True Blood Series Finale Review: No Thank You

By Lily Sparks

Aug 25, 2014

True Blood S07E10: "Thank You"


Comedies often end with a wedding, and while I’ve always thought of True Blood as a comedy, it didn't end so much with a wedding as with a pregnancy, and I’m still working through what that means.

The world of vampires on True Blood has often functioned as stand-in for the hidden culture of the LGBT community—it has been used to make other parallels, but from the phrase "coming out of the coffin" on, the show has always referenced this analogy the most. True Blood’s series finale went out of its way to cement vampire acceptance with being a member of/an ally to the LGBT community: Jessica and Hoyt got married even though it’s illegal for vampires to marry, with a strong message of “love is love”/ marital equality. And when Sarah Newlin begged Pam to turn her into a vampire, it was simultaneously a discussion about her offering sex to Pam.


Later, when Sookie asked the Reverend if God meant to make us all as we are, or if some of us are mistakes, the Reverend was emphatic, vis-à-vis: Jesus don’t make no junk. The Lord loves vampires as much as the straights humans. Okay, great message, we're all on board, sure.


So what does it mean that Bill chose to die rather than prevent Sookie from her future of meeting some "normal" dude and having a baby? Why was this anonymous, notional zygote more important than his own daughter, Jessica? Or his undeniable love for Sookie and his independent existence on this Earth? How can Bill’s suicide be seen as anything but a wholesale rejection of himself as a vampire, a morally motivated lifestyle rejection so transformative that he actually physically regained his humanity and Sookie could read this thoughts for the first time? 

Was the show trying to say Bill's suicide was the right choice?

That  idea seriously bothers me. I don't think the show was intentionally trying to seed in some anti-LGBT subtext at all. But Bill regaining his humanity and choosing to die muddied one of the best messages of the show.

It also bothers me that, after following these star-crossed lovers for seven years, this iconic, modern love story concluded with Sookie impaling Bill in a grave.

To a healthy mind, the entire march of humanity—its woes, its triumphs, the centuries-long transition from cave to internet—human accomplishments in sum mean nothing compared to a single, breathy laugh from the person you love. The all-consuming love of one person for another is what makes life worth living. No amount of friendly fun and lit-up mason jars can replace the life of a person you love. Ever.


That’s why Sookie assisting Bill’s suicide was so nihilistic and disturbing and ultimately flat. On the one hand, to anyone considering suicide: Consider how NOT glamorous this was. Really absorb how NOT cool it was for Bill to take this way out and how gross and goopy his remains were and how needlessly stupid his choice was. Think about how NO ONE was sitting there thinking about him four years later; everyone was just rolling on to the next thing.

DO NOT embrace the message that Bill’s death provided this happy ending. IT DID NOT.

The implication that it did is irresponsible and bizarre. Suicide doesn’t clear paths in other people’s lives. Suicide emotionally crucifies everyone it touches. There are those who suffer through excruciating pain every day just to delay the agony of loss for their loved ones. There are people who live in pain because they are grateful for existence. Those people are heroes. Anyone who clings to life is a hero. Those who lay down in a grave and tell the world it's better off without them? No. Not heroic. There is nothing heroic about that.


That's what angers me most about True Blood's finale: the idea that Bill’s suicide provided everybody with a happy ending. If Sookie had a happy ending, it’s because she endeavored to go on despite the soul-killing mindf-ck of Bill exiting this world to clear her weekends for dating. I'm kind of enraged that the show wants us to think anything else, to take anything positive from Bill’s self-hate and  self-immolation.

Do other things bother me? Sure. I'm also frustrated that Eric and Pam apparently filmed all their scenes for "Thank You" in two hours, and mostly appeared for a hot two minutes in an overly smarmy infomercial “one year later,” so distant from Bon Temps that they were probably shot their little epilogue six months after principal shooting in Shreveport wrapped. 


I'm frustrated that there was absolutely no closure for my favorite character, Lafayette. I'm frustrated that Jessica wound up married to Hoyt, the guy who she once couldn’t wait to get away from, the end. Ugh.

However, I'm relieved that Sookie didn't sacrifice her fairy essence to send Bill off in a CGI blaze. The show was ambiguous this way, revealing that Sookie eventually embraced what made her different from what she was expected to be as a precious and integral part of her being—and yet, when all was said and done, the ending of this series was her just laying down some green bean casserole all big an' pregnant during a family-style Thanksgiving. Um. Okay. 

Meanwhile, Sarah Newlin was all chained up and used like a sad whore, haunted by ghosts. Okay, truthfully, I enjoyed that a little bit.


