.

    Like

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