Bill makes one more request of Sookie, as Jessica allows him to feel his most human.
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Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO
True Blood, Anna Paquin, ... | In the season 3 finale, vampire Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) made Bill confess to Sookie — who can't read vampire minds — that he let her…

Series finales are often polarizing, and True Blood’s will likely divide fans between those who are satisfied with a happy ending and those who want an hour of TV that leaves their hearts in their throats and their butts on the edge of their seats. The final season has been about getting back to the characters and letting them have time to actually sit and talk to one another. That’s a lot of what they did this hour, for better or worse.

Bill’s death wish: As mentioned in our instant react, not seeing the S for Sex in the episode’s rating is a tip-off that this isn’t your typical episode of True Blood. Bill tells Sookie that dying of Hep-V has made him feel more human than when he was human, and he wants to be reunited with his family. Staying with her, he’d be denying her children (has he not heard of sperm donors or adoption?), and he finally admits she’s not the only weak one: As long as he’s on the planet, he can’t not be with her either because he loves her too much. The twist is one you feel foolish for not seeing coming: Bill asks Sookie to use her one-time fairy light ball to kill him. By showing him the true death, she’d be setting them both free—she’d just be normal and vampires would no longer be lining up at her door. Sookie agrees to think about it, mostly because she wants to kill him for even asking her to assist his suicide. (And p.s. Bill, you can stake yourself at any time.)

Eric’s brilliant idea: For anyone worried that Bill’s “we only bring her death” speech about Sookie got to Eric, you were right. Eric and Sookie have no scenes together in the finale. He’s staying true to who he is—a capitalist who doesn’t like to trust anyone or share. He suddenly thinks of a plan he frankly could have thought of a lot sooner. He glamours Sarah into drinking Pam’s blood so they can set her free and track her by her fear. Mr. Gus follows into the tunnel after her as Eric and Pam do some fancy stunt work to kill a couple of Yakuza before setting Mr. Gus on fire. Eric then has just enough time to fly to Sookie’s house and kill the Yakuza sent to murder her before she, wearing that stupid T-shirt, even knows they’re outside her home. Eric drives the car back with their dead bodies, bopping his head to the music. Pam, meanwhile, finds Sarah at the carousel in the park where Eric turned Willa. Sarah wants Pam to make her a vampire. The always fickle Sarah offers to become lovers with Pam, who says no amount of money will have either of them going down. But there is something Pam wants from Sarah—a vaccination. Drink. And that’s the last we see of Eric and Pam until the time jump at the end.

The Wedding: Did anyone expect Hoyt and Jessica to marry in this episode? Bill unintentionally guilts them into it, explaining to Jessica, who’d come to tell Bill that she’ll be okay without him, that he never got to walk his human daughter down the aisle or meet the man she’d marry—so he just wants to know Jessica’s “spoken for” before he dies. Of course, you can’t help but feel Jessica’s right when she reminds Bill that Hoyt’s memory of her goes back just a day, so this wedding is incredibly too soon. Especially since Hoyt later admits to his best man, Jason, that he feels like Harrison Ford in that “old movie” (!) Regarding Henry, where Ford’s character has amnesia but falls back in love with his cheating wife. In one of Jason’s wise moments, he tells Bubba they need to live everyday like it’s their last (which they do in this town), and asks him to imagine who he’d like to wake up next to—it’s Jessica. To quote Jason, “It puts everything in perspective prescription for us.” Ha. I think I’m going to miss you most of all, Scarecrow.

Andy is invited to perform the service—and so Bill can tell him as Bill’s closest living relative, he’ll be inheriting his home, which he should rent to Jessica and Hoyt for $1 a month. Arlene and Holly are also there, mostly to gawk at Bill’s house, which they’ve never been inside before, and so Arlene can provide some comic relief with her, “Oh s—, I forgot” when the music doesn’t shut off for the service. True Blood has always had a strong gay metaphor, and it’s nice to see the series go out on one: The state of Louisiana may not recognize Hoyt and Jessica’s marriage because she’s a vampire, but there’s no doubt in Andy’s mind that God does because love is love. More comic relief: Jason calls Andy “father” when Jason tells him he’s giving Hoyt away, but they already hugged it out, so he should just continue with the service.

Who was afraid Bill was going to dissolve into a pile of goo at any second during the service? I was so nervous about it, the magnitude of Sookie hearing Bill’s thoughts for the very first time didn’t even hit me. She heard him thinking about his happiness and his pain, and his desire to stay present and not letting anyone see the suffering. He thought about how much he loved her and how much he wanted her to have a wedding.

