So consider this getting a jump on next week, but I figured this all deserved its own post and not footnotes in the grand evaluation. And I doubt that there will be too much that changes what I’m about to say in the finale.
Last week I specifically celebrated ladystrengths. I mean, I celebrate those always, but I was thinking while watching this week’s episode that holy crap, I love the True Blood cast of ladies a lot. I understand that there are a crap ton of differences between the show characterizations and the book characterizations, but really? I’m fine with that. I’ve talked about all the reasons I’m fine with that before. And some of my favorite ladies aren’t even book canon to begin with. And I’m sad when they aren’t there, or I was the last time I read the books (I’m woefully behind, but whatever).
Basically this is a lady-by-lady list of awesome based on this season.
Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin)
As I have before discussed frequently, damn I love Anna Paquin. Sookie has actually never been my favorite character, though; it’s not that I don’t like her, I just don’t always think about her with as much exclamation-pointy joy as I do some of the others. She’s not my favorite, but mostly because that spot is already filled by others. I will admit to cringing earlier in the season when the fairies told her she could use up her light and stop being fae and she went out to go do that pretty quickly, but mostly because it took me back to the upsetting time of X-Men: The Last Stand; it’s an interesting dilemma, though. Moments of “but I didn’t choose this” are something that most people who are judged and/or persecuted for being somehow different have, as are moments of “but wouldn’t it be easier?” and “if this part of me went away, would I still be me?” and exploring them can be interesting as long as it isn’t done in a painful way. The various conversations Sookie had with people were not painful; they offered other viewpoints and handled concerns in a rational way. Hurrah! And Sookie herself, particularly as she learns more about what she can do and why, is kind of a badass. She is so fiercely loyal to her people above anything, and that’s great. And I love that, save for that drunken kiss session with Alcide (Joe Manganiello), there have been no attempts to entangle Sookie’s character in a romance plot this season.
Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley)
At the beginning of the series, I was not a fan of Tara, period. Maybe it’s just how they wrote her situations, but while I’ve always been able to acknowledge that I feel bad for the bad things that have happened in her life, there wasn’t a whole lot of stuff that made me have particularly strong “I like you as a character” feelings. They didn’t really handle her character super-well, maybe. But I open myself to judgment for the following statement: I actually really love the decision to make Tara a vampire. It’s been an opportunity for her to establish an identity independent of the expectations and history she’s had to deal with her whole life, an opportunity for her to deal with some of her prejudices and to get to be (mostly) her own person. Sure, having a maker like Pam does negate some of the autonomy, but while Pam whips out the “as your maker, I command you” card a lot, she seems to be fairly interested in letting Tara be herself so long as it doesn’t reflect badly on her or the business.
Pam de Beaufort (Kristin Bauer van Straten)
Pam has always been my favorite, basically from her first appearance, but this has been the season of jaw-dropped, wide-eyed “what in the world, dammit Pam” every time she appears on screen in a new outfit. (This has been the season of so many corsets, and we all know about my corset problem.) In addition to that, though, this has also been the season for Pam to become a bit more autonomous. Last season she was running the Fangtasia show in Eric’s absence too, but it was different; she was still running it for him, in his stead. Now that it’s her show to run, for herself, it feels different. She’s still loyal to Eric (and I got the only things I wanted from this season: flashbacks and them reconciling – I was legitimately dreading the possibility that they wouldn’t) but she’s her own woman. She got Eric to turn her all those years ago so she could continue to be her own woman, but not until now has she really and truly been. She has Tara to manage (because bossy though she may be, kind of a bad mommy though she may be, she does have those little moments of pride and of looking out for her, and so what if she’s not the most affectionate, she never has been, she’s not an emotional woman because that’s just not her way) and Fangtasia to look out for, and she’s acting based on what she thinks is the right thing to do, or the best thing to do at the time. It’s quiet, masked in snark, and maybe not 100% normal, but she does have a social conscience of sorts.
Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Woll)
Jessssss. Pam has always been my favorite, but I have big, giant warm fuzzies for Jessica. She just keeps getting to be more and more of a badass; there was the idle partying stage at the season’s beginning, but hey, you’re the princess of Louisiana and your daddy’s left you alone in his big fancy house for this long unsupervised and you’ve literally never been in that situation before in your life, I’d say she was probably allowed a bit of youthful folly for the hell of it. Jess likes to feed on human blood, but after that first accident, she’s been pretty good about not killing people and not doing it against wills, which is the healthiest way to feed off of people and is therefore good. Jess is also crazy-loyal to people; even though she knows she shouldn’t have things with Jason, and she knows she can’t go back to having things with Hoyt, she still cares about them. And I love that they presented the issue of her falling out of love with Hoyt so straightforwardly. It was young love, it was first love, but you know what? That doesn’t always last, and the not lasting isn’t always anyone’s fault. Sometimes people just stop loving each other, and that’s not bad, it’s just a fact of life. Nobody was made to be the villain in the situation, nobody was right or wrong, it just was. And I’m still waffling on the whole “hey, Jess, erase my memories” thing, but Hoyt did ask her this time, and Jess did it because she wanted him to be happy, so it came from a place of decency. And I just knew that when Bill summoned Jessica to the Authority’s hideout and tried to force religion down her throat, she was not going to take it. Jessica’s human father was an abusive, hyperreligious control freak, and Jessica reveled in the freedom from that that being a vampire gave her, so like hell would she want to take more religiously motivated abuse from her vampire daddy. Even if her attempts to thwart it didn’t quite work out, she tried, because just because one person believes something doesn’t mean that everyone has to believe it, and standing up to someone trying to force you to change is brave and good.
