2.12 Beyond Here Lies Nothing
The eagerly anticipated finale of the second season of the bloodiest, sexiest show on TV finally arrived on our screens on Sunday, after an agonising two week wait. Always an interesting and compelling watch, what was most intriguing about Beyond Here Lies Nothing is that the biggest surprises had nothing to do with Maryann.
As the episode opens, Maryann’s ‘wedding’ preparations are in full swing – parading around in Grandma Stackhouse’s antique wedding dress, she’s convinced that Sam Merlotte’s sacrifice is the very thing to entice a reluctant god into marriage. Our psychic is to be maid of honour, a position the maenad has decided upon thanks to Sookie’s demon defences. Maryann is sure that Sookie isn’t 100% human, and as such is keeping a very close eye on her, while in the best Bond tradition explaining her plan in explicit detail. It seems that Sookie, in addition to her ceremonial role, is also bait – once Sam hears that she’s in trouble, he won’t be able to resist willingly sacrificing himself to save her.
Sam’s willingness to die for Sookie is something that Bill is also counting on. Armed with what little knowledge Queenie was able to impart, he and Sam hatch a plan to save Sookie and the rest of the town, and if they’re lucky, kill Maryann in the process. There’s just one catch, though, – the plan involves Sam actually being sacrificed. Despite the obvious risk to his health, Sam and Bill arrive at the wedding just a tad too late for the ceremonial egg-licking, and only a few minutes after Rambo Stackhouse and Det. Andy are heroically taken over by Maryann in the record time of seven seconds. Some rescue mission that turned out to be.
With Sam tied safely to the womb totem, the ceremony begins in earnest. Sookie has no idea what Sam and Bill are up to and is convinced the bar owner is about to die. And you can’t blame her – when Eggs plunges the dagger into Sam’s stomach, it looks for all the world that he’s shifted his last. Livid, Sookie uses that demon fighting white lightening of hers to destroy the womb totem, which, of course, really upsets Maryann. She has, after all, just completely ruined the maenad’s wedding.
Before she can unleash the full three-clawed fury on Sookie, an enormous white bull comes loping out of the darkness. Convinced her god has come, Maryann welcomes the enormous horn that rips into her chest, until the bull reveals itself to be none other than Sam Merlotte – ta da! Fully revived thanks to Bill and his ever-generous blood supply, Sam destroys Maryann’s heart, finally ending her total domination of Bon Temps.
The citizenry is now fully conscious and completely unaware of the events of the evening. By the next morning, the town is already explaining away the town-wide amnesia with stories of aliens and dodgy vodka; so everything’s back to normal then.
Sam on the other hand, is far from normal. Having saved the town thanks to his gift, he goes looking for the parents that gave him up for adoption. Dropping by to see the adoptive parents who abandoned him when he was teenager, they grudgingly give up the names and last known address of his biological parents, but the info comes with a warning – apparently, they’re bad people. And this comes from a couple who ditched their 14-year-old son.
It’s not just Sam getting a nasty surprise – Sookie’s also in for a shock. On a very intimate evening out to celebrate Maryann’s demise, Bill proposes to our psychic. Not that she’s an emotional wreck or anything, but Sookie freaks out, resulting in a tearful sprint for the bathroom. When she finally gets it together enough to accept, she finds an empty room where Bill should be, and it’s clear that he didn’t leave willingly. Whoever dragged him out of the building, with the aid of a silver garrotte, meant business.
And, as if all that wasn’t enough excitement for a town that had just come out from under the spell of a demon, Jason Stackhouse – clearly still on a Rambo high – shoots Eggs in the head as he maniacally confesses to the murder of Miss Jeanette while brandishing Maryann’s ceremonial dagger at Andy. For some reason, Det. Andy decides to take the blame for the shooting, and sends Jason packing before anyone sees him. Tara is inconsolable, and once again, we leave Bon Temps with a dead body in the car park at Merlotte’s…
So, Maryann is finally defeated, leaving Bon Temps free to return to its old routine of drinking and gossiping and barely anyone is the worse for wear. Beyond Here Lies Nothing may not have been the action packed finale usually reserved for a final episode, but there were plenty of ‘holy crap!’ moments, the biggest of which being Jason’s slaughter of Eggs. Even during the fight with the Fellowship Jason didn’t really hurt anyone, and his brutal, hit man style kill shot is possibly the scariest thing we’ve seen him do.
Not a show to pay too close attention to the conventions of TV drama, the finale actually dispensed with the Maryann storyline fairly early on, choosing to set up season three’s storylines rather than have an hour long maenad vs. the vampire fight. Watching Sam finally take care of the hedonistic, energy sucking demon was immensely satisfying, however, not least because it marks him out as something more than the horny, waitress obsessed bar owner we’ve come to know. Whoever and whatever his parents are, it’ll be fascinating to see how they fit into the True Blood universe.
A drama with a mystery at its heart, True Blood couldn’t leave us without a cliffhanger. Who has Bill? The smart money is on Bill currently occupying Lafayette’s recently vacated spot in the Fangtasia dungeon. With Queenie backing the ancient Viking all the way, the future looks bleak for Sookie’s intended. Although Eric is at his best when he’s in the throes of a diabolical plan.
A fitting end to a superb season, Beyond Here Lies Nothing exemplified what makes this such a successful show. Funny, sharp, touching and dramatic, True Blood is a smart show that never patronises it’s audience and the TV landscape is all the better for it. Okay, it could have done with a little more Eric, but they can always put that right in season three. Meet you back here in June?
Check out our review of episode 11 here.