‘True Blood’ Season 6 Finale Recap: Shrinkage

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No TV show says summer to us more than True Blood, its Southern Gothic atmosphere and pulpy pleasures providing the perfect complement to sweaty evenings spent drinking mint juleps at home after another exhausting day in the hot sun. The show alternately drives us crazy and enthralls us, and this season is proving no different — silliness abounds, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. This week: an unsatisfying end to a truncated season.

So, farewell for another season, True Blood. As our ever-pleasant comment section kindly reminded us last week, this is indeed an abridged season of True Blood (because of Anna Paquin’s pregnancy.) That means that this tenth episode was the grand finale, and it left us with one, ahem, burning question: did Alexander Skarsgard just go on strike, or what?

If naked Eric’s curious sunbathing death was for real (assuming Pam doesn’t somehow appear out of nowhere at the last minute to save him), it seems like a contender for the all-time biggest waste of a TV character ever, even if it did mean the world got to see his dick before he goes. (And, um, it was cold up there on the mountain, presumably.) It was only one of several bewildering moments from a strange and disjointed episode — the first half of the episode was dedicated to tying up various loose ends in a rather cursory manner, while the second leapt forward six months to quickly set things up for the next season.

It wasn’t entirely successful in doing either of these things, to be honest. The episode started with a bunch of vampires who have just been freed from captivity, and who can suddenly walk in the sunlight, descending on Bon Temps while off their collective rockers on fairy blood. So what happens? Naked vampire orgy? Yes! Lots of giggling and general merrymaking? Yes! Vampires playing… um, volleyball? Er, well, yes, that too.

Of course, things can’t be good for too long. The drama in this episode, such as it was, revolved around the fact that Warlow didn’t take kindly too Sookie’s sudden reluctance to become his fairy vampire bride, and — just like every single one of Sookie’s other love interests — turned out to be an abusive bastard after all. It was up to the suddenly Nice Again Bill Compton to save the day, rescuing her from Warlow before the latter can turn her into a vampire.

Bill is no longer Billith, y’see, and now he’s in love with Sookie again — which is a kinda lame plot device, because it suggests it was Lillith’s nasty blood that was making him do all those nasty things, not the fact that he’s kind of a dick deep down. Happily, not even Sookie is buying this entirely: “Even at your best,” she tells him, “I could never really trust you.”

Even lamer, however, was Rutger Hauer’s largely and thankfully forgotten fairy godfather character emerging deus ex machina to put paid to Warlow once and for all. It appears that the ancient fairy vampire’s death magically means that his blood is no longer effective, which means that none of the vampires who’ve drunk it can gallivant in the sunshine any more. This had particularly dire consequences for one Eric Northman, sunbathing nekkid on a Swedish mountaintop. Is he really gone? Say it ain’t so!

With Warlow dispatched, the episode leapt forward six months to quickly set things up for next season. In summary: Bill is no longer Billith, but seems to have filled the existential void by becoming a best-selling author. Sookie is dating Alcide, who no doubt will turn out at some point in season seven to be an utter bastard. Jason appears to be a cunnilingus slave, which… well, it could be worse, really. Sam is now magically mayor of Bon Temps.

And the Hep V virus, which earlier in the season seemed to just kill vampires in a pretty effective and gruesome manner, has now apparently metamorphosed into a sort of vampiric equivalent of the Rage virus from 28 Days Later, transforming those it infects into shambling bloodthirsty monsters who stumble from town to town in search of food. That’s right, folks — it seems that season seven of True Blood will be a zombie movie.

A seemingly disproportionate part of the episode is given over to newly christened mayor Sam’s plan to save Bon Temps from the zombie Hep V vampire hordes — pairing up everyone in town in a “monogamous feeding relationship” with a healthy vampire. This goes down like a sack of shit with the town in general, predictably enough, although Tara’s mother embraces the concept heartily, offering herself to her daughter with disconcerting gusto. (Prediction: it turns out she’s infected with Hep V. We shall see.) In any case, it appears the town will have to work out their differences pretty quickly, because the episode concludes with a bunch of hungry-looking infectees preparing to descend on its innocent inhabitants. Oooh, the drama!

Honestly, “anticlimactic” doesn’t really begin to do justice to the whole thing. It’s hard to believe that the creators wont’t find a way to bring Eric back, but either way, his “death” goes down as either one of the silliest TV deaths ever or one of the most contrived TV cliffhangers ever. (Or both.) After a season with some of the best episodes that we’ve seen on this show, the finale was weak and saccharine in the extreme. But, shit, this show always seems to find some way to pull it out of the fire. As it were. Until next year…