True Blood's Season 5 Finale: All Hail Billith
It was almost a happy ending!
Going into last night's True Blood, besides being basically in tears at the thought of having to go another year without the show and what the finale means about it being the end of summer and the end of my tan (JK the only light I see is from computer screens), my main thought was:
Either Alan Ball is going to eff this up so that whoever fills his shoes has no idea where to go next, or he's going to leave this season with a million different open ends so the Season 6 showrunner can make it this own thing.
However I was foolishly forgetting that some languages use the same word for "crisis" as they do for "opportunity" (Canadian?) and Ball could—and did—do both. (He wrote the finale, natch.) Yes, last night Ball not only dissolved his main character and the show's axis love triangle, effectually ripping out the series' spine, but also left nearly every character in a crisis moment that whoever plots out Season 6 should be able to go in pretty much any direction. Is Bill all-powerful now? Are Jessica and Jason (or as I like to call them, Robsten) officially broken up? Is Luna dead? Are the werewolves going to finally go back to school and get their GEDs? Ball left a series of open-ended essay questions embedded in this finale, but only after treating us to a rip-roarin' 45 minutes of engaging suspense. Killing off the main villain in the cold open was brilliant in terms of gluing me to my screen. His friends must call him "Balls" as in "What big ones you have, sir."
Talk about sidestepping expectations! As soon as this happened, I didn't know where the show was headed. And frankly just Eric and Sookie standing in eye-contact range made my heart flutter like a Southern belle's fan, and then for Eric to restrain Norah from eating Sookie and tell her to never, ever feed on Sookie... the agony was as exquisite as it can get while sitting on a couch. You realize we could have had a thousand such moments this season if Eric and Sookie had spent even a single episode in the same town! There could have been flutters and feints and brooding looks that would have left us at home clawing at our shirts in a fit of vicarious desire, or that's what could have happened to me, at least. Eric and Sookie, you are my delicious sexual vanilla! Lather it on my sensory points!
So yeah, Eric killed the world's strongest vampire with a twig in the cold open and then rounded up the whole Good Guys Gang to save Bill from Salome, which: Why bother? Look at this twerp.
Bill had finally finished his season-long transformation in the depths of the Authority cocoon into a giant pink sphincter of puckered flesh from which only pure crap would extrude. Yes, Bill had become a total asshole, stomping with his tiny feet that probably make about as much impact as butterfly feelers around the Authority screeching at extras and gazing covetously at a perfume bottle filled with grenadine. Even the very busty Sam could not talk any sense into Bill.
I mean, good gracious, I'm sorry, but Sam has got some cleavage. I don't know what producer's shoes he pissed on to have spent so much time naked and in unflattering lighting this season, but at some point Sam's upper torso shifted into a pert pair of breasts, the likes of which I haven't seen since Al Bundy's beloved "Big'Uns" covers. I'm not sure if that's a diss or a compliment, I say it merely as a slave to the truth.
Anyway, even Sam's heaving bosoms quivering with concern could not get Bill to "snap out of it," so Sam was like "Peaczzzz" and turned into a fly and Bill hopped around the room roaring with anger that he couldn't kill a fly like Scar from the Lion King or Cruella De Ville or something. What an asshole.
Eric, clearly the new dreamboat of the True Blood Universe, sneaked Tara, Sookie, Jason, and an armory of vampire-killing devices into the Authority with extreme ease and we got to see a lot of incredibly satisfying vampire pops. It's rather refreshing how seeing a vampire get staked has all the satisfaction of a water balloon breaking, with enough gore that it registers as gruesome, but it goes by too quick to really be graphic or truly violent. It's perfect TV murder.
Unless they slow it down in extreme cases, like the melting hilarity of Salome's slow-motion staking. I mean, this poor bitch. She wore a special "Goddess Blood Drinking" gown and then went upstairs and switched into another incredible frock for her second attempt like it was a Celine Dion concert or something.
And then she drank it and it was full of silver and Bill looked on as she choked on poison, twirling his mustache and gloating about how he had switched the blood and now he, and not King Triton, was Ruler of All the Ocean! The waves obey his every whim! The sea and all its spoils, bow to his power!
You know, on and on, and Salome was too weak to reach up and pinch his puckered asshole lips closed so instead she let him stake her rather than listen to his bullshit and her face looked like a cake that got left out in the rain.
Alcide and his father, meanwhile, were campaigning for veganism at the dude ranch and I was totally set to just plan my outfits for the week while their mouths moved when Ball slipped in a brilliant moment: Granwolf drove in a tweaking werebitch (her word, not mine) in the backseat of her car, just throwing herself and her legs around the backseat and coming down real hard off of V she had been FORCED to drink!
It was wild and so good and weirdly gross and trashy, and then she sweat V out of her pores disgustingly and chose that moment to have the boyfriend-girlfriend talk with Alcide. I mean, it's been a while since he called. Maybe three days? Maybe two days. This entire season, as one Price Peterson pointed out to me, has taken place over the course of approximately seven days. The pack breaking down, Lafayette recovering from Jésus's death, Eric going missing, Bill converting into a hardcore asshole—it all happened in a week. Chew on that.