Was some emotional justice served? For Sarah, Pam, and Eric, yes. But not for Sookie, and therefore not for the audience. Perhaps True Blood's writers just didn’t see how Sookie could take Bill back into her life after he’d attempted to rape her—and okay, yeah, there’s no socially responsible way to make that happen. Perhaps they rationalized that Hoyt and Jessica’s vampire/human marriage would do enough to convey True Blood's central message of "empathy for everyone" that they could treat Bill as an individual character and not the symbol of the entire vampire race, which is what he’s been treated as up until now.

But frankly, they thought wrong. There was a miscalculation in the focus of this finale, and the ultimate meaning of these characters has retroactively poisoned my memories of the entire series. Bill’s suicide leaves a nasty taste in my mouth that makes me shudder at the thought of a re-watch. I’ve got no urge to buy DVDs. Don’t even talk to me about the books. I’m so bummed, guys, I might even watch Twilight.


QUESTIONS:

... True Blood has long carried a strong LGBT message. Does Bill’s suicide undermine that message?

... Sookie’s barefoot-and-pregnant ending: feminist, because we don’t know who her dude is and really it doesn’t matter, or very anti-feminist, because WTF kind of ending is that when Sookie loved Bill and he was her choice and he took that choice away from her?

... Eric and Pam: just enough or not enough?

... Are you furious we didn’t get any closing words from Lafayette?

... What are your closing thoughts on True Blood


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  • CiaraOHagan Sep 08, 2014

    All I can say about the finale is that it wasn't as bad as how I met your mothers ending

  • PenguinSuzie Sep 08, 2014

    The show isn't meant to be a direct allegory of LGBT rights, even the writers have said that would be pretty offensive seeing as 99% of vampires are dangerous murderers.

    Being a vampire is a a kind of prolonged death so Bill wanting to die didn't remind me so much of real life suicide, the circumstances are very different. He was still leaving loved ones to grieve though.

  • luisantonio583 Sep 06, 2014

    Pointless season. Terrible finale. I got so bored in most episodes that I ended up skipping entire scenes.

  • Dec1964 Sep 04, 2014

    Not enough Pam and Eric for me and i really didn't care about Sookie, she was just wasted space for this entire season final. Too much airtime for Bridget as well.

  • MyNameIsCactus Sep 03, 2014

    The finale felt rushed and contrived. Clearly Alan Ball got carried away with subplots and irrelevances and realized too late he had to wrap things up. Sookie didn't get what she deserved, which would've been a backhand and a life sentence in a Mormon colony. Who the hell she thought she was? From day one she was sulking and pouting and screwing things up, demanding instant gratification for her every whim and bossing every guy into dying for her and faulting them for every disappointment. When Bill made the altruistic offer to save her she backed out the last second...he gave his life in vain and she was still vampire crack. One question: is New Blood a cure or just a treatment? Spin off with Eric and Pam pls.

  • PaulGoggin Sep 03, 2014

    FYI Alan Ball left the show after season 5. He is not the showrunner any more, nor has he been for the past two seasons.

  • tompete940 Sep 02, 2014

    So was there a point to Jason and Eric's sex dream, other than catering to the LGBT community? Nope! Tara dying and coming back to show her mom a gun? No again! Hep V vamps attacking the community and the storyline ending with that small groups death? Nuh-uh! instead we got Hoyt's wedding to Jessica. (don't get me started on a shallow discussion of how my hotter Brigette was!!) WE GOT TOTALLY ANNOYED BY WAY TOO MUCH FRIGGIN PAM!!!!! (acting lessons please!!!) And we got to see Bill die in a messy soup of goo, and get forgotten a few years later. ( I guess even sooner, since Sookie is already heavily preggo!) That last episode, and pretty much the entire season make me say, there's 10 hours of my lie I'll never get back again! "An now for something completely different!!!" P.S. I'm told the books really don't deal at all with LGBT issues? Is that correct? If so, who screwed things up?

  • Sam20 Sep 07, 2014

    "WE GOT TOTATLLY ANNOYED BY WAY TOO MUCH FRIGGIN PAM!!!!"

    Who the fuck is we? Just you?

    It's more like;

    WE GOT TOTALLY ANNOYED BECAUSE THERE WASN'T ENOUGH FUCKING PAM!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think I speak for the "we" there.

  • Tvking00 Sep 01, 2014

    I have no words

  • onionringlets Sep 01, 2014

    Would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the BOOKS!!

