Monday, 29 September 2014

With a wedding, and a stake through the heart, it ends...

Emre Unayli
Remember when I last posted about True Blood? About how it was feeling a little tired? Well, a whole lot of water has passed under the bridge since then! I have to admit I got increasingly frustrated with the show. Too many characters and too many plot lines found myself not giving a rat's ass about who was a vampire, werewolf, were-panther, shape shifter, fairy, medium, witch, warlock, Sheriff, cook, or thief! I even stopped caring who Sookie would end up with--Bill, Sam, Eric, some fairy guy (can't even remember his name!) or Alcide?!

And then there were the endless threats coming down the highway to Bon Temps. Sure the town started it off with their own cajun serial killer (Drew Marshall) but then came the anti-Vampire Christian zealots (Fellowship of the Sun), a mad maenad, a mad vampire King (oh, Denis O'Hare WAS good!), a coven of witches, the Vampire Authority, a murderous vampire/fairy, a murderous Vampire Goddess/God, the Yakuza, and finally, the HEP-V virus. Who could keep track! I did manage to choke my way through Season 6 but some time during episode 2 of Season 7, well, I just gave up.

But then I started thinking about it. I mean I loved this show when it first started. I loved small town Bon Temps, Sookie's gran, tough Tara and never-any-bullsh#@ Lafayette--all part of Sookie's extended family. And yes, I even liked Vampire Bill. And remember Lafayette's boyfriend, Jesus Velasquez (Kevin Alejandro)? And Eric's maker, Godric (Allan Hyde)? Sigh. And didn't I stick it out through even the deranged and, at times, seemingly directionless plot lines peopled by a cast of millions (including some very impressive talent, by the way). So shouldn't I see how it all ends?

(Spoiler alert - if you haven't seen the ending stop reading now....)

And so I did. Yesterday I binge watched the last 4 episodes. And I'm glad I did. Oh, I know a lot of people weren't happy with it but I was. I felt it got back to its southern small town roots and the promise of Season 1. It also resolved most of the plot lines and gave us closure. 

Now, I was not particularly convinced when it came to Tara's ghost story. I mean it seemed to take a lot of effort (and vampire blood tastings) for her Mother and Lafayette to communicate with her when, in the end, all she wanted to do was show them where she buried a gun. Of course, I know it was more than that. It was about Tara forgiving her mother and getting her Mother to forgive herself. And I can live with that. 

I liked that Hoyt came back and married Jessica. I liked that the judgmental Arlene ends up running the diner AND finding herself a new lover even if he is a vampire she can't have sex with cause she's HEP-V positive (...uh, say what now?). Lafayette seems happy with his new love even if their story got shoved into the background. Sam's story also didn't get much screen time; after being given an ultimatum by his pregnant partner (her or Bon Temps) he finally decides to leave with her. And Andy Bellefleur? Well! His character's progession from chubby, mean grumpy deputy to fitter, responsible, and generally good Sheriff was one of the best in the show. Andy is now a contented family man with his one remaining fairy daughter (bad Jessica!), his wiccan/waitress fiancée and her two sons. Most surprising perhaps was Jason's flip from womanizer (remember Amy?) to husband and father. 

Then there's Pam and Eric. Well, for me, that particular ending rang a little hollow. King & Queen of the global NEW-Blood franchise but still keeping it real at Fangtasia? Well, I guess not everybody has to grow. And, I admit it, the two of them often seemed at their best when kicking ass and dominating all those around. 

But how does it end for Sookie and Bill? (Oh, yeah, apparently Alcide died somewhere between Episode 2 and Episode 7...!?) Well, it ends in a LOT of tears (yes, some of them were mine) and a big puddle of goo as Sookie helps Bill slide a stake into his own heart.

Some viewers didn't buy into Bill's reasons for 'suicide,' but I did. In the flashback to his human life we almost never see Bill Compton being anything less than a balanced, charming, respectful, and happily married gentleman. His life immediately following his vampire turning was full of regret and despondence over not being able to reunite with his family. And as the years pass and he becomes more vampiric, he loses something he obviously prized, his humanity.

Bill never seemed to embrace being a vampire the way some others did. Sure there was that time Bill became a nasty Vampire God BUT he did redeem himself. Remember how he sacrifices his godhood with an emergency group feeding of vampire friends and family? So, in his final days of suffering from an accelerated form of HEP-V (thanks, Sookie) it's not surprising when he refuses the cure. He believes his death will return to him his lost humanity. 

Oh yeah, it will also free Sookie (and Bill) from their endless back and forth. Once he's gone she can go on and meet someone to love, have babies and barbeques with--the 'normal' life she always wanted (even if she is still a telepathic fairy). Ok, it sounds hokey but it made sense to me!

I was glad to see Rutger Hauer back as Sookie's fairy grandfather even if briefly (he tries to show Sookie why Bill maybe should die). Although never a fan of the whole fairy story line I thought Mr Hauer was fantastic. It was just too bad we didn't see more of him.

HBO Poster
Was even happier to see Sookie's gran back (Lois Smith), even if through a flashback. For me the show was best when it explored the movements of radical change (vampires are a real and persecuted minority?!) through the lens of a small Southern town. Sookie's grandmother was a big part of that for me. As was William Sanderson as Sheriff Bud Dearborne (remember him?).

Either way it's all over now. And like the flash forwarded pregnant, happy Sookie presiding over a big Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by reunited family and friends--except for Pam & Eric who are, presumably, busy at Fangtasia--I can now move on.

It does feel like the end of an era. (Although not necessarily the 'true end' as rumours of a movie persist.) Will I miss True Blood? Maybe. Maybe not.

But I will surely miss Bon Temps.

And Gran's pecan pie...