Well, there you have it. Thirty minutes into season two's final episode, and the writers have brushed their hands of Maryann, following Michelle Forbes' strongest performance of the season. She seemed nearly pitiful in her delusion during the moments leading up to her wedding, joyous, hopeful, and earnest while striving to please The God Who Comes. But alas, sympathy here is the kiss of death, delivered by a majestic white bull who impales her repeatedly with his horns.
In these moments I found myself hoping for the truly bizarre--that the bull here really was the bull-horned god who had finally come to kill his Maenad. The shots here were really beautiful. Well, until the bull turned out to be none other than Sam Merlotte, our hero. He grabs her black heart, and right before he squishes it, turning Maryann into a charred black skeleton, Maryann asks, "Was there no God?" Her sadness here--and this question that reads, I think, as insight and despair as opposed to confusion--was for me the most poignant and interesting moment of the episode.
The rest of the time I mostly fought to stay awake during this self-conscious episode. Yes, True Blood is supposed to be campy and cheesy, but it really only works when totally over the top. The finale instead felt obvious and inevitable, an obligatory wrap of the season, before the writers can stir shit up again next year. The 20 minutes leading up to and following Maryann's demise felt like a ho-hum march up and down the hill of climax and denouement. I half expected someone to wink at the camera, smile, and say, "Shucks, just another day in Bon Temps!" (Someone did come close to saying this at the bar, my husband tells me now.)
The happy-days payoff at the end felt flat because none of these characters were really in danger. (Not really. Maryann would have killed the show along with the entire town.) Sookie and Bill dancing was zzz, and we're not invested enough in other characters like Arlene to care much about her reunion with her children. Andy got his badge back, Jane Boathouse got her finger back, and Jason thinks they're heros. All's well that ends well. Clichés for clichés.
Sookie's box from a secret admirer was interesting until it turned out to be Bill, and once we realize the restaurant has been rented out, well, it was just a matter of waiting for the harm to come. The marriage proposal scene did make me laugh--mainly for Bill's dumbfounded "What?" cutting through Sookie's gibberish/season recap. Exactly!
So let's move on to season three and see what's in play, with bullets:
-- Jessica and Hoyt play ships passing, with Jessica moving perhaps to a more deceitful, dangerous game. This could be awesome.
-- Sookie's got to rescue Bill, or maybe let him go and get together with Eric, his probable captor. Just sayin'.
-- Sam's off on his origin story, tracking down his real, bad (worse!) parents.
-- Tara... hm. Drunken depression like her mama following the death of the only man she ever loved?
-- Looks like we'll see more of the queen, who we learn is behind the V selling. The other interesting tidbit she gives us is that Sookie's blood seems to be special, and could be the reason Bill falls for her.
After the wrap of season two, we seem to have hit reset on Bon Temps. We're back to the beginning, rid of minotaur and maenad, with the bumbling crowd in tact at Merlotte's. This, I'm hoping, is a good thing--it was always more fun with the vampire crowd than elsewhere this season.
-- Sookie's so confused and can't say yes until... what's that? Shiny diamond! I'll save the feminist rant for another time.
-- This week's best line: Diet Coke with lime!
-- Bill's bringing back the bowl cut for his big date this week.