Stephen Moyer’s most famous role to date has to be that of William Thomas “Bill” Compton.
This section of the site will attempt to chronicle who the character of Bill Compton is and what he is really like.
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.
I have not given up on Bill. Things are looking dark for him right now. However, I'm in this for the long haul. We may have to wait until Season 6 to see him return to his pre-Lilith self. I know I wondered in an earlier post if that would indeed ever happen. Unforgivable pessimism. I believe it will. It may just take some time.
Great review Shad. I've said this upthread, but I think Bill's turning to the dark side seems implausible due to the speed in which the storyline has been laid out. It's jarring to see Bill acting so downright vicious. And over blood, no less. His treatment of Jessica was brutal to watch. I felt so bad for her becuase Bill did the same thing her that her human father did. I'm glad she at least sees that Bill is not himself.
While I have loved seeing Steve sink his teeth into this madness, I want my Bill back. I hate seeing him this way. I want this storyline to come to an end. The Bill we all know and have come to love is still in there, and I want to see him back. Like yesterday.
Shad your Bill Chronicles were so well thought out and deeply understanding of our troubled Bill I am so happy to have your insight to help me thought these troubled times. But don't worry my Dance Card will always and only have Bill Compton's name on it - no matter what his Highness or Chancellor does in periods of deep dark periods of religious fervor which including acting exactly like Jessica's di*k- a$$ of a father, poor girl; I will still love him and not abandon him eventhough he's turning into Jim Jones with fangs (I'm old enough to remember JJ). I can be pissed at Bill, I want my mainstreamer Bill back!
I hope when all this Authority/Sanguinista stuff is over Bill can recover and find peace with what he/they have done and somehow he can repair his relationship with Jessica. That is a big hope and I still do not know where Sookie fits into all this.....
Stephen so deserves an award for his transformation and cringe worthy performances he has been delivering and I just hope and pray this bad Bill won't bleed into S6.....for I fear many Bill fans including myself will be crying tears of blood with his many victims.
Shad your recaps of Bill are spot on
Where I agree Bill feels as though he has never felt comfortable in Bon Temps or even in with other vampires because he knew no one would understand his delimma so it was better off being alone until he met Sookie. She gave him the belief it was okay to be a both a man and a vampire and accept his life for what is without changing into something not impossible yet now because Sookie is no longer is main concern because he wants her to have a better life not involving him he has no reason to live expect wanting to stay alive and the only one who is giving him this ability is Lilith. I understand why Bill turns dark and I applaud Stephen for doing this because he seems to be enjoying playing this character a lot yet seeing Bill when he was discussing with Jessica the first time, it was chilling to the point where anyone would want silver near them if Bill was around you. I want Bill back to his regular self and I know its going to take a while but not sure how this would turn out.
You covered a lot of territory very nicely Shad.
Okay, reality check for me, my Bill has had a major setback in his efforts to mesh with his vampirc nature to his fragile grasp with humanity. Do I love him any less?. Absolutely not.
The truth is Bill was kidnapped , held prisoner, tortured and initially literally forced fed a powerful "blood" hallucinogenic to make him more fictile to undergo an indoctrination into a vampire bible thumping cult . A cult with it's own self proclaimed manifest destiny to rule the world and now he is told repeatedly by God no less, he is the Chosen One, to lead his species into a new world order. That is pretty heady stuff for anyone to sort out especially in a cloudy state of mind and nesting behavior thrown in for good measure. Older more jaded vampires
than Bill fell prey to this madness. At first I believe Bill just played along but as he wasn't free to leave so he succumbed to the nonstop rhetoric and blood. He has momentarily lost his way but we have seen glimpses of the the real Bill just under the surface.
At this point I think when the real Bill resurfaces and he will , if he recalls any of this, he will feel the most remorse for his treatment to Jessica. He's very indugent with her and loves her dearly so he will be pained to know he was cruel to her as I was to watch it. Jessica knows he isn't himself but Bill needs to apologize to her in a big way.
Come home Bill , where you belong darlin. ♥
I love that Bill has been such a focal point and Stephen is beyond amazing as always.
Love your indomitable spirit, WK4B!
