‘True Blood’ Finale: TV’s True Death Can’t Redeem HBO Drama (SPOILERS)

true blood final season

What a strange trip it was for “True Blood,” a series that began with enormous promise, began to drunkenly stagger as if it was imbibing something more mood-altering than blood, and finally lurched back toward a measure of sobriety in the home stretch of its seventh season. Still, Sunday’s series finale (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched) — despite some poignant moments — was simply too little, too late to redeem a show that frequently managed to feel absurd even for those who once happily believed in a world filled with vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, faeries and demons.

Before settling into a focus on wrapping things up where the program began — with the telepathic Sookie (Anna Paquin) and her seriously complicated relationship with vampire beau Bill (Stephen Moyer) — “True Blood” spent too much time throughout the season dealing with peripheral characters, occasionally killing one here or there, without yielding much of an emotional payday. Nor did it really make sense to elevate Anna Camp’s Sarah to become such a centerpiece of the plot, with her blood representing the salvation to a vampire plague.

Credit Brian Buckner and Scott Winant — who wrote and directed the finale, respectively — for deftly flipping “happily ever after” on its head, with Bill having chosen to die rather than condemn Sookie to a dead-end life with a vampire. The producers built to that in previous episodes with flashbacks about Bill, setting the stage for his noble sacrifice.

Coming back to them felt right, in a way the series hadn’t in quite some time. They always represented the show’s center, even with Sookie’s veritable smorgasbord of supernatural suitors along the way and Bill’s detour into something resembling vampire godhood.

That said, the closing coda was a bit too cheeky for its own good, with even Sookie’s brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) having rather improbably discovered the blessings of domesticity. And in terms of logic, it didn’t make much sense for Bill to so eagerly marry off his vampire progeny Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) to a human when they, too, would face much the same scenario he feared for Sookie.

At its core, the series always contained a clever metaphor for exploring wider issues, particularly gay acceptance, starting with vampires being free to come out of the coffin once synthetic blood became available. Even with that, though — and graceful touches, like noting the state wouldn’t recognize Sunday’s vampire-human marriage — the fact the show veered out of its lane, as it were, to stage a collision with conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz earlier this season only reinforced the sense subtlety was no longer part of the plan.

Author Charlaine Harris (who appeared near the end in a fleeting cameo) already ran afoul of some fans with her decision to end the book series, and the passion such projects engender virtually ensure that the 70-minute finale will unleash a gamut of emotions and reactions.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is except perhaps for the most loyal keepers of the “True” faith, it’s hard to say TV’s version of the true death came a moment too soon.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 44

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Cayla says:

    True blood its a cool show and everything but it’s really slow on the action and drama I hate where the vampire fangs where placed it makes the actors look like a chupacabra

  2. Tinpanannie says:

    I thought the show should have ended with the puddle of blood that was Bill. A completely perfect metaphor for the the show itself…..a bloody mess!

  3. Rod Allen says:

    By far the worst series finale in the history of HBO. I am totally shocked the producers allowed it air.

  4. megan says:

    I thought during the last show when Bill was “warm” and Sookie could “read” his thoughts maybe just maybe he was becoming human from the virus and would be able to make her happy. I am sucker for happy endings

  5. Saflower says:

    OH goog grief its a tv show that gave us groundbreaking stuff. Great effects..all kinds of supernatural blood sex etc. I watched every show. I see alot of these comments as superficial not seeing what it really was. Bill was a unhappy vampire. didnt want to b a vampire. There were more reasons for his death than Sookie. I got that right away. He STILL wanted to die knowing she was staying the way she was. It wasnt really all about her. I liked the happy wrapped up ending. Nice and sappy. Most all shoes end bad. It wasnt bad..I loved the Thank you finale song from Led Zepplin in the end. Its just a great tv show that has run its course. Its nothing personal..LOL. Groundbreaking stuff at that ..great job to them all. And the people that didnt like it are the ones that r going to comment and blah blah…goodbye trueblood. I had fun !!

  6. Jan says:

    The whole episode was bad to me. Either is was mind numbingly slow and boring or it was cheesy and cheap. I’m also ticked that they didn’t give Lafayette anything. After 7 years he should have gotten something.