Luna Garza (Janina Gavankar)
I didn’t have a lot of Luna feelings last season, but I’ve grown to basically love her too. (I’ll admit that realizing Janina Gavankar was in an episode of Dollhouse helped, yeah.) Luna does not kick a lot of ass all the time, but Luna is a hell of a fighter. And she’s a fighter and a mom, which is fantastic; she will do absolutely anything for her daughter, no matter how dangerous. I like that she’s sort of rash at times; I like that she doesn’t give a damn. She doesn’t get to interact with a lot a lot of other characters, but I like that she calls Sam on his bull a lot of the time and I like that he listens to her and respects her. Their relationship is actually pretty sweet, all things considered.
Arlene Fowler Bellefleur (Carrie Preston)
Honestly, Arlene is probably my least favorite of the True Blood ladies. Mostly because I like everyone else more. But occasionally she does things that make me silently applaud her, like helping Terry fight his army buddy so the smoke monster wouldn’t kill everyone they loved. (I love that this is a canon where you can say things like that completely seriously.) She’s a fairly fierce mom too, though she doesn’t always have the most to do and can be kind of a bigot. (Oh, and I love that she’s double last naming.)
Holly Cleary (Lauren Bowles)
She hasn’t had a whole hell of a lot to do this season, but she’s around and I like that she doesn’t take crap. I like that she tries to be open to things.
Nora Gainesborough (Lucy Griffiths)
Noooorrrraaa. I mentioned before that I haven’t fallen in love with a character (for non-actress related reasons) this fast in a while. And it was a leap of faith, since she’s not book canon and I didn’t know even maybe what fate had in store for her. But I really am irrationally in love with her: I loved her at the start, as well we know, I loved her when she was being tortured for information and was all resolute and sassy and British, I loved her when she was off the deep end with vampire religion because I have a soft spot for crazy British vampires, I love her now that she’s decided that can’t go on and she’s ripping off her necklace and she and Eric are flying off into the night. I’m really rooting for her at this point: I like her, I really like her, and I don’t want her to be one of my doomed girls. I want her to be one of my girls who gets to stay undead-alive and live to politically fight another day. It’s awesome to me that she’s this calculating political genius apparently, yet she’s still written to have been seduced by faith and even when she was coming off completely batty about it she’s still acknowledged to be brilliant, that maybe her faith made her crazy but it didn’t make her stupid; it’s also awesome to me that her moment of revelation, though quite literally consummated with Eric, was one that belonged to her and her alone. She hallucinated Godric when she and Eric were taking Lilith’s blood, but a hallucination like that could very well have been influenced by both of their subconscious minds and it could have been interpreted any number of ways. Nora wasn’t told what to believe so much that she believed it, just as when she found the faith; she came to the conclusion on her own, by contemplating the evidence around her. (I rewatched the last two episodes, and knowing what I already knew, I could see or anyway I thought I saw, these beautiful little looks in her eyes like she’d already started thinking about it in the scenes that followed the hallucinations.) And I still can’t tell what’s on her back when she jumps into the frame in the trailer for the finale (probably stakes, but my first thought was arrows for a crossbow, a la Inara) but she’s doing what she must. Oh, and I love it when my ladies-who-kiss vibes are actually proven as canon. Yay, at least somewhat bisexual vampire ladies. (Also, her eyes and her smile and her cute nose knock me off my feet fairly consistently.)
Salome Agrippa (Valentina Cervi)
Despite the fact that she’s the leader of the whole religious movement, and clearly has her moments, Salome is portrayed as the most resolute of them, the least openly fanatical. It’s an interesting dichotomy between her and Nora: pre-Nora’s revelation, they were apparently equally firm in their beliefs, but Nora was more evangelical about it, while Salome was more factual. I’ve never trusted her, even before I knew what was exactly going on, but she’s an interestingly-crafted big bad to be sure.
And Martha Bozeman (Dale Dickey) is a firmly believing dame, all the fairies are flashy and worth exploring further in future seasons, Emma Garza (Chloe Noelle) is the most adorable wolf puppy that has ever lived, Rosalyn Harris (Carolyn Hennesy) is kind of the Dolores Umbridge of the Vampire Authority, and Molly (Tina Majorino) was adorable and sassy and I wish she’d stuck around longer because techie vampires are clearly awesome but I love that she told them all off before she met the true death. Yeah.
–your fangirl heroine.