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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  • shaulojoseph Jan 11, 2015

    Omg horrible season if they show started like this it would have been canceled. I stopped paying attention for most of the show.

  • Jaacc Jan 05, 2015

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who was really dissapointed in the ending. I was thinking a few episodes out from the final, how are they going to tie up all the ends properly in 2 episodes? I was hoping for a "big bang" kind of ending where something unexpected and big happens and it all goes out in a blaze of glory that even if it left you hanging a bit at the end, at least it would have been interesting and more in keeping wih the spirit of the show.
    I even had a moment where I thought Sokie's power might kill of the vampire part of Bill and allow him to start over and there was a second when they *finally* (It was way too drawn out) killed Bill off where I thought he had actually started to become more human in truth due to some miracle (they kept talking about them) and he was going to bleed to death rather than do the vamp explode thing, but no.
    I really don't get the kill off Bill in that way ending. If he really was a selfless as they were trying to force us to believe, you'd think he would have taken the cure, got his affairs properly in order, then met the sun or such like later on, or at least died of the hep V without making Sokie kill him. How does he really think that killing her lover will improve her state of mind and general happiness? Really?
    The insistance that she needed a normal life with kids? Why? They even had her questioning whether she wanted kids when she was with Alcide. Why would he writers assume that would automatically make her happy? I agree with other people it shouldn't have been used as one of Bill's main reasons for his death if they wanted it to be believable, they easily could have adopted or used a sperm donor if she wanted a family with kids. And why does this only apply to Sokie? Apparently it's fine for several other relationships present at the end to be vampire/human. (And they all looked deleriously happy at the end scene). And she kept her farie powers, so what was to stop another vamp coming after her, this time without Bill there to look out for her considering he thinks he loves her so much now. Oh well, he'll just die anyway and then it's not his problem (Even though the premise was she was meant to have a normal life by killing him and her fairie side in one blazing farie ball act which didn't happen). If he wanted out of this life to be back with his dead family ok, but the drawn out thing where they tried to make us believe he was also doing it for Sokie was not believable.
    The whole Jessica and Hoyt thing was really disappointing as well. What he just comes back into her life and decides that he'll marry her shortly after meeting her for the *first time* (Since they never bothered to restore his memories of he prior relationship with her) and less than a day after breaking up with his long term girlfriend and seeing his dead mother? He never seems to question exactly why he lost his memories, just accepts that Jessica is really sorry for messing up a relationship he doesn't remember but she's ready for a long term relationship now so it's all ok? Wierd, rushed reasoning for the wedding and drawn out and boring during the episode. Really didn't like. Bill guilting her into the rushed wedding only made it worse and lost any potential sympathy I might have had for him.
    Lafaette- would have been nice for him to have some more screen time, he was a major character after all (not that you'd know it in the final).
    Tara- Her whole haunting thing really could have been skipped or abbreviated. Again really drawn out over a number of episodes for what? To tell her mother she's sorry she didn't kill her own dad as a young child? Could have had a more interesting or believable message and involved Lafaette more- after all he's meant to be able to talk to the dead, why do they need the V trips? I know it was probably there so people could connect the dots and believe Bill was in the afterlife all happy with his deceased family but again could have been done better.
    Eric and Pam- consistently the best part of the last series and I did like the cheesy infomercial ending and Eric rocking out in the car with the dead people in the back did fit him well. Speaking of, the Yukusa seemed to be the only threat left in the late part of the season which apparently Eric and Pam could have just killed off when they felt like it. No retribuion apparent from doing this either from the rest of the organisation after they killed one of their leaders and stole Sara to very publically make a heap of money? I guess I could almost buy Sara was kept so secret by the people involved that the rest of the yukusa didn't know what had happened to their people? Still seemed a bit lazy with the story line writing though.
    Sokie- started to annoy me a bit around season 4-5. I started to believe her name was maybe a play on words (Sook) and some of the main characters seemed to almost start to get frustrated/annoyed with her. i really thought maybe she'd shift from being the person everyone's lives revolved around and have to evolve more as a character, but no, in the end much of it came back to being about her and people dying for things related to her and who she felt like hooking up with this week. She seemed so fickle with her relationship choices, in the end I really didn't care who she ended up with all that much, maybe the faceless man was a good choice, although again I think it was a cop out. The whole everyone around the table happy and pregnant/kids thing, everyone moving along with their lives very quickly (She's married and heavily pregnant within 3 years of all the other crap that was going on in her life, and Jason didn't waste any time getting 3 kids with a girl he's only just met as well) bothered me and was not in keeping with the tone of the series in my oppinion.
    All in all really disappointed in the last season, could have been done much better. It was like the writers all went, well hey, the series is ending so lets not bother trying to bring anything interesting into the show, we'll just string out what we have and go for a canned, fluffy ending scene.
    Oh and even with an ending as bad as this, that's no excuse for watching twilight!

  • balletomane Nov 08, 2014

    Thanks, Lily, for your review, which I found by googling "true blood series finale hate" about 10 minutes after I finished watching this sad excuse for a finale on iTunes. I now feel a little better knowing someone shares my disappointment.

    What you said here...
    "...human accomplishments in sum mean nothing compared to a single, breathy laugh from the person you love."

