S7 E10 – Thank You (Series Finale)

On the off chance you haven’t been spoiled yet, I’ll put this beneath a cut.

Read more…

A Few of My Favorite Things

So @DarlingSookie and I were debating whether we wanted to air the final True Bites before or after the finale. We finally decided on before (6 pm EST/3 pm PST to be specific) because while we recognize there are things we won’t enjoy about the finale, we wanted to go out on a positive note. So instead, we decided to talk about a few of our favorite things. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to get to in only a half-hour, but you can see my list below. Tune in and find out

Favorite Premiere – Season 5
As a whole, Season 5 was a big mess. Roman was a big bust, Russell wasn’t the threat that he was in Season 3 (though he was still quite fun) and the less said about Ifrit the better. That said, when the premiere came on, it really got me excited for the season. This episode had great moments between Eric and Bill (cleaning up after Nan, the reach around), Eric and Nora (that uncomfortable but kind of hot Eric/Nora scene while Bill listened) and of course it had the resurrection of Tara and Pam’s infamous yellow sweat-suit. In short, it did everything a premiere should do, even if the season as a whole couldn’t live up to it.

Favorite Finale – Season 4
The fourth season was a complete and utter hot mess, but damn if the finale wasn’t fantastic (and, in my opinion, helped make next season’s opener so strong). We got Marnie’s last stand and rather crispy vampires. We got the perfectly-acted, and therefore devastating, scene where Sookie dumped both Bill and Eric. We also had Tara getting shot and Sookie returning the favor to Debbie. And let’s not forget how Eric decapitated the storm troopers before Bill staked Nan claiming he wasn’t a “fucking puppy dog.” Perfect. That season may have had the worst opener, but the finale definitely helped make up for it.

Favorite Season – Season 3
It’s hard to pick a favorite season of the show, because on some level, all the seasons are somewhat inconsistent simply because there’s just always so much going on. But if I had to pick one, I’d probably pick this one. Russell as a villain can’t be beat. We got the revelation at the very end that Bill isn’t so innocent after all. We had a fair amount of Queen Sophie-Anne and The Magister. Sam’s V-induced sex dream of Bill. Cooter. Lorena. Guest appearances by two notable Vampire Diaries alum – Daniel Gillies (before his premiere as Elijah) and Arielle Kebbel (Lexi). There’s a lot to like here. This is the point where the show really started to open up beyond the fairly self-contained first two seasons and it hadn’t quite gone completely over the top yet. Good times.

Favorite Villain – Russell Edgington
Hands down. A recent article called him one of the best villains on television period, and I’d be inclined to agree. This is definitely an instance of character and actor blending so damn well. He was genteel, he was devious, he gave no fucks about the Authority or their Mainstreaming agenda. He loved Talbot. His character felt watered down in Season 5, but at his peak, he was perfection. When he killed that news anchor, it actually spurred the President to ask at a press conference the next day if anyone had seen it. You don’t get more water cooler moment than that.

Favorite Ship – Eric/Bill/Pam
Bet ya thought I was going to put Bill/Sookie there, didn’t you? Originally I was going leave it as Bill and Eric. They had a truly epic bromance because Alex and Stephen get along so damn well. But the fantastic banter between Bill and Pam also started as early as the first season (when she was put in charge of babysitting Bill when he’d been ordered to turn Jessica) just as Bill already had respect for Eric that early too (when Bill defended Eric to Sookie after Sookie first met Eric). Over time that simple tolerance grew into begrudging respect and maybe something a little bit more. Though he may not admit it, I bet if you really pressed him, Bill would be on that list of vampires that Eric cared about. When the show hits it lows, I could always count on this trio of vampires to keep me engaged, so they are my favorite ship of the show.

Favorite Death(s)- Bill’s death/Resurrection (vampire) and Governor Burrell and his lackeys (non-vampire) (Tie)
So I cheated a bit by picking two, but I really just couldn’t pick on. When Bill began to dissolve after drinking Lilith’s blood I remember screaming at the television, then screaming more as he began to reform. It was about the last thing I think anyone expected, and when even Eric looks scared, you know shit is bad.

