‘True Blood’: Too Little, Too Late [Review / Recap]

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It took eight episodes to finally get there, but the August 17 offering of True Blood, titled Love Is to Die, actually felt like everything was being properly wrapped up for the last season of a television show. The journey has been strange and filled with mishaps, questionable story lines and troublesome conclusions, especially with characters that viewers have been following for seven years (you deserved better, Tara). Granted, this penultimate piece of the puzzle did not have everything right, but it came pretty close. However, with so many messes in their wake, it is questionable whether or not the season proved to be enough for longtime viewers.

The focal point of the episode, of course, dealt with the decision that Bill (Stephen Moyer) came to in choosing not to drink Sarah Newlin’s (Anna Camp) blood and cure himself of the Hep-V virus. Sookie (Anna Paquin) seemed to have many fans’ thoughts in mind when she attempted to slap some sense into him — repeatedly.

Bill has been such a convoluted character almost since the very beginning of True Blood. As of late, the show has been trying to play him up as a martyr – someone who constantly risks his life for the greater good. However, it is hard to side with him when the things he has done are through less than honorable means. During Love Is to Die, he mentions to Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) that he has lied to, threatened and even nearly sexually assaulted Sookie (that occurred in season three, for those who need a bit of a reminder), someone who is treated as the deepest love of his entire existence.

One could say that his actions ultimately saved the life of the vampires who were captured by Sarah and her now-dead mayor husband from season six, but keep in mind that he did some truly horrible things in order to ingest the blood of Lilith and eventually Warlow. Bill almost cancels out any “good guy” points he has because of what he ultimately did to obtain them. It is difficult to find sympathy for him now.

By default, that would leave Eric as the only paramour suitable for Sookie’s affections, but that would not be the best endgame, either. During her conversation with Arlene (the always amazing Carrie Preston), Sookie stated that the reason she never “let herself go” with Alcide (Joe Maganiello) was because she never actually fell out of love with Bill.

Without giving too much attention to her admitting that the man who risked his life to save her only days ago (and is now dead) did not mean that much to her, which would also imply that Eric may not hold much importance. Maybe Bill was actually right in expressing that Sookie should be allowed to be free from a life of vampires, but not quite possibly in the way he intended. However, considering she is seen as the “heroine” of True Blood, she will ultimately end up with someone.

Moving on, another character seemingly disappeared without a moment of real closure. This time around, it was recently appointed mayor of Bon Temps, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell). Weeks ago, his pregnant wife Nicole (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) gave the shape-shifter an ultimatum: leave with her to go to Chicago or never see his unborn child. In the end, Sam chose to stand by her side and leave the only place that ever felt like home to him, but once again, the show runners are asking a lot for people to be invested in a character that has only been around sporadically for two seasons, namely Nicole.

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Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) signs off.

Even with his many faults, Sam has always been portrayed to be one of the true-blue good guys of True Blood. Because of this, he has gone through a lot of heartbreak and loss (his entire birth family, for starters, are all dead). No one probably expected anything other than for him to leave with his wife for the sake of having their daughter raised in a safe place, but this would mean that people would have to be invested in the character of Nicole. On top of that, they need to be convinced that Nicole is actually best suited for Sam and that has never been fully played out.

Most of their relationship took place at the end of season six, where there was a time jump of six months. Before that point, Nicole was usually in some kind of danger (that she put herself into) and Sam would inevitably save her. Of course, there was a sex scene which was followed up by the realization that she was pregnant, but it happened so quickly. Within a span of a few episodes, they went from victims to lovers to expectant parents.

Television shows have no necessity for real-time connections, but things still have to feel somewhat believable when it comes to enjoying them. With Sam leaving everyone he knows as “family” for a woman that has not been around for that long, it just feels empty.

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Hoyt (Jim Parrack) begins to rediscover his love for Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll).

In other notes, the reunion of Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Hoyt (Jim Parrack) seemed inevitable from the moment Hoyt was reintroduced back into the True Blood fold. On the other side of that coin, the connection between Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Hoyt’s now-former fiancĂ©, Brigette (Ashley Hinshaw) was just as obvious. Truthfully, the Jessica/Hoyt relationship has been played well and is based off of a history of the two characters, so there is no real issue with that re-pairing.

Once again, Eric finds his progeny and faithful companion, Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) in danger, thanks to his deal with Yakuza leader and NuBlood creator, Mr. Gus (Will Yun Lee). Frankly, for two vampires who are supposed to be extremely powerful, they end up in dire straits quite a bit.

One shining moment, however, has to be the long awaited sex scene between Eric and the woman who would inevitably give birth to Fangtasia, Ginger (Tara Buck). To say that the scene was absolutely hysterical is putting it mildly. Whenever Buck and Skarsgard are paired together, magic usually occurs and the throne romp was no different. Considering it was the final scene of the show in which Ginger would ever appear, it was great to see her go out on top, pun somewhat intended.

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A sneak peek of “Thank You,” the final episode of “True Blood.”

In the series finale, “Thank You,” which is set to air on August 24, Sookie once again finds herself in danger, while longing to be with Bill. According to the show runners, some characters will not make it through the episode.

The connection between fans and True Blood is the thinnest it has ever been and at the worst possible time. There are no moments to go back and cross every “t” and dot every “i.” Things may not end well for everyone, including the fans that have stuck with the show. However, after seven years, everyone is owed one final slice of the True Blood pie. Here is to hoping that it leaves a good taste in their mouths.

Opinion by Jonathan Brown

Entertainment Weekly