True Blood season 1 episode 12 season finale review

The True Blood series closes with a serial killer, shape-shifting and sizzling vampire in a blazing first season finale...

12. You’ll Be The Death Of Me

Despite being in a jail cell, and possibly a serial killer, man-whore Jason Stackhouse is more popular than ever. After issuing instructions and giving away his worldly possessions – to Rene – through the bars of his cell like some kind of Mafia don, Sookie finally gets wind of his imprisonment. Breathlessly trying to convince him that she knows who the real killer is, in front of the real killer, leaves Jason nonplussed, so convinced is he of his guilt.

After sending both Rene and Sookie away, he receives his third visit in what’s turning into the boy’s busiest morning ever. Wacky anti-vampire church The Fellowship of the Sun believes that by killing women who associated with vampires, Jason was performing acts of social conscience. The very earnest Fellowship associate explains to Stackhouse that, because his intentions were pure, they’ve set up a fund for his defence, and welcome him to their flock. A welcome he gratefully receives. Eventually.

Across town, having gotten over her initial desire to leave Maryann’s mansion, Tara comes to her senses, and nobody could blame her. Aside from the luxurious bed, the outdoor pool and more fruit than can be consumed by a small town, there’s one other amenity Tara may avail herself of during her stay – Eggs, the other lost soul in Maryann’s collection. While Eggs keeps Tara busy with basic chords and talk of their host’s generosity, Maryann and a familiar looking pig commune in the garden. What is it about Bon Temps that attracts all the supernaturals?

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With the kind of work ethic rarely seen in TV-land, Sookie actually goes to work, despite the whole, my brother’s in jail, someone’s trying to kill me extravaganza, but quickly regrets it. The town has quietly judged and sentenced Jason, and despite the work ethic, she decides to go for a drive to clear her head.

Wouldn’t you know it, her car won’t start, mostly because Rene cut the fuel line. He just happens to wander past, and offers Sookie a lift home, as well as some company until Sam finishes work. Still blissfully unaware of the killer’s real identity, she accepts.

In the meantime, Arlene’s big-eyed progeny have discovered something among Rene’s possessions that they really, really shouldn’t have. She catches them engrossed and horrified by the tape of recently deceased Maudette Pickens having some grown up fun with the bald vampire. And that’s not all they found. Among a small collection of similar video tapes is a teach-yourself-Cajun cassette. She might not be the sharpest tool in the box, but Arlene knows what the kids have stumbled across.

Sookie and Rene make it back to the house right around the time that Sam gets his hands on the fake Cajuns work vest. Thanks to his canine nose and penchant for rolling around in dead women’s sheets, the bar owner comes to the same conclusion as Arlene. He rushes over to the Stackhouse place but is just a tad later than Sookie would have liked.

Having lost his usual control on his return to the scene of Grandma Stackhouse’s murder, Rene chases our psychic into a nearby graveyard. Despite it being late afternoon, Bill can hear Sookie’s distress and braves the sunlight to save his human. Unfortunately, being on fire impedes his ability to swoop in and play the hero; the vampire collapses just yards from where our psychic is being strangled by a psycho.

Enter eternal second choice Sam Merlotte in his canine form, who distracts Rene long enough for Sookie to catch her breath and then decapitate said psycho with a shovel. Payback is, indeed, a bitch.

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A couple of weeks later, everyone is on the mend as the town starts to recover from its brush with a serial killer. Sookie and Bill are both fine, Tara is blossoming under Maryann’s tutelage and even Jason has found acceptance at the Fellowship.

The only Bon Temps resident not on the mend is Det. Andy, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. The humiliation that was incarcerating Jason because women like him pushed the detective heavily off the wagon, and now someone has been thoughtful enough to break into Andy’s car and dump an unidentified corpse on his back seat. Looks like death isn’t finished with Bon Temps just yet…

You’ll Be The Death Of Me brings to a close the first season of this sultry, blood soaked drama, and does so in unusual fashion, packed to the gills with great dialogue, sumptuous locations and one of the best casts currently to be found on TV.

Wrapping up the Rene storyline in gloriously gruesome style, and sowing the seeds of season two left, right, and centre, the series closer felt far less like a finale and more like a regular episode, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

One of the strongest elements of True Blood is the ordinariness, the almost every day nature of the supernatural occurrences in Bon Temps, which allows the writers to focus on snappy dialogue and character development rather than constantly pointing them out.

The world keeps turning and no amount of murders, vampires or decapitations can change that, so, like the rest of the season, rather than dedicate the episode to Sookie and her latest travails, the rest of the ensemble are also given room to be as entertaining, sassy and hilarious as we know they can be.

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This approach to the lives of the good people of Bon Temps has led to accusations of a soapy, daytime nature, but those criticisms completely miss the point – you know who are, Daily Mail reviewer. By looking at the town’s minutiae, the TB crew can speak volumes about the world at large, without being accused of being political. It’s not always subtle, as evidenced by overtly familiar anti-vampire rhetoric, but the TB crew do it better than most.

Of course, True Blood wouldn’t be a mystery series if it didn’t leave us with at least a few unanswered questions, and You’ll Be The Death Of Me has plenty to choose from: How do Sam and Maryann know each other? What’s happened to the amazing Lafayette? What could Jess have done that would be bad enough to upset Eric? And who is the corpse in the car?

All this and more will be revealed on your next visit to Bon Temps, but in the meantime, y’all drive safe now…

Check out our review of episode 11 here.