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True Blood: Beyond Here Lies Nothin'

Maryann: "Come on. It'll be our little secret. What are you?"
Sookie: "I'm a waitress. What the fuck are you?"

Wildly weird. Or maybe weirdly wild. The season roared to a finish halfway through the episode... and then it sort of fizzled out as they spent way too much time prepping us for season three, creating something of an anticlimax. I feel cheated.

Okay, I was happy with a lot of it. The Maryann plotline hasn't held me like the Fellowship stuff, but the ending was certainly satisfying and fun to watch. I loved Sam's extraordinary heroism and sacrifice, and his secret alliance with Bill that saved the day. Night. Whatever.

The wedding/sacrifice scenes culminating in Maryann's death by bull were visually striking and so full of over-the-top symbolism that I almost don't know where to start. Licking the egg was just nuts. (So glad it was just an ostrich egg and nothing more wildly fantastic and unbelievable.) The phallic, bloody sacrificial knife. The horn piercing Maryann's wedding dress. In the end, before collapsing in a mess of black goo, Maryann was somewhat pathetic – an ancient bride longing for her god who will never, ever come.

Tara said it didn't feel like it was over. I hope it is, though. I've had enough. Maybe Tara was referring to poor Eggs, who just committed suicide by cop. Except it was suicide by Jason. (It was good of Andy to cover for Jason the way he did.)

Was Sookie remarkably strong all of a sudden with the purple electric hands and all? And how about that little off-hand comment about Sookie's blood being addictive, too? After the revelation about Eric's blood, I had wondered if Sookie actually does love Bill. Now I'm wondering if Bill actually loves Sookie? (Since Eric hasn't tasted Sookie, he may be the only one who is truly in touch with his feelings.)

Bill proposing after all that strange pseudo-wedding hoohah was odd timing and just didn't work for me. Or Sookie, for that matter. Why wasn't Sookie thrilled out of her mind? Why did she go into the bathroom and burst into tears? Is her fascination with Bill waning? (Please please please?) Bill was kidnapped by someone using a silver chain (and wearing gloves, pointing at someone undead.) I'm betting on Lorena, of course; lots of set-up for that. Although it could have been Eric, who told the Queen he'd "take care" of Bill.

Speaking of Eric... as the episode wound to a close, I was glancing at the clock and getting frustrated and muttering to myself. As hilarious as I found the very idea of Eric forced to play five million Yahtzee, I couldn't believe that they set up all that stuff with Eric and the Queen and didn't follow through. I'm not just all about the love triangle, honestly. I'm interested in Sookie's powers. I want to know about Sam's family. I'm deeply into Jessica and Hoyt's star-crossed mother-trumping romance. But if they come back in season three and don't do something major with Eric's obsession with Sookie, I'm going to implode.

I was outright sad to see Jessica go off the rails, especially after she and Bill finally connected in such a sweet way. If only she had waited a bit longer until Hoyt showed up with the flowers. Although Hoyt needs more than a girlfriend. He needs to find himself first, not Jessica. For that matter, so does Jessica.

Bits and pieces:

-- I thought Sam needed to see an animal in order to imprint on it? I suppose showing him going to some field and looking at a bull would have given the ending away. For that matter, I kept thinking Maryann would decide to sacrifice Sookie instead of the harder-to-find Sam. But no.

-- Maryann's statue represented the birth of her god. Apparently, the titans ripped her god to shreds, leaving only his heart. It makes the hearts sort of make... well, no, it doesn't make sense, it's crazy, but okay.

-- Andy got his badge back. He deserved it.

-- The Queen is supplying the blood Lafayette is selling. Is it her own blood? Why would she do that?

-- Whatever Sookie is, Jason isn't. He wasn't able to resist Maryann.

-- Terry's "warning" tee shirt was great.

-- Crazy Jane Bodehouse got her finger sewn back on. That's improbable, but okay.

-- Vampire-human marriage is only legal in Vermont.

-- I think the Queen really digs Eric. Alexander Skarsgard and Evan Rachel Wood are apparently a real-life item now. There must be something in the water on that set.

-- Charlaine Harris cameo in the bar. Very nice. Charlaine, I hope you're making a ton of cash right now. You deserve it.

-- Sam's real parents are Melinda and Joe Lee Mickens, Magnolia, Ark. I'm sure we'll be meeting them next season.

Quotes:

Queen: "I gave William Compton a few bits of hand-me-down folklore we've accumulated over the centuries, but who knows if it's gospel or gorilla shit."