We will need to be stalwart and steadfast for a long 9 months, I'm afraid. But we Bill'sBabes and Moyerists can do it. Our appreciation and devotion to this fang-tastic character, and his amazing embodiment, Stephen Moyer, will carry us through.
Shad - Your recap is just wonderful! So well written, and so spot-on! Thanks so much for posting.
Bill has "left the building." It is mind-boggling, it is maddening,and it is sad. But the show isn't over, and neither is Bill's story. We may have to wait nine months, but Bill will be back, and I predict he will be better and stronger and more independent than ever. Well, once he recovers, that is.
Is there a vampire rehab for those who need to detox from "bad blood"? Sign Bill up!
IDK how Bill will emerge from this swamp of blood-soaked nastiness, but he will need to buy Jessica a mansion of her own to make up for his despicable behavior. She's hurt and angry, and I don't blame her.
I'm thinking Salome and Bill will have a showdown. I really want to see Salome's head fly across the conference table, and land in that white modern-art bowl!
Seriously, I will stay true to Bill. He is my first vampire love. He is the hottest undead man ever turned. And he is, down deep, a truly good guy. I'll wait for him to return, no matter how long it takes.
P.S. Stephen Moyer is hitting it out of the park every episode this season, and no more so than this past Sunday. Wow! Bill's cunning turn on Jessica was perfection. He was so chilling! I hated seeing him hit her, but Stephen played it so well - Bill's rage was palpable. Kudos to him!
@iamtrue2bill Yes, it's showtime for Bill and Salome. She is a couple of thousand years older, so Bill has to out smart her to win this battle.
who are you people? pansies all, that's who!
bill is not bad to the bone; at least not yet. he's just having a crisis of ethics...and belief...and self control right now. like you haven't, right??
if you rose to the heights our bill has, in the short period of time that has passed, who might you be right now?
i shudder to think about it. he's gonna have to do that atoning thing alllllll over again now.
mwah! still love you baby!
Absolutely excellent review Shad, spot on and well written. I agree with all you say. I too am very concerned about how they have sped up the action and story lines this season. Bill turning to vicious so quickly just doesn't make sense so it has to be something in the blood. AND, to turn on those he loves, is even more crazy. I am of the believe that he is going to continue this behavior until next season. I have even written elsewhere that I worry that he will do something even more horrible in the finale. I sure hope I'm wrong. Again, great review of this wacky, but good episode.
Our Bill has definitely left the building, at least for now. It's chilling, really. I think he can come back, and he will, the way he did from his time with Lorena. It was that excess of evil that gave us the Bill we love - the mainstreamer, the do-gooder, the hero vampire with some incredibly dark secrets. Stephen has been absolutely magnificent in portraying Bill's descent into utter madness. I only hope we can see the start of his ascent before this season too quickly comes to an end.
@ThelLou Yes, I didn't mention how good Stephen is playing Bill in these episodes. The sheer range of emotion he is demonstrating only reminds us how incredibly talented he is.
Wow Shad. You made some really good points about Bills heart being "so empty and wounded". Sookie awakened so much in him and then he had to let it all go. I mean the man has constantly been forced against his will to do things (I have recently rewatched the first 3 seasons), usually by women vamps it seems and I wouldn't blame him if he told everyone to just f**k off! I feel for him. I really do. And I think I could even understand how he could give up and go rogue after all the crap he's had to deal with and accept if it weren't for the short time frame (a week or less?...come on writers!) and all the ridiculous inconsistancies. I'm having a hard time accepting this storyline because it is just feeling like the writers for this season decided they have to shock people more than ever before and top themselves, so to hell with being consistant or making any sense or keeping true to characters personalities. And it feels like they just expect the viewers to follow along blindly and forget details from past seasons and forget what a short amount of time all these supposed personality changes have happened in. Like we're brainless idiots that will just believe and accept anything no matter how ridiculous. I mean, we have accepted so much over the seasons and usually it has turned out well. But I feel like this time they have taken the shock value of it all too far. It doesn't matter what actually makes sense anymore because it's become all about shock value. I'm feeling manipulated.
