TV Review: TRUE BLOOD Season Five Finale “Save Yourself”

An uneven season ends with (what else?) a bloodbath.

Follow all of Mike's True Blood Season 5 reviews here

True Blood ended its uneven fifth season with a wild, blood-splattered finale loaded with crazy WTF moments and a baffling cliffhanger ending. It was a blast. I’m still not sure whether this episode, titled “Save Yourself,” was any good, but it sure was fun.

It’s hard to single out the finale’s craziest moment – Was it the Fairy birthing scene? Tara and Pam’s kiss? Bill emerging from a pool of his own blood as a Vampire god-monster-thing? Maybe it was Russell Edgington’s death scene, which kicked things off.

Eric appeared out of nowhere as Russell was about to snack on Snookie and her kin. He staked Russell, who took a few seconds longer to die thanks to all that Fairy juice, and he savored the moment for all it was worth. As much as I hated seeing Russell go, I found great satisfaction in how this scene was handled. Eric finally got his revenge on Russell, and he delivered one of the best lines of the night, "Well, that felt better than I thought it would."

It was surprising to see Russell dispatched in the cold open before the opening credits rolled, and the surprising developments continued all the way to the end of the episode.

There was no mention of Warlow, the Vampire who apparently killed Sookie’s parents and now owns Sookie’s soul or some such nonsense. I predicted Warlow would appear in this finale to protect Sookie from Russell, but it was Eric who turned out to be Sookie’s white knight. The show came close to declawing Eric, again, and turning him into a toothless good guy here, but luckily Eric remained his cool, badass self even while acting the hero. It’s hard to complain about Eric playing nice here, especially when playing nice means swooping down from the ceiling like a badass and staking thirty evil Vampires in the chest.

One of the strangest, and most annoying, developments of the night was watching Jason’s brain give way to visions of his dead parents. I loved watching Jason put his Vampire killing skills to use here, but I wanted to cheer for him a lot more as he brandished dual pistols and blasted Bill’s security team to gooey chunks. But all I could really think during those scenes was, “Why the hell is Jason so damn crazy all of a sudden?”

Jason has never been the most stable person on the show, but he was depicted here as a dour and damaged soul influenced by creepy visions of his dead redneck mama and daddy. I wanted to see the fun-loving Jason killing the bad guys and acting like the lovable bumpkin he is, not this resigned, almost cruel figure who told Jessica to frak off after she professed her love to him again.

Jason wasn’t the only Human with a huge burden to bear. Andy and the folks at Merlotte’s helped deliver Maurella’s four giant babies. After Maurella’s “light” broke, she delivered four girls, jumped up looking healthy as ever and skipped out, leaving the children’s fates in Andy’s hands. Most of the fun in these scenes came from the peanut gallery – Lafayette and crew drinking cocktails and commenting from the sidelines (“For a normal, red-blooded American human, givin’ birth aint nothin’ like that!”)

Perhaps the craziest moment of the night was Sam flying into Rosalyn’s mouth and shifting back into a human inside her body, blowing her open from the inside out. Sam was pretty crafty here, but his constant fly-to-Human shifting felt tedious after a while. I kept wondering, “Why doesn’t he just turn into a bull again and impale everyone in the chest?”

What are we to make of Bill’s horrific transformation? We didn’t get any answers about the true power of Lilith’s blood or about Lilith’s true aim here, which made the season’s ending feel unsatisfying and incomplete. This season’s Sanguinista/Authority storyline has felt like a long and tedious wait for something big to happen. Well, something big did happen, but it wasn’t really worth watching all these disposable Authority characters arguing and scheming for twelve episodes.

This was showrunner Alan Ball’s final season. Season 6 will likely pick up right where we left off, which means the very bloody and very angry Evil Bill will most likely become the show’s big villain. It’s fitting that this huge change comes with Ball’s exit. True Blood could use a shakeup, and Ball and crew have set things up nicely for that.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the show changes and grows without Ball running things. I doubt True Blood will get any better without him around, but I’m hopeful it’ll remain a fun, entertaining and watchable R-rated gothic soap opera.

Other thoughts:

- I hope we see Steve Newlin next season. Michael McMillian was great this year, and he did a particularly funny job playing Luna as Steve here.

- And if Alcide has to stick around, I wouldn’t mind seeing Robert Patrick show up next season either. I like watching Alcide bonding with Wolf Daddy.

- Leave it to Pam to deliver the much-needed Sookie slam.

- I’m not looking forward to watching Andy take care of four babies. Let’s hope Fairies grow up a lot faster than humans do.

What did you guys think of the season finale and the fifth season as a whole? Will you tune in for Season 6?