True Blood: Jesus, Take the Wheel
Note: Welcome back one of Rocks Off's longest-running recurring columns, our seasonal summations of the music featured on HBO's True Blood.
I predicted that this season of True Blood would be a messed-up mix of chaos, and thus far I have been proven right. That said...the music gives me hope. Allow me to explain.
The decision to end True Blood has obviously put an end to the one-book-per-season thing the series roughly tried to follow for the last six years. Granted, there was a ridiculous amount of divergence, but through it all you could sort of see little nuggets and meaning from the first six novels peeking through if you looked hard enough.
Now it's clear that the show is hurtling towards Sookie's emotional ending from the final novel as fast as it can, and hoping to resolve all the threads in a nice manner. The result feels like characters have been assigned fates via lottery, and almost every interaction seems random.
We open on a bloodbath that costs us a main character, and from there move to a series of pointless side quests by Pam to locate Eric on the world as well as an utterly toothless series of hunts for Hep V-infected vampires throughout Bon Temps. Meanwhile, for really the first time in the series, Sookie begins to take the town's dislike for her rather personally.
It's easy to forget in print sometimes, but in the television medium it's really impossible at this stage to sell an audience on the idea that Bon Temps doesn't hold Sookie in some regard for all the times she's stood between life and death. Hell, Anna Paquin herself seems almost confused by the whole plot. When she takes her clothes off and shimmies into bed with Alcide while whispering sorry and making with the make-up sex, it's like she's directly talking to the audience.
Brief point...HBO has more or less rendered the sex scene meaningless. Between Game of Thrones and True Blood the two have become indistinguishable from the bloodshed. Gratuitous and childish.
So why do I have hope from this?
Tom Waits' "Jesus Gonna Be Here" names the episode and takes us out with the credits. Now, I'm never going to be a big Tom Waits fan. I think he's honestly one of the coolest cats ever to walk the Earth, but the only song of his I've ever really liked is a Rod Stewart cover, so it barely counts.
Story continues on the next page.
I can still admit his genius, even if I don't appreciate it much, but here he shines. "Jesus Gonna Be Here" is one of those great faux-gospel songs that fools an unwary ear. It sounds like this ode to God, but it's coming from a man who is clearly about as pious as two shots of whiskey. There's an acknowledgement of flaws in the song, but still a bit of faith about life and salvation in general.
Alan Ball is responsible for the single greatest series finale ever shown on television. I rewatched the final nine minutes of Six Feet Under just to write this review and years later it still puts me into tears. He is the king of all endings.
Like the man in Waits' song and Paquin's beautiful, writhing apology, I have faith yet that we'll see this bloody journey to glory yet.
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