True Blood Season Finale Review - Season Four (4), Episode (12), And When I Die ...
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True Blood's Season 4 Finale was all over the place ...
By: Time Spiral
September 12th, 2011
I’ve decided to move my True Blood reviews to here. I enjoy the TV.com space, where I reviewed the three previous episodes. However, I will be able to interact and create a more feature-rich experience for my readers here. Let me know if you like this venue better!
After what I consider to be the bumpiest 11 episodes in True Blood history I sat awaiting the beginning of the True Blood Season 4 Finale, Episode (12): And When I Die, to be a coin-toss at best. It was either going to be great, or wretched. It turns out that it was not a coin toss, but a rolling of a three sided die. It could either be great, terrible, or some confusing mix of the two …
What did you think of the True Blood Season (4) Finale?
Shock and awe? Compelling realism? Bad storytelling? Or worse …
This was the season of failed cliff-hangers, overpowered Villains, and an abrupt transition into High Fantasy. This episode was hyped as being awesome, and unbelievable. Overall I am still struggling with the question posed by the title of this section. Was the brutal killing of several characters shocking? Are they trying to be a little more realistic and letting some of the characters die in deadly situations? Or are these cheap techniques to try and make the show less predictable and shock you into thinking they’re taking bold steps?
It could actually be worse. If you’ve been following the blogosphere around the True Blood community you’d know that there is a large subset of people who hated Tommy and Tara. They felt the characters were weak, and annoying, and were essentially crying to have them killed off. Could it be possible that the producers are taking a Dancing with the Stars approach to True Blood and pandering to this cry-baby subset of the audience for ratings?! I certainly hope not, but after this last episode you cannot help but entertain that possibility.
Martyring Jesus - really?
In the last episode, Soul of Fire, the writers at True Blood actually pulled off a pretty decent Cliffhanger in that Marnie possessed Lafayette’s body, now conveniently lying comfortably next to her new arch nemesis, Jesus. We were all wondering, my goodness how is this going to work out? At best, we were all pretty unsure what was going to happen, and anticipating the Finale. At least, we were excited to see Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) putting his acting chops to work imitating Marnie’s vengeful, recently murdered ghost.
But some of us, me included, had a nagging suspicion that Jesus would not live through the finale. From a meta-show perspective, you now have a super powerful Mayan Blood Mage with a dark demon living inside of him, as a staple character. Do you really want to write around that? Errr, probably not. But on the other hand, Jesus had become a primary character, and was arguably one of the most important characters in this season.
Killing Tommy opened the door for the writers to start killing characters though, and before you knew it was over for Jesus, you were probably leaning forward for each second of Marnie’s psychotic knife-wielding exposition for power while Jesus sat hopelessly bound by duct tape to a weird looking chair. Is she going to plunge that knife into Jesus? I cared what was going to happen, wasn’t fully sure, and was very pleased with how invested in that scene I was!
Martyring Jesus to ostensibly spare Lafayette, and empower Marnie with his Mayan Demon, seems at least a little funny just from the superficial perspective that his name is Jesus. But there was one thing that was nagging at me through that whole scene … Marnie is back, but we don’t really know how powerful she is in Lafayette’s body, yet she was able to physically restrain Jesus, who is in peak physical condition, and tape him to a chair? That seemed a little odd … Maybe that fork in the hand really hurt bad.
Marnie, still inexplicably powerful. Granny to the rescue!
I’ve been arguing this entire season that the Marnie Antonia union created an overpowered villain. But you can read about that in my other reviews if you want to hear that argument. They wrap up the Marnie storyline by having her suck the demon out of Jesus with some blood magic of her own. She then goes on to exact revenge on Eric and Bill. She leaves Jesus’s dead body limp in the chair which provides enough clues for Tara to infer that Marnie has returned from the dead and has possessed her cousin!
Tara takes this revelation to Sookie and Holly and they immediately infer that Bill and Eric and in danger. While they are speeding through the dark roads of Bon Temps Tara explains how Bill and Eric cannot find out that Marnie is now in Lafayette. Sookie utters, “I think they already know.”
Sookie, Tara, and a doped-up Holly dressed as a Fairie, show up to Bill’s manor armed with salt, sage, and some locks of hair. Bring it on, Marnie! After the camera pans over complete and total carnage you discover that Marnie, as Lafayette, was able to overpower Bill’s entire charge of para-military security personal, armed with automatic weapons, and then capture two incredibly powerful Vampires on their home-turf, and bind them to a pyre with silver chains.