  7. jmills616 says:

    Bill’s suicide was the real bummer of the final. It really made no sense from a logical perspective. Sookie could have chosen in vitro fertilization and/or adoption married Bill and lived happily ever after. He can drink her blood and stay in sunlight on an as need basis to play with the kids for instance. Then after Sookie dies he could choose to continue to look over and protect generations of Sookie’s offspring (or off himself as well). That would have much more satisfying then the direction they choose for an attempt at dramatic effect. No thanks. The storyline of “using her powers resulting in turning Bill human” was another idea I liked perhaps even with the assistance of her old fairy ancestor showing up at the last minute. We deserved a happy ending for ALL the primary characters.

  8. Big Daddy D says:

    We need more Pam/Eric, Arlene-after Terry killed himself, her storyline went to the wayside. What happened with her baby boy? Don’t care much about Sam and Andy…but the FABULOUS i see dead people Lafayette? I LOVE LOVE LOVE that fierce queen! More please, Mr. Ball!

  9. Ren Rose says:

    I like the idea Luke and others have for an alternate ending. Just read that and pretend last night didn’t happen. It was HORRIBLE! The absolute WORST series finale I have ever seen. I loved TRUE BLOOD and the books. If you haven’t watched the finale yet – save yourself – don’t. It seems they sent the B Team in to finish this show which in the beginning was oh so magical. The B Team said we’re not up to it and it kept get passed down the line until the Z Team said, “Yah, we’ll take a shot at finishing this up.”

  10. Jolene says:

    I was so disappointed with the finale. I was in love with this show a long time ago. I’m not sure what the writers were thinking but I think the last 2 seasons of this show really went downhill. I started to lose interest in the show. I had to watch the finale thinking maybe they would do True Blood some justice. Only I was extremely disappointed. I hate to say it but I’m glad True Blood is finished.

  11. Luke says:

    They missed a really good opportunity for a great moment here. Instead of Sookie backing out of using her power on Bill, she should have gone through with it. But instead of Bill dying it would have turned him back to a human. Thus both Sookie and Bill would have been fully human and able to live happily ever after. I could just see grandpa coming back as she became human and smiling and telling her that her sacrifice of giving up being a fairie was the ultimate expression of love and saved Bill from the curse of his vampirism.

    What a shame they didn’t do that.

    • iamtrue2bill says:

      I agree. That would have been a satisfying ending.

    • Bored says:

      From the moment Jessica remarked Bill was warm, I started suspecting that might happen. it was a huge relief when it didn’t. Why can’t a 200 years old character (300?) just realize life gets boring and end it? Just sucks it already happened in the show, so they could’ve simply let Bill melt into goo during the wedding.

  12. RJ says:

    HBO shows work when they do something that movies cannot.

    Around the time that Ball left and the show strayed from the books, it began to stretch 90 minute, bad horror movies into entire seasons of television.

    In the beginning everyone was intrigued by the parallel universe of Bon Temps and the relationships between the humans and non-humans. Rather than delving deeper into those relationships and taking a route that would have been more satisfying for the viewers that initially loved the show, we got entire seasons of: “We gotta save ’em!” (from some ridiculous, eye roll-inducing BS…)

    Sookie’s character devolved as did those of everyone else who had to scream in horror and/or make melodramatic speeches. By the end of the series, the viewers hadn’t really cared about the main characters in a long time (though everyone still loved Lafayette).

    The thing needed to be put out of its misery.

  13. kerzondax says:

    I love this series. However … this was the finale? I mean … this? It really had a “well we gotta write something” feel. The actors gave it their all (as they always have seemed to) but if you’re gonna kill Bill, let it be a noble act, not just noble passivity. (And I’d argue with the noble. Kinda childish I thought). And Eric couldn’t have take out those yakuza 3 episodes ago? Seriously?

    Well, at least we got Eric head bopping in the car and I’d sit through 70 minutes just to watch that again.

    I’m not a typical complainer about these sorts of things, but I thought the finale was poorly conceived.