Also, Andy Bellefleur had quadruplets while Lafayette, Arlene and that one terrifying bitch from the maenad orgy sat around getting buzzed and watching the fairy give birth and orgasm simultaneously. Shame on you! I don't care if someone is having a sexual birth on a pool table in Merlotte's (because heaven forbid another set be involved besides the Aladdin Casino's Parking Garage aka the Authority compound, and Merlotte's Honky Tonk), you should not sit there with cocktails and comment! Even if she is a salt-guzzling fairy and even if she seems kind of into it. Watching a glowing v'jay expand and convulse as a screaming creature breaks through a bloodless womb may seem very similar to Sex and the City reruns but it is not the same thing. Conveniently for props and baby-actor wranglers, fairy newborns are six months old and don't have placenta. Okay? Honestly this whole vignette was very original and actually made me smile and then laugh and then just be like, "This show is tripping." Which, hey: Why else do I watch True Blood? Where else can I see something this proudly insane? Still, in real life: Don't watch people's births half-drunk with your pals. Call me old-fashioned!
Meanwhile Luna skin-shifted into Steve Newlin to save her adorable puppy daughter, and Sam was delightful as a little fly buzzing around and treating us to adorable POV fly-eye shots. Luna got in front of a camera that linked up to the live news and barfed up a ton of blood and possibly died; it's up to whoever the showrunner is in Season 6. And Sam figured out a whole new way to kill people as a shifter that is WAY scarier and more awesome than anything the vampires have every done: flying into the Authority hag’s mouth and shifting in her head. I mean, brilliant. Alan Ball was probably like, at the table read, “We have a number of prosthetic heads around the set and we are going to go through EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM, do you HEAR ME?!”
Jason, who somehow survived getting thrown across a football field and into a tree, had the kind of artsy concussion that any doctor will tell you happens all the time where your parents appear as a responsive Greek chorus to the action going on around you and change your personality. Suddenly he was back in FOTS mode, loadin' up guns and telling off Jessica when she confessed her love for him. Jason, knock it off. Season 6 showrunner: Fix Jason's head, thanks.
Alcide showed up in the middle of a V binge, flanked by Grandma Werewolf with a crossbow (like, what? ), and told all the werewolves from now on they would just say no to drugs and stay in school. Sure? Who is going to naysay an immaculately groomed tour of muscle who's clearly high out of his mind? Not these Rock of Love rejects.
The moment that made me squeal girlishly was when Tara saved Pam and they made out like teenagers. Who called it?! It was the one romantic meaningful moment we got this season and the ladies actually had some spicy hot chemistry going on in that kiss. Swoon. And then Pam seeing Eric and just glowing was emotionally rewarding, too. Pam has always been Ball's favorite and he gave her a succinct and profound speech to Jessica and a possible fantastic little romance for Season 6, so thankee guv'nah!
Then all our faves got in an elevator and flew up to the roof so the love triangle could finally get in a room together and work things out.
Only, things did not work out. Bill drank Lillith's V and apparently died. Yes, Ball physically destroyed what was once the heart of the show, Bill and Sookie. It was almost a relief, since he had destroyed Bill as a character by last week's episode.
And then in a triumph of truly terrible special effects, Bill resurrected—nude and covered in blood—from a pool of his own gore, like Lillith herself.
A vampire ghost god? So his crazy belief system is true? So what exactly are we dealing with here? This doesn't seem like something that can be cured, reversed, or tamed.
So Bill is next season's enemy? If I were next season's showrunner, I'd be on the one hand kind of furious and also a little intrigued if I couldn't pick up this gauntlet and resurrect Bill as a contender for Sookie and a bastion of normalcy. But that might strain viewers' belief.
All in all: WERE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? I certainly was. This finale had all the punch, verve, and a true cliffhanger—something Ball has denied us previous finales, preferring to have a climax in the second-to-last episode and then falling action in the finale, alongside a set-up for the next season. Now we are all Wil E. Coyote, skittering off the cliff and hovering in midair. Do Sookie and Eric make it to the roof? Yes. Does Bill come with them? It's enough of a question to make me just as impatient as ever for the next season. At the end of the day, with this extreme of a cliffhanger, Ball has given the next showrunner quite a parachute of audience expectations for next season, but I fear there are many rocks waiting below.
– WHAT THE HELL IS BILL NOW?
– Can Bill be "fixed" or will he be the enemy next season?
– Luna: alive, dead, or don't care?
– What should Andy name his quadruplets?
– So what happened to Warlo?
– If you were the Season 6 showrunner, how would you resolve the open ends in this finale, including Luna's skin walking, Alcide's V-exposure, Jason's concussion, Pam and Tara's relatish, and obvs Bloody Bill?
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