I was cringing at the scenes of the party held in Sookie’s house for many reasons. As mentioned before, there were shades of MA’s parties, Gran’s wake etc. but in this post I would like to focus on one particular moment, the notion that it was a mainstreaming party. Bill says to Sookie: You’ve done well. You’ve done more these last several days than I’ve managed to achieve in decades. Mainstream. Sookie is initially a bit incredulous but finally agrees. Sookie: Thank you. Bill: For what? Sookie: For seeing me the way I can’t see myself sometimes. We wrote previously about the concept of the closed circle and how it can be applied to post time-jump season 6 finale Bon Temps, a different, dystopian kind of town.
This party for me did not represent mainstreaming in that classic TB sense. Mainstreaming was a very important political concept which was made possible with the scientific progress and research and discovery and production of the synthetic blood drink which would replace the human blood. The necessity for the vampires to feed on humans would be eliminated and as such the two species would be able to coexist peacefully without the element of blood being involved and all the implications of it. It is a long term solution and requires hard work on all sides and from the top to the bottom of the participants’ scale.
At Sookie’s party, the vampires and humans mixed, but these were the characters whose relationships were and continue to be influenced by blood, this is the mixer of the participants of that awful feeding programme devised by Bill and his mayor Sam. The innocent vampire is stabbed for her blood, sex is rampant and an alternative to discussion, people are getting seriously drunk in order to cope and liable to make costly decisions. There was nothing about this party that signalled to me that any level of mainstreaming was achieved. The atmosphere was dangerously volatile; I was worried that, after the party was finished, Sookie would still quietly grieve or feel sad. I also felt that the idea of this party was imposed onto her, so the writing failed to weave seamlessly the transition from an unwilling and sad host to Sookie, the triumphant mainstream party host. We explored the theme of the Danse Macabre in some earlier posts which can of course easily apply as an academic theme, but I would mainly describe the idea of the party as ‘grotesque’.
Two elements influence Sookie through this episode: the town people and Bill.
A bunch of people whose thoughts Sookie reads (representatives of the ‘town folk’ trope) is a staple when the writers want to use this to determine Sookie’s next course of action or sadly how she feels about herself as if this should even be relevant at this point of the show (I see it as an impediment to her character’s progression). This bunch of people is very opinionated and changeable and because their influence is such on the heroine, she seems to be feeling guilty or elated depending on the thoughts of the townsfolk. This is a huge disservice to Sookie’s character IMO. It takes away from her own integrity as if she can not maintain her own independent self-worth but instead relies on the judgment from a very questionable source. An unforgivable error with only 5 episodes left.
The second influence, Bill, is equally horrendous at this point of the show. Bill had a brief stint as the show’s mainstreamer, presented as such in S1, a self-label that didn’t escape Eric, then the sheriff of area 5 (In 1.09: “Well, if you’re their poster boy, the mainstreaming movement is in very deep trouble.”) It was not until S5 and flashback of Eric meeting Pam (and Bill) that we find just why Eric would be so ‘oddly’ dismissive of Bill’s mainstreaming back in S1. Another brief love affair with mainstreaming would be during Bill’s short reign as a King, although this was more about toeing the Authority line as per Nan’s orders since Bill obviously had a nice supply of blood donors through his own procurers, which then made a mental picture of Bill drinking bottled TB almost laughable. Other than that, Bill had far longer episodes where his relationship with human blood was distinctly not mainstreaming (life with Lorena, procurer of humans for QSA and finally Lilith’s Chosen One). While Sookie is likely never to know about this side of Bill, who drained countless humans with Lorena or procured countless humans for QSA, she should well remember Bill who gave one of the most chilling speeches about the depravity and emptiness of his own soul and calling Sookie an abomination and her light ‘a handicap’ before downing that vial of blood in S5 finale or Billith who forced his way into her home in S6, slamming Jason against the wall, demanding her blood and claiming that he was playing by different rules and she was dead to him. She should also be more aware that 3 innocent girls with fairy blood like hers were lured and killed in Bill’s house. He is one character that the show singled out to depict as not just a simple Sanguinista zealot but Lilith’s own prophet (and self-proclaimed vampire God); the whole season 5 was dedicated to this extraordinary rise of Billith who became an antithesis of mainstreaming as he destroyed the facilities for the production of TB drink, a condition upon which the mainstreaming became more than a dream, it became a reality. I have always wondered at the ease with which Bill turned away from his mainstreaming convictions, literally as soon as he found himself within the walls of the Authority. This signalled to me that his convictions were very weak to start with.
The sad thing is that Sookie does not need Bill to convince her that she is a mainstreamer or congratulate her on her efforts. Sookie has always been a person who accepted the vampires and she has always tried to make those efforts to include everyone. He is right that he hasn’t managed to achieve much in decades and it’s something he needs to ponder on, regarding his own efforts and this should be something that the writing of the redemption arc should prevalently focus on. I worry about the way Sookie sees herself and in addition how she perceives others if she is so quick to award Bill with gratitude that he somehow knows her better or best.
However, right now, the whole town is trapped in its own bizarre world and I still think that this almost bewitched state of affairs in Bon Temps can only be truly dispersed by some external force in order to move forward in any believable way.
I am more excited with Eric’s s/line in Dallas, because even if this S7 arc may initially be motivated by Eric’s own (selfish) reasons, the story itself has larger political overtones and the results yielded through this s/line could have deciding effect on the future of many, if not all (on a global scale), if indeed any progress is made in resuming the production of TB or resolving the issue of Hep V cure, vampires feeding etc. It could easily redefine human/vampire relations and usher a new era for everybody. At some point Eric’s and Sookie’s s/lines may converge (pursuit for the Hep V cure), both initiated by very own reasons but both contributing greatly to a positive outcome.