True Blood review – 5×12: ‘Save Yourself’

Courtesy of HBO

Well, we were promised a bloodbath! And since this is True Blood – the show that has yet to kill off a main character – we probably should have known that our favourites were safe. So what did ‘Save Yourself’ do right…and what didn’t work quite as well?

Let’s bitch it out…

Considering the wild ride that S5 has been – in all of its ups and many downs – I’m really, genuinely, pleasantly surprised at how much worked for me in this season finale. It’s as though series creator Alan Ball decided that he wanted to go gong-show crazy before he made his stage-right exit so he threw a ton of blood and guts up in the air and ducked out after.

Let’s dissect what didn’t work first:

  • Jason (Ryan Kwanten), one of the show’s hottest weak-links, is saddled with a blah storyline wherein his dead parents speak to him. It’s all thanks to the Faerie concussion he got last week when the Fae Elder blasted him instead of Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare). Unfortunately Jason’s parents, especially his dad, prove to be big time fang-haters so Jason spends the rest of the episode in early-season mode (ie: when he wanted to kill as many vamps as possible). His murder/death/kill spirit certainly helps when the attack on the Authority compound begins, but if it persists into next season, it’ll already be tired before the credits roll in 6×01
  • Everything involving Alcide (Joe Manganiello) and the wolf pack. Repeat after me: I. DON’T. CARE. Don’t care about Rikki (Kelly Overton) overdosing on V – mostly because I forget her name even when someone says it aloud. Don’t care about Alcide taking over after killing JD (Louis Herthum) – mostly because it should have happened about five episodes ago. I just don’t care. Please make this storyline go away like Jason’s catpeople story in S4 and let us never speak of it again
  • Salome’s (Valentina Cervi) death scene: almost as bad as her wigs. Don’t RIP because you never amounted to anything interesting, despite a ton of potential

Then there’s the kindasorta does(n’t) work:

  • I’m torn on the “Andy (Chris Bauer) becomes a father x4” scenes. On one hand, it’s typical True Blood: over-the-top ridiculous. The fact that these scenes include everything from a peanut gallery clutching Cajun Margaritas to glass-shattering screams to acrobatic-leg deliveries makes it so deliriously campy, it’s nearly insane. And yet…it’s also a nice dose of silly humour. The idea of Andy – the worst Sheriff Bon Temps has had – suddenly going from internet meme and serial sad sack to instant dad is amusing and generally well-executed. Did it contribute much to finale? Not really. But I still came down on the positive side, though I reserve the right to change my mind when it see it play out next season
  • I have a feeling the climax with Bill (Stephen Moyer) will either be considered a genius move with a great cliffhanger…or another disappointment for people who have already been disappointed by him thorough the season. There’s a slow burn to Bill’s scenes throughout the finale since we all know that he’s going to take out Salome, but then to throw in boastful speechifying that just goes on and on? Ugh! So it’s a huge relief when he downs the Lilith blood and dissolves. The CGI pool of blood preps us to expect more, however, since it looks the same as the pools Lilith has risen from throughout the season. And rise Bill does: our very own Bill-ith. It’s either a fun reversal (Bill now becomes the Big Bad that Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric and Anna Paquin’s Sookie must escape from) or a frustrating development for a character we all not-so-secretly hoped would actually die.

Courtesy of HBO

Which leaves us with good (or mostly good):

  • Sam freaking Merlotte (Sam Trammell). Like the S2 finale – my True Blood all-time favourite – Sam finally gets a show-stopper of a scene. After treating us to some fun “Sam fly-vision”, the bar-owner/shifter fabricates an escape plan for Luna (Janina Gavankar) and adorable wolf-pup, Emma. In a deft move, Luna morphs into Steve Newlin (Michael McMillan), delivers a suitably awkward television interview and spills the truth about the Authority on national television. Before “Barb From Cougartown” (Carolyn Hennesy) can react, Sam pops into her mouth and shifts back into human form, exploding Barb from the inside. Totally awesome! Plus, it’s possible Luna may still die from all this, so fingers crossed!
  • Bickering siblings Nora (Lucy Griffiths) and Eric have some fun clearing out the ranks of the red-shirt Authority security guards, even if Nora’s sweep from the wall looks waaay too wire-fu
  • Pam (Kristin Bauer) is reunited with Tara (Rutina Wesley) and progeny gives maker a big ole’smooch on the lips. Work through the dislike, haters, because Para is totally on!
  • Russell Edgington goes to the big blood bank in the sky after being staked by Eric. O’Hare had great fun with the role, but he was pretty much an unstoppable vampire that the show clearly didn’t know what to do with anymore. It’s best he left us while we still want more. Also, his vampire-lover Steve escapes to live another day, so we’ll see him again. Yay!
  • No Terry (Todd Lowe) and no Hoyt (Jim Parrack). Let’s give ’em a rest and see what they’re up to next season

Best Lines:

  • Eric (answering Nora’s frenzied inquiry about what Sookie is): “She’s a waitress.”
  • Pam (as Jess elaborates on Russell’s desire to eat Faeries): “Must all roads lead to f*cking Sookie?”
  • Jason (voicing his attitudinal shift away from liking vampires): “That train has sailed”
  • Maurella: “My light broke”
  • Lafayette (watching Steve morph into Luna on TV): “I did not see that sh*t coming”

What we’d like to see next year:

  • Sookie is protected from Bill-ith by Eric and Alcide, with whom she has regular dirty threesomes (What??? Paquin’s not pregnant anymore and Eric can’t keep having quasi-incest sex with his sister. Plus it’s True Blood: someone has to get nekkid)
  • Jason and Jess (Deborah Ann Woll) move into the old house she and Hoyt used to live in, settle down and re-enact fairytales in costume (thereby injecting nudity, sexuality and coarse language into Once Upon A Time-style content)
  • Rikki and Luna both get caught in bear-traps and die, leaving Sam and Martha (Dale Dickey) to raise Emma
  • How about a really terrible sounding spin-off featuring Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) raising Andy’s quadruplets with Steve Newlin (Call it ‘Two Gays, Four Babies’ or, alternately, ‘Hot Messes’)
  • Alright, fine. What about a really awesome sounding spin-off instead? Tara and Pam move to New Orleans to open a drag-queen vampire bar called ‘Dragtasia’ (Oh lord, imagine the one-liners!)

So that’s S5 of True Blood. Did the finale make-up for some questionable story decisions earlier this season? Are you excited to see how they “fix” Bill or would you have preferred he remain a puddle of blood? Does anyone care that Alcide is the new pack master? Anyone want to propose a storyline that will give Lafayette something to do? Finally, any thoughts on who should be cast as Warlow – the vampire who killed Sook and Jason’s parents and will undoubtedly appear next season? Hash it out below!

True Blood has now concluded its fifth season. It has been renewed by HBO and will return in summer 2013

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

3 thoughts on “True Blood review – 5×12: ‘Save Yourself’

  1. Hi Cinephilactic,
    I just caught up with all your reviews and they’ve been an utter delight to read. I wish I had discovered the site in the beginning of the season but now I’m a huge fan. I also have my own blog reviewing shows and I’m surprised by just how similar our thoughts are concerning practically everything! This year of True Blood was a bit uneven and scattered particularly with all the useless, filler subplots (you totally read my mind with the Alcide paragraph, we just DON’T CARE) but I nevertheless enjoyed this year and this finale in particular much more than the disaster that was season 4.
    Anyways, this was a truly wonderful review and I’m looking forward to reading many more :)

    Oh and I love the Pam-Tara spinoff idea. Utter genius! They were the year’s highlight!

  2. Can I suggest another good best line:
    Jess: (on Tara kissing Pam) “I knew it!”

    It was genuinely shocking (but not really considering that they are both lesbo/bi in the show) to see them kiss and make out haha.
    I enjoyed reading your reviews (actually all of the reviews here in bsmy) and it became a habit of mine to read your reviews right after I watched the show. Hopefully they could play out the show better next season. I’m gonna miss Pam’s one liners, they were the best.

  3. In general, I thought all the bloody death was fantastic. When homegirl from Cougar Town exploded thanks to Sam the fly (LONG LIVE SAM!!), I was literally jumping up and down. Somehow I did not figure out what the problem was with Newlin (Luna can die!), so that scene was THE BEST!!

    I agree with what did not work. In particular, two of my favorite characters, Lafayette and Jason, were underutilized throughout the season. Jason’s realization about how and why he uses sex was abandoned for his “God Hates Fangs” (again!). Also, once Lafayette killed Jesus’ grandfather, all he really got to do was be blackaliciously gay comic relief. Cajun margaritas and an ecstatic, orgasmic faerie birth? I guess.

    Here is what I mainly want for next season’s southern fried hot mess:

    1. Bill, if you won’t die, I suppose you can be the Big Bad. However, MAN UP! I expect full frontal nudity without Miss Lillith’s unfortunate merkin.

    2. Jason, just stay sweet. Focus your energy on Warlow. Most importantly: teach your faerie cousins how to shoot! Evidently, all they know how to do is slap fight after their light has broken.

    3. Sookie: I don’t really care about your HEA. I do prefer the sassy, jaded Sookie to the maudlin one, however. Keep up the sass, and I guarantee you’ll get that threesome I wanted to witness last season.

    4. Jessica, Pam, and Tara. Love you, don’t change. However, I would like to have Tara’s other girlfriend come back if they want to add more characters (assuming they kill some people). She was really cute, and I wasn’t through with her.

    5. Eric, stop posing so much. Just be yourself and find someone who likes being naked in front of the camera crew as much as you do.

    6. Wouldn’t it be great if when a vampire snacks on a faerie, she not only gains the ability to walk in the sunlight, but part of her human essence (her soul?) is restored? As the effect wanes, that essence is released again, but it isn’t very strong. Since Lafayette has become a master medium in the next season, he can take it over and influence the vampire. Sometimes only a little, sometimes a lot. How would that impact the Faerie/Vampire/Warlow/Billith craziness? At least all roads would LAFAYETTE instead of f*cking Sookie.