I beg your forgiveness, Collectors. I’ve been remiss in my updates on the final season of True Blood. We bloggers took a break, and then there was GISHWHES, but, truthfully, I’ve found myself without things to say about the middle episodes of the seventh season.
Not so anymore.
The finale approaches, and while I had hoped to see one of my favorite shows be efficiently and logically wrapped up in precise and poignant writing, it seems that it’s not meant to be. This is not to say, however, that there are not things that I like about this season. I love that LaFayette has a new love interest. I like the references to story lines in earlier seasons that were never wrapped up, like Jason’s issues with Hoyt or Jessica’s binge-eating of Andy’s fairy daughters. There are some things that are blatantly ignored (like all of season 5, for example), but on the whole the writers have done an admirable job of letting characters deal with their past mistakes.
And then there’s Sookie.
Now, I like Sookie, I do. If I were living in Bon Temps, she and I would probably be good friends. She’s smart and resourceful and has a sharp sense of humor. We’d be friends–good enough friends for me to tell her like it is: you do not need a man to a happy, contributing member of society.
Both Stackhouses have self-esteem issues when it comes to love and relationships, and understandably so. Jason has been cast as a man whore, as a man who doesn’t think too much but damn, does he look good in a pair of jeans. He’s failed at every “serious” relationship he’s ever had (his philandering ways are usually to blame) and, as we found out in S07E09, he doesn’t understand how to have a relationship with a woman that doesn’t involve sex. Sookie is portrayed as naive, as a girl-next-door who has no clear recognition of exactly how desirable, both physically and otherwise, she is to the men around her (Pam understands, however, and bitches about it in fantabulous sarcasm). This is ironic considering she’s telepathic.
Only one Stackhouse has started dealing with relationship issues in the final season, and it ain’t Sookie. We see Jason being affirmed and built up by his newest love interest, who does so by telling him that he has more to offer a woman than his body, that he’s a good person. We see Jason beginning to believe it. He is growing, developing, as a human being and a character; he is not defined by his current love interest, but she becomes an integral piece of his development.
The only useful piece of wisdom my stepmother ever gave me was this: “we are not who we date, but they become a part of what we are.”
This is where I have a bone to pick with the writers: Sookie’s value as the female lead character is not diminished by the absence of a lover, nor is it increased by the presence of one. Sookie has been abused, manipulated, and lied to by the men she’s loved, and the very fact that she’s still standing tall and not checked into a mental institution is testament to the strength of her character.
Even Eric Northman, whom I love above all other things in this show, is guilty of using Sookie, of swallowing her up and absorbing her until her sole purpose for existence is him. Remember season 4, when she chose neither Bill nor Eric? “Yes,” I thought to myself, “Sookie needs to discover herself before she lets herself be in another committed relationship.” I had hope, such hope, that Sookie would become the kind of woman who can walk down the street by herself or holding hands with someone else and be entirely comfortable either way.
Allow me to rant about the path the the writers have set Sookie on.
Season 1: Sookie falls in love with a stranger because she can’t hear his thoughts and therefore knows nothing about him.
Season 2: Sookie goes to Dallas and becomes a sock puppet in the vampire puppet show of politics and backstabbing.
Season 3: Sookie is almost murdered by every single love interest she has.
Season 4: Sookie has a sexual relationship with an amnesia victim.
Season 5: Sookie finds out that she’s been sold to a vampire before she was even born because of an agreement her male ancestor signed.
Season 6: Sookie has a sexual relationship with a fairy-vampire who wants to marry and breed her 2 days after meeting her.
Season 7: Sookie’s werewolf boyfriend dies and she re-enters into a sexual relationship with her terminally ill first love less than a week later.
The majority of plots for Sookie in every single season revolve around her love interest at the time. This is not necessarily a bad thing; for a drama of its type I expect the romantic stories to take precedence. However, it’s become increasingly apparent over the last three seasons that is all the writers will give Sookie. Sookie can’t be a savvy businesswoman like Pam, a grieving widow like Arlene, a guilt-stricken baby vampire like Jessica, a recovering alcoholic like Lettie Mae, a bitter vampire newbie like Willa, batshit crazy religious fanatic like Sarah Newlin, or a crazy homicidal vampire like Violet because Sookie is who she dates.
Describe to me Sookie’s story over the last seven years, and I’ll bet my left clavicle that almost every other sentence will be about the men she’s dated and/or loved.
Even Sookie’s fey nature, which should empower her, reduces her to a mere object–vampire catnip, as it were.
I’ve had friends who are like Sookie, who are defined by the men they’re with. The things, the distinctive tics and traits and characteristics that make them them disappear because they are so thoroughly enfolded into an unequal relationship. They aren’t the leading character in their own stories anymore; like Sookie, they’ve been eclipsed, dwindling to mere shadows of themselves.
Now that we’re within 36 hours of the finale, we have a Bill who says he wants to die for Sookie, because all he brings her is darkness. It’s dark, it’s tragic, it’s romantic. Right? Bill is sacrificing himself to set Sookie free. That’s what’s best for her, right?
No, Bill, you don’t get to make that choice for her.
And that is the problem with Sookie.