TRUE BLOOD 5.12 ‘Save Yourself’

Sookie and Eric desperately try to stop Bill from himself as Sam tries to free his loved ones from the Authority.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Save Yourself"

Writer: Alan Ball

Director: Michael Lehmann

Previously on "True Blood":

Episode 5.11 "Sunset"

Story:

Drunk with the power of the faerie blood from feeding on the elder faerie, Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) heads towards the entrance of the faerie nightclub as Sookie Stackhouse ( Anna Paquin) and the assembled faeries try to keep him out. Just when Russell seems to be well on his way in, Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) shows up and he fatally stakes his nemesis. In the aftermath, Eric has to restrain his vampire sister, Nora (Lucy Griffiths) from attacking Sookie for her faerie blood as Sookie checks on her injured brother, Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten). But when Jason wakes up, he sees apparitions of his dead parents urging him to kill vampires.

Inside the Authority's compound, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) sees that his naked man breakfast is his former ally, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell). Sam explains that he only came there because Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) kidnapped Emma (Chloe Noelle), the daughter of his lover, Luna (Janina Gavankar). But Bill shows him no mercy and he moves to kill Sam until he shifts into a fly and escapes. At Fangtasia, Eric and Nora take out his hidden cash for safekeeping before Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) tells him that the Authority has taken Pam (Kristin Bauer) into custody.

At the Stackhouse home, Jason continues to hallucinate his parents as Sookie openly worries about him. Eric, Nora and Tara arrive to get Sookie's help with Bill, as she may be the only one who can reach him. Jason only goes along with them because his phantom parents tell him that it will be a good opportunity to kill vampires. Back at Authority headquarters, Bill screams at the security team to kill anything that might be Sam in disguise. Afterwards, Salome (Valentina Cervi) questions Bill about the absence of Kibwe (Peter Mensah), but Bill says that Kibwe believed that he was chosen by Lilith (Jessica Clark)… so Bill killed him.

Bill continues by saying that Lilith appeared to him and told him that Salome was her chosen one; which makes Salome very happy. In the dungeon, Sam briefly appears to Luna and Emma before searching for a way out of the compound. Elsewhere, Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) and his father, Jackson (Robert Patrick) are surprised by the arrival of Martha (Dale Dickey), who tells them that J.D. (Louis Herthum) forced Rikki (Kelly Overton) to OD on vampire blood. As they tend to Rikki's withdrawal symptoms, Alcide promises to challenge JD once again. But this time, Alcide agrees to use vampire blood as a way to even the fight between them.

On the way to the Authority headquarters, Sookie becomes increasingly disturbed by the extent of Jason's hatred for vampires. Inside the compound, Sam visits Steve Newlin's room and comes up with a way to get his loved ones out before returning to Luna and sharing the details with her. At Merlotte's, Andy Bellefleur's (Chris Bauer) relationship with Holly Cleary (Lauren Bowles) is destroyed when he introduces her to Maurella (Kristina Anapau); the faerie whom he impregnated. Holly is even forced to serve as a midwife for Maurella as she gives birth to four daughters and leaves them in Andy's care before abandoning them.

Back at the Authority compound, Luna assumes the form of Steve Newlin and gets Emma out of the dungeon. She almost makes it out of the building with Emma before she is stopped by Rosalyn Harris (Carolyn Hennesey); who tells "Steve" that he must go on live TV to explain away the footage of Steve and Russell slaughtering a frat house. As a fly, Sam manages to sneak onto the elevator with them. Meanwhile, Alcide confronts JD, with his father and Martha as backup. Alcide makes quick work of JD before killing him as the wolves accept him as their new pack master.

When they arrive at Authority headquarters, Eric and Nora leave Sookie, Eric and Pam tied up in the back to pose as prisoners. Bill is alerted to their arrival and he allows them to enter. On TV, "Steve" is incredibly uncomfortable while trying to spin the vampires' agenda before Luna loses control and transforms back into herself. She manages to tell the world about the captive humans whom the Authority is holding, but Rosalyn knocks over the camera soon after. Before Rosalyn can harm Luna, Sam flies into Rosalyn's mouth and enlarges from within her body, killing her. Just afterwards, Luna collapses. .

