Along with droves of my fellow rabid True Blood loyalists, otherwise known affectionately as "Trubies," I sat perched upon the edge of my seat last night awaiting the season finale. The past year has been a mind-bending thrill ride of adrenaline-filled episodes, each more brilliantly perverse and warped than the last.
As one of the highest-rated projects HBO has released in the past 10 years, the vampire series, created by Alan Ball and based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, has cemented itself as a revolutionary landmark in television history, capturing the hearts and imaginations of millions around the world with its raunchy, sexy, insanely creative spirit. Not since Blood Ties, Twin Peaks or the early days of X-Files have I, personally, been so completely addicted to a series that I even went so far as to make it a permanent date on my BlackBerry calendar.
I suppose this is why I could not help but feel a bit disappointed in the conclusion of the second season of True Blood. [Warning: Spoilers ahead.]
Perhaps, after weeks of anticipation, my expectations of just what level of depravity the show would hurl its characters into one last time before retreating into the shadows of winter were simply placed a bit too precariously high?
The episode began with much promise as it picked up at Sookie's Gran's house, where the psychotic maenad Maryann was preparing to wed the bull god Dionysus. The town was dancing about in goddess dresses, vines wrapped about their heads and eyes black as polished obsidian as they finished off the statue of meat in the front yard with a blessed ostrich egg smeared in blood. All of the pieces were in place for True Blood to go out in a dizzyingly maniacal fashion, the kind of fang-bared orgy way we have become accustomed to, even addicted to, for the past two years. However, after the first half of the show, when Maryann was gored by what she thought was her god come to ravage her in matrimonial bliss, but actually turned out to be the shape-shifter Sam Merlotte, the energy of the show began to fizzle.
Yes, I completely understand that there were more than a handful of loose ends that needed to be tied up before the season concluded, but it could have been done in a more gripping fashion, the style that True Blood has become renowned for. It was as if a massive, fierce warship were barreling across the ocean with sails at full mast only to suddenly turn into a Duck Adventures tour boat filled with tourists. The flavor became almost cloyingly sweet at times as the townsfolk attempted to settle back into a semblance of normalcy. While there was still a hint of death and destruction, there was simply not enough to really grip the audience and make them dream vampiric fever dreams during the long months between seasons two and three. Yes, yes, not everything can be pure insanity in Bon Temps; there must be a balance, yin and yang, stability and depravity, but this is True Blood we're speaking of. The natural order of the universe need not apply in this case.
I was simply expecting more. Sookie's supposed power over the maened is an excellent example of a fizzling resolution to an epic build. While we will, no doubt, see her abilities evolve next year as she discovers what she truly is, this season's finale, I believe, called for a far more impressive display from the character than was allotted. A small show of energy from her palms and the ability to knock over the sacrifice tree constructed by Maryann and her followers was simply not awe-inspiring enough.
All too quickly, Sookie seemed to simply get over the experience and return to her sunny disposition as a waitress at Merlotte's as if nothing had ever happened, as did Lafayette and other fellow townsfolk. While the concept of "I can't remember what happened because I was under Maryann's spell" was plausible in previous episodes, it has begun to feel a little too convenient, an easy way to wrap up loose ends in a nice pretty little package without having to further explore them.
My biggest complaint, however, is the lack of our beloved Eric Northman in this year's conclusion. The Sheriff was only seen in one small scene in which he played Yahtzee with Vampire Queen Sophie-Ann (does the Queen do anything but play that ridiculous game?), not nearly enough to sate the thirst of his throngs of fans. For months, Team Eric has been dreaming of what scandalous scenes would be in store for the devious idol of their worship, wondering if perhaps he and Sookie might end up together, if even for just a split second. Instead, he sat demurely in the Queen's sunroom, appearing a bit browbeaten and as subjugated as her mortal consorts rolling a can of red dice. Disappointing does not even begin to describe it.
While the season finale of True Blood was not a complete loss, it certainly did not live up to the exquisitely lofty expectations of its fans. Luckily, a third season has been secured, so perhaps the adrenaline-induced momentum we Trubies willingly were immersed in this year can once again build to outrageous heights in 2010. It is simply tragic that we could not have had one last blissful injection of V.