  • sm001 Sep 01, 2014

    **About season 7:

    Let's start with Bill. I didn't care what happened with Bill because I never felt Bill would be Sookie's HEA. I'm glad that they didn't end up together. Bill was always so gloomy, depressed and controlling.
    I preferred Eric and Sookie's interaction, even when she was pissed off at him. However, based on the past few seasons, I wasn't convinced they could be happy together in the end

    either, although I felt he respected and accepted her as she is. He was too much of a free spirit, and she wanted a 'normal' life.
    By the end of season 6, I didn't really care who Sookie would end up with. She was obsessed with Bill, dismissive of Eric, went after Sam when it suited her, used Warlow for 'revenge sex' I guess to piss off her dead parents, and emotionaly unavailable for Alcide.

    On the whole I did enjoy this series for it's entertainment and shock value. However, this final season was a bit of a let down. Everything seemed forced and disjointed. If it wasn't for the Eric and Pam (and Ginger) scenes I probably would have fallen asleep. I'm not sure what was at fault. Was it the direction the story took, the dialogue, the directing? It felt like I wasn't watching the same show. I place no blame on the actors, most of them did a great job with what they were given.

    There was too much Sookie, Bill and Violet and James.
    I got tired of seeing Pam chained up. She was supposed to be tougher than that.
    Lafayette and Sam were seriously underused this season and were pretty much given cameos in the final episode.
    Why was Lafayette's vocabulary limited to 'hi redbone' and why didn't he interact with ghost Tara at all? He's a medium, isn't he?
    Poor Tara's character was totally wasted. They couldn't even give her a decent fight scene before they killed her off? And not showing Pam's reaction to her death was just lazy.
    I'm glad Pam and Eric weren't killed off. Although making them even bigger a**holes than they were originally seemed to negate any character growth that happened over the past 7 seasons. But they're still fun to watch.
    The scenes with the Magister, Nan and Dr. Ludwig were great.
    I'm happy that Alcide is gone. I felt he was very controlling and jealous of Bill. Although, the way they killed him felt like an afterthought and had very little impact. He should have died in battle, not from a gunshot to the head. Or he could have just left Sookie.
    I'm relieved Violet is gone, she was a horrible addition. (I'm talking about the character, not the actress)


    **About the finale:

    I had mixed feelings about the finale.
    I'm glad that Eric and Pam finally took care of the Yakuza. Now that the Yakuza and Authority are gone, they're probably happy that they don't have to answer to anyone. I never felt that Eric was power-hungry or wanted to be filthy rich... but I figure taking over New Blood would make him autonomous.
    I wonder if Eric went back to Fangtasia so he can keep an eye on Sookie & Willa, since he doesn't really need the money. Otherwise, he could have gone back to France or Sweden since he liked Europe more.
    Pam using Sarah as a 'blood whore' at the end was both justified and disturbing... In real life this would be totally unacceptable and she should have been put on trial for her crimes, but this is just a tv show...
    I'm glad that all the people at the Thanksgiving dinner survived. I got tired of the writers killing off characters.

    There were many parts of the finale that I didn't like. It felt like it was all about Bill and what he wanted.
    Bill totally manipulated and guilted Jessica and Hoyt into getting married.
    The wedding and his death scenes dragged on and on, which took away the emotional impact of those events.
    I would have preferred a wedding scene between Andy and Holly.
    Another wtf moment was when Bill asked Sookie to give up who/what she is by using her fairy light to kill him. Why couldn't he just meet the sun, instead of forcing her to live with the knowledge that she not only infected him, but is the reason that he wanted to die. He was basically telling her that 'normal' human existence is the only one that has value, you can't be happy or part of a community if you're different... just like her parents and the nasty townsfolk; the opposite of those who truly loved and accepted her.
    Gran, Gramps, her brother, and even Eric wanted her to accept who/what she is and be proud of it. It's sad to see that this is the final message that True Blood left us with. That you can't have a fulfilling life unless you're straight, married with biological children.

    The Thanksgiving scene was ok. It was nice to see all of Sookies friends gathered around. However, I didn't like the fact that Eric was left out, and that they flashed back to a recycled scene of Eric bored on his throne.
    If the other supes were still part of her life (and not a threat), Eric could have still stayed in her life as a friend/protector. Contrary to what Bill thought, I believe that they would have had enough self control to be around eachother without getting romantically involved.
    They could have had Eric drop by and sit beside Willa during the Thanksgiving meal, or had a scene showing him standing guard protecting the entire group and maybe quietly taking out a vampire attack during the party, or a final scene of Sookie & Eric just sitting together as friends, when she's old and having a chat or playing scrabble or something...

    I guess I was expecting too much. Thank God for fanfiction. I guess someone out there will write an ending that'll make the rest of us happy.

    Btw, has anyone seen the cover of the Season 1-7 dvd package? It's as dull as the finale....

    Ok that's the end of my rant. :)

  • Margreete Sep 01, 2014

    Thank you for this review. Thank you so very much.

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