After Sookie knocks back the demon/Marnie/Lafayette amalgamation using her Fairie powers, Holly is able to cast a protection spell, and then summon some benevolent spirits to aid them in taking Marnie from this plane to theirs. The two spirits that confront Marnie are Antonia and Adele, Sookie’s long dead Grandmother. It certainly felt awkward to see the Granny pulling Marnie out of Lafayette.
What happened to the Mayan Blood Magic Demon?!
After some bitching and moaning Marnie decides to feel pity for the Vampires and concede to a retreat into the plane of the dead. Lafayette lives through the experience and is devastated to learn what he did to Jesus while possessed with Marnie. But we quickly learned that Jesus will still have a role in the show as an apparition Lafayette can channel with his newly understood medium abilities.
Alcide had balls, for one episode.
Much of this episode felt as if they were setting up the season 5 premier. They were also very clearing making an attempt to wrap up each story-arc. That’s a lot of work for one episode, and boy it felt rushed …
In the previous episode, Alcide finally stood up to Debbie. Good for him! He was raging pissed in that scene where he exiled Debbie, and you could tell his character was going through a revolutionary amount of torment. In this episode he meets Sookie in Merlotte’s and essentially professes his love to her and encourages her to join him and leave the Vampires. She basically shuts him down and he must abruptly leave and attend to something communicated through a brief phone call.
Sipping Sookie in matching bath robes ... err ...
They wrap up the love triangle between Sookie, Bill, and Eric, with a bunch of conversational mini-cliffhangers, but not after a really awkward scene where Bill and Eric are dressed in matching bath robes sucking Sookie’s elixir blood. The whole time I’m saying to myself, dear god, don’t transition into a super-lame threesome … don’t do it!
Thankfully they did not and Sookie essentially banned them both from her love life.
Jason, Jessica and Hoyt
It wouldn’t be a True Blood finale without a steamy sex scene. After Jason confronted Hoyt, and Hoyt condemned the sensitive Jason Stackhouse to ponder whether or not something was missing inside of him, Jessica shows up and rocks his socks off. There’s some pillow talk happening, mid soft core, where Jessica explains she is only in it for his rock solid abs, at least for now.
They left this storyline open and will certainly continue into the next season with some new tension between Jason and Hoyt with Jessica running wild and dangerous all around Bon Temps and the neighboring locales.
We are NOT puppy dogs! *Growl*
Nan, and her personal security detail, storm into Bill’s manor. They meet in Bill’s office. Bill and Eric lay out their recent victory over the Necromancer but Nan cares nothing of it. In a short few minutes she outlines a massive conspiracy growing within the AVL. She outs Eric and his knowledge of this growing resistance and she drops the bombshell that she has revolted against the mysterious Authority. She makes a critical mistake though and she starts shit-talking Sookie. *tisk, tisk*
The wound left by Sookie is apparently still fresh with Bill and Eric. The over the shoulder shot of the open stake case behind Bill was a dead giveaway that Nan would not live through this scene. In the blink of an eye, and a shower of blood later, Nan and her security detail were viciously murdered.
But Nan served her purpose in this episode. She was able to expose a nice story-arc for the next season. I’m looking forward to maybe a more revealing role in this Vampire Authority, and the splintering factions of the AVL.
Poor Sam ... OMG WATCH OUT!
Sam’s storyline was basically wrapped up in the previous episode with his fight-scene in Alcide’s master bedroom. Sam has an emotional visit at Tommy’s funeral and is then able to make peace with Sookie and give her job back, but only if she wears bunny ears!
They confirmed that he is in deep shit with the Werewolves though. As he sees his new squeeze drive off, down an ominous looking road in Bon Temps, the camera lingers on the shot for just long enough for you to realize he’s in trouble. The wolves know what he did, and now they’re after him! Will Alcide become his ally in this new rivalry?
This scene was completely unnecessary. It’s obvious he’s in trouble with the Wolves. This was just as insulting to my intelligence as the Pam crying scene where she sobbed over losing Eric to Sookie. They should have left her storyline alone and made you wait for the next season to see what happened to her! Now we know … She’s upset and crying on the floor of Fangtasia. Whoopy …
The True Blood Cocktail of baddies
Could I have a long Island True Blood, and would you go heavy on Season One, please? This episode was packed full of familiar faces to fans who have watched all of the previous seasons. But, it felt so strange … what does this mean? Why are we seeing all of these elements? It seemed so out of place.
