Sunday, September 8, 2013

TB10 True Blood Season 6 Review

In this podcast, Susan and Kelly are joined by Donielle of Natter Cast and Michaela of The Chatter Box Podcast to discuss season 6 of the HBO show True Blood. In true Geek Girl Soup style, we only talk a little bit about Breaking Bad.

Hear more of Donielle this Fall on Natter Cast as she joins Jason and Sion for their Sons of Anarchy podcast.

Hear more of Michaela on The ChatterBox Podcast with @renmiked and @robvenger where they talk about whatever tickles their fancy.

Join us Wednesday nights for #TweetSoup and Follow us on Twitter @GeekGirlSoup
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Geek on!

The epic email from Pat From Maryland:

Hey, I wanted to send in some thoughts on the recent season, and why it might not be that bad in retrospect. If "not bad" means getting back to the usual True Blood stuff.

This season of True Blood wasn't necessarily great, but I don't think it was the worst either (and the same goes for the finale, which I'll defend momentarily.)

In some ways, it gets us past some of the oddness that was introduced with last season's Authority-centric storylines.

True Blood just happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine. I've only read the first book of Charlaine Harris' series (which we know is the only one that really got seriously adapted for the television series.) My wife has read many of them, but neither one of us are necessarily invested in the show following the series. It's not good, but it's great summer-television.

I'm a fan of the concept: that thanks to the creation of synthetic mass-produced blood, vampires come out of the coffin and into the spotlight and ask to be integrated into society. I've often wondered what the vampires who would have preferred that their existence (as a species) have gone unknown think about this. Since they had no choice in the matter.

Secrecy to me seems to be the vampire's greatest defense, and once the secret is out, it would take a miracle for humanity to forget vampires existed and let their nighttime vigilance drop. (I'm imaging one day vampires might decide as a species to fake their own death (or fake their true death, I guess) and go into centuries of hungry hibernation to more or less wipe the slate clean.)

So, the reason for vampires to expose themselves in this fashion would have to be offset by some great benefit. We know from Pam that vampires who nest together for extended periods of time lose their humanity (which is what happened to the Authority, even though they were strongly associated with the rationale for coexistence.) I could see that vampires would prefer a world where they could freely associate in society with beings other than vampires, so they could hold on to their humanity, and feel a part of something, and not necessarily be lonely all the time.

But for this to work, vampires should really go out of their way to reassure humans that they mean them no harm.

Luckily, humans in the True Blood universe are dumb as mud, and take no precautions to protect themselves. Most humans either seem to have no opinion whatsoever on vampires and behave as if vampires have never revealed themselves to the world, or they are extreme nosferatophiles, or crazed nosferatophobes whose anti-vampire sentiment stems largely from religious doctrine and not from a rational examination that Vampire Predator kill Human Prey.

Sure, we humans kill humans also. But in general, I don't suspect my neighbors of eyeing me up (or eyeing my family up) as a food source. And since vampires are above humans on the food chain, I only have to observe how humans treat their domesticated animals to extrapolate how vampires might consider humans.

Yes, vampires don't have to kill, just like we can keep dairy cows and hens for eggs. (But it doesn't mean cattle and egg-layers have great lives.)

Anyway, all I'm saying is that it's in a vampire's best interest to reassure the humans around them. But usually that's not the case. Season one set the tone with the three vampires of Bill's acquaintance showing up at Merlott's and behaving incredibly belligerent. Is it right that those three were killed by scared rednecks? Nope. Is it surprising? NOPE. Is it right for Eric to capture the rednecks, chain them in his basement for weeks, and kill them when tired of having them around? Again, nope.

But I don't want to get all caught up in season one, I'd rather talk about the past few seasons. Since this season literally sprung up where the previous season cliffhanger ended, the past two seasons were almost one mega-season.

Last season, Bill and Eric were caught by the rather underwhelming Authority, who go from being brutally anti-sanguinista to pro-Lilith in the blink of a bloody-teared eye. The reveal of how lame and kind of dumb the Authority were was kind of a let down, since they were always spoken of in hushed tones in seasons past. Creepy Zeljko Ivanek as the Authority's Magister who ordered Jessica's turning was great as our viewpoint into the Authority. Creepy and calculated. He bossed around Vampire monarchs. But the inner council (other than Christopher Meloni) just seemed ridiculous and overly-dramatic.

