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True Blood Season Finale Review: Some Deaths, Lots of Dialogue

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My goodness, that was tedious.

I will do my best to write a reasonable, well thought-out critique of the True Blood finale, "And When I Die," but it may be difficult to not simply vent incoherently after such an abysmal conclusion to a season that kicked off with such promise.

Lafayette as a Medium

Let's start by considering the climax to the Marnie storyline: without any build-up, Bill and Eric are suddenly chained together in a field. Holly, who has spent more time on the sidelines this season than a professional football coach, chants a bit and casts a spell that awakens some dead people.

Enter Adele Stackhouse, who pulls Marnie out of Lafayette's throat, and Antonia, who talks Marnie through her angst and convinces her that everything will be okay. Then, the drama is simply over, as all three spirits wander out, Fields of Dreams style, into the cemetery.

Seriously. That was how the most significant arc of season four concluded. Moreover, it was the only action sequence - can we even call it an action sequence? - of the entire episode.

For a show based around blood and gore and sex and violence, everyone pretty much just talked for an hour.

Sookie and Tara foreshadowed the latter's death by saying they hope they grow old together; Sam and Mrs. Fortenberry chatted about Tommy; Alcide opened up to Sookie; Steve Newlin is apparently a vampire; heck, Rene even figured he'd get into the dialogue-heavy action, offering up a warning to Arlene; and then, to top the tedium off, Sookie spent 10 minutes breaking up with both Bill and Eric.

It was excruciatingly boring execution, playing out as if Alan Ball and company truly had no more season four plot. They just had to kill 55 minutes until they could throw in a couple of season five teases in the closing moments.

Terry has a mysterious past; Bill and Eric are now on the same team and will be going up against the Authority; Russell Edgington is coming back (a development we all knew would take place the moment Bill and Eric chose not to kill him last year); and, oh yeah, Tara is dead.*

(*She damn well better be. If this is nothing but a misdirection, and she's saved by vampire blood next season, there's no hope for the show. There has to be actual consequences; it's a major cop-out and it would remove all drama from the series if everyone just gets revived all the time via vampire blood. Plus, A PIECE OF HER HEAD WAS BLOWN OFF.)

Not a Puppy!

I can scarcely even celebrate that fact, though, considering the random nature of her murder. It was just another example of the lack of coherence to the episode. Shouldn't season finales feel as if the previous three months has led you to a certain point? As if everything is coming together and you can hardly wait to see what happens? Did anyone get that feeling at all from "And When I Die?" Or do you share my irritated sentiment that it was a series of conversations just tossed together until a couple supposedly shocking scenes at the end?

Yes, I grew tense in the concluding couple scenes, but not because the episode did a solid job of leading me to that point. Instead, so little had actually taken place, I was simply anxious because I figured something had to happen. That's not good storytelling.

And don't even get me started on the fairies, or lackthereof! Were the writers simply playing a joke on us? I can picture them sharing a good laugh together, having successfully introduced fairy land in the premiere, only to ignore the arc again until one of these creatures had sex with Andy in the woods last week, and then not saying one word about that act or Sookie's pals on the finale.

Will it come up again next season? Maybe? Probably? But this has become a constant problem for True Blood: nothing is ever resolved. Things either fizzle out or get dragged out, with the goal to seemingly lead viewers on from week to week and season to season. The goal of the show is to tease us, never to reward us, and I'm fed up with it.

I'll stop my ranting now because I'm curious to hear from readers. Were you satisfied with the episode? Did it feel like a conclusion to season four or a teaser for season five? Will you miss Tara? And is this line, the only highlight of the finale for me, the funniest thing Pam has ever said?

Pam: I am so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name. F**k Sookie! | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 2.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (587 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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True Blood is the classic example of a book to TV/Film going awry. The books were genius, real page turners. I appreciate that the characters stories needed to be evolved somewhat but they should have stuck to the brilliant plots of the book. The Sookie/Alcide/Eric love quadrangle has barely been touched on and Claudine and Claude should have been valuable additions to the show. One good thing.....Jasons body! Wow!
If this didnt have the die hard book fans and all things vampire werent so popular this show would have fizzled out by now. I remember my excitement at hearing Six Feet Unders Alan Ball was going to make a TV series of some of my favourite books. Its all gone horribly wrong. Wa wa waaaa :(

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very cool site, thematically related to this board so koty A lot of recent reports of this issue.

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I did not like when eric drinked the fairy dry,and sookie stood there, and only said you killed my fairy god mother,she did not even fight for her,she could of told eric dont kill her,the show is the most exciting thing i have seen on tv cant wait for season 5.

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Yo, this whole season was crap. You know what is missing? The sharp wit. I chuckled 2 or 3 times this entire season 4 whereas seasons 1-3 reruns still have me rolling. I know that brilliant stories can only go for so long before things get completely convoluted, but a little intelligent humor can sometimes help to hold things together a bit longer. I realize season 4 is long since over, however I just finished watching the finale several hours ago. When this season was still fresh, I watched the first three episodes and vowed to turn my back on TB altogether. Dam that fandom. Please..please bring back the intelligence and wit. To heck with the dummies. They can go watch reruns of Charmed.

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Please let me know when trueblood season five is coming out I can't wait to see it again I'm said that tara got killed out of the show I really liked her I thought her and sookie worked so will together.

Lilie

this was the worst deason by far.. the producers are trying to make it "cool" and the next big thing but in doing that they're taking away from the orignal story plot.. the sookie stackhouse novels series is wayy better than the show.. if your a fan of the show you'll just love the book.

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THE WHOLE TIME I WAS WATCHING THIS EPISODE I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA IT WAS THE FINALE. That is how horrible it was.. everything I wished I would find out and was expecting from the finale.. it wasnt covered at all! This show has so few episodes each season that I dont really feel like waiting an entire year before getting some clarity. ugh

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This was the most terrible season finale I have ever seen. Alan Ball needs to take a look back at 'Six Feet Under' to learn how to execute one again.

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The writers need to figure out a way to bring back Tara. I need her on the show, I looked forward to seeing her each week. She was a great character despite some complainers with very little brain power, and an opinion of their own. Send Tara to fairy land to heal, or make her a vampire. Or better yet lets all find out what those electrical fingers of Sookie's can really do and see if she can reverse the damage that has been done. I think if we all put our brains together we can save Tara from such a gruesome demise.

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the rev cant be a vamp, he wasnt invited into jasons house so i think that might be a bit missleading