I think it's fair to say that, while some of the details of this series finale were different than we expected, we ended up pretty much where we expected we would.
Bill — true love or true death?
Here's my thing: Bill had to die. Other than Sookie becoming a vampire to be with him forever, there really was no other option. (And I think that Charlaine Harris fans might have stormed HBO headquarters with stakes and pitchforks had Sookie actually been turned.)
I understood Bill's explanation for why he wanted the true death. It's characteristically selfless of him to want to "free" Sookie, but isn't it a little selfish of him to expect her to play Kevorkian for him? Just go sit in the garden and get some sun, Bill. Jeez! Instead, he tortures poor Sookie, who finally agrees to mercy-kill him not by using her big ball of light — "it's who I am," she protests — but by staking him with a broken shovel handle. It's an inauspicious death, as most vampire offings on this show have been (so gross). RIP, Bill Compton.
In the same way that the roving bands of marauding Hep-V-positive vampires seemed to disappear overnight, Pam and Eric dispatch with the Yakuza with an efficiency only seen on TV. They release Sarah, but not without first feeding her Pam's blood, so they can track her down when they need her. In a year-later epilogue, we see Pam and Eric appearing in a cheesy infomercial for New Blood, a Hep-V-curing tonic synthesized from a sample of Sarah Newlin's blood that they say they obtained when she escaped. It makes them the big shots we always knew them to be, as demonstrated by a scene in which they ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. But it's kind of a lie.
Fast-forward another year and we see Sarah chained up in the basement of Fangtasia, where Pam and Eric are selling her for one-minute blood-letting sessions that cost $100,000 each. Cash only.
And they lived happily ever after
First up, Jessica and Hoyt get married, so that Bill can be there to give his "daughter" away. It's sweet, of course, but also a little forced. I mean, they just met each other again. I actually expected to see Andy and Holly's wedding in the finale, but it's the last episode, so... fine.
(An odd detour: Bill tells Sookie that he feels like the Hep-V is making him more human. To wit: At the wedding, Sookie can read his thoughts for the first time ever. I actually thought this information might lead us to aPinocchio-like turn of events in which Bill, instead of dying, becomes a real boy again. Which would've been ridiculous, so I'm glad it was just an odd detour.)
In the last of three epilogue scenes, it's Thanksgiving at Sookie's house, and absolutely everyone is there, glowing with coupled-up bliss: Jessica and Hoyt, Sam and Nicole, Arlene and Keith, Lafayette and James, Rev. Daniels and Lettie Mae, Andy and Holly and Jason and Whats-Her-Name.
A pregnant Sookie is tending to her guests, but who knocked her up? In the scene's final moments, she leans over to embrace a bearded man and sits down to dinner. Who is he? No clue. We only see him from the back. It's nice to see that Sookie has found that normal life she always desired, but without knowing who this dude is — human? Faerie? Shapeshifter? Vampire? Auto-parts salesman? Protestant? — it really left me cold.
[SPOILER ALERT: Skip this paragraph if you think you might want to read the books some day.] Perhaps it's because, over the course of the last week, I convinced myself that, despite all the twists and turns that HBO took in adapting the Sookie Stackhouse novels, True Blood might eventually come full circle and return to the text. In the books, Sookie ends up with Sam, and when I heard he'd be returning for the finale, well, the wheels started turning, and I thought, 'Sure, why not?' I was never really sold on Nicole as a viable option for Sam, and, you know, women sometimes die in childbirth — especially on TV. It could happen.
But no. Instead, Sookie and Beardo will stand side by side at the sink later that Thanksgiving night, drying the dishes and talking about how, once she pops out their kiddo, they're going to have some serious Mommy-and-Daddy time with her big ball of light.
While I bristled at Beardo's anonymity, however, I totally rocked out to the series' final outro, the inimitable "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin. I, for one, am grateful for the years of entertainment True Blood provided. Even if I didn't like the destination, the journey was one hell of a fun-house ride, no?
What did you think of "Thank You"? Did you get all the closure you needed? How would you have preferred for the series to end? Let us know in the comments!