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Was “Thank You” a perfect finale? No, it wasn’t. But was it the best we could have hoped for in light of the current state of True Blood? Most definitely. In the hour and five minute finale, we were given the last moments of Bill, along with surprisingly happy endings for pretty much every single other character currently left alive or undead (save for good old Sarah Newlin). “Thank You” was a bit of a love letter to fans (especially fans who had jumped from the Team Bill bandwagon that the show’s writers still seemed to be clinging to until the show’s final moments), and while I normally scoff at finales that cater to fan wishes over story necessities, for a show like True Blood, this approach worked rather well.
The main plot point within the episode was the impending death of Bill. Still retaining his mantle as one of the more selfish characters on television, Bill had the gall to ask Sookie to kill him. But staking him wasn’t quite enough in his mind. Instead, he asked her to use the last of her faery power to kill him. He claimed it was to prevent a line of vampires from showing up and trying to make her theirs, but it screamed of Bill trying to control Sookie one final time. The less cynical side of me sees Bill’s point, that Sookie will remain a target so long as she has Fae in her, but it was an incredibly selfish request- and one that Sookie (finally thinking for herself) refused.
The actual death of Bill was full of unnecessary fits and starts (had the show simply allowed the action to occur without so much ridiculous fanfare, the episode could have easily shaved five minutes from its running time), but I was impressed the writers had the guts to actually go through with it. I kept waiting for a last minute reprieve- anything from Eric riding up on his white horse to force Bill to drink Sarah’s blood to Sookie making the revelation that Hep V had indeed turned Bill human. But, when Bill’s true death arrived, I felt content. The show should have killed Bill back during the season of Billith, but I was happy to see him leave Sookie to live her life without his constant presence.
As much as Bill had grated on me as a character, I have to admit the scenes between Bill and Jessica have consistently been some of the show’s best. I’m sure a large part of this has been due to Deborah Ann Woll’s continually excellent work as Jessica, but the Bill-Jessica father/daughter relationship has always been a high point on the series. We were treated to some more lovely moments in “Thank You,” with Jessica’s wedding to Hoyt (a moment, that while lovely, also felt rushed, especially with the whole Hoyt memory wiping history more or less brushed under the rug and glossed over to make the moment resonate). In his moments with Jessica, Bill seems the most like the kind gentleman from the show’s early years and less like the overbearing man of the recent seasons. Seeing Bill truly happy and unburdened was a lovely change.
I was a bit disappointed that Eric was swept aside for Bill’s great last adventure, but I can forgive the writers considering how they allowed Pam a final chance to shine. Pam’s scenes with Sarah were excellent vintage Pam moments. While Pam will never be as devious as Eric, she has certainly come a long way. I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with Sarah Newlin being forced to suffer for the rest of her life, but I can live with the decision. While Eric appears to be rather sullen and bored in his final scene at Fangtasia, it made me smile to see that Pam was finally enjoying life in a way she hasn’t in decades. While the residents of Bon Temps are all paired off and happy in the final moments of the series, Pam is living her own dream and making someone who hurt and killed so many suffer for her sins. A fitting end for both Sarah and Pam.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t briefly touch on the happy ending the show offered. Seeing that, five years after Bill’s death, everyone in Bon Temps is happy, healthy, and enjoying themselves is particularly nice. I have a bit of a hard time believing things are as sunny as they appear, since Bon Temps is pretty much a magnet for danger, but seeing Layfayette and Sookie smiling and relaxed it great. As for the mysterious gentleman Sookie is now married to? I’m fine with that as well- and particularly glad we don’t ever see his face. True Blood was a show built of the allure of the supernatural, but I’m perfectly happy assuming that Sookie finally had her fill of that life and is now happily embracing humanity.
— Scott Winant, the episode’s director, had a bit of a heavy hand in the gratuitous use of close-ups. Someone needs to let him know using a two-shot or even a wide group shot isn’t going to kill him. I was getting dizzy during the Jessica-Hoyt wedding with the amount of close-up jumping going on.
— The return of Steve Newlin (and, to a lesser extent, Sarah) was one of the best choices the show made in this final season. Bringing back fan favorite characters (especially from beyond the grave) can easily become a state of diminishing returns, but the use of both Steve and Sarah was perfect.
— True Blood was, at its best, a soapy fun exercise in supernatural television. At its worst, it was a complete hot mess of a train wreck. I’m just happy that the show steered more toward soapy and fun for the seventh season and only had a few train wreck moments.