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So long, and thanks for all the fish!
Another True Blood season has come and gone. After the (widely considered) worst season of the show, there was a lot to make up for. Creator Alan Ball most assuredly wanted his last turn as show-runner to be a good one. Did he manage it? Now that our favorite vampires, werewolves, shifters and fairies have gone into hibernation, we can look back with bittersweet nostalgia (and, occasionally, eyebrow-raising hindsight) on the season that was.
Hoyt, oh Hoyt. I honestly don’t know which True Blood writer sold their soul to allow them to stumble into the miracle of genuine empathy that was Hoyt and Jessica’s relationship (Hessica? Joyt?), but it seems that the contract was up this season. Hoyt’s had a rough couple of years (or as we call them in True Blood time, “days”) , but Season 5 really put him (and his fans ) through the ringer. Now it seems we’ve truly lost him (you really made him debate killing Jessica, True Blood? Really?). The harshness of the Yukon’s got nothing on Hoyt’s mama, but he got in a couple of final tear-jerker moments with Jessica and Jason at Merlotte’s before setting off for colder pastures.
Honestly, up until the finale, I had pegged the too-soon loss of Roman Zimojic as the biggest True Death bummer of Season 5. But then Russell’s death happened before the freaking opening credits of the finale and I had to pause my DVR to scream an endless, clothes-wrending “NOOOOOOO!” to the sky. Russell was easily the best big-bad that TB has ever had. After two intense seasons of awesomeness, this big, climactic moment felt like a dud. The last time we lost Russell they had to burn him alive with the sun and bury him in concrete. This time they stabbed him with a tree branch. Climax fail.
Honorable mention to Christopher Heyerdahl, who has an amazing voice and tortured people on this show, which in my head means he was secretly still Alistair from Supernatural.
True Blood has always had a knack for throwing in a couple dozen superfluous characters and giving them all a storyline even though it has nothing to do with anything. This season was certainly no exception, but how to choose? Jesus’ disembodied head? The fight for packmaster of the Shreveport pack? The Obamas? The inter-dimensional fairy nightcub? The hot minute that the show made us try and care about Holly’s teenaged sons? All of them took up valuable screen time and contributed very little. But no, this season, the award for ‘WTF did you just do with that hour of my life?’ goes to the Ifrit, for encompassing a set of the most annoying True Blood habits – it was pointless, it forced a supernatural element into something that was already a perfectly dramatic human conflict (having PTSD from Iraq was enough) and it made me like one of my favorite characters less. Terry raised a baby armadillo named Felix and is in one of the only functional relationships in Bon Temps, I will not accept this assault on his character, True Blood.
Historically, Merlotte’s has gone largely unchallenged in the realm of ‘all the scenes happen here’ – I’m with Andy; somebody would make a killing if they opened a second restaurant in Bon Temps - but this season, we may have crowned a new non-gendered-location-monarch. The Authority Boardroom! We’re given the impression that there are lots of rooms hanging around the Authority’s secret underground lair, but virtually everything worth paying attention to managed to happen in the this ancient, impractically-moved temple. So here’s to the vampire boardroom, for showing us that even if you’re a millennia old vampire, you’re still never going to get out of that meeting.
On True Blood there’s always plenty of material to work with, but this year’s addition of Lilith The Naked Blood God takes the cake. Possibly the best thing about dear Lilli is the thought process that clearly went into it. “Yes, a hot, naked chick covered in blood! Yeah, yeah, get a model or something, we want her to be irresistible. Oooh, but give her a big bush, because she’s wild.” Honorable mention to the full-frontal boardroom dinner and the human livestock pens – because vampires hate it when their meals are clothed.
Who will Sookie choose? Yeah, yeah, yeah, over it. Jessica and Hoyt have been the couple of my heart for the last few seasons, but this season I was spending my shipping energy on Edgington/Newlin 4ever. Russell was the best as vampire sugardaddy, and Steve was the inexperienced, boycrazy girl from every high school movie. They even had cutesy couple pictures made of them with their kidnapped werewolf puppy! I would have watched a show entirely about them.
