Why we loved the True Blood finale and why you should, too

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Look, it comes down to this. Some of the reasons I loved the season finale of True Blood may in fact be identical to the reasons others hated it. [Warning: Spoilers ahead.]

[For an opposing view on the True Blood season finale, check out "Someone has to say it: True Blood's season finale sucked."]

I loved its goofiness. I loved bitch-queen Maryann making Sookie lick the egg, a bit of over-the-top nuttiness that makes about as much sense, on a mythological level, as her telling Sookie to please hold the egg under her armpit for a while. I appreciated that Maryann brought the crazy and that the Queen of Vampires seems about to do the same thing, with her deceptively sweet manner and her retinue of human slaves boring themselves to tears during the Yahtzee Game That Never Ends (which is itself as vivid an illustration of the vampire as a creature of hell that you'll ever see).

I loved that Jason Stackhouse and Deputy Andy's heroic cavalry charge amounted to pretty much nothing (even if they're left thinking otherwise), and that Sookie's role in defeating the season's Big Bad amounted to nothing more than smashing the egg and pushing over the tree; it would not have been better, one iota better, if (as I'd feared and some viewers seemed to want) recent hints that Sookie possesses powers beyond telepathy had paid off now with her starting to glow and turning the final battle against Maryann into an exchange of energy bolts right out of Marvel Comics. ("Get ... out ... of ... my ... house!" BOOM! And, yawn.) I much preferred the actual feint pulled off by Bill and Sam, in that it made clever use of elements already in play.

I loved another thing likely to upset some fans, the show's eager cruelty to the characters and its willingness to deprive the audience of the happy catharsis we only think we want. It would be terrible indeed if Maryann's terrible violations of her victims ended with a simple la-de-da and everybody being better by the next day; thus we get Eggs, unable to live with his deeds under her control, and Tara, left shattered once again.

We also have the terrible payoff to the doomed Hoyt/Jessica romance, Jessica embracing her inner vamp in a manner that amounts to capitulation in her own damnation, even as Hoyt rejects his manipulative bat of a mother and shows up at his erstwhile girlfriend's front door with a bouquet of flowers and dying hope in his wallflower eyes. Their story could very well end here and be absolutely satisfying; indeed, it's hard to imagine how it could possibly be improved if the writers decide to keep both around and deepen the tragedy. As for what happened to Bill and Sookie at the end, c'mon. That was frustrating, but frustrating in the manner we need if the story's to move on from here.

Finally, I loved one moment far out of proportion to its screen time and plot importance: the fleeting appearance of Sookie creator Charlaine Harris as a Merlotte's patron, quickly delivering her big line, which was something akin to "I never thought anything like that would happen here" before the camera practically broke itself being whisked away elsewhere.

It's not just my congenital authorial soft spot for fiction writers making cameo appearances in the dramatic adaptations of their works, especially when (full disclosure here) I happen to know them and can hoot with glee at their arrival on screen; I may have appreciated the cameo for its own sake, but let's be real, this was a pretty innocuous moment even by that undemanding standard and was neither as gloriously camp as Stephen King's moss-covered buffoon in Creepshow or as stellar as James Dickey's sinister sheriff in the movie of his own novel Deliverance.

No, I loved that moment beyond all measure because it's so very innocuous that it's easy to miss how perversely brilliant it is, unless you think again. Consider that line again. "I never thought anything like that would happen here." Wow. The woman dear Charlaine plays was so very short-sighted and so very complacent that it never once occurred to her, even for a moment, that her little town would be taken over by a creature out of Greek myth who would turn her neighbors into orgiastic mind-slaves who eagerly assist her in building an altar out of rotten meat so she could sacrifice a shape-changing bartender and marry a bull.

Seriously. How could she have failed to consider this contingency, even once?