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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
  • 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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    OMG, nothing makes me laugh harder than seeing some idiot correct some other idiot, while being incorrect themselves.... LMAO! Hey Ilene, its RIDDANCE.

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    Good "riddens"??? is this a joke? I hope so. Hello, you must have been absent the day spelling was taught in 4th grade. Spell check is your friend. And in case you're wondering, it's "RIDDENCE" not "riddens". Sheesh.

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    Just as simple as it is...I didn't liked it. And I think most of the viewers agree with me too

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    storyline is different then the books.. guess ill see next season. this season seem to go by real fast

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    Ok agreeing with the reviewer, the Season build up the Witches arc just to put it out so quickly. I was hoping for a episode long battle instead we cut to Eric and Bill stringed up and Grandma Stackhouse saving the day. Not bad but not great either. Great thig though, we finally have Sookie stepping out having to be between Eric and Bill. As much as I love them both, like Sookie I can't choose between them, which is y I can't wait to see Alcide take up the mantle!!! Kudos to Nelson Ellis and his performance here and RIP Tara and Jesus ( they better find a way to bring her back!!!!) Good riddens Debbie!!! Nan, no real lost but her wit will be missed. I think they also spent too much time on the Jassica Romance in this last episode and NOT enough on the shocking developments such as: 1.) Jason turning to a werepanther ( I was really hoping to see Jason deal with more of the Supernatural in his OWN way. 2.) Fairies: Why drop them in on the second to last episode and NOT use them!!! Not right, Alan Ball!!! We need more fairies!!! 3.) First of my prayers had been answered in seeing the Bad Reverend Newlin making a appearance but what shocked me was him as a vamp and not as a head shaved military whack job I was promised in earlier postings.... 4.) Second of my prayers answered came in bad form of Russell Edgeinton NOT showing up even though he is clearly free of his punishment.... SO to wrap things up, overall, good season, bad ending. They should have did something more with the Bill/Eric/Authority fiasco and I'm actually happy to see Terry getting his own dark storyline for next year.... SO hopefully, MAKE THE NEXT SEASON EVEN BETTER ALAN BALL!!!!

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    I expected more out of this series' finale, waited for the major cliffhanger which never came, instead it was a resounding meh at the end. What I would like to see in season 5: 1) Tara gets resurrected, zombies are the new thing
    2) We see a weaker, less enthusiastic/cheery Sookie - this is what I'm waiting for, I want to see her character develop, it would be nice if she went over to the dark side or just lost the plot, something different to the 'girl next door' image.
    3) Alcide and Sookie definitely getting it on.
    4) Sam killed, Luna was right, they'd jinxed it.
    5) That old vampire they buried will obviously return, hmmm how will that bring anything new to the show though, we've already seen him at his worst, enraged over the loss of his bf. I would prefer to see a new villan, someone totally new, pure evil...Maryanne was a fuc.king awesome villan, no remorse whatsoever. What I liked from season 4:
    Finally they're killing off some valuable characters, It gets tiresome when everyone survives episode after episode, a few deaths keeps the show alive ironically. All in all, I'm a TB fan 'til the end. I've grown so close to the characters, it's way better than anything else on tv. I love it, i'll watch it regardless of the plot.

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    Very disappointing finale. Should not have killed off Jesus...Agree it was boring to bring Marnie back. Lame break up with Bill and Eric. Glad Tommy and Debbie are gone...irritating characters. I don't think Tara is dead. Why did they not address Andy and fairy sex thing. Glad to see some mystery behind Terry. Best hope for next season is Russell returning and Bill/Eric taking on the whole Authority thing. Loved Pam's comment about Sookie and her fairy vagina...best line of the night!

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    I didn't see it, but I think bringing a necromancer to the storyline is a little "Anita Blake"-ish. At least, the beginning books, before they got so smutty. Just sayin'.

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    this finale season are too much politically correct .. i prefered that sookie choosed one .... bill or eric .... uf....

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    I have to say im not as disappointed with season 4 as other fans. Im still disappointed but it still beats most other shows. Season 4 was always going to be shaky with trying to deal with the books. But with season 4 Alan Ball has clearly had enough of sticking with the books, using them to get basic info and characters and creating his own plot. And i welcome it. Two mistakes killing off Nan and killing off Queen Sophie Anne. They would of benn brilliant to use in season 5 (Queen Anne even is season 4). The lack of faires in season 4 is welcomed from me, they have been introduced to explain what sookie is and they've done that job, the seasons 2 fairy apperences are to be built on in season 5. Love that King Edgington will be back and Steve Newlin is a vampire (didnt see it coming, thought he would of been shown dead). Also is Jess a lifetime virgin and yet she has had sex twice in a matter of days and its not been mentioned? Oh well, season 5 is bound to better. Also TARA is dead! YAY!