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Television Collision: True Blood Season 5 – A Rant to Wrap It Up

Written by: Phoebe Raven, CC2K Staff Writer

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not seen the Season 5 finale of True Blood, do not read on!
Also: WARNING! EXPLICIT LANGUAGE! CC2K TV Editor Phoebe Raven could not contain her rage, so if you are sensitive, do not read on!

Right off the bat I want to confess something: I do not want to write this review. Every bone in my body is telling me to step away from the keyboard and not spill another word about the heartless, soulless beast that is True Blood. But I know you want me to write it, so I am going to do it, even though this season of True Blood was so filled with “UGH” that I am not sure I can even get through it. Here’s my attempt.

Somewhere during this fifth season of True Blood, my only comment whenever someone would ask me about the show would be a quote from Jason Stackhouse: “Fucking fairies!” That about sums up my attitude towards HBO’s vampire offering. I believe Jason uttered these words after waking up naked in his apartment after a wild night at the Fairy Moulin Rouge. And in his quote you could substitute any of the other creatures populating True Blood’s increasingly lifeless (pun intended) world and still wind up with pretty much the same sentiment, although the fairies have to be the lamest of the supernatural creatures by far.

I’m not even going to attempt to recap any of the “events” that took place this season, because to call what happened in this Season 5 a “plot” would be an affront to any other plot ever devised on television. When True Blood tried being truly evil this season, it just made me laugh. For more than five or six episodes I seriously thought Bill was putting on an act; I never, not for one second, took Bill seriously as a threat, a lunatic, a leader or a vampire chancellor. I call this a fundamental flaw of the season because I also always thought Eric was putting on an act, and I was right. There is such an essential sense of character about Eric (and Alexander Skarsgaard’s performance of him) that there is simply no mistaking what Eric’s motives are. Bill, on the other hand, has never stood for anything. He’s a flip flopper of the worst kind and so Evil Bill made me laugh, which I don’t think was the intention.

When True Blood tried to be complex this season, it made me lose track of all the different story lines that never truly converged. The season finale tried to make us believe these story lines converged, but in actuality no one knows anything about what the other one is doing and Alcide and his pack had pretty much nothing to do with any of the other events, while Sam spent an awful lot of time as a fly and even while infiltrating the vampire compound stayed oddly at the sidelines of the real action. Nothing converged into anything that made any sense on this season of True Blood.

The show has always been overt with its social and ideological symbolism. I for one didn’t mind one bit that the vamps were just as outrageously bat-shit religiously crazy as any humans ever were. Vampires the pinnacle of evolution, joke of the century! They are just as flawed as any other creature on the planet, they are just too narcissistic to see it. Wait, wasn’t that a flaw Bill accused Salome of (who, btw, was a sad excuse of a myth reborn)? So I didn’t mind the religious nut-baggery per se, but I had heard enough of the crazy Lilith talk after about two episodes and yet they kept rambling on. And just how long does one vile of blood last anyway if they all kept drinking from it, even if it was just drops?

So the vampires revealed themselves as being just as pathetic as any other creature this season (with the exception of Eric, who remains truly awesome, because he has principles). And yet, the vampires did not manage, try as they might, to be as pathetic as the fairies. Fucking fairies! It’s fairies like the ones in True Blood that give fairies a bad name and I am outraged on behalf of all the bad-ass, cool, hard-working real fairies out there! In case you ever want to get a picture of what can be done with a little bit of imagination when it comes to fairies, or the fae (let’s be politically correct here), please read Patricia Briggs’ “Mercy Thompson” book series, or Seanan McGuire’s “October Day” book series. Now those fae and faeries can kick some serious ass and won’t inquire about Kesha and willy-nilly walk into the hands of a 3,000 year-old vampire. Fucking fairies!
As a viewer I was offended at the portrayal of the Fairy Queen/Elder. I was literally offended. I wanted my money back. I wanted to hand the makers of True Blood the Razzie Award of the TV season. I wanted to smack someone in the face, repeatedly.
Sure, I loved seeing Eric getting his revenge on Russell Edgington (great move, more on that later), but in the meantime did the fairies have to come off as such nitwits, such utter esoteric nincompoops, such naïve scatterbrains that it is a miracle they didn’t die of their own lameness eons ago? Fucking fairies!

