Exclusive: 'True Blood' finale postmortem with Alan Ball!
Though last night’s True Blood finale tied up a bunch of loose ends, it also untied a bunch more! For instance (spoiler alert): Who kidnapped Bill? Why was Eric mostly MIA? Will the Queen return? Are Jessica and Hoyt over? What is Sookie? And that’s for starters. Luckily, series creator Alan Ball agreed to a little post-episode Q&A to finish us off.
Some folks were surprised by the structure of the finale and your decision to wrap up the Maryann story in the first 30 minutes.
ALAN BALL: I try to look at the show as basically almost like it’s a novel, and each episode is a chapter. I guess I’m influenced by the fact that when I watch TV shows, I watch the [DVD] boxed sets. Ultimately, it’s just organically the way it worked out. And the season finale last year was very similar.
Why wasn’t there more Eric in the finale?
BALL: There is a reason for not seeing Eric in the last part of the episode, but if I explain it, I’ll be [giving away] too much.
Will he be prominent next season?
BALL: Yes. Although, when I saw your [latest episode of Ausiello TV], for a moment I thought, we’re going to have to kill Eric, because you are the man. I thought wow, I had many seasons of Eric planned but I guess I’ll have to off him. [Laughs]
Speaking of which, are you surprised at how passionate the Sookie/Eric fans are?
BALL: Yes. I try not to get involved in that because it just sort of — it’s too confusing. I don’t want it to influence what the show is. Personally, I’m like, yes, Eric’s hot, but beyond that he’s dangerous, and I don’t know if he’d love anybody besides himself. What’s the appeal there? The bad boy? The danger?
Why wasn’t Sookie susceptible to Maryann’s powers but Jason was? Do they have different parents?
BALL: They have the same parents. We will find out what Sookie is [next season]. There are such things as dominant and recessive genes. Maybe Jason is fundamentally human but he has a trace of some non-human stuff. He’s kind of a ridiculously perfect [human being]. He’s athletic and has that charisma thing, so maybe he had some help in that regard. [Laughs] Ultimately, if you look at percentages, he’s mostly human. Sookie has a stronger genetic predisposition in another direction. People who have read the books know exactly what I’m talking about. People who haven’t, it will be revealed.
What’s up with the Queen’s Yahtzee obsession?
BALL: You’re 400 years old. What are you going to do? [Laughs] It’s something we came up with in the room and we thought it was funny.
Fans are polarized about Evan Rachel Wood as the Queen. A big complaint is that she doesn’t come off scary enough.
BALL: She will. You don’t want to introduce a character you’re going to see later and blow your wad up front. It’s funny because the fans are so rabid. Of course, that’s fantastic. And the fact that they’re so completely wrapped up in the show and they get upset and they think, “I don’t like that! I love that.” It means people are watching and the show is really affecting them. I think of the show as having a long life. You can’t explain everything and blow your wad in the first episode the first time time you introduce a character. All I can say is keep watching. It will make sense.
Will she return next season as a series regular?
BALL: She won’t be a series regular, but she will appear. Every state has its own vampire royalty. We will meet the King of Mississippi and there will be some interesting stuff happening between him and Evan’s Queen. (Find out who’s just been cast as the King!)
As much as I loved Michelle Forbes’ portrayal of Maryann, the story felt like it dragged on a little long. Why did it take her so long to get to the endgame?
BALL: That’s part of what the queen talks about. They’re always improvising. She really can’t conjure up a God. But she’s so fervent in her belief; she keeps trying this sacrifice and that sacrifice. She’s completely delusional. She killed Miss Jeanette and I think she thought that was going to work. She always thinks it’s going to work. It never does because the God who comes never actually comes. But she so fervently believes that he will, and she’s been believing it for thousands of years. That’s how they were able to outsmart her.
Have we seen the last of her?
BALL: Yes, she’s gone. They destroyed her. She will never rise — which I hate because I love [Michelle], and she was so much fun to work with. She’s really delightful and everyone loves her and we hated to kill her but we had to.
How closely will you follow the third book next season?
BALL: We take the gist of the books, [but] we will depart whenever we feel like it makes better television as opposed to reading. We continue to use the books as templates. But now that I’ve read all nine books there are things that are revealed in later books that we are moving up so that they’ll probably happen in the show earlier than they do in the books.
Will you introduce werewolf Alcide?
Have you cast him?
BALL: No. We will also meet Sam’s blood relatives, the super bad vampire Franklin Mott, we’ll meet Debbie Pelt, we will actually meet the people who live in Hotshot a little bit ahead of schedule. We’ve already broken four episodes and I’ve sent writers out to write scripts over the hiatus.
Have we seen the last of the Fellowship of the Sun?
BALL: No. Just because Steve got humiliated, they still exist. And maybe he’s angrier than ever.
The fact that Jason killed Eggs has me thinking you might restart the Jason-Tara love story next season. Will you?
BALL: Certainly, Jason is going to be consumed with guilt. And he’s going to feel like, “I’ve ruined her life and I’ve got to make her feel better.” Whether that’s wise in any way shape or form remains to be seen. I think Tara certainly gave up on her obsession with Jason, but now that she’s dealing with the worst thing that ever happened to her, she might be more vulnerable to his charms.
Is Tara ever going to be in a happy relationship?
BALL: Happy relationships are boring. We all want them in our own life. But I don’t want to watch them on TV.
Any plans to give Lafayette a boyfriend?
BALL: Nothing I can talk about. But certainly we will see more and more of Lafayette. He built a lot of walls around himself. But we will see him get vulnerable next year — and not just being afraid of Eric.
Any regrets killing off Godric? As I’m sure you’re aware the character was very well-received.
BALL: There’s no regret in killing him off because I think that [story was] really powerful. That was my favorite thing about the second book. However, we can always go back in history. He and Eric had a relationship for a thousand years. We can always go back and see him again.
Are Hoyt and Jessica doomed?
BALL: They still love each other. But there will be problems — as you probably could tell based on last night’s episode.
You do realize how awesome those two are together, right?
BALL: I totally know that.
How long do we have to wait for season 3?
BALL: It’s probably going to premiere around the same time it did this year. We’re going to try to shoot one episode before the Christmas break. I don’t know if HBO will bring the show back earlier, but it certainly won’t be later.
Is there anything I’m forgetting to ask you?
BALL: I’m surprised you didn’t ask who took Bill.
Who took Bill?
BALL: It was Hoyt’s mother.
PHOTO CREDIT: Steven Lippman/HBO
Sookie, Bill, Eric, Lafayette, Sam and the other residents Bon Temps deal with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shape-shifters—not to mention romance and drama