As for Burrell, picking death of a non-vampire went down to this and to Russell’s execution to stop the VRA from going through. It’s unquestionably a top moment of the series, but the way  Bill just breezed into that courtyard- in the day – wiped out the guards then tore off his head? You just can’t beat that for sheer epic awesomeness.

Favorite Scenes
This turned out to be the toughest category. I found myself wanting to pick several Jessica moments by themselves, because although she could be annoying, she also had scenes with some of the most heart on the series. I’m sure there are others, but these are some of the first to pop into my head.

Jessica – I narrowed this down to two: a quiet conversation between Bill and Jess in season 4 and Jessica’s prayer to Billith in season 6. The first I picked because it really showed how much the pair had grown from their antagonistic introduction. It was sweet and paternal and, being True Blood, it had this great sense of the absurd as you could hear a vampire being executed outside and neither one of them so much as blinked. The second one I picked was just incredibly moving as she went down her list of people she loved and people she wanted watched. After the somewhat clumsy debate of religion in Season 5, this simple prayer I think encapsulated it better than anything. She didn’t know if she could trust either bible. She didn’t know if she was praying to God, to Lilith or nothing, but in a time of great uncertanty, she needed someone to pray to. Deborah Ann Woll just nailed it. Honorable mention goes to Jessica’s glamouring of Hoyt, though I think that him being brought back in Season 7 has tarnished that somewhat.

Andy’s proposal to Holly – Andy has been one of the few characters with almost steady character growth throughout the season and character I really wanted a happy ending for. His proposal – from gathering the ring from Sookie to his fumbling of the proposal itself was perfect and a definite highlight of a lack-luster season.

Bill and Eric watching Sookie hurl on Alcide’s shoes – In the long run, this scene doesn’t have too much importance, but for me personally, this is when I when from being indifferent on Alcide to hating his character. He goes to see how Sookie is done. He is completey sober while she is completely wasted. And he tried to hook up with her. I still find that gross to this day and had they actually fucked, I might have lost respect for the show entirely. So watching Sookie hurl while Bill and Eric provided color commentary was awesome.

What are yours? Comment below or hit me up on twitter and hope to have you listening in tomorrow before everyone comes to an end.

Sorting Out the Emotions

With only days left before the finale, I’ve been trying to sort out how I feel about this whole thing.

On the surface, it’s an easy enough answer: I’m going to miss the show, but I’m ready for the show to be done. It’s bittersweet, really.

As I dig deeper though, I’m trying to figure out why I’ve been so harsh on this season. If I’m realistic, it’s probably not that much more uneven or mixed up than the past several seasons, but I feel like I’ve been harsher on it than I have other seasons that have come before it. I expect in time my opinion will soften, but why do I feel the way that I do?

I think I’ve narrowed it down to three things:

Lack of a true antagonist – whether you prefer the earliest seasons or the ones in the middle, one thing that has been consistent is that there’s always be a readily identifiable Big Bad that helped to drive the story. Let’s look at this list:

  • Season 1 – Rene
  • Season 2 – Maryann & The FotS
  • Season 3 – Russell
  • Season 4 – Marnie
  • Season 5 – Authority, Lilith, Ifrit
  • Season 6 – Burrell/Sarah Newlin & Warlow
  • Season 7 – ??????

The Hep V vamps and the obnoxious human vigilantes were all dispatched at the end of episode 3, having done their true job (i.e. get Alcide and Tara killed). Mr. Gus, who is apparently is supposed to be a villain is completely toothless. When Eric was sick from Hep V, I can see how he could order Eric around (since it’s clear that Hep V, especially later stages, leaves vampires just barely stronger than a human), but now? And even then, his legitimacy in the present is suspect because it’s clear that in the flashback that his strength came from the strength of The Authority. There is no Authority. The Authority more or less ceased to exist when Bill killed Salome right before becoming Billith. Given how quickly the chaos caused by Hep V spread and how it’s never been mentioned again, odds are high that no one has had time to claim Guardianship or set up a new set of Chancellors. The big muscle – the threat that kept Eric in line in the 80s – is literally gone, leaving Mr. Gus with just a couple of Yakuza and little else (speaking of, if he was broke, how did he keep their loyalty?). That begs the question: once Eric drank the cure from Sarah, why not just kill them all? A few humans are nothing to Pam, let alone Eric.  Anyway. I’m guessing the writers would say that Hep V is the true antagonist, because it is driving the plot, but even that doesn’t work because they’ve already got a damn cure! Without an antagonist, you have no tension and a show like this needs tension to succeed. Yeah, they succeeded in going smaller, but I think you can safely make an argument that they missed and went too small. Speaking of…

