True Blood – Love is to Die Review
"A Strong Lead-In for the Finale"
About halfway through "Love is to Die" I had to double check and makes sure it was the penultimate episode of True Blood
's seventh season rather than the actual series finale, as so many of the show's storylines appeared to be wrapping up in nice little bows. But, as it turns out, this was actually the show's second to last episode, which means it is quite possible that a number of the show's more interesting and vibrant characters will have little or nothing to do with next week's finale (I'm envisioning a final scene at Bellefleur's with all the characters eating and drinking for the show's final moment, so that we get to see Arlene, Andy, and the rest of the supporting cast one final time).
As a penultimate episode, "Love is to Die" does the trick quite well. By wrapping up a number of the less prominent stories and characters, it leaves the show to focus on its three major stars with its final hour (four, really, if you count Pam), as Bill, Sookie, and Eric remain the only characters lacking any true resolution. I still have my doubts that the show is willing to kill Bill and fully expect some sort of deus ex machina that will save him, but I am truly impressed with the writer's handling of Bill's choice to die.
While I'm not sure if it is intentional or not, having Bill make the choice to die while believing it is a selfless action to protect Sookie is brilliant- but only if he goes through with it. Bill believing he's making a selfless gesture, which, in actuality, is one of the more unbelievably selfish actions he could take truly sums up Bill's character in a nutshell. Does Bill have every right to decide he wants to die? Sure. But couching it as a heroic gesture to spare Sookie the pain of loving him? That's so absolutely selfish that I'm amazed the writers were willing to once again paint their romantic hero with such a narcissistic brush as to make this his apparent final action. If this was intentional on their parts, kudos. If this was meant to make Bill appear even more romantic, they've once again missed the boat on the Sookie-Bill romance.
The one story point that didn't work within the episode was the Yakuza storyline becoming the final act of the True Blood
story. The search for a Hep V cure was a decently interesting story. And finding out that Sarah Newlin was the living cure was a nice twist. But the constant presence of an apparently all-powerful Japanese assassin squad (who is so powerful they never once appeared on the series to this point, despite having a long history with Pam and Eric) has been a drag on the season. Making their demise (or, at least, their hunting down of Sookie) the final act of the series is disappointing. Part of me wishes that the Yakuza and Eric just made a deal to be in business together with New Blood, and Bill explained his selfish choice to Sookie, died, and the series ended. I almost don't even want the final episode.
After all, nearly everyone left alive at this point in the series has achieved some form of a happy ending. Even Ginger got what she had always wanted. Arlene is happy, Lafayette is in love, Sam escaped to the safe land of Chicago (although, as someone who lives in Chicago, I can't imagine it's much safer here in the True Blood
universe than in Bon Temps, but to each his own), Jason FINALLY realized he didn't need to sleep with a woman to be happy, and Hoyt and Jessica are reunited (although this happy ending is a bit murky to me, considering all Jessica and Jason did to Hoyt and how awful Hoyt has been to Bridgette throughout these last few episodes). These happy endings were, on the whole, earned by the characters, and I'm willing to sign off on them as strong choices on the part of the series. And I admire the writers taking the initiative to end several storylines before the finale, leaving time within the last episode to give Sookie the ending she deserves.
With only one more hour left in the series, my hope is that Bill really does die (again, not out of spite, but this is really the only actual way to redeem a character who has fluctuated so far into darkness- simply addressing his horrible actions with lip service doesn't atone for all he has done) and that Sookie begins to put the pieces of her life back together without the influence of supernatural beings of any kind in her life. It would be the best possible situation: having Sookie come through the fog and mist of the series stronger and secure in her own abilities. I'm holding out hope the series will agree.
-- I know there was a contingent of fans worrying the series would co-opt the ending of Charlaine Harris's book series. But it appears we won't be getting that ending after all, which, in the grand scheme of things, looks to be a good choice.
-- I find Bridgette to be a pretty annoying character, but Hoyt has been a complete jerk to her. Sure, the show wants us to believe Jessica and Hoyt were the end game all along, but their reunion just underscored how little Jessica appears to have grown over the years (which, is truly unfortunate) and how stupid Hoyt can be. But, the two do have great chemistry, so I'm not too angry.