As far as Stephen himself....he is A-MAIZ-ING!!!! He always is. He blows me away with his acting! Especially the subtleness. And the eyes. *sigh* THAT part of it I can get turned on by. (Along with the fact that he is so freaking sexy). And I'm sure he is loving the hell out of this season! God bless him. lol! But storyline wise....I was just trying to go with the flow (and it was intriguing) until this episode. As I said above....it feels like they took it one step too far (with the coldness and physicality with Jess) and, unless they make up for it BIG TIME in the finale, they've lost me. If the season ends with Bill looking to be completely gone and horrible without even a glimmer of the real Bill coming back, I don't know if I'll care to watch next season. That saddens me. :(
I'm willing to give the benefit-of-the-doubt that it's just the blood/nesting and the REAL Bill will be back. Soon! But there better be a good payoff for basically destroying Bill.
I agree, sweetie. I feel they have catered to the Rabids and their manyical behavior towards SM.
I want him to come back to.
I have looked at the bright side however. If he didn't get sick Sookie couldn't help him and she would have a reason to go back to him. She gave up on their love and Eric for that matter but now Eric has Nora and so Sookie can have Bill back. IMO.
I also agree, WOW! Stephen is a treat to watch and admire. If doesn't get a emmy for this there is something wrong. I wonder if he will get best villian at the Scream awards. "Everyone likes a badboy you know" AB quote.
If anyone from HBO reads this? Please if you ruin Bill you will ruin TB and lose a huge audience.
I know all GOOD things have to end but not now for me. I am enjoying my fave show and fave vampire of all time Bill Thomas Compton.
Well and thoughtfully written, Shad. Bill appears deeply in thrall to Lilith. She has filled the emptiness in his heart and given him something to believe in. Now he has a religion and a purpose. Instead of feeling shame at being a vampire and regretting his lost humanity, he is embracing his vampire-ness. Sharing a nest with like-minded vampires has only reinforced these tendencies. His words and actions are chilling, especially toward his progeny, Jessica. Seriously, I wanted to hit him upside the head when he threw Jessica across the room. He believes he is right, and that Jess must follow his lead. Will anyone be able to bring him out of this religious morass? I hope so, and I hope we don't have to wait until next season to see it happen. Lilith is playing the chancellors, anointing different ones to lead the movement. Will they kill each other off until there is only one left standing? Kibwe is dead. Who will be next?
Bill's darkness had to be great fun for Stephen to play. And he does it so very well. However, the fans of mainstreaming, gentleman vampire Bill would like him to return to that persona. We may have to wait until Season 6 for that to happen, if it happens at all.
In the meantime, I'm buckling up for the wild ride that will be Season 5's finale.
Again I agree again with a great bill'sbabe.
I hope we do not ;lose any Bill'sbabes along the way. I have talked to few and I know we have lost one and a few more are thinking of leaving our nest and taking up with the viking or the Wolf.
He has love deep down. You could see that when he killed the young vampire in the beginning.
I felt for her and she was so right. Only thing I do not like is the comparison of christianity as being the same with Jesus Hippy crap. Real love and belief is good and accepts all. True christians love like the Hippy did.
I like the comparison of how Godric liked Jesus and now the evil Russel didn't. Good versus Evil.
Love it! Sooo loved the Godric stuff and if was like a metiphor for waht i mentioned above.
Please EVERYONE! Don't give up on Bill. He needs all the babes he can get on his side.
@CindyHelmoski @Rowena75 I definatley have not given up on Bill yet. I'll see what the writers do to him in the finale. If I feel they have completely destroyed the character with their 'shock value only' ridiculousness then they may have lost me. (This show has been all about Bill for me.) I hope it doesn't come to that. I have been so addicted to this show it's crazy! I would miss it dreadfully.
We may have to wait till S6 to see Bill come out of the delusional state he's fallen into due to the sick, Lilith blood-fueled nest he's in. I am willing to wait, 'cause, as you said, Bill is the main reason I watch TB, he's my #1 favorite character, and I have been on this journey with him for five seasons now. I cannot give up on him for one season's crazy reversal of who he has been for all this time.
I do recognize that Bill is a vampire, not a human, so some of his arc this season isn't totally OOC for him. However, his cruelty to Jessica, and his denial of his love for Sookie are not Bill. I have to believe he will be back, and better than ever.