[This is a review of the True Blood series finale. There will be SPOILERS.]
In 2008, HBO began its next phase of network of evolution with a series named True Blood which, at the time, introduced television audiences to a precocious young waitress named Sookie Stackhouse, who didn't meet her first vampire until the pilot, at the age of 25. Now, 80 episodes later, we’re met with a series finale which, above all else, serves as a cautionary tale for shows that (unfortunately) fall to their own devices.
“Thank You”, written by the series’ final showrunner Brian Buckner, is a confusing final installment to Sookie Stackhouse’s many adventures - one that proves to be as empty, story-wise, as the series has been since it began its downward spiral many years ago. What’s left is, unfortunately, a half-hearted attempt at emotionally confusing viewers into thinking something grand is occurring by soullessly wrapping what’s essentially a final season STD storyline in a string of rushed couplings and unbelievable romance.
Those looking for a conclusion to this season’s story at hand will be happy to hear that, for the most part, it’s taken care of care of early-on - and if it weren’t for such a misplaced infomercial parody at the end, you may have forgotten about it. Eric and Pam are off saving the vampire world, while Bill saves himself from having to deal with Sookie anymore, essentially. Elsewhere, Hoyt and Jessica get married, and Jason once again begins a relationship with his best friend’s former love – only this time, she’s Alaskan.
No matter what, the intent to at least provide some type of closure to the many characters that make up Bon Temps is admirable, and it’s actually a surprise that they were even able to craft some type of story – no matter how disjointed and directionless – which allows fans to walk away with some semblance of success. It’s true that this episode may have been unwarranted, even unnecessary – but for how many years could the same thing have been said about the series as a whole?
True Blood was once a compelling tale of a young woman who, with powers, began down this journey of the supernatural, meeting vampires, werewolves, fairies, werepanthers, ghosts, gods and everything else that goes bump in the time, all as a means to find herself and her place in the world. The thing is: there are too many things that go bump in the night around Bon Temps, and Sookie is far too lost to simply “find herself." As such – and because of its always-growing cast – True Blood became confused with its purpose on air; instead of attempting to write themselves out of the box they found themselves in, the show's writers continued to deliver more and more of the same, until it came to a point where seasonal story-arcs became a second thought to all the cyclical and salacious drama.
When it comes to drama, the True Blood series finale certainly delivers upon that, and then some. At first glance, Sookie is tearing herself apart with being asked to kill her first love, over and over again. Of course she fights it, then agrees to do it her way – which just so happens to be with a broken shovel handle, and not by using up the rest of her powers - which really would have help her live a normal life and leave everything in the past. Sookie still has her powers, Bill is dead, Bon Temps is prosperous once again, and Eric and Pam have a successful beverage company which uses a serial killer on its label. The end.
For what it’s worth, it’s always felt as if True Blood took upon the task of adapting Charlaine Harris’ “The Southern Vampire Mysteries” novels without fully knowing what occurs throughout. Sure, werepanthers are a bit much – but so is the Elvis Presley-esque vampire, Bubba, who was left out of the TV show. If anything, the show became too popular, too fast and, like we’ve seen before with shows like Heroes, the voices champing its continuation proved to be too loud for the critical voices to clearly be heard - making it that much easier to continue delivering more of the same.
True Blood was once great, yes, but that was essentially too many seasons ago to allow such sentiments to fuel opinions now. What it is now is… over, thankfully.
True Blood aired from September 7, 2008 – August 24, 2014 on HBO.
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