This Sunday is the premiere of the seventh and final season of HBO’s True Blood, the show where the accents are deep, the violence is gory, and the people are naked. If you’ve stuck with the show from the beginning, you’ve sat through seasons both inspired and outrageous, good and bad, bloody and bloodier. The show has careened from a whip-smart allegory for gay rights to a blood-soaked soap opera and back again more times than Lafayette has flipped his head scarf.
But now that we’ve come to the end of our rainbow, there’s something I must say out loud: don’t fuck this up, True Blood. The finale season has only ten episodes to say goodbye to Bon Temps and the characters we’ve known for so long. Here is how to sent them off on a high note.
1. Stop trying to redeem Bill.
I defended Bill Compton long after everyone else had written him off as a lying, manipulative, power-hungry narcissist. Sure, he was all those things, but his love for Sookie, at least, seemed to be true. Then last season he threw away every shred of humanity in his quest to become a god, and what little charm he had vanished like a vampire in the daylight. In the finale of season six, Sookie is in a placeholder relationship with Alcide but clearly still pining for ol’ Confederate William, and the show’s producers have made clear that their love story will play a major part in the show’s final arc. But you can’t bounce back from some things, and the writers need to accept that audiences can never trust Bill again.
2. Resurrect feminist Sookie.
I don’t have an issue with Sookie’s sexual habits or even her appalling taste in men. She has a killer body, plenty of agency, and a very specific type. What bugs me is when the show robs her of any power of her own. Despite being strong, smart, and the wielder of a vampire-killing ball of light, Sookie needs to be rescued more often than goddamn Princess Peach. She didn’t even get to kill Warlow at the end of that season, which was like setting herself up for the perfect slam dunk, and then having Jason sneak in to go for the layup. For her character to reach a satisfying resolution, for us to believe she has grown at all over the years, we need to see her stand up for herself this season.
3. ENOUGH with the new characters.
See the people in this picture? These are the people we have spent years of our lives coming to know and care about. But here you are promising that Willa and Adilyn and Tara’s mom are all being bumped up to series regulars and Eric is getting a sexy new love interest. WHY? You do realize you only have ten episodes, right? Allocating the appropriate amount of time to its various subplots has always been one of True Blood’s weak points, so I don’t really expect them to course correct now, but it would be nice.
4.Careful who you point your metaphors at.
At the end of Season 6, we met gangs of roving, feral vampires infected with Hep V and bent on destruction. There’s obviously an AIDS metaphor at work there, but one in which the infected are TERRIFYING MONSTERS. (It’s also a pretty brazen attempt to trade the worn out vampire fad to the also worn out zombie fad). Just…be careful with that plot, writers. Maybe give your old showrunner, Alan Ball, a call if you need advice.
5. Put Pam and Tara’s faces together.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say again: Pam and Tara’s relationship last year was the only lesbian storyline I’ve ever seen that did not pass the Bechdel test. Those two could not go a single scene without talking about where was Eric and was he mad at them. After a delicious season five buildup, after a gorgeous kiss, the writers treated their feelings (and their lesbian fans) like an embarrassing mistake scarcely worth an afterthought. It was an unconscionable waste of talent and chemistry. We already know that Tara’s storyline this season is mostly focused on her mother, and she may need to exorcise those demons before committing to an afterlife with Pam, but if they can’t improve upon last season, I will be not only disappointed, but hurt. And after seven years of blood, sweat, and tears made out of blood, I don’t want the last taste in my mouth to be bitterness.
So come on, True Blood. Do bad things with us, not to us.
I’ll be live-tweeting the season premiere with the hashtag #fanggirls with a recap to follow the next day.