Not enough story – talk about words I’d never thought I’d have to type for this show. This is a show that is notorious for having more story threads than episodes. Take the particularly notorious case of season 4. It’s been confirmed that the fae storyline in that season was dropped because producers realized they didn’t have enough time to handle it. Also dropped with no proper resolution was Jason and the werepanthers. He’s rescued and then it’s never spoken of again. What happened to the panthers? Did Jason get anyone pregnant? How did Jason feel about getting serially raped for days on end? Gone. Poof. All because they didn’t have time – and this was when the show still has 12 episode seasons! Also, let’s not forget that most episodes of True Blood ran in the 50-55 minute range – an “hour” of network of television is 42 minutes once you remove commercials, so even that 12 episode season was closer to 14 in network terms! But this season? It’s like they ran out of juice half-way through the season, like they forgot they had a 10 episode order to fill. I don’t even know how this happened, but it somehow did, because so much of this season was filler, plain and simple.

Not enough moments that make you go “ho shit”/too much fan service – Look. Fan service can be fun, and I get why the writers and producers would want to say thanks to their audience by putting this in to this last season. Problem was, none of it made any real sense. Jason/Eric’s sex dream only would have made sense before the time jump. By the time it happened, not only would have Eric’s blood worn off, but you figure Violet would have made him drink her blood (given how possessive she was) so if Jason should have been having dreams about anyone, it should have been Violet. That scene existed because we got our hopes up after Jason drank his blood and they were trying to dodge the things being thrown at them by the internet. Likewise, although the flashbacks to the origins of Fangtasia were fantastic, they didn’t need to exist – their purpose (to reveal that oh hey, they’re a conveniently placed tunnel here) could have been conveyed in a line of dialogue. This was just to give Pam and Eric screen time, since Eric’s screen time was supposed to be rather marginalized this year.

And yet, despite this, these moments of fan service are what got everyone excited the most, probably because there was nothing else to get excited about. The “Bellagio of blood” that Stephen Moyer teased could barely be seen and was an easy blink-and-you’ll miss moment. Sarah went crazy so fast that if/when she dies next week, it’ll be more like a mercy killing than an “OMG DID YOU SEE THAT” kind of moment. True Blood has always been at its best when it’s given us those moments – Russell and the newsman. Eric drinking from the heart of Marnie’s human. Billith’s emergence. Bill ripping the head off of Burrell. Steve proclaiming his love for Jason as he burned. Over the top and glorious they were legit water cooler moments. Even at the fan service’s best moments, in the long run, they won’t hold up. They might still be seen as cool moments from a lackluster season, but you probably won’t be seeing them on any lists of awesome True Blood moments.

Speaking of fan service, not all of it was even worth. Take Hoyt and Bridgette for example. This is a show that specifically showed Jessica and Hoyt getting bored of one another (as is often the case with first loves) and breaking up after Jessica cheated on him. Now the show wants us to believe that Hoyt and Jessica are like soul mates? Instead of wasting time on this (and also ruining what was one of the shows lovely moments ever) and Jason and Bridgette (whom I will be mad if this week we see is supposed to have a Happily Ever After with her, given she’s Jessica 2.0 and he’s known her for like an hour) why not use the time spent on that, to say, spend time on Willa who the writers only seemed to insert into the show so that Lettie Mae could go on her V-trip. How sad is it that a dead character gets more actual screen time than a living one? Or I know, you could have also used that time to let Sookie actually grieve for Alcide. Perish the thought! The writers didn’t know how to fill the time properly and chose fan service over story development and for me at least, it really hurt this season.

I do think the season did some small things well – like Andy’s proposal and Arlene’s pep talks – which is why as time passes I’ll probably be less harsh towards it. But right now? HBO themselves admitted it: the storytelling hit a wall. And on a show that told some absolute whoppers, it’s a near-fatal flaw. The car is clearly sputtering and I just want it to die. I want it to die so the actors may live and explore new projects and get new roles. I think the show has been a boon to many of their careers and I look forward to watching them grow and seeing their new work.