    • Big Daddy D says:

      Eric+bopping to techno in a JDM ricer=top 10 season finale EPIC NESS! They need to do a Eric and Pam show

      • Bored says:

        NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE! THANK GOD! Eric and Pam only had 5 min in the finale so we’d happily watch a movie/show delving deeper into the feelings of the new vampire entrepreneurs. They could also get a fake business reality show (with Arlene as one of contestants!)

  14. LMR Hot Music Reviews says:

    An appropriate review. I, too, was disappointed by the downward spiral of the weekly episodes, and the faulty lackluster conclusion. The collaborative vaporized suicide was a cowardice way to back out of the writers responsibility to storytell with finesse. Too bad, because the actors deserved better. Now they look foolish for undertaking the risk of ploughing through the fields of horror/comedic imagination. Oh well, at least they can add the credit to their IMDB page. Better luck next time.

  15. Suzy says:

    The absurd thing to me was that in the first few seasons one of the biggest points of the Sookie-Vampire relationship was because the Vamps were the only ones that she could not hear their thoughts. So the writers finish with Sookie ending up with a human??? It come off as sloppy, lazy writing & a complete waste of a great actors and their characters. Ended with a loud terrible “thud”.

  16. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    Well, we knew it might be underwhelming, but we weren’t expecting it to be boring. True Blood deserved a much better send-off than it got on Sunday night. Click “view original” in the lower left to read the whole piece, which does make some pretty good points.

  17. Big Daddy D says:

    Another show with a less than stellar finale

  18. Big Daddy D says:

    Didn’t Alan Ball do Six Feet Under as wellwell? Another s

  19. Blake says:

    Here is the main problem with the finale: Bill’s entire reason for wanting the true death involves the idea that he wants Sookie to have a normal life where she can have kids and grow old with someone, clearly something he can’t provide. Then, as his supposed dying wish, he marries his quasi-daughter (creepy enough) to a human, setting up the same dynamic that he is trying to avoid with Sookie. Makes no sense.

    • iamtrue2bill says:

      Bill’s progeny, Jessica, is not fae, so she would not have the problem Sookie had…telepathy. Jessica is a modern, mainstreaming vampire who will be able to accommodate her human husband’s human lifestyle, and Hoyt does not want to have children. That’s why it will (might) work. The problem with Sookie is that being fae she is very attractive to vampires, and Bill knew she wanted a normal life with sunlight, children, and growing old normally, so she would have a better chance at that if she was human.

  20. E B says:

    I swear I’m the only person on the internet who was happy with the ending. Bill sucked and has sucked since day one. I was so glad that he died. People keep trying to make this weird connexion with how his suicide doesn’t support the LGBTQ message, but I don’t think it was meant to. He had lived his life. He was haunted with memories of his past and reminded every time he looked at Sookie that she would never get to really live, as he had prior to becoming a vampire, if she stayed with him. He was ready to go, and why is it so wrong that he wanted death (something he would have not gotten otherwise – inb4 murder? The writers weren’t going to give us a happy ending with Sookie and Bill or Sookie and Eric (and let’s face it, the show hasn’t been about Sookie for a very long time – thankfully), so they gave us happy endings with reunited friends in Hoyt and Jason, reunited lovers in Hoyt and Jessica, and new lovers in Bridget and Jason. Sarah got her comeuppance – good riddance – and in the process saved those who suffer from Hep-V. Pam and Eric were able to stay together, and if you honestly think they “sold out” with their infomercials, then you really don’t know Pam and Eric. Quite obviously it was tongue-in-cheek, especially when you see their infomercial quickly followed by a return to normalcy with Eric on the throne in Fangtasia, and Pam with her entrepreneurial endeavours in the basement. Neither of them was truly invested in the people of Bon Temps, so why should the finale feature them caring about anyone there? I would have liked to see more of them in the finale, but honestly with all the times that I thought Eric was going to die, I was happy enough to know that he lived. If you guys want a truly horrible finale, go watch Dexter.

