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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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I feel like this was the most random episode of any series ever made. The plot wasn't coherent, and the development of characters throughout this series has been drab at best. I'm rather upset by the lack of thought put into the season 4 finale. I never felt the aesthetic emotion you typically get from watching True Blood - I was actually on the verge of laughter the entire episode. I do hope that Alan Ball chooses a better direction for season 5. If not, he will be left with the fans that only love the blood and sex... and a plotless, gory porn.

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wife*.. sorry haha.
But yeah.. you can't forget that sort of thing no matter how mad you are at someone.

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Did anybody ever wonder how Alcide felt about Debbie dying? it's still his why, he can't just brush that off.

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I agree this season (four) has lacked alot to be desired. The only element I enjoyed was the short-lived Sookie and Eric romance. The witch thing was drug out like the maenad of season two. It was pretty sad they wrapped up the witch thing so acutely as they did. I think instead of being so geared up to line up storylines to begin season five; they lost sight of ending season four. I'd like to see them make Sookie back into the strong character she was in season one. She has become a doormat; kicking no butt. The hot sex and fighting scenes were tappered off too. If they don't strive to improve the show; it will be a matter of time til there is no show. HBO doesn't invest in shows long term if there isn't direction and purpose in doing so.

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The final episode sucked and I am SO tired of watching Sookie and the boys play around each other's tale all day long, why don't they just give us a break. I would've ended this lame episode when Erica said: "What a bitch". Bam, black screen + awesome song. God, I hope Tara dies, that actress playing her gets on my nerves every fuc**ng episode, I can't stand her anymore; and the writing is so bad that they make all the actors seem like they're really poor actors; I'm guessing the directing isn't the best either. I'm so dissappointed that I qon't even be watching the next season anymore. It sucked too much. It's either a disgusting amount of blood and sex or a disgusting amount of talk, they can't seem to find the perfect balance for the show, with a little extra for each episode. Bleax.

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I was really disappointed with the whole show..too much talk and not enough action...I am beyond pissed that they killed off jesus!! He was a great character and it seemed so pointless for it to happen because they didn't even expand on Marnie and the brujo really. I have a feeling that tara won't die, but I really wouldn't miss her much. I do agree with the post..best part of the show was Pam's rant!

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I thought the season finale of true blood was great and i can't wait until next season. I think that alcide and sookie are going to end up together...i am glad that debbie is dead cause she was a crazy bitch. And i hope that taras not dead cause that is sookies childhood friend. But i guess we will all find out happens next season,i just wish they didnt wait so long between seasons thats all.

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I bought all the charlene harris books and I liked the series up until that "Marianne" BS. Since then the sex and vampire danger, has been sugared down until niether exist in a episode anymore. I am really tired of seeing Jason's sex scenes, no matter whom they are with. I though as a season finale this episode failed. And if Mr Ball and HBO are smart next year will have all of the following:
1. Sex ( Vampire-Eric) with a real Sookie, not a "let's pretend this isn't happening Sookie.
2. Rene is dead - leave him dead. King of Missippi - leave him dead
3. Get back to the original C.Harris storyline, please??????

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U people need to read the books taras never supposed to die. And she probably won't, bill or eric will most likely save her or turn her. In the book its supposed to be eric who takes the bullet and he's not even supposed to have his memory back yet. The books are better than the show. But the show is one of my favs and it is very exciting at least in my eyes. I can't wait to see what season 5 brings!!! Oh and russel is never supposed to be as evil as he is either. And good riddance to debbie pelt!

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I agree with Pam ... I'm so over Sookie and her little love triangle. I hope that she's not as annoying next season now that she supposedly is not longer involved with Bill or Eric.
As for Tara, I don't think she's going to die ... with Sookie screaming "someone help me" after both Bill and Eric drank her blood and being a house away from them, they will both be there to "save" her, although I'm sure she'd rather not be saved by either of them.

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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