Jason: "Hasta la vista, baby. I love the smell of nail polish in the morning."

Sookie: "Okay, what is with the egg? Did you lay it?"

Bud: "You might have your faults, Andy. But at least you got pants on."

Sookie: "How long before sunrise?"
Bill: "Forty-one minutes."
Sookie: "Hold me for forty?"
That was sweet. It probably would have made a good ending.

Andy: "In my book, if no one thinks we're heroes, it don't count."
Jason: "Of course it counts. It's like, if a tree falls in the woods, it's still a tree, ain't it?"

Mrs. Merlotte: "We never thought we'd see you again."
Sam: "Never say never when there's the internet."

I may not have been completely satisfied, but True Blood has been the best thing on television this summer. I can't wait for next June. I'd say three out of four stakes. Not perfect, but there have been worse finales,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

21 comments:

  1. Now, something I don't understand: if Maryanne was so into Sam as a sacrifice to her god because he's a shapeshifter, why didn't she sacrifice Daphne, who was also a shifter and would be more willing to be a gift to the god?

    I've been tremendously dissatisfied with this season, especially since it started so well.

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  2. We need to start a section for just Jason dumb quotes. My favorite from last night: "if a tree falls in the woods and no ones there, it's still a tree ain't it?"

    :-)

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  3. Gustavo,she mentioned in the episode about young Sam turning up at her house,"the naked virgin drawn to the statue of her god",therefore she concluded he was her chosen vessel. That is why she was obsessed with him.

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  4. Thanks, Anonymous, I think I missed that. It still isn't good enough reason to me, though. I've been really disappointed with the few episodes, as I expected much more. It felt like they were prepping the ground for season three much more than they were wrapping up this storyline, they are making business out of building antecipation, but not delivering it. And you know what show started doing this and was forgiven at first, but later has done it so much people have grown sick of it? HEROES. It is all about a major cliffhanger to make sure we watch next episode/season in both shows.

    And what about the "major death" they promised us for the finale? Was it Eggs? I don't think his death was major. It was even unnecessary, just an excuse for another plot line in which Tara will be in a romantic relationship doomed to fail as usual.

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  5. Took me a while to get into True Blood but I’m glad I did. This past season has been fantastic, a major leap forward from the uneven first season. That said, I did find this finale somewhat underwhelming.

    The Maryanne plot was wrapped up too quickly, leaving us killing time before the inevitable cliff-hanger ending. The last half felt more like an extended prologue for next season, most of which left me feeling indifferent and frustrated; a single Eric scene (FTW?). No Pam, again! Not enough screen time for Arleen’s kids (they’re adorable).

    Tara is one of my least favourite characters so I didn’t care that scrambled Eggs was killed. Nor was I bothered about Bill proposing to Sookie before being abducted. I’ve never really been invested in Bill and Sookie or even Eric and Sookie. Rooting for Jessica and Hoyt, though.

    Despite my disappointments this wasn’t enough to put me off the show and I’ll be back next year. Keep up the great reviews, Billie.

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  6. I think the major death stuff was ment to make us believe Sam would die. Of course he didn't so to not sounds like liars they killed Eggs. :)

    And besides http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NeverTrustATrailer is always true.

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  7. Just caught up with the series in time for the finale. I thought season two was an improvement on season one, but for me, it seemed to run out of steam three episodes before the end. I agree completely that the Fellowship plotline pipped the Maryann one. Once they'd wrapped up the Fellowship stuff the show lost some of its oomph!

    But a tasty teaser for season three. The show still has legs, that's for sure.

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  8. Thanks Billie, you made me think with this, and see a few details. I was uttering all kind of words against the writers, that I feel keep fixed in St. Bill the Vampire. I still am, but I am also considering the ep and looking at other things, like the hints in the Queen's conversation with Eric.

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  9. Good review, Billie. I enjoy watch an episode and then reading your reviews to see what I was missing and what I got too.
    Although I don´t concur with you in some parts. I liked the whole Maryann plot a lot. Perhaps because of the wonderful Michelle Forbes. She was creepy, childish and sexy at the same time.
    And I love the way the writers are telling the story. They are not clinging to the normal structure of a season, so that´s a new and fresh approach which worked for me. It feels more than "real life" that way.

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  10. "Since Eric hasn't tasted Sookie, he may be the only one who is truly in touch with his feelings."