- The creepy Cajun killer, Rene, returns in a frightening way to warn Arlene about Terry’s haunted past.
- Reverend Steve Newlin, from the fellowship of the sun, shows up at Jason Stackhouse’s doorstep showing off his new fangs.
- Grandma Adele appears to Sookie in a vision in her kitchen, which creepily foreshadowed the Tara / Debbie death scene, and then appears as an apparition assisting Antonia in defeating Marnie.
- On a side note – they didn’t touch base on the Fairie storyline at all! I found that very odd.
Are we going to be revisiting the Fellowship of the Sun storyline in the next season, or will Jason dispatch the Reverend in the premier? Does this open the door for Godric’s storyline to return? Will Arlene have regular visitations from Rene during the up and coming Terry storyline? But, it is already guaranteed we’ll be revisiting one of my favorite storylines! More on this later …
RIP Tara and Debbie Storyline
I felt the previous episode, Soul on Fire, really set up a new story-arc. Alcide and Sam collectively murdered a local Were Master. There’s definitely shit to pay for that! The only surviving witness, Debbie, was allowed to live. I was certain she would ally with the beheaded Wolf Pack and lead them in a plot against Alcide, and Sam. She could easily use both of their heartstrings attached to Sookie to satiate her need for revenge on all three of them! It seemed so obvious and perfect.
Instead Debbie sneaks into Sookie’s house in the middle of the night with a shotgun. She gets the drop on Sookie but cannot pull the trigger before explaining her evil ways. This classic bad-guy shortcoming buys Tara enough time to walk buy, see Sookie in peril, and dive to save her best friend.
In a shocking, and unexpected flurry of brain matter, Debbie kills Tara, and Sookie, in a fury of rage, blows Debbie’s head off with the same shotgun.
Reviews for Dexter, Season 6 are coming soon!
If you enjoyed this review, and maybe some of my reviews over at tv.com, then make sure you come back for my Dexter, Season 6 reviews!
Season six (6) of Dexter premiers on October 2nd, 2011 on SHOWTIME at 9 PM ET/PT.
If you wanna get hyped up about that, check out this Behind the Scenes clip for Season (6)
Really? He's back already? Too soon, or right on time?
The moment you saw Alcide meeting with a burly construction working, in a parking garage, donning a hard hat, you knew almost right away – Russell Edgington has escaped his concrete prison! I absolutely loved the Russell Edgington storyline. It was well written and superbly acted. Denis O’Hare’s portrayal of the ruthless yet sophisticated Russell Edgington was a real treat.
We all knew this cold, calculating, and nefarious Vampire Lord would return, but did we expect him to return this quickly? Is it possible they’re bringing him back too soon? I also felt like the implication of his escape was really watered down by the appearance of so many other past-season villains. Would it have been more meaningful had they dedicated an episode in the next season to this monumental event?
This season has basically been a bust in my book. Maybe they felt like the finale really needed the return of Edgington in it to be good, or grabbing … Eh. Russell Edgington could very well save the next season, and the interest in many wary fans, but why include it as a lame cliffhanger at the tail end of such a disastrous season?
Season (4) of True Blood is over. What's next?
It is my understanding that it’s not guaranteed that Alan Ball will be a part of the next season of True Blood. Maybe he wanted to go out with a bang? I don’t know. If this is his last season he is leaving on the flattest note ever struck by the beloved True Blood series. This season was a roller-coaster of ups and downs and in my opinion, is the worst season of True Blood to date.
This finale felt a lot like a True Blood finales but was cursed by the coattails of some ridiculously bad episodes leading up to it. However, they did allude to some very interesting plot directions they could take the show in.
If the next season refocuses on Vampires, and the political struggles between the AVL and this new Splinter Group, and the Authority gets involved, can you imagine the shitstorm it’s gonna be when Russell Edgington makes his glorious return? Eric apparently knows of this faction within the AVL and has a deep and personal hatred for Russell.
They hinted towards something happening with Terry in a big way. An old comrade from the war meets him in Merlottes and Terry’s demeanor suddenly changes. Then of course, Rene’s ghost warns Arlene about something terrible in Terry’s past.
So it appears that the next Season of True Blood could be a much needed renaissance. Even though this season did not really do it for me, I am still eagerly awaiting the next season! I’ll be tuning in, will you?