At the Authority's compound, Jason kills several vampires as the group makes their way inside. They free Jessica and Pam, shortly before Tara kisses Pam in front of everyone. Elsewhere, Salome prepares to drink Lilith's blood even as Bill lightly suggests that it may be dangerous. However, once Salome has swallowed the blood, Bill admits that he switched it out with silver laced blood. Impressed by his move, the dying Salome tells Bill that Lilith choose well before he stakes her. When reunited with Jason, Jessica is disappointed when her profession of love for him is met by indifference and his assurance that he could never love a vampire.

To everyone's surprise, Eric and Sookie elect to stay behind to try and save Bill before sending Jason, Pam, Tara, Nora and Jessica back to the surface. Eric and Sookie find Bill just as he prepares to drink Lilith's blood. Despite pleas from both Sookie and Eric, Bill rejects their words and he ingests the blood… which kills him nearly instantly. As Sookie cries into Eric's arms, they see Bill rise out of the puddle of blood and bare his newly enlarged fangs. Eric tells Sookie to run before he also flees this new threat.

Breakdown:

If Bill had remained dead, I would have been a lot happier with the "True Blood" season finale. Granted, if Bill had simply dissolved into blood pudding and never come back, it would have been an anti-climatic end for one of the series' co-leads. But it would have taken some serious guts to permanently kill off someone so important to the show.

At the very least, Alan Ball didn't use his final episode as a way to walk Bill back from the edge. Instead, it looks like Bill will be the main villain of "True Blood" season 6… if he is still Bill anymore. Clearly, Lilith was more than just an imagined vision, otherwise her blood wouldn't have been able to resurrect Bill into a more vicious version of himself. But is Bill controlling his own body or is Lilith in the driver's seat now?

There are a lot of intriguing questions left to be dealt with by the new "True Blood" showrunner next season. With the Authority gone, there's no one left to hold the vampires in line. And as much as the "True Blood" writers have tried to create a parallel between the vampire race's struggle for acceptance and the gay/civil rights fight, the analogy falls apart because humanity has some very legitimate reasons to hate and fear the vampires. Luna's shapeshifting on live TV may have also exposed the existence of other supernatural beings to the general public; whom they aren't likely to embrace. And honestly, can you blame humanity for turning against the vampires? The formerly mainstream Authority encouraged vampires to feed on humans and the public thinks that Russell is still alive.

It was definitely a shame to see Russell dispatched so easily within this episode. Despite his much hyped return, Russell ended up playing a secondary role to the villainy of Salome, Lilith and even Bill. The only saving grace of Russell's death was that Eric got to strike the final blow; which was a much better choice than leaving the task to Sookie and the faeries. However, I did enjoy the way that Eric and Sookie have become almost the co-protagonists of this series. It's hard to imagine the Eric of "True Blood" seasons 1 through 3 going out of his way to save Bill. And yet saving Bill was important enough to Eric that he remained behind with Sookie. There was something inherently heroic about Eric's almost uncharacteristic selflessness.

Jason's change of heart towards all vampires was understandable, but it started to get pretty tedious as the episode went on. Jason's newfound biases may be a good way to keep him away from Jessica. However, Jason's hatred made him even more of a one note character than ever before. I was also not very enthused by the romantic turn between Pam and Tara. I was more taken by the mother/daughter aspect of their relationship and a true romance between them seems kind of forced and unsubtle. But then again, subtlety has never exactly been Alan Ball's forte on this series.

If there's one thing that "Save Yourself" made very clear, it was just how useless most of the subplots are on this show. Maurella's extended birth scene was excruciating to watch… and Ball's script seemed to give off the impression that the sequence was supposed to be fascinating or funny. If so, it failed completely. Alcide's wolf pack story was at least tolerable, if ultimately pointless as well. The only storyline that worked all the way through the season was Bill and Eric's experiences with the Vampire Authority and the chaos that came out of that. The rest of the "True Blood" plots could have been dropped entirely without being missed. 

I'm still on board for the next season and I do want to see what's next for Bill, Sookie and Eric. But "True Blood" badly needs some tighter scripting in future seasons.