    Billie, Billie, Billie. What's with the obsession with Eric? Bill may be boring but he's a lot better for Sookie than Eric and I'm pretty certain that he does love her.

    Remember Tara's speech to Willow about Quasimodo (I believe) in Buffy? That speech summarizes Eric as well as Spike perfectly.

    Even though we disagree, love your reviews!

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  11. I probably should have added that I love Michelle Forbes (she killed in Battlestar) and she did a marvelous job with the character. I think the pacing of the plotline and the repetitive orgies made it less effective.

    And I'll add that I don't dislike Bill. I just like blond bad boy vamps a lot more.

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  12. Nice review. As a HUGE Spike fan I actually like Bill more than Eric. However, never got into the shipping wars that happened during Buffy or Lost and I don't get into it on True Blood. Especially when the characters are so different. You know, different strokes for different folks. But I digress. Just wanted to add though that I think the Queen's comment on Sookie's blood wasn't to be taken literally. I believe she was being sarcastic. I think she knows telepaths taste different - remember what Lorena said about Barry the bellboy. You must remember everything she says is to be taken with a grain of salt. The line was delivered offhandedly. When I heard it I instantly thought about a guy saying to a girl – don’t fall in love with me if we sleep together. Also, if she was so sure that Sookie’s blood would cause someone to fall in love with her why was she so shocked/disgusted by the fact that Bill was monogamous with her and that he was indeed in love with her? Also, Alan Ball confirmed that the love between Sookie and Bill is indeed authentic and real. Having said this I don’t believe Sookie being in love with Bill prevents her from being attracted to Eric. Very interested to see how this plays out next year and how Jessica and Bill’s relationship continues to grow. My favorite part of the show are the maker/children relationships.

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  13. I did love that Jason quote :-) But sadly there was not much else to love in this ep. TBH I thought they were going to keep the second half exciting by jumping straight into the central story of season 3, but actually, after watching I did realise that showing a period of convalescence for Bon Temps was necessary after the constant crazy maenad stuff. Shame it was so unexciting to watch. As for Eggs - oh well. As a fan of the books (in which he's barely mentioned) I had a suspicion that he was gonna be a one season wonder. Shame this means Tara is gonna be even more of a downer in season 3!

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  14. Now for some real comments... (posting via iPhone = painful).

    I wasn't as annoyed with the Maryann plotline dragging out as some other people were. It would have been nice if the season was paced a little better, but this was really the first time they had to try it out - Season 1 was pretty much defined by the book, so they're still learning. Props to Alan Ball for making two interesting, if unbalanced, plotlines this year.
    I do agree that the last ep was just... meh. I was just waiting and waiting for something to happen after Maryann went bye bye. I did like how they showed the fall out, but they could have done that in like 10 mins, not 20.

    However, unlike most reviews I've read, I did NOT like the way the Maryann plotline was resolved. I had to watch it a 2nd time before I figured out how it all came together - particularly why only Sookie, with her "powers", could stop the Maenad. At first, I thought "all she did was push down a meat tree." :-)

    It made sense the 2nd time around, but the execution of it was kind of blah. Usually when there is this coming together of different plot threads or character strengths, it's like, wow, how cool is it to watch it all work together when we never thought of it.

    I also hate to say this, but it feels like Anna Paquin just can't figure out how to portray Sookie as a character. The first season, she was just sassy and different. Now that they've expanded from the books and the actors have to invest in their own characters, she was also uneven. She alternates between being super scared (like a human being would be) and stupidly brave (like an immortal would). I would have preferred that she was brave BECAUSE she's human and is standing up to the "evils" despite her own fear. And remember that bitchy does not equal strong.

    Overall, I loved this season. The first 1/2 was really an amazing step up from Season 1. The Maryann plotline was intriguing and different. But taken together, the season and the actors were uneven - sort of like when I used to make mix tapes as a kid, and you could hear when I pushed Stop or Pause when changing to another cassette. They were really sure what their characters and story arcs were for the 1st 1/2, but then started all over again for the last instead of building on the character development.

    I see potential, I can't wait for Season 3, and I am madly in love with Eric. I have hope that they can learn from this season and have a more comprehensive season next year.

    P.S. Spy Daddy on GLEE last night!

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  15. Thanks for another awesome review, Billie!

