True Blood

Last Sunday True Blood wrapped up its seven season run, after which I Tweeted and Facebooked: “Thank god that’s over. #TrueBlood”

I meant it, too, because this seventh season has been a boring slog that Kristin and I have watched for the sake of completion, and basically no other reason. Without seemingly anything else to do, characters this season have spent endless stretches just sitting around talking to each other, which would be interesting if any of these characters had anything compelling to say. Where’s the action? Where’s the craziness? If I wanted dull characters pontificating about the meaning of life and existence, I’d watch Season 2 of The Walking Dead again, and that show was terrible.

In this week’s finale, Sookie seeks out Rev. Daniels, who has been, at best, like a 4th string player on this show, and the two have a freshman-survey-course-level discussion about free will vs determinism that feels like it lasts 4 fucking hours.

At one point Sookie actually says with a straight face, “Things used to be simpler, didn’t they?” I audibly, and loudly, groaned at this because that’s the type of shitty bromide a show trots out when it’s literally got nothing left to say and thinks it’s being deep and reflective, when in reality it might as well just flash a big neon sign onscreen that declares “We are out of ideas, and you are now wasting your time.”

“Things used to be simpler” is a meaningless statement because it’s inherent to the living of life. When measured against your ability to Monday morning quarterback your own history and reflect on problems you’ve already solved, it’s technically true; but on a moment-to-moment basis, it’s utter hogwash. We’re all making this shit up as we go along, and life is never easy. NEVER. No matter how things look through the rearview mirror of your rose-colored glasses.

That’s why this season has been so deeply frustrating because that’s not what this show is, nor should it have ever devolved into. If this show is talking and reflecting, it’s flailing. When it’s dialing up the bugfuck crazy and throwing itself into chaos, it’s energizing.

On the AV Club, Phil Dyess-Nugent listed the 10 most essential True Blood episodes, and wrote this about season three, episode nine’s “Everything is Broken:”

“When all the copies of all the episodes of True Blood have burned to radioactive ash and the last survivors of our world have hunkered around the last campfire, they’ll be talking about their grandparents’ descriptions of Denis O’Hare’s big editorial reply scene here.”

That is hands down one of my favorite scenes of any show, ever, anywhere. It perfectly captures the horror, the camp, the hilarity and the spiral-eyed craziness this show was capable of at its peak. When I reflect on the show, I’ll think about this scene and I’ll think about Eric rawdogging Russell Edgington’s mancandy before staking him, and the Dionysian orgy from Season 2, and anytime a vampire was drunk on fairy blood, and flamboyant Lafayette learning he’s some weirdo voodoo shaman, and, and, and…

There was just so much unabashed weirdness going on in this show, to watch it go out this lackadaisically with nothing more than sad ruminations and uninspired character just goddamn disappoints the shit out of me. There were two moments in the finale that served as the only bright spots. MUCHO SPOILERS AHEAD.

1. Eric finally wakes up and remembers that he’s an insanely powerful vampire and decides to kill the Yakuza who hold the cure to Hepatitis V and steal it for himself. Why he didn’t do this four episodes ago is anyone’s guess, but whatever. Watching him obliterate these lame fucks was immensely satisfying. And then striking that wonderfully True Blood balance of macabre and hilarious, we see Eric bopping along to Japanese dance music while racing down the street in the Yakuza’s hot shit sports car with their mangled and bloody bodies piled up behind him. It’s a deliciously disturbing visual played for laughs. Perfect.

2. In what was supposed to be the climax of the Sookie/Bill love story, Bill, now dying from Hepatitis V, asks Sookie to use her light ball to kill him which would serve two purposes. First, it provides Bill the true death, which this season has spent an ungodly amount of time re-establishing Bill’s humanity to build to this conclusion. And second, it would liberate Sookie from being a fairy and allow her to live a normal life.

Let’s skip ahead MANY INTERMINABLE MINUTES LATER WHERE SOOKIE AND BILL STARE AT EACH OTHER ENDLESSLY, and we realize Sookie doesn’t want to relinquish her fairyness, yet Bill still wants to die.

So Sookie breaks the handle off a shovel no different than a character in Orange is the New Black might do to shank a fellow prisoner, climbs down into Bill’s grave (Oh yeah, this is all taking place in a cemetery for reasons unknown, but that will become hilarious and pointless in a second), straddles him in his coffin, and with his hands on hers, plunges the stake through his heart. He winces briefly, and morphs into what looks like a giant dark red water balloon. Then… rumble, rumble rumble, guuuurrrggglle… SPLOOSH! The thing pops and splats sticky red goo all over Sookie and across the bottom of the grave.

It’s profoundly disgusting, and Kristin and I laughed out loud. We have no idea if this was supposed to be played straight or for laughs, but regardless of intent, as comedy – where one very sick character wishes to be compassionately put out of his misery by someone he loves intensely, and for that seemingly tender moment to be immediately followed by a humorous giant blood grenade – it’s tremendous.

They tacked on a happy ending for the remaining living characters, which was fine and looked like a commercial for Kenmore refrigerators or some such shit. But the moment of Bill exploding and leaving corn syrup and sinewy, bloody debris all over another character is a much more fitting ending for a show that did its best when it being gross and funny.

Cheers to the true death, True Blood.

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