*Review contains spoilers*
I enter every new season of True Blood with this longing that the show I once feel in love with, would return. Back in seasons 1 through 3, True Blood was more focused, sure it had the crazy amount of sex and violence but it never created situations just to top itself. You believed in all the crazy antics. Scenes as ludicrous as, Bill being tortured by his maker only for him to end up on the buffet for a couple of vampire blood addicted werewolves, felt real and grounded. Back then, True Blood made an effort to ground its campy nature in reality but after season 4, the show became nothing but camp. Over three seasons True Blood has introduced plot lines that never concluded, had the main characters face life-threatening danger with never dying and told about 5 separate stories per season but you only really cared about two. The show became more concerned about delivering on the crazy that story and characters got neglected.
Yes, I still had the same issues with True Blood I normally do, but season 6 gained a notable benefit from having a 10 episode structure. No, it wasn’t because it meant less True Blood but it streamlined the show. Focusing on two to three story lines, instead of the usual five to six. It also showed that True Blood never needed 12 episodes. They already spent way too many episodes mourning over Terry. Can you imagine two more episodes being added to that?
The 10 episode structure also showed that True Blood has way too many characters. Characters don’t have story arcs, it’s just them reacting to crazy situations or new characters the show introduces every season. New characters that are never developed and old characters just keep mentioning how batshit crazy their lives have gotten, as a meta way to defend the disorder in the show. True Blood has a habit of making meta references of it shortcomings, as a way brushing its lack of logic under the carpet. It can be fun but at times, with some great dialogue but most of the time it comes across as ignorance. Direction over disorder is all I’m asking for.
The only character this season that had anything resembling a character arc was Alcide and that came with a weird change to the character. Alcide was always a nice guy right? So why was he giant Alpha dick bag when the season started. He helped Sam and Luna back in season 4 and now he was kicking Sam’s ass. He was with his girlfriend Rikki last season but at the beginning of this season was about to have sex with some random pack member. This was the guy, who back in season 4, abjured his late girlfriend Debbie Pelt because he thought she cheated. Regardless, Alcide’s story was boring and he just ended up back the way he was before the season started.
What about the rest of the characters? Well, Tara, besides having that sweet scene with her mother at the end of the season, had nothing to do. Jessica was given a lot to do this season but they were all terrible things. She is a character that I normally love but this season she did dumb things for dumb reasons. She regressed into the character we meet when Bill first turned her.
When characters on True Blood aren’t doing anything or doing terrible things they bounce from story to story with no clear sense of direction. Lafayette went from Sam’s story to Sookie’s story to Terry’s story. Jason went from Sookie’s story to Andy’s story to Jessica’s story to getting his own story with Violet. Oh I almost forgot, he ended up running back to the Warlow story he was at the beginning of the season. Jason as a character was all over the place. After the delusions about his parents and him hating vampires wore off, he found himself in new unexplored territory with Violet. Don’t mistake any of this for character growth because Jason has had delusions before (remember the bullet holes in the head) and how many times has he hated vampires now (seems to be every season).
Somewhere in the middle of all this was the blood soaked vampire story I was more interested in. Governor Burrell who was one of the two main villains this season, the other being Sarah Newlin, developed a scheme to poison the vamps with tainted True Blood. This plot could have been contained to the season, especially since Burrell died really early on, but it looks like Hep-V will continue to poison vampires into the next season. Plus, Sarah Newlin escaped with the help of Jesus. Overall, the vampire and human war brought the most satisfying moments of the season. Some of my favorite moments have to be Sarah’s, insanely fun, chase and murder of Suzuki, Bill’s day-walking killing spree at the Governor’s house and Eric’s bloody rampage in the prison.
Sure I had issues with their story too but when you’re enjoying the bulk of it, it’s easy to overlook some of the missteps. Missteps like, evil Bill at the end of the season 5 finale was traded in for prophetic Bill. Lilith’s presence all season was murky. Nora before dying from Hep-V, spent the beginning of the season exclaiming the Lilith was a monster and that she would kill her and that Warlow knew how but Warlow and Lilith never crossed paths and the whole thing was dropped at the end. The show tends to change its mind a lot. Warlow went from villain, to love interest and back to being evil. Two characters told Sookie, “You’re dead to me,” only to forget it two episodes later.
Still Bill and Eric were the strongest part of the season. Bill was a lot more stern. Trying hard to balance the line between good and evil. As was most of Eric’s stuff; from him going undercover as an animal rights nerd, turning Willa into a vampire, his previously mentioned rampage, and his hilarious bursting into fire in the middle of Swedish arctic after Warlow’s blood wore off. Oh yeah, he was nude when it happened.
I have to talk about Terry, there is no way I could avoid it. Especially when they dedicated episodes to him and gave us True Blood Origins: Terry. See, I love flashbacks, taking a peak at who a character was and how they arrived at the situation they are in now, is always fascinating. It only needs one thing to work, the character has to be alive. They teased at the beginning of the season that someone was going to die and it was Terry who won the jackpot. I have wanted True Blood to kill a main character for so damn long. Not because I’m a sick twisted individual but this is a show that constantly puts it’s characters in life-threatening danger but they never die. Sure Tara died but she got turned into a vampire, so the fear of never seeing her again wasn’t there. Too many times this show has given an out to save its characters. Also, after going through Terry’s death and his funeral (which felt like filler) I don’t want another character to die, if we have to go through episodes of unnecessary mourning. I could understand it if the character was important but Terry is the least important character on the show. He was expendable because his death affects characters like Andy and Arlene and I guess Sam, because Arlene bought his restaurant with the money Terry left behind, but that is where his ripple effect ends. After this show spared Lafayette’s life at the end of season 1 (he died at the end of the first book), the entire core cast was safe. Six years later, they kill one of the most expendable character on the show but spent the next three episodes mourning him, including the penultimate episode.
The penultimate episode only half worked for me and it was the Bill and Eric stuff. My main problem was that they juxtaposed the seriousness of Terry’s funeral with face stomping and dick ripping. It had drastic changes in tones and came out feeling like filler.
Lastly, Warlow. A character who went from being mysterious, to a love interest, then with a flip of a coin he was evil again. It set up a finale that I really liked, having a slew of characters team up to try to take him down. The finale also did something and addressed all it previous plot lines without leaving any open-ended. Jessica apologized to Andy, Jason took down Warlow, Sookie ended up with Alcide (something that has been teased for a while now), even Tara and her mom gained some closure. It also gave a nice time jump with enough change to freshen things for next season.
As True Blood slightly morphs into a zombie show, a change I don’t hate, it also heads into its final season. I don’t expect huge character growth or fun and campy story beats that we used to get in the early season but at least we can watch some bloody brutal fun play out. It will be the final season so playing it safe with “fan favorites” isn’t a requirement anymore. Right? I bag on this show a lot but it’s because I was passionately obsessed with this show, it pains me to be so negative about it but there is no way I can defend it anymore. I’m just glad that the cast and writers know they have a final season and can prepare accordingly.
Score: 6 southern accents out of 10