    I must admit that I fell in love with Bill a little bit this episode. Despite how boringly he is, he is always putting himself all out for Sookie. Honestly, he is a vampire. What does he care that a Maenad is taking all humans? He could just get Sookie and run, but he went all out to help the town. I don't really understand why Eric went to see the Queen if then he didn't do anything about the whole Maenad thing. (I'm grateful we got to see him in the gray suit a couple of eps ago.) Without making it sound like I am a Bill adorer, he did court Sookie before he tasted her blood, so there may be some deeper feelings than just a high on blood. Sookie can keep Bill and I'll take Eric any time.

    Jessica's scene at the truck stop was the part that shocked me the most of teh episode, especially after the conversation with Bill on her way out. Will she take Hoyt back? Will he take her back? Allan Ball has said he is surprised people like the Hoytssica coupling so much, so I guess he will invest in it next season. The Sam character needs to get a good storyline next season. I hope his search for his parents will bring more screen time for him (I don't think Sam Trammell expected that his behind will get so much screen time, but we are all thankful for that :)

    I love the Jason-Andy budding friendship. That's going to give us a lot of one-liners next season. Allan Ball has also said that whatever Sookie is, Jason also is, but in a recessive manner. I don't know if that is one of the curve balls he likes to throw or a real hint of future story. I bet Eggs death and Jason's remorse will set things up for a renewed relationship with Tara.

    The proposal... The timing was odd, but the whole scene was very Bill; old-fashioned and romantic. I actually got Sookie's freakout because of all the small concerns that had been planted on her head throughout the season: Aging when you are with an immortal, turning into a vampire, children... I did expect Bill to run after her when she did. And the way her "bathroom reaction" was presented, she seemed more excited about the fact that she had a ring than the fact that she would marry Bill. I honestly felt sad when she came out and he was gone.

    Are Evan Rachel Wood and Alexander Skarsgård an item in real life? Go figure.

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  16. I really enjoyed season two of True Blood. I did like the first season, but I really liked the way they were able to expand upon the mythology of season one and find more for the supporting characters to do, so that it felt like the show had a lot more depth. I like characters such as Andy, Terry, Arlene and Hoyt, but in the first season it felt as though the supporting characters were merely caricatures given their lack of screen time. It seemed difficult for the actors to provide them with much depth. But I really enjoyed how they integrated so much of the cast into the main storyline and gave them interesting things to do.

    A lot of people disliked the Maryann storyline, or at least elements of it, but for one I really liked it. Yes, the orgy scenes were a little too graphic and repetitive at times but I also felt the same about the sex scenes in the first season which seemed to be shoehorned in to every episode. But generally I liked the concept of the maenad as a villain, again helping to expand the show’s mythology and not restricting it solely to vampires. I also love Michelle Forbes in anything she does, so perhaps I was a little more forgiving of how that story developed, but I thought she did an excellent job of portraying someone who was twisted and evil, but also provoked some interesting ideas about human nature and instinct, and why we do repress or hold back some parts of ourselves but not others.

    I also thought the way the residents of Bon Temps became possessed was very interesting. They could have went with the “mindless, efficient drones” so beloved of fantasy and sci-fi shows when Maryann possessed people, but instead it was more like she released their inhibitions and made them more extreme versions of their dark sides, only drawing out and exaggerating what was already latent within them. So you could still sort of see their personalities emerge. And it made sense to me that because she fed off chaos and destruction, releasing this in her minions was actually one of her weaknesses because it made them completely unreliable, impulsive and easily distracted.

    I think they probably could have improved how the storyline was paced in order to make it more effective. Perhaps they peaked too soon by showing you how advanced Maryann’s powers were and the effect they had on others quite early on. A more gradual escalation, starting off with almost humorous shedding of inhibitions, through violence and cannibalism, eventually leading to the most extreme events such as the orgies, might have kept people intrigued longer. Although personally I did like the randomness of all the events because it reflected the kind of chaos the maenad wanted, and there was no real logic to how it developed.

    I have a confession to make, that Sookie and Bill are my two least favourite characters. In certain episodes I find Bill interesting or at the least bearable, but I really dislike Sookie. It's hard for me to work out how much of that is how the character is written and how much of it is Anna Paquin's performance. I agree with Serena+Pumpkin in that I attribute a lot of the blame to the actress, because I just find her extremely unconvincing and irritating. I'll admit that the writing doesn't always give her an easy job to convince us that she is a believable or likeable character, but I suspect another actress might have been able to bring warmth and humour to the role and overcoming what is a difficult role. But as it is, she just can't overcome how selfish, stupid and whiny the character is. I actually find it hilarious when Sookie tries to be tough yet wades stupidly into every situation without any clue of what she's doing and almost inevitably has to be rescued by a man. To me, that's not feisty, it's stupid.

