True Blood: Save Yourself

Posted by: Andrew Burns  //  August 29, 2012 @ 5:43pm

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

The culmination of a summer long blood-fueled thirst for power ends in here in True Blood's fifth season finale, "Save Yourself". Who survived? Who got blood on their hands? And where does this episode leave the series as it's creator Alan Ball exits as the show-runner? [SPOILERS BELOW]

Like most, I was expecting the finale episode to be just like any of the past four season enders and have excitement throughout the whole 50 plus minutes of running time. The opening five minutes sure set the tone for that exception with the sudden death of Russell (told you there would be spoilers). Sadly the True Blood finale squandered their season's last episode with poor story-arc choices and following secondary characters that weren't going anywhere important. That's not to see there wasn't anything good about "Save Yourself", because there was some stuff, but ying and yang of good and poor quality television was all too apparent so I decided to organize it for your reading pleasure.

Bad TV first:

  • Ryan Kwanten's Jason Stackhouse gets a sixth sense after he got shot 100 feet into a massive tree at the end of last episode; leaving him with hallucinations of his dead parents. This plot device was no big secret as it constantly reinforced Jason's growing hatred for vampires. It wasn't the fact the show was turning Jason back into a vamp-hater (like in season 2), but the biggest issue I had with this story-line was the amount of time that was spend on it. After Eric kills Russell in the episode's opening a large chunk of the rest of the show is Jason complaining to Sookie about vampires, while their dead parents appear to him to give their two cents. Yes, Jason ultimately helps Sookie, Eric, and the others break into the Authority, but for some reason the show as half dozen lengthy scenes of bitching and complaining by Jason before that which are a complete waste time all before that.
  • For the same reasons as Jason's redundant time wasting scenes all the stuff with Andy and his baby-fairy-mama, Maurella, take up too much of the finale. Just before Andy is able to break the news to Holly able his one night stand with a fairy Maurella goes into labour. This would be short story-line drags on for half the episode since Maurella was pregnant with four, say that again: four, baby fairies. Since it all takes place at Merlottes' Arlene and Lafayette also were there for the whole thing as if the show couldn't find anything else to with those characters. All this entire arc accomplished was some kind of story prep for next season as it had nothing to do with any of the other story-lines.

Now on to the good but not great TV:

  • For the most part True Blood got the gang back together to go after the Authority, or what/whoever was left. Fresh off of saving Sookie and Jason's lives Eric asks them to join him, Nora, and Tara to go after Bill and stop Salome. For the majority of this fifth season each of those characters all went their separate ways, so it was entertaining just to see some overlap. Even though the Jason/Sookie complaining segment I touched on earlier took up some of that time, the payoff came with the rescue effort at the Authority headquarters. I think part of what made these combine stories fun to watch was the fact that for some of these actors it was their first time all season that their characters had scenes together. I might be wrong but having Sam and Luna go after Emma, bringing them also to the same place, it might have been the first time in multiple seasons that actors have shared a scene together (ex. Sam and Pam)
  • The other enjoyable part of the finale was the progression in the werewolves story-lines. Robert Patrick, introduced a couple episodes before as Alcide's father Jackson, looks to be a key reason things are beginning to advance. Between that father/son arc and the drunk with power pack-master JD the whole werewolf universe of True Blood was given its proper spotlight in the episode. The werewolf angle for the show has always been a bit flimsy from season to season but here the finale it was the whole package. It keep things interesting by including all the known werewolf characters (excluding Emma), concluded a season long problem in Alcide killing JD, and created new possibilities for next year as Alcide becomes the feared new pack-master.

As you may have noticed I haven't included the finale's main focal point in either of those good/bad break downs. Why you might ask? Because, frankly I'm simply indifferent after seeing the conclusion of the entire Bill/Salome/Lilith plot. The whole coy back and forth with Bill and Salome over Lilith's blood didn't really do anything other than get rid of Valentina Cervi's character Salome. There was never any urgency until the final moments where Bill drank the blood and changed. Being a blood god could mean big things for Bill next year, but there was never even a hint at what powers or abilities this Lilith blood would give a vampire so having that as the cliff-hanger till season six doesn't entice audience members to return in summer 2013.

On a side note, there had been a character loosely introduced early on this season (Worlow) and he wasn't even mentioned during the finale. I would normally chalk this oversight up to being pressed for time since it was the season finale episode in all, but there was at least ten minutes or more of show that could of be cut to fit that character in. The only reason that I can think for Worlow not to be introduced during "Save Yourself" would the reason I gave last week, in that the show hadn't been able to cast for the character yet.

In closing, like in the True Blood finale's before this one, the episode sadly has some characters exit the series. Cervi's character Salome, and the remaining of this season's cast for the Authority, all experience 'the true death' before the end credits roled. Not that unexpected but both fan and story-wise I was disappointed to see the amazing David O' Hare's Russell Edgington leave the show. Russell became so popular by the end of season three the show didn't fully write him off yet sadly they did this time around. The trade-off is both Nora and Rev. Steve Newlin will thankfully be back for next season, but that's as far I know for what will happen next summer. True Blood will be switching show runners for the first time ever and the show has just put a lot of pressure on Bill becoming Lilith (aka Bilith according to the show's Facebook page) to bring back its viewers come next year. However Alan Ball will not be completely leaving Bon Temp as he will stay on as one of the show's producers or some other capacity, there is some hope.

Till next summer I'll leave you fang-bangin-fans with quotes from the funniest moment of this season finale from Sookie & Jessica. It comes just after Eric, Nora, Jason, Sookie, and Tara break-in to the Authority headquarters, free their friends, and Tara and Pam kiss.

Sookie: "Oh... okay"

Jessica: "I knew it!"

[Start the video at 2:15 to check it out]

Tags: True Blood, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis, Ryan Kwanten, Valentina Cervi, David O' Hare

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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