    .. is so true. Apparently the writers of this show think that you can kill the person you're in love with (your first love, no less), then go out and in short order find a replacement. Have these people dated lately???

    From Season 1, I thought the series would end with Bill becoming human. Then in the finale, when Sookie could hear his thoughts, I was SO SURE I was right. Even after she staked him, I thought he was going to re-materialize or something. I couldn't believe that after seven years that were overall pretty sentimental in regard to these two characters, the writers would make us suffer through something so nihilistic and dissatisying. And disturbing. But not disturbing in a way that has merit, like when Jessica glamoured away Hoyt's memories -- what a great scene! That scene worked because there was something a little bit right about it. There is nothing right about suicide. Even when you present it in a show that has absolutely no relationship to reality, it's still distasteful.

    As for having babies, for f's sake, why not adopt?? And if she has to be with a non-vampire guy for some arbitrary poorly defined reason (that doesn't seem to apply to anyone else at that annoying Thansgiving dinner), why not let her be with one of the other hot guys who the audience already likes (Sam, a not-dead Alcide)??

    Yes, they have ruined any potential re-watch. I just hope I can still listen to my True Blood playlist. That might be tainted now too.

    The only good part of the finale, IMO, was Andy, Holly, and Arlene, entering Vampire Bill's mansion, Andy telling Arlene and Holly he'd be right back, and Arlene saying, "Don't worry about us. We'll just be snoopin!" Thanks Carrie Preston, for giving me one last True Blood laugh. At least one character shined during this hour of drudgery!

  • sphyniaaika Sep 24, 2014

    The ending was anti-feminist for two reasons. 1) bills dying wish was to give away his "daughter" in marriage. He wanted to be sure that she had a man to take care of her. Also jessica claims that she has dreamed about her wedding her whole life because afterall she is "a girl". As if that alone justifies wanting and dreaming for a wedding. Being female we must naturally desire a wedding? (Nothing wrong with desiring a wedding, but its not a "naturally" female dream). 2) bill tells sookie that a "normal" life is having children and your children having children and then you dying. He kills himself because he believes sookie can never be happy if she cant live a "normal" life bearing children. What does this say to women who don't want or can't have children? That we can not live happy or normal lives? In fact that seems to be the moral of the entire episode. As at the end everyone is paired off in monogamous relationships and those who are capable are popping out babies. This was a show that pushed boundaries. It showed us the lives of outsiders, people who defied societal norms... yet these "outsiders" find happiness when they ultimately meet societal norms and are no longer outsiders but can finally achieve "normalcy". Sookies ultimate struggle was to overcome her nature that made her different and be able to finally live a normal life (at least her choosimg to keep her powers was one step in the right direction). Bills death was pointless and entirely served his patriarchal ideas on what he believed would make sookie happy. The show left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Its only redeeming quality was a blood covered eric bobbing his head to the beat while he drove away with a car full of bodies.

  • Chanc2006 Sep 16, 2014

    From start to finish this series annoyed the hell out of me! For starters Tara dies, she just. Dies...We don't see her die in fact we are led to believe she gets the upper hand in what little you see of her fighting. I was actually questioning for quite a while as to whether Tara really did die in that fight scene, maybe she used it as an opportunity to escape for reasons that might be clear later in the series, or maybe it was because her mother killed her which is why we never saw it. But no, there's in fact no real reason we didn't see Tara die. She just...Died, alive...Then dead. There's so many more questions, pointless and clearly obvious fillers throughout the series, it was all about drama and family spats and stuff. It was stupid, most of it made me think I was watching some pumped up version of desperate house wives. Bill, hell. I didn't see his death coming at all, which could have been a good twist if again, like this review said. He died in a dignified way, hell. he could have lived! :') Just like Suckie's grand father said, magic is in everything around us. That ball of light was designed to kill Vampires, and it was clear that Bill was so human that even Suckie could hear his thoughts. I was lead to believe she'd use the ball of light, Bill might instead inherit life from ball of light and be cured of not only hep v but vampirism as well. Hell, it wouldn't have been the best ending but better than what we've got. Hell, we've seen some crazy stuff in this series, that wouldn't have exactly been the worst thing in the world. Another thing that royally pisses me off. Suckie is pregnant, with who? Some random! You get to see....his BACK! You get to head him say, "Ok Hun" But who the hell is he? Even if it is some random, we don't even get to see him!? Nah, this ending makes how I met your mother look good :') Like, this is like a little kid with a razor blade saying his life is pointless. At least in how I met your mother there is no cure and she doesn't whine like a little baby when she gets offered one. Even if he wanted to die though, He's a vampire, they all know how to die. A casual stroll in the sun, A stake to the heart "which he does from anyway" the point in Hep V just seems, pointless. It doesn't even kill him in the end! :') The hell?
    Anyone remember Godric? He went pretty much the same way, why did his death seem so much more dignified? well, it's simple. He had a better bloody excuse -_- He evolved, he lived long enough, he seen enough. He wanted to die. He turned into a nice fluttery dust in the wind (Which makes no sense by the way given that older vampires still turn into a pool of blood) This ending was pure balls man -_- Sacrificing his life for everyone else in the whole Lilith thing would have been a better ending to the series.

  • 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.

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