NEXT: Goodbye, Bill

Sookie’s choice: Before the wedding, Sookie had gone to see Jason to tell him about Bill’s proposal that she use her fairy light ball. Jason’s reaction was pure self-aware Jason—he’s not smart enough to offer her advice on what to do but he’s sweet enough to tell her he’ll love her no matter what she decides. Sookie had also had a memory the previous night of her and Tara running home to her house as kids in the rain and Gran making them hot chocolate. Tara was thinking about Jason, and Sookie was saying she’d never find a boy to be with because they have such nasty thoughts. But Gran told Sookie that the only limitations are the ones we place on ourselves. In short, Sookie decides her happiness and can fight for whatever she wants. That memory, combined with her post-wedding chat with the Rev. about God appreciating the concept of free will, made Sookie think she should do as Bill suggested.

She arranges to have Bill’s grave dug up, and she meets him in the cemetery after changing from her pink wedding dress to her black funeral one. She doesn’t want to let go, but Bill says it’s time. They kiss, she cries, and as Bill says, “Thank you,” the tears start flowing at home. He opens his coffin and finds the photo he took with his daughter before the war—making all those flashbacks almost worth it. “Bill, I’ll never forget you,” Sookie tells him. “I wish I could say the same, but I don’t know what happens next,” he tells her honestly. And then, Sookie stares at her light ball. For a really long time, as we try not to think about the bad visual effects. Stay in the moment. Stay in the moment. She realizes she can’t sacrifice herself for Bill: Being fae is part of her truth, as much as Jason is her brother and her parents are her parents.

But since Bill still wants to die, she breaks a stake off of a shovel, climbs into the grave, straddles him in his coffin, and helps him pierce his chest with the wood after they say “I love you” and kiss one final time. She’s covered in Bill’s blood as she sobs for what seems like an eternity. Then she miraculously crawls out of the grave, shovels the dirt into the ground with her hands, and walks home. There’s something about her being covered in that much blood that does make it hit you—darkness is what Bill’s made of at his core. He and Sookie weren’t the same. Of course, we’re still rooting for Arlene and Keith, Lafayette and James, and Hoyt and Jessica, but you know, go with it. Sookie is too special to be with a vampire? Too blonde?

The Happy Ending: We jump to about a year later, and watch as Eric and Pam film an awesomely bad infomercial for New Blood, which they claim they synthesized from drops of Sarah Newlin’s blood left behind. Three years after that, they’re at the New York Stock Exchange. The following Thanksgiving, we see them at Fangtasia, back in business, where Eric is still on his throne and Pam is charging $100,000 a minute for vampires to drink from a still-chained Sarah Newlin. Sarah is a prostitute, just as Pam promised. And Sarah’s losing her mind—Steve Newlin is there as a hallucination to haunt her for the rest of her life. What’s the Christian-turned-Buddhist thankful for now? “Nothing.”

Meanwhile, Sookie hosts Thanksgiving at her house. Jason is there, along with Brigette and their three kids (at least two of which are girls). Sookie had approved of Brigette when she met her at Jason’s house the day of Jessica’s wedding because she read her mind and she wasn’t thinking Jason was hot, she was thinking he’s the sweetest. In fact, Sookie had told Jason she’d approve if he ended up sleeping with Brigette taking her to the airport—Hoyt was married, so it wouldn’t make him, in Jason’s words, a “girlfriend f—er” again. Apparently, that’s exactly what happened. Sorry we missed that. One more Jason Stackhouse sex scene would’ve been nice. Then again, this season has been about seeing him as more than a sexual object. So fine.

Everyone but Pam and Eric were at Sookie’s for Thanksgiving, including Sam, Nicole, and their two kids. The couples were all intact: Hoyt and Jessica, Lafayette and James, Arlene and Keith, the Rev. and Lettie Mae, Holly and Andy, Adilyn and Wade. Sookie is pregnant, and finally we see her embrace a dark-haired man whose face we never catch a glimpse of. It’s a warm, realistic ending full of family and friends and, if we remember that Sookie wanted a normal life, it could be satisfying. Like Gran had insisted, Sookie found a way to be extraordinary in an ordinary life. But it didn’t have you cheering, or weeping, or feeling some other extreme emotion, which is what some fans may have wanted out of a series finale. Even though it hasn’t been Team Eric vs. Team Bill for a while now, those loyalties die hard. So Team Faceless Human is tough to swallow, even if it’s right. Like Sookie, we need to get back to reality and find the beauty in everyday life. (Though again, Arlene, Hoyt, and Lafayette don’t have to.)

Episode Recaps

True Blood, Anna Paquin, ... | In the season 3 finale, vampire Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) made Bill confess to Sookie — who can't read vampire minds — that he let her…
True Blood

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

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