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

by at . Comments

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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i think yall try to hard to think and analyze it to pieces.. it is what it was made for , enjoyment not real life...just watch it and enjoy

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i think yall think way too much and try so hard to analyze analyze analyze. Just enjoy it for what it is. a series for enjoyment not real life . I simply enjoy it and and look forward to next year

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True Blood is a shining example of overproduction. What started out as a tight and suspenseful yarn is now a giant bloody snowball. I think the decision to not kill Lafayette (as per Harris) in S1 led to an explosion of new, completely unnecessary characters and their inability to die or just go away. It's as if the team just decided to leap from whim to whim without the need to justify or resolve anything. "Hey, we like you, here's your own pointless arc!" What was wrong with the characters from the book? The books a written in the first person, so there is definitely a need to fill in, but it has become ludicrous. Ah, and I killed Tara in my mind a LONG time ago. Too late, guys. Nice review - glad to see I'm not the only nonplussed one.

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I agree with u mandy. Sookie is much better in the book. And your right we really don't get to know her on the show. I forget that a lot of people didn't read the books so they just think she's a weak woman and she's really not supposed to be. I hope she comes back stronger next season

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@leanne Agreed :)

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Wow, they are really going to end the season like that? I have read all the books so far, and I know they aren't going to stay right with them. But damn, they are so far off now. I was sooo disappointed the in this ending. Russel isn't even in the book but for like a few mintues, and he wasn't a bad guy.(not like is here anyway) And Tara dying?? >:( Wow....

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major dissapointment for this season TBF!!! It was a let down. my advice READ THE BOOKS :) anyone who has will know what i mean

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I must agree with you on everything you said. While I will admit that I was completely lost and involved in the episode while it was showing, I took a step back at the end and thought, "What the hell?" They have a boring as F**k episode and then all of a sudden decide to kill four people all at once. I had hope that Jesus was going to live but at the end they deicide to kill him, then Nan, then Tara and Debbie all at once. One hit right after the other and no steady rise to climax left me with the feeling that none of it happened and maybe they will suddenly all come back because of a vampire's blood. Not to mention, along with the fairies, what the hell happened to the were-panthers??? Crystal mutilates Jason and says you'll come back one day and nothing ever happens again after Jason realizes he's okay and will never turn. That royally pissed me off the most... Overall, definitely a let down for the end of the season. I think they would have been better off ending it with the episode before this one...

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this season was regular for too many things, to much storelines
about the finale it was so so, yes more dialogue and less accion, the witch thing have a finale that like me because at the end the witches win yeah the vampires maybe are inmortal but the humans are eternal
the Bill/Sookie/Erick was soap opera so bad and so annoying. Pam was right WTH with Sokkie was the special about her besides what she said so LOL
I expected the death of Tara and Debbie but no Nan and Jesus(wasted the brujo thing) about Tara maybe is death or no, Sookie was screaming help someone will hear I hope that and also the redencion of Tara it seems like with every season she was more weak and a total waste of character if she is alive I hope a rendencion for her
I see things clear for season 5
Russel is back
Andy will have a kid with the fairy
Terry s friend will bring travels
Cristal is pregnant
WTH with Steve Nelin
a posible relationship with the wolf or a panter
the world of the fairies returns
this season maybe not be the best but neither the worst. I look forward to season 5
I have a question the vampires have souls and Amelia the witch appear
sorry for my bad english

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Stop hating on Tara she's awesome and I doubt she's going to be killed off the show... Sorry haters!! =) (HBO just wanted to bring a lil smile to your face)
Plus Sookie and her fairy vagina called out for help... So lets this this time to guess which two vampires that would come to her aid... Hmm... If you guessed Bill & Eric, you'd be correct... And to save her best friends life they would more then likely turn her. Come on season 5...

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