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


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+.


i hated most of this season. i thank the show would be better if they would stay with the books more. Why does eric have to always end up alone. i hate bill. however i do like that they him more balls this time around, he was as boring he normanly is. i like the sookie in the books better to.i hope next season is alot better than this one was, and that they really let sookie and eric be together like in the books.


I have read all the books and I know video is never identical to the written word...but resemblance would be nice. This season is the worst. No action. No real storyline and I love Claude and Claudine, where are they? And Eric, Bill you have been turned into "PUPPY DOGS"! Where did Harris' vamps go. True Blood, not hardly. Truly Abysmal is more like it. Eric and Sookie didn't sizzle they just fizzled. Book 4 was one of my favorite, season 4 was not.


I am more than a little disappointed that I kept paying for HBO as long as I did. (just to see this season of True Blood). I really expected more. Poorly executed. Too much build up for such minimal resolve. And is just me or did it seem like a really short season? I had no idea that was the finale until last night when the finale never came on. WTF???


The show has been in a steep and steady decline since the start of the second season. Like a sucker (no pun intended) I hung on up until there were three episodes left in this season. I just couldn't keep putting myself through it anymore. Please, Alan, put a stake through this series' heart.


I thought there must be another episode in the season this one was so lame for a finale.


I totally agree it was a let down.
The episode started off promising, Sam is left standing alone while Luna and her kid drive off after Alcide kills Marcus, but then she shows up at Tommy's grave any everything is back on with them. We never find out what happens to Marcus, it isn't even a cliffhanger it just sort of fizzles out.
It just goes down hill form there. I like the show i want it to be good. I love Eric and Pam but apparently they no longer like each other that I felt was unnecessary it could have waited until next season it did not add to finale, they could have used those minuets to sort something out.
I thought they got rid of Tara when she ran away, god do I wish she stayed away, I really hope they don't bring her back even as a vampire.
The only really interesting thing that came out of the episode is the Jason/Jessica relationship I'm interested to see where that goes.
I really hope that sort something out by next year. They have a whole year - sit down and get to it, here I'll help you: Fairyland, the warewolves, killing off Tara, Layfaytte (poor Lafayette he really when though shit this season), Eric/Bill/Pam/Russell/the authority, hell kill off another main character and you may just redeem yourselves.


Has anyone given any thought to the possibility of it being Halloween and the Reverend Steve Newlin having halloween fake teeth in his mouth to greet jason with????


Not the best nor the worst episode. I've read all the books but enjoy the show for what it is, escapism. Sookie & Eric just couldn't pull it off so yes there needs to be some tension to rekindle the fire. Jason should have turned into a werepanther but I'm SO glad the hotshot storyline is over. I think it would be hillarious if Pam shows up and saves Tara, then out of gratitude they hook up for an episode, before Tara falls for Hoyt. But the character I miss and wish would return more often is Ruby, Lafayette's mother. Let's hope next season returns to the fantasy fictional format.


I loved Charlain Harris's books!!! Wish the series writers and producers would have stuck a little closer to them. They make sense, this stuff is just odd and vaguely irritating.


I completely agree with your review. Couldn't have said it better myself!

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True Blood Season 4 Episode 12 Quotes

Ain't nothing more important to you than your dick. Not even your best friend.

Hoyt [to Jason]

If heaven does exist, I'm pretty sure Adele Stackhouse would be elected president there.