I’ve gone on way too long, so I’ll bring it back down to a simple end: this show will always have a place in my heart, but it’s time. Let’s pull the plug.

 

S7 E9: Love is to Die

So in just under 7 days, the finale for True Blood will air. I’m ready for it. This season has been so low on tension and drama that we’ve just been limping to the end.

Despite this being the second to last episode, I still feel like there are no stakes that matter. Bill’s story doesn’t wrap up until next week, and there are few other driving tensions at this point. Yeah, Sarah is still alive, but it’s still pretty much a matter of when and how she dies, over whether she dies.

So, was this episode as low key as I expected it to be?

In a word: yes.

We spent a lot of time setting up Hoyt and Jessica’s HEA. We spent a lot of time setting up what seems like to be a HEA with Jason and Bridgett. Lafayette and James seemed to be confirmed as a thing for the long haul; Sam was a pussy and wrote people letters instead of calling and Willa’s existence continued to be forgotten. Bill makes a bit of sense, but his best scenes continue to be with Eric and not Sookie, and for some reason Pam feels like she needs to touch up Sarah’s roots – a nice nod to S2, but still a bit of an odd scene nonetheless, not unlike Eric and Ginger, which is another bit of fan service that may yet be the most pointless and confusing bit in a season full of poinless fanservice.

I will say that there were moments that touched me a bit (especially Jessica getting released. It’s nice getting clarification that she wasn’t released in season 5 after all) so this ep does have that, but yeah. I’m ready for next week.

This whole season has been filler. It baffles me that they had so much trouble coming up with content to fill the ten episodes, when they’ve traditionally had enough to fill up twice their show’s seasonal order, resulting in stories being cut short or dropped.

Bring on “Thank you,” so that we can finally make peace with what remains of a show I once loved.

Verdict: C+

True Blood S7 – Spoiler Talk – How is it panning out?

Remember this post?

Well, we’re now heading into the second to last episode of the show and so I figured now would be as good time as any to take a look and see how they’re stacking up, especially since nothing has been outright disproven.

Needless to say, spoilers abound. Don’t read if you don’t want to know about what might yet come.

Read more…

S7 E8: Almost Home

So last week on True Blood…I got bored. Real bored. Spaced out bored. It’s something True Blood should never be. Even at it’s worse (think season 4’s premiere or the whole story with Crystal and the weres) it’s always been able to at least elicit a response of what the hell am I watching? But boring? Never.

Sadly, boring seems to be the name of the game and it doesn’t likely to change much. Sam’s story won’t be resolved this week. Sookie and Bill are going to do a lot of talking. Andy and Holly will presumably worry. Jason will continue to revert to his first season brain-dead self. Something might happen with Sarah Newlin, but I get the vibe that this will be dragged out to next week. Maybe the show will remember that Willa exists. It remembered that Tara had a story line floating around last week (however briefly) so there’s always a chance, right? Anyway.

Warning: I swear more than normal.

Has this episode redeemed the last several episodes?

Not really.

It’s better than last week, but thats not exactly saying much. The word of the episode is “anticlimactic.”

Exhibit A – Eric
Huzzah! Eric is healed! Wait. It was before the credits rolled? Er….uh….okay. So all that time of Sarah going crazy waiting for her death so she could be come the new Messiah was for nothing. Got it.

Exhibit B – Lettie Mae/Tara
So the big thing Tara wanted everyone to know was that she felt bad for not shooting her abusive dad and that she forgives Lettie Mae for being a shitty mom. Er. Okay. That her dad was abusive isn’t exactly a big shock. And honestly, Lettie Mae hasn’t been around long enough as a character to make you want her to get that forgiveness. She just was. I figured that it wouldn’t lead to anything that great, but this was weak even by my already low standards.

Ultimately, this was a waste of a storyline: you could have excised the whole thing and no one would have realized it.

Exhibit C – Violet & Aidlyn/Wade
The second she started to monologue like a Bond villain I knew she was dead and that no one would get hurt. While it was funny that she admitted she wanted to be with Jason because he was stupid. But they get there, she dies quick, there are hugs all around and yeah.

