If you’re feeling this nostalgic Bill, I gotta ask what the fuck? Cause to my mind nostalgia and suicide? Don’t mix.
And so, friends, we’ve come to the end.
I had hoped last week that I would be writing something nice about the finale of this show I’ve been invested in for seven seasons, sticking with it through its extended low periods and shining moments of ridiculous excess. While there were some genuinely sweet moments in this last hour, all in all, the finale was a disappointing mess, forcing an ending that seems only logical and inevitable because the show insisted it was, and ignored its own themes and history to get it there.
Let’s just get to it.
Eric and Pam
Eric gives the Yakuza Sookie’s home address in exchange for Pam’s life, which is his last straw. For several episodes now we’ve seen the two of them seemingly held at bay by Mr. Gus and his pet Yakuza, though there’s no indication that they hold any more power than the force it takes to pull a trigger. Eric’s a damn Viking, and we’ve seen him obliterate thugs with guns before. He pulled the heart out of a witch and sucked it like a juice box! Pam was inexplicably taken hostage by them repeatedly!
Apparently, having to choose between Pam and Sookie again was his breaking point. Eric frees Sarah/NewMe, but not before Pam shares her blood so that they can track her through her fear. She scurries out of the tunnel that’s not-exactly-hidden and breaks through the careless-nailed-up-boards at the end – all things you think a criminal organization might have noticed previously – and hightails her highlights the hell out of dodge.
And then, with a minimal amount of fuss, Eric and Pam kill some guards and roast Mr. Gus alive. It takes ten seconds and no sweat, so what the hell, you guys?
Pam tracks Sarah down at the carousel Willa (remember her?) was embraced at. Sarah tries to do the only thing she knows how to do – fuck her way out of a bad situation. Poor thing – she clearly knows nothing about Pam, who has much better prospects than the woman who tried to commit genocide.
Meanwhile, Eric flies to Sookie’s, intercepting the Yakuza, murdering all of them, and stealing their sweet ride in less time than it takes Sookie to walk to her bedroom window to see what that noise outside was. And that’s it. That’s the end of all Sookie-Eric interactions, for all time. No good byes. No Eric being there for her while she deals with Bill’s death. No hugs. No passes. Nothing. These are two characters who truly care for each other, and clearly love each other, and they get bubbkis screen time in the finale of their show.
Whatever, True Blood. In my mind, I know that when Sookie is an old woman on her death bed, Eric is there holding her hand.
In the flash forwards, we get to see that Eric and Pam steal New Blood for themselves, taking it to market and becoming stinking rich. They get to be vampire heroes, the savior that Bill was supposed to be last year. And they keep Sarah chained up in Fangtasia’s basement, charging a 100 grand a minute to drink from the real cure. Cash only, assholes.
Hoyt and Jessica
Jessica and Hoyt have been back together for less than 24 hours. Hoyt’s memories of her last exactly a day, as Jessica points out, but we know from Jason’s voice over last week that they’re the Real Thing. They’re true love, two people fated to be together. They’re the bright flip side of Sookie/Bill.
So they get married.
It’s not a legal ceremony, and it seems like a far cry from whatever human-Jessica would have been dreaming about, but Bill is dying and he’s shown himself to be a shockingly retrogressive male in these last couple of episodes, so of course it’s important to him to know that Jessica is “spoken for” before he dies. Also, he would like to walk his substitute daughter down the aisle, hint hint, and did he mention he was dying? Jessica collapses under the weight of the guilt he’s laying on.
The wedding, like many things in Bon Temps, is equal parts sweet and a whole mess of ‘what the fuck.” Jason and Sookie have to leave the girl Hoyt dumped 8 hours before to go to his wedding to a woman he doesn’t remember dating, which will be officiated over by the man whose daughters Jessica slaughtered, and to whose wedding the surviving daughter — who has actually forged a relationship with Jess – does not attend.
They proclaim their eternal love for each other, and they’re adorable and the beginning of their relationship was pretty amazing, so like everyone else, I aww and sniffle, and am just so glad these kids made it.
Bill and Sookie
The bulk of the episode’s action — and I use that term in the loosest way imaginable as the promised Yakuza showdown is dispensed with in the first half of the show — is devoted to the resolution of Bill and Sookie’s ‘romance’.
We pick up at the beginning of this episode exactly where we left off last week, with Bill “calling on” Sookie in an attempt to explain his decision not to take the cure. He doesn’t have much of an argument — and I don’t think that he really needs to have one. He’s been alive for a couple of hundred years, watched his family grow and die, and still has to pay taxes every year, which is soul deadening enough for anyone. The show has previously established, via Godric, that sometimes vampires do get tired of immortal life and seek to be free of this sorta-mortal coil. Pair that with the fact that Hep-V also affects the mental health of infected vampires, and it’s understandable that Bill might not wish to keep on living.
But ultimately, that’s not the reason he gives. Bill wants to frame his suicide as a noble gesture. As long as he’s alive, Sookie will never be free, because they live across the road from each other and are still groinally attracted to each other, so they’ll keep being drawn into each other’s orbit. Sure, he’s fantastically wealthy and could just take the cure and move to anywhere else in the world, and thereby free Sookie in the way that many of us wish our own exes would — by sodding off to parts unknown. That’s not good enough. In the most patronizing, mansplaining way possible, Bill tells her that he’s sacrificing his life for her, because he knows what she needs, and that is to be a completely vanilla mortal who leads a ‘normal’ life. He’d like to die by having Sookie murder him with her light ball — the concentrated essence of her fairy-hood, which upon using depletes her supernaturalness and renders her a regular old human woman.
