Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

True Blood: “Almost Home”

Goodbye, our pointless friend
Karolina Wydra

Has a major character ever been treated with such disdain in the final season of a series as Tara has been treated by True Blood? When she was unceremoniously killed offscreen in the season premiere, it was insulting enough. Bringing her back throughout the season to participate in what turned out to be the absolution of Lettie Mae, though? Well, let’s just say it would have been better for her to be killed offscreen and never spoken of again.

Yes, Tara appears to be truly gone now, but not before being sent off in perhaps the most disrespectful manner possible. When Lettie Mae was convinced Tara was sticking around because she had something important to tell her, it read almost as one final mystery for Tara to solve before being gone forever. Instead of a fun mystery, however, it turned out to be one last reason to give Tara an even more tortured backstory than she had before, one that exists entirely for Lettie Mae to be let off the hook for all of her sins throughout the series. The fact that Tara’s father was an abusive asshole, the fact that Tara almost killed him once as a small child but buried the gun in the front yard instead; all was trotted out so Tara could apologize to her (awful) mother about not killing her father to make their lives better. It’s Lettie Mae’s apology in return that triggers Tara’s departure from the series, as if this story somehow had a happy ending.

To this, I say: Fuck that, True Blood. Torturing a core character’s backstory after their death for no other reason than to prop up another character, who no one would care if they dove off a cliff and disappeared forever? This is bad storytelling, period. The end of the story is supposed to feel warm and emotional—and Tara’s final goodbye should be warm and emotional, as for better or worse she’s meant a lot to the show over the years—but it was hollow and tired. The only sad thing was how many episodes it took to get to this horrible ending.

Also offensive was the blatant and empty titillation of Violet’s torture tableau and the absolute stupidity of plotting it took to get the appropriate parties there to get everyone out of it. The story of Hoyt’s return to Bon Temps with girlfriend Bridget has been both good and bad, with the emotions of Hoyt’s return hindered by the strange reaction Jason had to Bridget. The show uses this hindrance to their advantage by having Bridget nonsensically tag along when Jason figures out where Adilyn and Wade are, all so Hoyt can follow her and save the day. As ridiculous as it is (as is Violet’s entire torture threat, which includes the threat of Jessica’s rape by red-hot dildo, so thanks for that, True Blood!) it is a bit of fun to see Hoyt barge in and save the day and stake Violet, even if it means that Violet’s entire story this season was yet another thing that ended up being absolutely meaningless in the end.

Speaking of meaningless, Bill’s story sure seems that way right now. There is now a cure for Hep V. Sookie spends the entire episode helping to get Bill to a place where he can take this cure and save himself from imminent death. So, naturally, when he gets the chance to look the cure in the eye, he says no. No. Really? If True Blood was hoping for that to be a punchline, well, it worked. I laughed myself all the way through the end credits.

Stray observations:

  • Poor Rutina Wesley.
  • Violet’s entire story seems to exist to get Jessica and Jason back to a place where they might end up together. Let me gently suggest this could have been done in a different way. Any other way, really.
  • Sarah Newlin truly believes she is the next coming of the Messiah. I kind of want this show to end with Sarah starting her own Guilty Remnant-esque cult.
  • Pam’s face when Sookie Stackhouse’s name is mentioned by the Yakuza flunkies gave me life. Never change, Pam.
  • I am not sure if Bill’s backstory regarding the Queen Sophie-Anne business actually tracks, but it didn’t fully track in the books either, so I’ll give the show a rare pass on this one. Retcon away!
  • Only two more episodes. We can do this.