The pinnacle of lameness had to be Sookie this season. I get it, she’s been on a rollercoaster pretty much nonstop, so the girl is entitled to feel a little sorry for herself, but I was very disappointed that as soon as she kicks the men, i.e. Bill and Eric, out of her life, there is pretty much nothing left of her or her personality. Scenes with Sookie made me groan this season and what little respect I had for her for staking the occasional vamp, staring down Eric more than once, and disposing of Debbie’s body after shooting her – I lost all of that respect when Sookie started getting sucked into the fairy business big time. Fucking fairies!

Where I have to give at least some credit to the final episode of this season is that it did not hold back on the bloodshed. Vamps were exploding left and right. Sadly though, almost none of these scenes made me go “Oh, COOOOOL!” the way the showrunners surely intended me to. None of this gruesome payoff was earned, so I withheld payment. Where the demise of Russell Edgington was deceptively simple and therefore impactful, most of the other deaths of the chancellors, security vamps etc. were too much stunt and too little emotional consequence. And why does poor Jason Stackhouse always have to be the class clown when finally this season showed some emotional growth on his part? Why does he have to get hit by fucking fairy whammies and start seeing ghosts and go all Ghostbusters on us? You know who I blame? That’s right, fucking fairies (well, the Fairy Queen to be precise and her horrible aim, some Queen she was!).

Yes, it was gutsy to kill off Russell Edgington, one of the show’s most entertaining characters ever, in the cold open of the finale. That was a genuinely good move and smart plotting, but the finale petered out from there. It featured a lot of running from point A to point B, a lot of shifting into flies and way too much fairy birthing antics (fucking fairies!). I would have preferred a finale more in the style of Ocean’s Eleven, in which Sookie and Eric hatch a plan to infiltrate the Vampire Authority Complex and for this cause assemble all their allies in an intricate, intelligent manner. Sookie gets the wolves on board, because they want to get puppy Emma out of prison. Naturally Sam and Luna are gung-ho about it too and can provide useful skills in being the scouts that go in first and open the doors from the inside. Jason leads the infantry of Tara, Pam and Jessica, who clear the way for Eric, Sookie and Nora to take care of business, while the wolves provide them with useful cover on their flanks and draw some attention outside the complex (this is called a diversion). Now THAT would have been a cool convergence of storylines.

This fifth season of True Blood more than any other made me identify with Lafayette, who basically checked out of all the mental going-ons and put a smile on his face and made margaritas for everyone. He was sassier and snappier than ever, especially when approached about any supernatural business, his standard response being “Clean up your own mess, bitches!” That’s how I felt. I wanted to check out of True Blood too. It was too much, none of it made any sense and it made my head hurt trying to remember everything that was happening. I would have loved to have joined Lafayette in his consumption of drugs and alcohol just to forget about the mess that is Bon Temps and True Blood.

Some slight shimmers of hope and potential were still there, in the details and the neglected moments, but True Blood has never been good at grasping what it is good at and running with it. Instead the show keeps making the wrong choice and focuses on exactly those things that are least interesting. A full-on war between humans and supernaturals could be a lot of fun next season, but it won’t be, because this is True Blood. There will be a whole lot of rambling on about how to save Bill, now that he is Lilith incarnate (I wonder if he has inherited her glorious bush), and a whole lot of tip-toeing around a rekindling of the Erik-Sookie love/hate relationship and Pam and Tara will be there to provide quips to all this mysery.

I remember a point in time where I defended True Blood against those who waved it off as “just another show about vampires”. I no longer defend True Blood, even though it is no longer about vampires, but about every single creature ever dreamed up anywhere on Earth.
I really don’t know what to do with True Blood anymore. I don’t think I even have the energy left to hate it. It’s such a jumbled mess of strings that never went anywhere that I am inclined to just drop the tangled ball of yarn it has created and walk away. And while I do, I will be cursing under my breath: “Fucking fairies.”