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+.


If Tara is really dead what I somehow doubt I'm pissed off. I like her. Always did and she's taken so much crap in her life it woudn't be fair to let her die for fucking Sookie^^ On this part I agree so much with Pam. I'm SO tired of seeing every man on True Blood salivating over Sookie! For heaven's sake. Yes she's blonde and not ugly but what in the world is so special about her??? Actually Pam's outbreak was the only thing that made me hot for season 5. This jealousy could be interessting. Besides this I had a feeling we are running in circles. Russel once again.... instead Tara's boyfriend Jesus dies. Debby is going nuts...AGAIN! without a reason since SHE cheated on Alcide and his break up had nothing to do with Sookie!
To be honest the only things that surprised me in the last two episodes was Andy getting seduced by a pretty fairy and having actually sex...I mean WTF? and Bill and Eric wearing both the same bathrobes. I had the feeling to puke! And just when I started to like Nan and her comment about Eric's tounge alreadey so far up Bill's ass :DD she had to be killed! Pity


I have been disappointed by this entire season. I used to love this show, and I love the supporting cast so much, but I have despised the writing this season, especially for the 'main three'- Sookie, Bill and Eric. This season had so much potential, with Eric's memory loss, but as he automatically regained his memories there are no consequences to his amnesia. I really wish to be through watching this show, but am so intrigued by the supporting story lines- especially that of Russell Edgington. I promised myself I would be through, but now they have to go and bring him back.
I don't know what to think about this show, other than I hope the writers get their shit together for season 5. They are basically running on having an attractive cast- not good writing or talent. And that's sad.




I absolutely hated the episode, until Bill and Eric killed Nan, Debie killed Tara and Sookie killed Debie. Good job, everyone! (Especially Debie for killing Tara, hated her!)


I am so disappointed with TRUE BLOODas a whole. I think it's the pits how Mr. Ball has changed Charlene Harris extremely excellent books to this sometimes horrific crap! I know this is Hollywood but why can't the man let good writing alone and follow with Charlene's super storyline. His changes are and make some of the actors look so stupid! And I can name names, but will be nice and won't! Please tell me what is wrong with Charlene Harris original plots? Mr. Ball has made such a mess of the show, I don't see how in the world he can even keep up who is who, and what is going on. Come on Mr. Ball, go back to story lines like season one. Give the credit where credit is due to Mrs Harris. Just throw in the towel Mr. Ball, realize how you got there in the first place, by Charlene Harris excellent SookieStackhouse Vampire Series. Not Mr. Alan Ball's Interpatation.Leave well enough alone. You have RUINED the show. I am tired of watching poor acting. As for the finale, so disappointing, again And even some comments of giving examples of story lines for next season. Hello, this is what I mean, use excellent storlyline already available to you, from Harris books. HBO wake up, Mr Ball wakeup! You are going to far over the deep end.


Ok it may have not been the best episode of the season, but it was damn good! I agree with the reviewer when he says that no significant deaths ever occur on the show, but not tara! she's a great character, she's strong and she sets an example. Glad Sookie finally killed the other bitch. Can't wait for next season


i loved it im a trubie and the only thing thats sucks is now sitting and waiting until next season


i dont know what you all watched last night, but what i watched was great!! so quit your bitchin!! the only bad thing is that the season is over and i have to wait for the next one to start!!


That last 3 minutes were the best part of this season. I hope Tara is dead, I like what the character was but she has grown to be a random person that appears for no real reason much like Andy - who, should be killed in S5. Well he should of been killed in S1 or 2. I have to be honest though, I thought Eric or Bill would appear and save Tara and I thought Sookie would let Debbie go so I'm glad neither happened. Sookie screaming out for help pulled on my heart strings a little as well. Not a good episode, not a bad one. As a season finale, boring. But as a cliffhanger, fantastic.


Ilene, c'mon, you are killing me! Riddence really? It's 'riddance' yo. I've had it with True Blood. I aint watching anymore. It's too annoying now.

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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.