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'True Blood' finale review: Bloody, messy

HBO's season three poster of “True Blood.

HBO's season three poster of “True Blood." Credit: HBO

Good grief. What a “True Blood” finale Sunday. Blood everywhere. Or fake blood everywhere. Or some true blood mixed in with fake blood. Everywhere: On Eric, Sookie Jason, Tara ... little splatters and flecks that bespeak close, too close, proximity to an exploding fanger.

And how they exploded! Not just a mild eruption, but a volcanic emission of bodily fluids so violent that the HBO clean up bills alone exceeded the special effects. Not to mention makeup --  the big cliffhanger at the end, with Bill, after drinking (what else) Lillith's blood, turned into the mega-vamp-of-all-vamps, covered in a red slime and looking like a human version of a fifth-grader's finger painting.

All this fake blood to what end? I'm not entirely sure. Something has happened to “True Blood” over the course of the Alan Ball reign, which came to an end Sunday. The series went from a reasonably intelligent gothic horror soap that seemed to have designs on some larger social issues for which the vamps were convenient metaphors to a wild, sprawling sanguineous mess that has no larger design other than keeping the 5 million faithful out there from tuning out.

That's OK -- that's show biz, but Sunday still left me with the sense that the means to that end is now a function of topping one horror with another. Example: Sam, the shape-shifter, has shapesshifted into a fly, and flies into Roslyn's mouth, then shifts back into human form. The result - yep, blood. And not good enough to have Salome explode at the end (after drinking the silver-tainted blood) but have Bill explode, too. And with master villain Russell Edgington now out of the way, the show needs another even more masterly villain, and the twist is that would be Bill. The net result is a washout, or bloodletting -- a Soldier of Fortune game without a scintilla of emotional resonance and humor supplied largely from a kimono-wearing Lafayette. Where does this all go from here? To the shower, of course.

Bottom line: A messy finale full of sound, fury, not much else (except blood). Disappointing.

Grade: C

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