Let’s break this down:
- They live in a town that has been invaded by vampires, werewolves, and a manead, and hosts a pack of werepanthers who deal meth on the city limits, and has a fairy strip club located in a back field. This is not what most people call ‘normal’. A significant portion of this season has been dedicated to meta commentary on how not normal Bon Temps and it’s citizens are.
- Sookie does not need to lose her fairyness to have babies, nor does she need to bear her own children, since there’s about a dozen ways around the ‘Bill can’t give her children’ problem, none of which require Bill to be killed.
- Bill seems pro-vampire human relationships, as seen by him literally guilting Jessica into marrying Hoyt, as long as it’s not Sookie having a relationship with a vampire that is not himself.
- If Bill wants to die, he can just do it himself, as asking the woman who loves him to murder him while also giving up her own supernatural powers — which have saved her ass on more than one occasion — seems deeply cruel.
- He doesn’t even fucking ask her what she wants, or if she still wants to be a regular human being, he just decides he knows what’s best for her.
Bill is, basically, the embodiment of the patriarchy. He spends most of his time in the finale telling the women in his life what is good for them, and making them conform to his expectations of femininity. Jessica can’t develop a life of her own on her own terms. She needs to be taken care of — by Hoyt, the man who at one time joined an anti-vampire lynch mob, and by Andy, who will control the very house that Jessica lives in and the fortune she wasn’t allowed to inherit. Sookie needs to have a husband and baby, and to be a human, and to not have a relationship with Eric, someone who is entirely capable of protecting her if push came to shove. Bill decides she won’t be happy if Bill still walks around on this planet, and Bill decides that Sookie needs to kill him, because that’s what he feels is right.
So the night of Jessica’s wedding, he asks Sookie to end his life. She reaches out to Jason for his advice, and then later to Reverend Daniels, while driving a truck that has her extremely recently dead boyfriend’s name on it. Sookie is surrounded on all sides by men and the ghosts of men, all telling her what she should do, whether she asked for their advice or not.
In the end though, it’s her grandmother who had the best and most honest advice for Sookie. In a memory, we see a young Sookie say it will never be possible to find love because boy’s thoughts are so gross and she is so strange. But Adele has some stern life advice for her beloved granddaughter — there is nothing wrong with her, and that she can make any life she wants for herself. She just has to do it. Adele tells Sookie her life is in her own hands, and that she can find happiness just the way she is. Bill tells her that she can’t find happiness the way she is, and that she needs to rid herself of the thing that makes her the most unique — the very thing that draws Bill to her.
Sookie has Bill’s grave excavated for him, laying bare his civil war coffin for him to be reinterred in. Inside, Bill finds the photograph of him with his daughter, the photo we saw them take in one of his interminable flashbacks this season. There’s a genuine moment of heartbreak when he grasps the photo. He’s holding it when he climbs in and waits for Sookie to make her light ball. Niall told her that the light ball — the essence of a fairy — is made of all the good and warm memories Sookie has. That’s not referenced in this episode, but I was remembering how Niall told her to create the ball and how delighted Sookie was when she learned how to do it, and thinking how terrible it would be that she’d give away all her happiness to end Bill’s life. How terrible a fate that would be.
But in the end, it’s Adele’s advice that wins out. Sookie refuses to give up her light to kill Bill, but still agrees to help him commit suicide. She crawls into his coffin with a piece of broken shovel and weeps, heartbroken, as Bill helps her guide the stake into his heart.
And this is the worst moment of the entire episode.
When Sookie witnesses Godric’s death, she’s there out of kindness and empathy – she’s seeing something profound, but she’s not personally connected to him. Even having Sookie sit by Bill’s side while he passes is significantly different than actively asking her to kill him. The mood lighting, the music, the framing – I know the show wanted us to view this as bittersweet romance, two lovers who can never be saying a final good-bye, but seeing Sookie crawl down in that hole and have to stake her former lover is just cruel. It’s not romantic, it’s not poignant – it’s fucking mean. Bill is not incapable of ending his own life — he’s not incapacitated by any means at all. He might be suffering — and we are lead to believe he is — but he’s not unable to move, to walk out into sunlight or put a wooden bullet in his heart. He’s being selfish, and perhaps a little cowardly, but not heroic or self-sacrificing. Niall was right. Bill isn’t good enough for her.
And so we move forward 4 years, to a thanksgiving at Sookie’s house. The Bon Temps survivors are gathering for the dinner — Jason and Brigette and their children. Sam and Nicole and their kids. Alrene and Keith and her children. Andy and Holly. Adlyn and Wyatt. Lala and James. Lettie Mae and the Reverend. Jessica and Hoyt. Even Jane Bodehouse and the man identified in the credits as ‘Jane’s Vampire Date.’
And Sookie, heavily pregnant and married to a man (come on, you know she married this guy) whose face we don’t see but whose voice is so similar to Eric’s I thought that was going to be the final reveal.
And then there’s Led Zepplin, playing over the scene as we see them all toast each other, and the camera pulls away, to show them under the stars, happy, peaceful, and content.