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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

True Blood: “Love Is To Die”

In this whole damn show full of magical people, she is the only person who is actually magic.
Carrie Preston
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True Blood doesn’t have any story left to tell, not really. This final season has been largely plotless, relying mostly on inconsequential mini-arcs and character interactions to attempt to sustain whatever narrative is left. The biggest overall arc of the season has turned out to be the redemption and beatification of Bill Compton in preparation for his death. This could be a profound and moving story, except for one big problem: Bill doesn’t even have to die.

Bill’s decision to forgo the cure and face true death is the focus of “Love Is To Die,” which is a cheeky title for what turns out to be an absolutely bullshit decision on Bill’s part. The problem with Bill deciding to die is that he’s not doing it for himself; he’s doing it for Sookie, to save her from him (and from vampires as a species somehow, which, good luck with that, buddy) and somehow free her to have a normal life. It’s bullshit because it’s being painted by Bill (and eventually Eric) as some romantic notion of saving Sookie from herself. You know what is actually romantic? Listening to Sookie’s opinions as if she was an actual human and respecting them. Sookie has no desire for Bill to die. If Bill wants to “save” Sookie from himself so badly, why not just choose to live and then leave Bon Temps? Instead of this being a selfless decision that marks Bill’s complete return to “good” guy after everything he’s done over the past seven seasons, in essence it’s the absolute most selfish thing he can do. For True Blood to present it as romantic is farcical and insulting, even if I have doubts it will actually happen.

True Blood essentially has nothing but romance on the brain as it heads into the finale, which would be more perplexing if the show had any other story left to tell at this point. The only thread hanging is the thrilling saga of how a big corporation-slash-Japanese crime sydicate will synthesize Sarah Newlin’s blood into a cure for Hep V. I was excited to have Sarah Newlin return as some kind of Messiah figure, but like most things this season her appearance has mostly been wasted. What’s most baffling about this story is that Eric and Pam haven’t ganged up against the Yakuza and taken them all out by now. What is holding him there, besides a flimsy promise he made? Eric being forced to sell out Sookie to save Pam’s life seems like good narrative tension on paper, but in practice it doesn’t make any sense. Eric is immensely powerful and he’s reduced to this, just so the show can put Sookie’s life in danger one final time in the last episode? It’s thematically fitting, I suppose, as she’s spent much of her time on the show in danger. That doesn’t make it any less stupid.

So this leaves us with romance, and for once this is probably the least objectionable storyline of the episode. When Hoyt returned I did not believe he returned to get back together with Jessica, but as savvy commenters pointed out, that was absolutely the reason he returned. For all of True Blood’s graphic violence and explicit sexuality, it is obvious the show believes itself to be romantic at heart, saving its final hours to first reignite the grand love story of Bill and Sookie and now bring back together probably it’s purest love story, Jessica and Hoyt. It’s entirely to Deborah Ann Woll and Jim Parrack’s chemistry and believability as lovers that this story works at all. Their connection makes the scene of her confessing and him accepting everything that happened feel real, right until the show gets in its characters’ ways by having Jason narrate their epic love story (to Hoyt’s new ex-girlfriend!) while Jessica and Hoyt have sex. It’s treacle to the extreme; truly, True Blood, we can comprehend this couple as “meant to be” without narration that sounds ripped from a bad parody of itself.

Which brings us to Jason. If there’s any sign that True Blood is obsessed with giving all of its characters a sort of romantic wrap-up to their stories it is Jason’s new “friendship” with Hoyt’s girlfriend Bridget. It’s a friendship that is obviously going to end up as more, seeing as she goes out of her way to see Jason as more than just a sex object, even taking the time to teach him how to be with a woman without sleeping with her. Jason has always been a lovable doofus with a magnetic sexuality that caused him to make poor decisions. To see him grow up from that is not an unwelcome sight. Seeing him grow up from it over the span of two episodes just to give him a happy ending? That is a bit much.

Stray observations:

  • The winner of all of True Blood has to be Ginger, who finally got to have sex with Eric. Hilarious, hilarious sex. Congratulations, girl.
  • One of the better little threads this season has been Sookie and Arlene’s friendship. Carrie Preston just brings a believability to everything she does, even when it is absolutely insane.
  • Pam literally dyed Sarah’s hair for no reason. At least it was amusing, because Pam is always amusing.
  • Sam is gone. Bye, Sam. You never got a great storyline but I still liked you. Sometimes.
  • Lafayette and James are a real couple now, which is sweet (if unfortunately completely offscreen).