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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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Not having read the books, I enjoyed watching the show through season 4 but coming to the season finale, much anticipated, I found myself wondering a lot about the narration rhythm. It seemed to me they had to cut short on pretty much all the nodes, confronted to the time they took through all the season to take us viewers to the climax point. Whole episodes about Jason in Hotshot lead to apparently nothing but to set an excuse so he can end in Jessica's arms (and yes, Hoyt is a "tree with a checker shirt" imo, but their relationship was more down to earth). All the witches' saga which seemed to potentially mine the vampire community plans pops up like a soap bubble in a mass glamor expedient and a cheesy post-mortem reconciliation on Halloween.
All the ruckus about Arlene's baby being a little demon also ended up into just a restless ghost possessing a dirty doll. Big tease.
Overall it feels like they shot so much more that got poorly cut out and reassembled in a confused way, kind of a 48 minutes long movie trailer.
We lose Tommy, Jesus, Hoyt (I don't think we'll see him much anymore unless he mans up and dispatches both Jess and Jason) Tara (apparently) and maybe for once both Bill and Eric are too busy to run to Sookie's cries. Plus, a few lose ends from the past seasons are picked up. Could season 5 be the final one?

Elenalovesspn

This season was filled with cheesy moments/lines IMHO. And I HATED it.
And that Tara died for Sookie, jumping infront of her ...
They should've done it like Debbie punches Sookie and Tara tries to stop her and Debbie breaks her neg or something. If they really wanted to make her the martyr.

Enaya

I enjoyed watching the episode, althrough some moments were kind of boring. But I'm very disappointed by the show. This whole season was a joke. The whole Eric/Sookie relationship is sooo disappointing ! It was so cute in the books... I don't care if they don't follow the books (it's more fun to watch), but I don't forgive the fact they just spoiled Sookie and Eric's story. I'm so sick of the Bill/Sookie/Eric love triangle !
Too many characters, too many useless storylines (the fairies, the whole part in Hotshot with Jason at the beginning... he didn't even turn into a werepanther). It felt like the scenarist didn't even know where they wanted to go with the show, they started something and then changed their mind and forgot about it...
I really hope season 5 will be better. I don't have high expectations anymore, so I guess I can't be disappointed. PS: Sorry for my bad english and mistakes.

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i knew debbie was guna die, its in the books but it makes sense in them sookie does kill her and eric helps her hide the body, but tara marries someone and has a kid and was never gay she was hardly in the books and dont make terry a bad guy ! hes soo sweet and lovable dont make zak (gilmore girls anyone) evil its just not right!

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can tara please have Alcide? sinceits written so far off the book but first she needs to stop beenin such a whiny ----

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I REALLY didn't like this episode. I think the previous one, where Marnie dies then possesses Lafayette, was the best episode of the season and definitely would have been a perfect season ender. This episode definitely seemed like they ran out of material and stretched out pointlessly. It could have been tweaked into a season 5 opener, with all the crap it introduced. Not to mention Debbie killing Tara and Sookie killing Debbie was the most RIDICULOUS thing I've ever seen on True Blood. There were so many other opportunities for that to have gone down. This episode was a complete disappointment.

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Jesus died. Tara died. I'm done with this show. goodbye Allan Ball!

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I love it!!!

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I quite literally, could not have said it better myself. I wholeheartedly agree on all fronts.

Danforcella

I stopped enjoying True Blood in season three, but have continued to watch throughout. I couldn't agree with your feelings more. This was completely awful until the final five minutes with the gay storm troopers.

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.

Tara
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