Oh and Jason not kicking Bridgette out of the car? sigh.

Exhibit D – Sophie Anne and her plans for a fae breeding house.
What the actual fuck. I can’t.

Oh, not everything was anticlimactic, but it wasn’t any better. Bill dreaming that he and Sookie gave birth to the Smoker Monster from Lost wasn’t scary, but a head scratcher and don’t even get me started on Bill refusing to drink. Fuck that. I could do an entire rant on that bit alone. Oh hey. Wait. Sam wasn’t in this episode at all! Why wasn’t he? You know that resolution will just exist (and probably be Sam deciding that he can’t leave Bon Temps and Nicole leaving him) and would have fit in with this episode well.

Hoyt existed. Jessica and Jason seem done (which makes me think we’ll get Hoyt/Jessica at the end after all…yay?, Willa continues to be invisible and Arlene as no where to be found (which is okay, because you know they’re going to put her with Keith, so why bother developing that, right?)

I’m done with season. There’s no salvaging it any more. It’s limping towards the end and I can only hope that it doesn’t ruin everything when it gets there.

Verdict: C

S7 E7 – Maybe the Last Time

It’s hard to believe that we’re already at episode seven of this season. What has really happened to this point?

Episodes 1-4 focused on Hep V vamps and the human vigilantes. While it’s nice seeing a slightly “human” face on the Hep V vamps, honestly, the scene in the lawyer’s office in episode six did a better job of doing that. The human vigilantes were just plain awful to watch. Kendra’s character assassinated and Vince was so over the top that when they got killed off it was more a relief that we don’t have to put up with them anymore than a sense of victory that they aren’t any kind of threat.

Episode 5 was cleaning up the aftermath of the Hep V vamps. It was nice seeing Andy finally propose to Holly, but that’s about it. As much as I wanted Lafayette and James together, this wasn’t the way I wanted to see it. No matter how epic Lala’s speech was, it was still epic douche move. And unfortunately, Jess and Jason’s reunited sex was not only not sexy, but it also marked the return of idiot Jason which brings us to…

Episode 6, a filler episode that moved everyone into position for the end game. Shame Jason has lost the ability to use those brain cells that he learned how to use in seasons past. Bill killing the lawyer was nice, but if the dead bodyguard was the “Bellagio of blood” that Stephen Moyer promised, it is an incredible let down, especially after the rather epic massacre of Burrell and his men in Season 6.

I feel like last week really drained the season of whatever momentum it had gained, and if this is just another week of Bill having flashbacks I’m going to be pissed. So what happened? Let’s take a look.

Or not.

See, halfway through the show (or maybe 40 minutes?) I realized that I had stopped note taking. Oops. I literally got so distracted from being bored that I lost track of where I was. And to be honest, I had no desire to go back and figure out what was going on.

And honestly, that’s an indictment on the episode itself. It moved so damn slow. The filler episode last week had more momentum and more energy. The only even vaguely memorable part of this was Sarah Newlin (sorry, I refuse to call her Noomi) losing her shit at the old FoTS camp. I absolutely adored Steve Newlin’s Evangelist Preacher. You can absolutely see how he was able to build up the FoTS when he was still alive.

Ultimately, the problem I think this season has is that they wanted to go more “personal” this final season. On paper, I get why they wanted to do this – it’s a large cast and they wanted to bring it back home But there are two problems: the first is they still added characters, which kind of negates the focus on the core people. The second is that the show has been so big for so long that this small, low-key approach that worked in the first season no longer works. I also think that it makes zero sense that Lilith would give Bill his blood to save a handful of vampires in Vamp Camp, yet seemingly give zero shits about Hep V, which is well on its way of driving vampires to extinction. True Blood has often been accused of nothing thinking things through and this is very much in that same line. They clearly didn’t think this through.  I’d rather seen asshole Bill raising an army to defeat Hep V than all of these flashbacks that are just boring (and I’m a Bill fan!) and even more filler.

I’ve reached the point where I wish they hadn’t made a final season instead of…this. Ending on a WTF note would have been better than this.

Verdict: F

(Sarah Newlin almost saved it, but I have never been as bored during True Blood as I have been this week. Ever.)

 

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