SOOKIE (to Bill): Whatever this is, whatever you're doin', you don't get to hide behind the word "fate".Oh, TRUE BLOOD. Did you really just spend 40-minutes of your final season's penultimate hour on pairing up Hoyt (Jim Parrack)-Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), and Jason (Ryan Kwanten)-Bridget (Ashley Hinshaw)? It was obvious from the moment Hoyt returned to Bon Temps with Bridget in tow that a 'partner swap' was on the cards, so it wasn't anything close to a surprise. And while I was once a big fan of Hoyt and Jessica as a loved-up young couple, seeing them back together didn't fill me with the intended warm glow. I think it's because Hoyt was once a naïve and charming hick who managed to land himself a world-class babe, but now he's just gruff and dull.
It's hard to get upset about an episode that was paying characters lots of attention, as one criticism of True Blood has been how storylines became freight trains of craziness with little time for some introspective, realistic character moments. But having a whole episode of them, coming close to the end of a final season, felt like a very strange choice. It was also pretty terrible how they wrote Sam (Sam Trammell) out of the show, with him choosing pregnant girlfriend Nicole over his home-town and travelling to Chicago to start a new life as a dad. Hard to believe Sam's still supposed to be a core character, when his exit's dealt with via flashbacks and a few narrated letters written to Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Sheriff Andy (Chris Bauer).
SOOKIE: I'm scared.
ERIC: Death is scary. I've been avoiding it for a thousand years.
Overall, despite a few nice character moments, and a very funny pay-off when barmaid Ginger (Tara Buck) got to have sex with Eric on his throne (only to hilariously climax very prematurely), "Love is to Die" was a protracted and largely tedious hour. Matters were exacerbated when you remember this hour was wasting time that could have been spent on a more compelling, faster-paced set-up to a big finale. But it seems that True Blood, even with fewer episodes to produce these days, struggles to deliver enough material to last ten hours.
One can only hope next Sunday's series finale will be a more exciting and surprising conclusion for a drama that would never live down giving Trubies a weak ending.
written by Brian Buckner | directed by Howard Deutch | 17 August 2014 | HBO