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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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Wow, I'm surprised at the amount of people wanting Tara alive. From what I've read on the Internet at different sites, most fans cannot stand her character and wanted her gone two seasons ago. Hopefully, she will be dead and stays dead. I don't want to see her as a ghost, vampire, or zombie. Otherwise I thought it was a pretty good season finale. Not great, but not as bad as some are making it out to be. Gore and sex needs to be toned down? I thought it was toned down the most this season and wanted more sex and gore! To each their own, I guess. Hopefully, Sookie will be done with the two vampires for awhile. The triangle is getting ridiculous already. And like some others, I too wonder why all of these hot supes want Sookie so much. They can't find someone more in their league? Sookie is too much of a ditsy country bumpkin for these guys. If anything, I could see her doing better with Sam.

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I am so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name. Fuckin Sookie! Yeah that was the best part! Other than that, it looked like the director got really angry at few actors, burned the original season finale and made another in which he kills them for no reasons. Seriously they killed half of the crew in the last 2 episodes. It would have been a blast for me if they just killed the fucking Sookie, shot her in the head into a puddle of blood and crap unable to revive, that would make me think and await impatiently the next season. What would all these bon town dwellers do without the fuckin sookie

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OMFG THIS WAS THE WORST EPISODE EVER! Ok, I liked the Jess-Jason thing and Tara dying, BUT NOTHING MORE!
I hope they shake thing up next season, don't revive anymore deads and keep the triangle apart.

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This started out to be a great series, vampires and lousiana and peaked my interest. The acting and dialogues were great. Last night seaon 4 finale was ridiculous. I felt sorry for the actors having to say those stupid lines "Bill killing the vampire league lady and then saying "were not puppy dogs" oh dear lord we all just laughed. And the comment about sooie and her fairy vagina, come on. Then gran and everyone comes out of the graves in their nightgowns, not dirty, or disheveled, just like they were in bed. How stupid is this show getting. Too much silliness. And bill and eric sound like lovesick little kids, "oh sooookie dont leave me" Please. What a dissapointment. I had to laugh last week when the vampires were trying to get through the ring of fire. Looked like they all had constipation and were trying to get to the nearest toilet. It was again comical. I used to love this show, what happened.

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The only good thing that can com e from this mess is 'Eric & Pam, the spin-off: Life before f-ing Sookie' This season I never got really exited or dissapointed by anything, it's all just so, i don´t know, mellow? Nothing great, nothing really bad.. I mean there was that hole Hot Shot mess, and Tommy and Marcus, that was more annoying than bad, because it went on too long. There were some gems, like Ginger on Pam´s coffin, the Sookie, Eric and ALcide pond scene, but they were just funny, not shocking or unexpected, like you expect from True Blood.. I guess that's the reason why this season was such a let down, it was so different from the previous seasons. It are the same characters, but because one year went by, they all acted so unlike themself (or my impression of them). The only person that hasn't change is Terry, but it seems like that wont last too long.. Let's hope the return of Russell and Vampire Steve will change things for the better!

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Sookie and Alcide should never be together, there is just way too much baggage.
Tara needs to stay dead. Tara in the books was a strong person who raised her self up and actually learned from her brushes with the sup world.
I think Jesus dying was less a screw up on AB's part and has much more to with the actor being ready to move on. I have not seen a whole lot of roles, but it seems to me that this is very common for his characters.
I really wish AB would just decide if he was going to follow the books, or just go his own way. Either is fine really. Just please stop shoving things from the books in odd places, where they make no sense, then completely ignoring that it ever happened.

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Tara is soo not supposed to die ever I hope she doesn't. That would just be stupid on hbos behalf to do that. People are clearly upset with the writing of this series. They've turned an excellent book series into way too much sex and blood. I understand that this is what some overly hormonal people like but its a little much. Needs to be toned down a bit. And it needs to go back to the damn books ughhhhh!

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If Zombies are the "new vampires" does this mean Tara will turn into one.. -___- oh god.

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I understand.. haha. I just wish that some things couldn't have been better.. I don't know how to feel about Tara "dying"..

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Debbie is and never was his wife in the show or the books she was always just his pyscho girlfriend. You should read the books. It was a good thing for him you'll come to learn because she was never good for him stabbed him in the back on many occassions and was just an overall malicious person. Which is why he abjured her. And that's why she went after sookie cuz she blamed her but it was never sookies fault. Debbie did it to herself. Read the books much better plot than what hbo has done to it and I agree with everyone on here that they should go back to charlene harris storyline much much better except for they have made it impossible considering bill was never supposed to be king and the queen was never supposed to die like the way she did.

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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