    • iamtrue2bill says:

      I was not happy with the ending. However, I was satisfied that Bill, who has always been a vampire with more humanity than any others we met, decided to not be cured, and die to give Sookie, the woman he has loved since Season One, the life she deserves. She wanted children, sunlight, and normal aging, (as she eluded to when she said she dreamt of being on her porch at sundown, with her grandbabies gathered around her.) Bill, who fell in love with Sookie and always wanted her to have the life she deserved, a human one, sacrificed himself for her. He knew they would always come back to each other if they were both on this planet, so he chose the true death. He was never a happy vampire. He missed his human life and his human family. He wanted Sookie to lose her fae nature by using her BoL on him to kill him, making her human. She changed her mind at the last moment, so, out of love, she helped him die. That was the Shakespearean tragic ending for Bill, and it made Sookie choose to keep her fae nature, since it was her “truth”….who she is and is meant to be.

  21. The difference between Jessica and Hoyt and Sookie and Bill was children. Jessica is obviously not able to have children and Hoyt did not want them. He was happy just to have found Jess and vica versa. Sookie, however, did want children, to get married, live in her house and a regular life (in the daylight probably) and Bill wasn’t able to give that to her. He had the experience of having children and being married, and he wanted Sookie to experience that too.

    I actually liked the series ending. I think I must be the only one. I didn’t think it was necessary to show who Sookie married. Didn’t matter, she was living the life she wanted and Bill wanted her to have. I liked where all the side characters ended up besides maybe Arlene. I am disappointed Lafayette didn’t get a good speech on the last show.

    • E B says:

      Ah! We must have posted our comments at the same time. I’m glad to have found someone else who liked the ending! And thank you for pointing out what everyone clearly missed about Jessica and Hoyt vs. Sookie and Bill. Some people really don’t think things through.

  22. Christy says:

    oops i meant Days not Years sorry it wz late I miscalculated LOL Exactly 15.2 days of my life I can never get back

  23. Christy says:

    I am VERY disappointed, disillusioned, just out right disgusted with this finale. it was too soon, left us with too many unanswered questions, and as Lon said Atrocious! LIFE itself has too many unanswered questions, & We watch these shows for a short BREAK from life. They could’ve ended it with so many more different ways like – When Sookie could suddenly hear Bill’s thoughts, they discovered Lilith’s Blood when mixed with Sookie’s Fae blood & hep V Turned Bill Human & then- Cut to He and Sookie married and showing them ALL with the kids, Sookie with swaddled infant at Thanksgiving Dinner. Happily ever after would have been SO EASY INSTEAD of Bill CHOOSING the True Death considering the scope of imagination this show has indulged in. Also say AFTER Jessica and Hoyte married, Bill and Sookie could’ve married therefore Leaving His estate to SOOKIE rather than Andy? (This happens to many shows that get this Big and stars get offered parts with more $$ and they BETRAY the very Audiences and show that projects them into Stardom, Soap Opera Stars do it all the time.) Sookie ending up with an unknown unSEEN man is just RIDICULOUSLY Unacceptable, considering the MAJOR theme has been about HER LOVE Life!! Then Pam and Eric- Pam was SO out of her normal Character on the informercial-Eric doing an infomercial for new Blood yes, Pam no, and for some reason they seemed to have lost all the HUMAN depth that this series has spent Giving to them. In all probability I will NEVER watch anything with Alan Ball’s name on it again. Thanks SO much Alan for WASTING 7 Seasons of my life 1 episode per week for 7 week is 364 So OVER a YEAR of my life I can NEVER get back. Again Alan Thanks for RUINING a great show.

    • iamtrue2bill says:

      I completely understand your objections to the finale, but remember, Alan Ball left the show at the end of the 5th season. The last 2 seasons have been under showrunner Brian Buckner.

    • ljskdn cv says:

      totally agree. alan ball is an untalented jerk.

  24. fredmertz says:

    Disappointed. It seems to be a completely different series from the one I fell in love with years ago. I don’t know how you avoided the phrase “bloodless” in the review.

