True Blood – Season 5, Episode 12 “Save Yourself” Review

Rating: 9.7

 

Oh, woe is me! Woe is me!

Where do I begin?

I am shocked. I’m completely, and utterly floored by the season 5 finale of True Blood. Are there even words for what I’m feeling? There have to be.

I will review this finale to the best of my ability. Please forgive the sudden outbursts of anger, laughter, and sadness.

First and foremost, I jumped up, screamed with wild joy, and with a triumphant bellow filled up my house with a cry, “Bill’s dead!” My neighbors on the west side of the block almost certainly heard me. I was thrilled, no… ecstatic, for a solid 20 seconds. I have dreamt of Bill’s death for over a decade. I have hoped and believed that one day he would leave Sookie with her rightful man, Eric, in the form of the true death. I also had hoped that Eric would be the one to do the deed.

Unfortunately, True Blood cares not for my hopes and dreams; instead the series has fabricated the most sinister of nightmares. Now, a godlike Mr. Compton will, in all of his celestial powers, hunt down and terrorize Sookie (and probably everyone she has ever loved).

Episode 12 was the bearer of the worst news for an avid Bill hater such as myself. I hope that the fans stop rooting for him and beg for his death as hopelessly as I, and that the True Blood writers—in all of their eccentric wisdom—can see the light and finally bring Bill into the sun.

Let’s move on.

The season finale of True Blood tied everyone into the same plot as nicely as its predecessor. I did not feel as though the plots had been crammed next to one another to be awkwardly referred to as one (overly populated) series. With humility, I applaud the finale for so tightly wrapping up most of their numerous threads. The only thing missing from this episode was honestly a goodbye from the fairy clan to Sookie. Sookie ran out, luminescence ablazing, to check on big brother Jason, never to speak of or refer to the fairy folk again. This is unfortunate. I love Claude. I would like to see more of the fae in season six, especially in the form of Sookie’s wacky fairy club owner cousin.

The Club Fangtasia Family (as I will now refer to them) was quite delightful in the end. Eric, despite never having been fond of Tara as a human, appears to hold grandfatherly affection for the tough baby vamp. Tara finally showing Pam the affection that has been building throughout the season was a delightful moment for True Blood. Pam’s soft side is usually reserved for Eric, but the reciprocation of Tara’s kiss proved that Pam has made well (is that the proper way of saying that she’s been a good Maker? True Bloodcan make the English language painful at times). I will admit that the whole having-sexual-relations-with-your-family-being-totally-normal thing is a bit of a doozy to us humans, but I’m starting to accept it nonetheless. I’m happy for Tara because she’s finally going to have some semblance of a happy ending. I say this because most maker-progeny relationships have been quite fruitful for the main bunch in the series, if not a bit tumultuous at times.

Eric had some of the best moments in the season finale. I fall in love with Eric nearly every time he’s on screen, let alone when he saves the day. Twice. Firstly, killing Russell Edgington and secondly saving Pam. The death of Russell was a momentous occasion. While I’m sad to see Russell’s departure, I’m glad that the series is killing off as many characters as possible. Russell’s death was followed by the death of Roslyn and J.D., so we’ve sure slimmed down the overly populated ensemble by a hair. Let’s keep that up.

As always, I was displeased with my least favorite Chancellor, Nora; I find her to be quite inconsistent, annoying, and awful. Her bond with Eric is strong because they are brother and sister, and they’d formed some kind of family structure with their maker (Godric), yet she has trouble understanding why Eric might want to save his progeny from their immortal enemy, the Vampire Authority? I guess I’ll chalk it up to another example of why Nora is (and always will be) the worst. Unfortunately, she seems to be saddling up as a new series regular for season six, so I might as well try getting used to her.

I’m concerned for baby vamp Jessica. She has a hard enough time as is conflating her human past with her new vampire identity. She even gets grossed out when she sees a vampire be staked, more so than even Sookie. She is now fatherless and with few friends in the world. Her best friend, Jason, has rejected her as fully as his small mind is capable of, and Pam and Tara have never been 100% in her court. At best, Jessica will have Sookie to rely on as a sort of stepmother or Eric will take pity on her and adopt her into the Fangtasia kinship. Jessica didn’t have a lot to do in this episode because she didn’t really need to, which I appreciate. Being an orphaned baby vampire can’t be easy, though. Especially when you’ve been stripped of your throne.

