The penultimate episode of True Blood’s fifth season “Sunset” boards us right from the first scene on a runaway train that will blast the fans straight into the grand season finale.
Personally I have never been so anxious for the finale as this year. I fear we will be left hanging in shock and awe for nine months until the start of season 6.
In the meantime episode 11 caused a substantial amount of shock and awe all on its own: all the various storylines are coming together with Lilith and the Authority in the increasingly bloody center of it all.
Let’s get started, because there is so much to discuss in this episode where True Blood meets Highlander: There can be only one…. Don’t lose your head.
Bill steps out of the elevator on his way somewhere when he hears a voice saying his name: “Bill Compton”. Puzzled he follows the sound into the sacred room with the blood vial. But there is nobody there, when he turns to leave, he hears a screeching sound and turns around with popped fangs. Lilith is standing before him covered in blood, Bill stares at her in shock. Lilith speaks to him: “Only one can lead us. I choose you.” Bill stares at her intensely and moves closer as Lilith opens the glass display and orders him to drink the blood from the vial. “Drink the blood. Drink it all”. Bill is completely confused; he doesn’t know what to think and a whole range of emotions flow over his face from excitement to disbelieve to doubt and finally rejection. His mind is racing, but he rejects the idea of drinking the blood of Lilith and all the consequences that will comprehend. Bill shakes his head, “No”, he backs out of the room and turns to run off. Another screeching sound. Bill faces the sacred room, but Lilith is gone. The door of the glass display is left open and a bloody handprint has been left behind. Bill walks away confused by the vision he has just experienced.
In the meantime Nora is thinking about how Lilith killed her maker Godric, or at least the vision of Godric. It looks like Godric did not only snap Eric out of the drug-enforced delusion, but also Nora. It is even clear to Salome that something has changed with her friend when she comes to inform her that General Cavanaugh will pay the Authority a visit. If it is that easy to stop believing in Lilith and her dark ways, there might still be hope that our beloved Bill will soon come to his senses.
Jessica sneaks into Salome’s suite in search for Bill’s cell phone, just in the moment she takes it, Bill appears in the doorway. She explains to her maker that she wants to call Jason and warn him that Russell and Steve Newlin are on the loose. Bill denies her the phone call. Jessica is surprised by his answer and doesn’t understand. Surely Bill wouldn’t want any harm to come to Sookie or her brother?
Bill explains to his progeny that it has taken him a long while to come to terms with the fact that part of accepting the word of Lilith into his heart has been distancing himself from the trivial matters of humans.
A long while? Mmmm, not so much if you ask me. How long has it been since that fateful night in the streets of New Orleans? A couple of days? I guess time really does fly when you are having fun.
“It used to drive me crazy”, Bill continues, while Jessica does some serious eye rolling. “Worrying about their feelings and their mortality and their weakness, until I found a better way … Lilith’s way. And Jason and Sookie and the inhabitants of Bon Temps are no longer our concern. They are food and nothing more.”
Jessica is flabbergasted: “You can’t mean that.”
But he does and all considering, I must say it’s even quite understandable. The citizens of Bon Temps never trusted Bill and didn’t want him in their midst. He didn’t have any luck making vampire friends either; nobody wants to hang out with a vamp that is that conflicted and at odds with his own nature. His life was one big struggle between his vampire nature and the remains of his human values.
Sookie truly was Bill’s miracle. She awoke emotions in his vampire heart that he hadn’t felt in over a century and that he thought were lost to him forever. But no blade cuts as deep as that of love. Bill made mistakes; he paid a heavy price and lost his love, thus leaving his heart empty and wounded. He was convinced that he would be executed by the Authority or ripped to pieces by Russell, but instead he was given another chance and was shown another way to live.
Wouldn’t we all want to let go of the hurt we carry in our hearts and find acceptance and peace? It must be such an overwhelming revelation for Bill to be without the internal battle he fought for so long and to be able to give in to his vampire nature again without reserves or regrets and without being judged. Letting go is the hardest thing to do, but once you’ve done it, it’s quite the liberation.
Back to Bill and Jessica. She suggests that she could make Jason a vampire so they could be together blessed by Lilith. Bill wasn’t born yesterday and sees right through Jessica’s attempt to manipulate him. He calls two guards to escort Jessica to Bon Temps where she is to turn Jason into a vampire.
“As chancellor, it would be hypocritical of me to demand that vampires become makers without requiring the same thing of you.”
Jessica’s protests are futile, Bill walks out on her, leaving the poor girl in total distress.
What strikes me most about this scene is the cold-blooded charm with which Stephen portrays Bill and how he corners Jessica completely by turning her own words against her. He is the ultimate predator in this scene and Jessica the gazelle left paralyzed by his poisonous bite. I am convinced that Bill cares more about Jessica than ever and he believes that he is doing the right thing for her by showing her tough love.