  25. I think #effyouhbo should be trending on Twitter. I hated this finale. #TeamBill

    • iamtrue2bill says:

      As a devoted Bill Compton fan, I was devastated at how his ending was written. There was no reason he had to die in order to fulfill Sookie’s wishes for a human life with kids, sunlight, and normal aging. He could have gone to the far corners of the earth, working for vampire rights, mainstreaming, etc. Even if he had to die, they could have shown a hint of happiness in his after lfe, such as being with his human family……As it was, his death could not have been more depressing, taking so much away from those of us who want to watch dvds in the future.

  26. Isabella says:

    I was very disappointed with the series finale; I was hoping for Eric and Sookie to be together at the end. The whole episode seemed rushed, to the extent that some of the main characters did not get a chance to have a part in it, for example, Lafayette, Sam,etc. If the reason for Bill’s death was to give Sookie a chance to live a normal life without vampires breathing on her neck because of their attraction to her fairy blood, as he mentioned in one of the last episodes to both Eric and Sookie, why then kill Bill? A lot of vampires survived including Eric, does that means that Eric even after Sookie got married with children going to be attracted and pursuing Sookie for as long as she is alive? What about the Bellefleur’s daughter she is part faerie too. Any ways, I liked the scene of Eric in the car listening to the music with the death assassins in the back seat; it was funny. If Sookie was not going to end up with either Bill or Eric, they should have kept Alcide alive since at least he was part human and would have married Sookie and have a family with her. Will miss the show, but the last season left me with more questions than answers same as Charlene Harris last book..

  27. DSykes says:

    Not a fan of how most of the show focused on Jessica/Hoyt – Sukie/Bill. I’m sort of glad they finally looked again at Eric&Pam at the end, but is was so rushed and completely lack luster.

    The series as a whole has been inconsistent, with me still wanting to forget season 2, and the series quickly turning from a good show to a ‘guilty pleasure’, ie. I still enjoyed the program for the most part, but accepted its foray into campy and inconsequential.

    I’m glad it was the last season of True Blood, just like Californication, it needed to end this season.

    • iamtrue2bill says:

      Eric hadn’t been in the running for Sookie’s affection for the last 3 seasons. Eric and Pam were so disappointing in the end. Both were making money off the sick vampires who were buying NewBlood to stay alive. Then they were making more money having vampires pay $100,000.00 to drink from chained Sarah Newlin. That was pretty disgusting. Eric on his “throne” in Fangtasia was so pathetic….more bored and disinterested than ever. Not a big Eric fan, but he surely deserved a better ending….so did Pam.

    • DSykes says:

      Sookie not Sukie, not sure why I wrote it that way…

  28. froggal12 says:

    Way to ruin everything with such a lame ass ending!

    • Lucky Lady says:

      One word sums up the ending: “Horrible”.

    • Lon says:


      An atrocious finale. They reward us for our seven years of viewership and patience by killing off Bill, and by having Sookie end up pregnant by some random guy who’s not even important enough to warrant showing us his face? They had a good ended set up when they revealed that Sookie could suddenly hear Bill’s thoughts. It might have been implausible to have Bill suddenly turn human courtesy of the mutated version of Hep V he got from Sookie, but I’d have taken that over killing him off. The character didn’t deserve that, and the viewers sure as hell didn’t.

      That’s not how you end a show, Alan Ball. By stubbornly refusing to give your audience what they want, and what the characters have worked for and deserve, you basically just dropped your pants and told your audience, who have stuck with you through thick and thin for the last seven years, to kiss your ass.

      Chalk this one up with the likes of Dexter, How I Met Your Mother and Wilfred as a once-good show completely ruined by it heinous final episode. Bill and Sookie deserved better than this.

      • cr says:

        Alan Ball left the show after S5. Who knows how he would have ended it. But considering that he had been showing Bill as not as nice as originally thought in the first few episodes of the series, I suspect it wouldn’t have involved the whitewashing of his past that Buckner did. And while Ball tended to go astray in storylines, I’d have hoped he wouldn’t have had spent this much time with Bill moping along, which was excruciatingly boring.

      • Big Daddy D says:

        The only thing at least relatively decent about the finale was that Sarah Newlin got what was owed her..a deserved fate at the hands of Pam and Eric.

More TV News from Variety