August 19, 2013



This was, for the most part, a solid rebuilding season for TRUE BLOOD.  The show survived a replacement in showrunners when series creator Alan Ball stepped down after 5 years–and then a replacement of that replacement–with show veteran Brian Buckner ultimately taking over.  Under his direction, the series took a smart step or two back from the excesses of the past few seasons, with its super-witches and Middle East monsters.  Possibly in part because this was the shortest season thus far (due to Anna Paquin’s real-life pregnancy), it was more focused, with a relative minimum of time spent on sideshow storylines.

On the plus side, while the subterranean research/torture center run by the late Governor was a little much like last season’s subterranean Authority headquarters, the things that went on there hit the right True Blood note of being simultaneously horrifying and kinda funny, and Anna Camp gave a kick to every minute she had as the returned Sarah Newlin (and since Sarah somehow managed not to die in the eventual massacre, she’s eligible for another comeback).  New vamp characters like Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire) and Violet (Karolina Wydra) haven’t proved indelible so far, but they fit in fairly well.  God Bill (Stephen Moyer) was a nice twist for his sometimes-boring character.  Perhaps the most fertile invention of the season was giving Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) his fast-growing faerie daughters, of whom sadly just Adylin (Bailey Noble) survived–this storyline also gave Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) the biggest, most emotional material she’s had in a long time when she couldn’t help herself from slaughtering Adylin’s sisters and had to live with the ensuing guilt.  Woll ran with it all the way to tonight’s season finale, arguably even overshadowing Paquin as the season’s emotional lead.

The signal failure of the season was Warlow (Rob Kazinsky), who unfortunately was a major part of every episode.  The half-faerie, half-vamp was never as interesting as the show seemed to think, and as he went back and forth between romantic lead and villain and back again, mostly one wished he’d just get it over with.  We seemed to spend an eternity on that damn glowing faerie plane with him and Sookie (Paquin), and once he’d turned psychopath yet again, monologuing just long enough as he tied up Sookie for the cavalry to arrive, it was a relief to have him finally splattered once and for all.  (And good to see Rutger Hauer back as heroic grandpa Niall!)  It would also be an unworthy joke if Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) were really wiped out in a season finale sight gag when he lost the power to tolerate daylight just as he was stretched out for some nude reading and sunbathing, but it seems extremely unlikely that this will really be the case, as the episode had earlier set up Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) as heading out to find him.

The season finale, written by Co-Producer Kate Barnow and directed by Scott Winant, spent its first half tying up the loose ends of last week’s vampire triumph over the Hep-V forces, with a lot of fun bits about the vamps enjoying their (brief, as it turned out) sojourn in the sunlight, and then the big Warlow showdown.  The second half, set 6 months later, was a set-up for what appears to be a promising Season 7, with the Hep-V-infected vamps (who look more than a little like Walking Dead zombies) about to invade Bon Temps and various human/vampire alliances being made, the best being Jessica’s solemn vow to protect Andy and Adylin.  Second best:  Tara (Rutina Wesley) being offered blood by her mother Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) as a form of amends for her rotten childhood.  We also got some interesting status updates on our leads:  Sookie and Alcide (Joe Manganiello, without much to do this season) are a couple, back-to-normal Bill wants to be in Sookie’s life once again, Sam (Sam Trammell) is Mayor of Bon Temps, Arlene (Carrie Preston) has bought Sam’s bar and renamed it Bellefleur’s, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) still hasn’t had sex with Violet, and so on.

True Blood, along with Game of Thrones, is one of HBO’s blockbusters, so Season 7 will be far from its last.  It’s now shown it can run itself capably without Alan Ball, and with its enormous cast and multiple storylines, it can even survive the loss of some performers if salary renegotiations ever start going south.  The series may not last the 5500 years that Warlow could boast before his staking, but its blood should keep flowing for some time to come.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."