General Cavanaugh arrives at the Authority HQ. We learn that the US government and the Authority have had an arrangement about the mainstreaming for the past 20 years. The latest developments have seriously endangered this arrangement and there are high-level talks at the Pentagon about how to eradicate vampires from the face of the planet. Bill tells the General that Roman is no longer part of the Council; Eric adds that he couldn’t get with the program so he had to go. This is a Sanguinista regime now. When the tension starts the build up seriously, Bill rises and addresses the General, moving to the head of the table, taking a position of leadership and power. “You can join us or not.” Bill sports the same popsicle charm that he used before on his progeny, trying to back the general into a corner. But the General reveals that they have a video of Russell and Steve eviscerating 22 fraternity brothers the night before. He threatens to release the video to the public and that will cause a human uprising against the vampires. “We own the day. Vampires don’t stand a fucking chance.”
This might be the point where the chancellors start to think that Russell’s idea of farming faeries might not be such a blasphemy after all.
When the General makes his exit, Eric gets up and breaks the man’s neck. Eric proposes that he and Nora will go on a glamouring campaign to eliminate all memory of the existence of the video to contain the situation. The look on Bill’s face gives away that he might not be fully convinced of Eric’s sincerity and he tells them to take a security detail.
After not turning Jason, Jessica seeks refuge at Fangtasia where she tells the complete story to Pam and Tara. She complains that she has never seen Bill so cold and cruel. Pam explains that that’s nest behavior. When vampires live together for a long time and feed off of each other’s blood, they form a nest and become sadistic and crazy. Lilith’s blood is making them into a nest on steroids.
In the meantime Lilith is calling for Bill again, this time from Salome’s suite. “Only one can lead us. I choose you.” Bill kneels in front of a bloody Lilith. “I am not worthy.”
“Drink of me. Drink all of me.” Bill looks up at her when she kisses her hand and brings her bloody fingers to his lips. Bill closes his eyes, the expression of religious ecstasy disappears from his face when he finds her gone after he opens his eyes again, but her blood is still on his mouth. Bill raises his head and looks up, he stretches out his arms; his disbelieve makes way for acceptance and joy. He believes that he is indeed the chosen one.
Bill has never had any real power. He is a relatively young vampire and has always operated under the pressure of the strict vampire hierarchy. From citizen vampire to king, he was always under the command of the Authority in one way or an other, just a pawn in their global scheme. Now for the very first time Bill has access to real power and he feels special, accepted and chosen.
Pam’s storyline brings her to the Authority HQ after Rosalyn arrests her for the murder of the new sheriff Elijah who happened to be her progeny. While at Fangtasia Rosalyn sniffs out Jessica and brings her back as well.
Sam and Luna are at the HQ as well in search of Emma and are caught (with their pants down) in a cellblock full of naked people waiting to be eaten. Chancellor Compton is requesting his breakfast and Sam volunteers to be his pancakes and maple syrup. No doubt he thinks that’s a smart move because Bill will surely help him and Luna out. On his way up he crosses paths with Pam who is being brought down to the cells.
While his breakfast is being brought up, Bill heads over to the sacred room where he finds Kibwe on his knees in front of the vial, a bloody handprint on the door of the glass display. Lilith has appeared to Kibwe and she chose him. Bill is so determined in his conviction that he is the one to lead the vampire population that he doesn’t hesitate one moment and beheads Kibwe with a single strike. While he washes the figural and literal blood from his hands, Bill receives word that Jessica is waiting for him in the main chamber.
Bill is angry with Jessica. “What do you have to say for yourself?” Jess tries to explain how Jason didn’t want to be turned. Bill is furious that she decided it would be better to kill two vampires instead. Lilith commands that vampire hath dominion over human.
Jessica has had enough of the religious bullshit and stands up for herself against her maker. “Who cares about Lilith? Pam says you are in a nest and it is making you crazy.”
Bill loses control and viciously hits Jessica in the face, making her fly across the room. Jessica looks up at him terrified as he hovers over her. “Who are you to defy me? I am the chosen one!” The cold look in his eyes is one of pure madness. Bill drunk the Kool-aid and the old Bill we have loved for so long has left the building.
Lilith also appears to Salome, telling her that she is the chosen and that she should drink the blood.
Whatever Lilith is, she is one mean bitch and she is setting up the chancellors for the ultimate game of survivor. There will be only one.
Will the old Bill come back to us before this season is over? I don’t know. Will he ever be the same again after all that he has been through and all that he has done? I doubt it.
Stephen plays evil so well. I love him as the romantic hero, but when he goes rogue he gives us a taste of his real talent and acting skills. He seems to have a preference for playing twisted characters and I bet he had a blast acting out as bad boy Bill this season.