Jason’s weird hallucinations were probably the most frustrating part of last night’s episode. There’s no real justification for why he is seeing his dead parents except for that he hit his head. Let’s face it, Jason has hit his head plenty of times in and out of the series, but these are the first waking dreams we’ve been privy to. Perhaps it was the fairy wham that put him in this state? The fairy light was meant for Russell… perhaps Russell was going to be revisited by his victims past? Who knows, but it’s sure irritating. Jason was just a little too keen on killing vampires (although it was for good reasons) in the search for Warlow (the unanswered cliffhanger of season 5).

Sam absolutely had the best vampire kill by becoming a human after being a swallowed fly. I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted to see anything else happen on television. My life as a viewer may be complete, especially after vampire Bill chases down Sam as a fly. That was another moment I had been waiting on for a long while. It was just some more comedy gold from True Blood.

Luna as Steve Newlin was mighty entertaining. I’m glad that many of the actors have the ability to branch out and play a skin-walked Luna, but I imagine that it can be incredibly limiting for the actress who plays her, Janina Gavankar. I wonder if Michael McMillian (Newlin) consulted Sam Trammell (Merlotte) on Luna’s mannerisms, because they had very similar body language. In any event, I was impressed. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure shape shifters were never meant to take on a vampire form. I imagine Luna’s time may be up… where will that leave Emma? I hope in the hands of Martha, whom I’ve fallen madly in love with.

Alcide did something very bad last night for very good reasons. Like most characters, I expect Alcide to become a V-addict after having tasted the power of vampire blood. Thankfully, we’ve seen almost every human overcome this addiction, and even Debbie Pelt was sober for a while. I imagine this act will take a toll on Alcide, though, if not for the mere fact that he lost the woman he’d loved, his mate, to that drug twice. But Alcide saved the life of the woman he has feelings for while also saving young women from being sexually violated by a tyrannical pack master. Martha, Alcide, and Jackson Herveaux swoop down, kill the dictator and inform the pack that they will no longer violate the innocent or basically do any “bad things”. The heartthrob actor Joe Manganiello has officially won me over with his portrayal as Alcide in this act alone.

Finally, and likely least important but most entertaining, we have the fairy birth at Merlotte’s. What an amazing arc. I’m thrilled. My own True Blood party’s quips and comments were reflected nearly identically in this ridiculous montage of orgasm-filled baby delivery. Lafayette, as always, stole the whole damn episode, and I was reminded, once again, of why I love this show.

The whole thing is ridiculous. True Blood is crazy, lacks any sense of nuance or subtlety, and plays off of the expectations, fears, and folly of its viewers by going down the only unpredictable path. Somehow True Blood does everything right and everything wrong all at the same time. As a mythology buff, I’ll admit that the writers are well versed in the ways of myth, even when they pick the most obvious creatures as their antagonists.

I’ll wrap it up with one final comment. My biggest complaint about this season is how Christian-centric and therefore polarizing the whole thing was. The series relied heavily on the audience to have been raised in Christian households with knowledge of the New Testament. While the series relies on their fan base to be a part of that demographic, it also acts as a viewer’s poison by ridiculing them to no end. True Blood believes that it is being clever, but is instead it polarizes its audiences into 1) those who are in on the joke and 2) those who have never heard of Salome or Lillith because they are not of a faith tradition which would teach them of such things. Atheists are let in to criticize religion with True Blood, but only atheists who chose to leave a Christian upbringing. The characters were Biblical, yet made no mention of pre-Christian traditions, rather relished in them as though they themselves were the Catholic Church. I expect better from the writers, who clearly have their own agenda: vampirism is an allegory for not being heterosexual or being in a position of power (being a person of color, a female, or being non-Christian). Yet now those who face the injustice are the vilest creatures with no remorse for rape or homicide. This kind of writing does not evoke sympathy or understanding for those coming out of the coffin, but rather promotes them as a dreaded abomination. How is anyone supposed to rethink his or her own bigoted views when True Blood encourages the viewers to hate the oppressed class?

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