Pam and Tara’s S&M Mommy and Me outfits. In my headcanon Pam crawls out of her big pink coffin every night and lovingly lays out ensembles for her and Tara, matching up their little spikes and alternating colors so they’re twinsies without going all matchy-matchy (I also choose to believe that whoever’s the Tim Gunn of fetish wear would approve). The shifters complete lack of wardrobe (was there one single episode that didn’t have a naked shifter in it?) came in a close second. The fact remains, though, that every night Pam and Tara wake up and put on theme wardrobe. And really, isn’t that what love is all about?
Again, when it comes to sex, True Blood will always provide. There was nothing quite as dramatic as the Exorcist head turn sex (ah, vintage TB) but there were still plenty to choose from. I’m just going to go ahead and let my bias show here and choose Eric and Nora’s sibling reunion in the storage container; both because I really missed hot, half-clothed, evil Viking Eric last season and because it got a surprising amount of backlash for the pseudo-incest element. Plus, they managed to pack it into the season premiere, which, if Game of Thrones has taught us anything, is exactly where sibling fucking belongs.
I’m tempted to go with the other Eric/Nora shared-sire lovin’, the one after their shared Godric vision, because really, what was that? This is not my viking vampire sex-dungeon master! But surprisingly (or not, True Blood has always excelled in this arena) TB managed to top itself with the Bill/Salome-Lilith-Sookie sex scene. I was actually on vacation with my parents when this show aired (yes, I watch this show with my parents) and my mother looked over at me and asked “Why did she turn into Sookie and Lilith?” All these weeks later, I still honestly have no idea. Add to that the fact that this is a pairing with essentially zero chemistry and that I spent the whole Lilith segment of it pitying the set dressers who had to replace the red-sugared sheets every take. This scene made for an excellent excuse to get up and open another bottle of wine.
Despite being, ostensibly, over 2,000 years old, which in vampire terms ought to make her several brands of awesome at beating people up and… whatever else that being old makes vampires good at, Salome has dedicated her extended stay on the third rock from the sun to being the best of the best at getting people to sleep with her. And hey, if I spent all my time around people who looked like Eric and Bill, that’s probably what I’d do too. Life well spent, Salome. I salute you.
“You don’t know me that well, my mad face and my happy face, they’re the same.”
Somebody on True Blood was having more fun than usual this season picking out the music. From the little romantic interlude during Bill and Eric’s stint in the trunk to Russell and Newlin dancing to Katy Perry amongst the bodies of drained frat boys, the soundtrack has certainly been played up. Easily the most incongruent, though, was the credits music for the episode “Everybody Wants To Rule the World”. I actually like this cover, but still, weeks later, I cannot for the life of me figure out why we got a punk-pop jam playing over the last thirty seconds of a dramatic slow-motion betrayal scene.
Why didn’t we have a Russell-Roman Renaissance flashback? Why? Well, fine, deprive me of my joy then, TB. We did get some legitimately interesting backstory on Eric and Pam’s relationship. With the bonus benefit of once and for all proving and vampirism didn’t make our beloved Pammy who she is, Pam just made fangs look good.
Let’s face it, vampire life comes with its little annoyances. Being stuck hiding out for half the day, humans who want you dead, never being able to enjoy the wonder of bacon again all come to mind. The biggest pain in the ass, though, has to be when some acquaintance/enemy/random minion gets the True Death all over your throw rug. As such, this particular nod to practicality made me smile – let’s all give it up for the hardest working vamps in The Authority, the True Death Clean-Up Squad.
So how do we feel about the season that was? For my money, it was an improvement over last season’s muddle, though certainly not without flaws. Then again, the love-hate relationship we fans have with the show has become as much a hallmark of True Blood as the signature beverage itself. The big question now is where the future will take our favorite Bon Temps residents, with a new baddie on the scene and a new hand steering things behind the scenes. Only time will tell. So until Season 6 rolls around with more craziness to keep up with, call in the Clean-Up Squad, crack open a body-temperature one and praise Billith!