I was a bit upset with Bill Compton turning into a religious fanatic. It wasn't originally clear if he was just hallucinating from drinking what we assume was Lilith's blood, but certainly something happened when he melted and then reformed.

(By the way, do vampires just collapse into a collection of stem cells? It was the damnedest/weirdest thing when Bill reformed, flesh, bones, organ, hair, eyeballs, and memory-intact brain emerged from a pile of goo. That was just too weird, even for a show with a man who can turn into a fly or a horse.)

One benefit of this season was Bill's more or less purge of this religious Lilith aspect (or at least the Lilith power. Bill might still be a vampire-first believer.)

Warlow was introduced as a threat to Sookie last season, implicated in the death of her parents, and in theory the big bad this season. Bill Razinsky was fine as Warlow this season, I guess. His arrival in a ditch, groaning, just seemed way over the top dumb to be taken seriously. But his backstory was really interesting.

Warlow was a fey turned into a vampire from Lilith herself, and his existence and memories prove that Lilith is not just a myth. Does this mean that the universe of True Blood really is a creationist reality? (Since Lilith is usually apocryphally linked with Adam and Eve.)

I've heard people complain that he was lamely killed in the finale, but his death was orders of magnitude better handled than the necromantic witch Marnie's defeat seasons ago.

Warlow was killed in Sookie's bathroom, where he was being held at bay by Sookie's Faerie "Grandfather." Grandpa (as Jason likes to call him) had been hunting Warlow for millenia, and managed to come through a portal that Warlow himself had been the cause of, from the exile dimension that Warlow had imprisoned Grandpa in turn. I have no issues with any of that.

Marnie basically was talked out of killing all of the vampires in town by the ghost of an archetypal vampire-hating burned-at-the-stake witch who *for no reason whatsoever* decided that all was forgiven. Even after spinning Marnie up into a vampire killing crusade in the first place.

The season killed off Terry Bellefleur, and although I love Terry and was sad to see him go, the previous season really made him into such a tortured individual that I felt his character needed some peace.

I like Alcide, but I just found any scene with more than one werewolf in it horrible, so getting Alcide out of pack duties was fine with me. It's a win for the season.

So, how do I feel about the 6 (or was it 8) month jump in the timeline? I'm usually fine with those. Battlestar Galactica did it very well, as did Lost and the Dharma Initiative. (Sawyer's rise in power was a nice thing to have sprung into being, along with his relationship with Juliet.)

So, I don't think it's a disaster. And it covers Emma's age difference if she returns (hope she doesn't) but it also gives a chance for back-filling details which could be interesting.

The finale also set up an interesting premise which intersects somewhat with what I started the email about. Vampires are in society, and if they are going to survive they need to reassure humanity that they mean them no harm.

In general, I believe that *most* vampires do mean humans harm. We've seen counter-examples, but we've also seen Jessica, one of the kindest and most human of the vampires, kill three innocent faerie woman in an uncontrollable bloodlust.

But regardless of how I feel about vampires in general, thanks to Hepatitis V (or some less-deadly-than-Nora-got mutant strain) there are packs of feral, diseased, and hungry vampires. The smart reaction of humanity would be to read a copy of I Am Legend, fortify up at night (thank you inviolable threshold rules) and hunt vampires by day. Trying to take on  vampires at night is incredibly stupid.

But, I'm all for vampires agreeing to protect humanity, and to try to form an equitable mutually beneficial relationship. That level of trust has to be established, or else the healthy vampires really do need to fake their own deaths (unlifes) and as I said before, sleep a few centuries with complaining bellies while humanity kills off the last of the diseased vampires and comes to believe that vampires are no more. And lets down their guard. And vampires can once again very quietly, and accompanied by loneliness, feed on glamoured prey.

So... depending on what they do next season, I'm okay with the season finale. 

True Blood finales almost always deal with the season big bad early on in the episode, and then launch the set up for the following season, so this finale was no different really.

I apologize for the chaotic and rambly nature of this email. I hope you find it useful in some way, but don't feel obligated to use any of it. I'm just delighted to have someone that I can send True Blood emails to.

Pat from Maryland

1 comment:

  1. Susan,

    Thanks for posting my email!

    And thanks to you, Kelly, Donielle, and Michaela for the great recap. As always, it made my commute experience enjoyable.

    Looking forward to next season, to find out if I liked the finale or not.

    In the spirit of Jack Glatfelter, I'll try to think of some predictions for next season.

    Best regards,