True Blood season 5 episode 12 review: Save Yourself

The season five finale (and Alan Ball's True Blood swan song) was the show at its best. Here's Emma's review...

This review contains spoilers.

5.12 Save Yourself

If you, as many have, ever had any doubt that True Blood was still one of the best shows available on your tellybox, then Save Yourself put those doubts to bed. For good. Aside from the fantastic start to the Rapture – with an unlikely leader, the finale – in Sam’s hands – also grabs the accolade of Best Death Ever. Ever. It was indeed a finale to die for, and lots of people did…

Let’s start with the first death, which coincidentally is also the show’s biggest loss – Russell Edgington has finally been put down. And despite Eric’s episode-wide amazing timing, it seems to have been the Faeries wot done it. Given that the Faeries have done frick-all for the entire season – barring procreating with the nearest drunk – the final score is Russell Nil, Faeries One. Which seems a tad unfair, no? And while it had to happen, and while it was glorious that Eric was present, and possibly partly responsible, it is a massive shame that the batshit ex-King will no longer be gracing Bon Temps with his psychotic presence. RIP Russell, you will be sorely missed.

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For a short while at least. For no sooner had the position of Bon Temps’ most batshit vampire become vacant, did Bill Compton became exactly crazy enough to get the job. Now set up as the Big Bad for next season – something, much like Lafayette, many of us did not see coming – Billith’s religious fervour and chosen one arrogance has reached its peak, and let’s face it, they are going to be trouble. With most of the Bon Temps A-List trapped in the underground lair, this is likely to be a battle of epic, and deadly, proportions, not least because not one of them has the first idea about how to kill a … God? Is that what Bill is now? If that is the case, it’s likely we won’t be the only ones missing Russell come June.

Bill’s transformation is, however, a fabulous twist – poor Stephen Moyer hasn’t had much to do for the last couple of seasons, and the prospect of an Angelus-esque, deliciously evil Bill is tantalising.

Of course, as action-packed as the episode was, there was one very conspicuous absence. Namely, that of the mysterious parent-slayer known as Warlow. Having been pretty heavily set up a few episodes ago, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the finale would be ripe for his Bon Temps debut.  But as always with True Blood, unpredictability is the name of the game – it’s one of the things that makes the show so watchable; it’s also incredibly restrained on the part of the producers – as tempting as it must have been, not having him appear in season five means that there’s a very good chance that season six will bring a very interesting meeting between Warlow and Billith.

One of the other things that makes True Blood eminently watchable is its attention to the B-story. It’s not always a successful strategy as regular readers of these reviews will attest, but this week, it was not only integral to the success of the A-story, it was also beautifully written.

The scenes in question are of course those that take place at Merlotte’s – which is apparently is a whole hell of a lot more fun when Sam is elsewhere. Outside of the outlandish multiple-orgasmic births, the humour on display here – from the bringing of the cocktails, to the declaration that Andy is a dick – was absolutely perfect. And it had to be – alongside Jason, Merlotte’s was the only comic relief. Hard up against the biggest, darkest ending to any season of the show so far, the humour absolutely held its own. And it wasn’t just funny – the genuine friendship that has developed between Holly, Arlene and Lafayette is a joy, and – Laf’s penis notwithstanding – they are great examples of the amazing female characters the show has produced.

Which leads us neatly to another female trio – that of Jess, Pam and Tara. Admittedly, it’s changed shape a little since the revelation that Jess’ predictions about Tara’s oedipal complex were in fact accurate. Reunited with a little help from another couple of kick-ass women, this particular trio is possible the most interesting in the show, and although the whole ‘not in charge of their bodies’ thing didn’t really pan out – which is a shame – we can at least be proud of the fantastic, take-no-shit women that currently populate Louisiana.

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Of course, with pretty much all of the (vamp) women, alongside Sookie, in a spot of trouble right now – as much from the newly Stathamed-up Jason Stackhouse as Billith or anyone else, they’re going to have to be extra kick-ass to survive. And while Save Yourself was the amazing Alan Ball’s True Blood swan song, we shouldn’t worry too much. Let’s face it, with Billith on the rampage, Warlow on route, and Jason on a vengeance trip, there’s not very much that can wrong.

What a way to go though – truly a sensational finale, and an incredibly fitting goodbye to a sensational writer and producer. Season six is all change, all round, and while the wait will be simply excruciating, it will definitely be worth it. Safe travels, y’all.

Read Emma’s review of last week’s episode, Sunset, here.

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