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  17. For me, Tara is actually the heart of the show and the one character that I'm engaged most with. She hasn't always had as much focus in the show, or indeed been involved in plotlines that are as intriguing as Sookie's, but Rutina Wesley always delivers a searing performance. Tara can be just as erratic and inconsistent a character as Sookie is, but I understand why she's like that, due to the character's history and the great performance. To me, she really embodies someone who is tough and independent and yet totally vulnerable. Her flaws are believable and help to make her a well rounded human character. And her interaction with the other characters, especially Lafayette and Arlene, can be hilarious.

    I'm also a big fan of Eric. In some ways Alexander Skarsgård does have it easier than Stephen Moyer, in that he gets to play the badass, morally ambiguous vampire over the reformed bore Bill. It's like Angel and Spike all over again. But he does bring a chilling intensity to the role, even the intonation of some of his lines is unusual and suits the character very well. I really loved the character of Godric too, again the actor completely nailed the role, making him intelligent and compassionate, yet very ethereal and deadly. It's a shame that he was killed off but I'm hoping Godric will continue to have an influence on Eric's development as a character.

    I really like Jessica too and the idea of her and Hoyt as a couple was interesting, but obviously it's so complicated that there are inevitably going to be numerous ups and downs. I do like Jason, and I thought this season made more use of the character and actually developed him in interesting ways, from being tempted by the Fellowship of the Sun ethos to rejecting it and helping to fight against them, and then taking it upon himself to become Bon Temps' (unsuccessful) protector, it was an interesting arc and I hope the writers can continue to find interesting things for him to do whilst retaining the essence of a very dim guy.

    I'm also very intrigued by the plot they seem to be setting up for Sam next season, and he is another character I like because he is loyal and dependable, but there’s also something intriguing about him. I wasn't too upset when Eggs was killed because I don't think there was much depth to his character other than his relationship with Tara, and it'll be interesting to see what effect his death has on her.

    I really enjoyed the scenes with the vampire Queen, and I hope to see more of her in the future.

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  18. I loved seeing more of the Queen, but this episode just kinda left dissatisfied. Thank God the Maryann plot is over and Eggs is dead. That dude was really boring. I hope they do something better with Tara next season.

    About this season, I like it but it´s weaker than the first. For one, I didn´t like the Fellowship of the Sun storyline very much and the Maryann plot just dragged on too long, especially with Tara and Eggs.

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  19. What a disappointing season finale.

    The Maryann plot took ages to wrap up! Too much running around and crazy Jason talk, not enough Eric and they seriously need to rethink make up strategy for Stephen's Bill, cause he looks really dead, compared to Alexander's Eric who is pale but not grey\green.

    What was the point of Eric going to the Queen trying to help and not coming back? He must have felt that both Sookie and Lafayette were scared to death.

    What was Sam thinking taking children to Fangtasia?

    I used to think Tara was smart, but running there with no plan whatsoever was just stupid, she must have known it wouldn't be easy to get away from that house. All our heroes were supposed to get together and figure it out together instead of running in different directions and getting cought....

    Jessica and Bill exchanged a look on the way out of the house that felt a bit [romantically] odd. Anybody else noticed that?

    And the last thing - how on earth can you clean that lovely house after this hell? Honestly it would have been better to set it on fire and burn to the ground, which I hoped they would do...

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  20. Like the review and the comments, I was underwhelmed by this finale. The ninth and tenth episodes were so good, yet a lot of the last two felt like time wasting and filler.

    I was glad to see the back of Maryann. It was a good ending to the story and I was glad to see Sam being a hero. Michelle Forbes was great and managed to do a lot with the character. Too bad they killed her off so early in the episode.

    The second half was dire, really. Too much exposition and not enough action. The proposal actually seemed creepy to me -- badly timed and off. I agree with Cecilia that it seemed like Sookie wanted the ring more than she wanted Bill.

    As for AP, I understand Serena's comments. More than once, I have been taken out of the action by thinking 'that's some bad acting.' However, I really like the character, so I'm willing to forgive.

    Although the end was weak, season two was much better than season one. Jason's arc, Eric's manipulations and the Jessica/Hoyt romance were the highlights for me. Looking forward to what they do next season.

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