True Blood: And When I Die

Arlene: "We're zombies. Zombies are the new vampires."

Shakespearean bloodbath, anyone? How many characters did we just lose? So many that I actually lost track. That's a lot of dead characters.

Jesus and Tara

Let's start with Jesus. The writers have been signaling for awhile that we were going to lose Jesus, but it still made me cry. Jesus' spirit seemed to be okay with passing beyond the veil, but how on earth is Lafayette going to live with what he did, even though it wasn't his fault? And how will he be able to bear losing his beloved cousin on top of it?

As soon as Tara said she hoped she'd be rocking on the porch with Sookie when they were old, I knew she was toast. And I knew Debbie would eventually show up with a shot gun – it's a book thing and it was obvious they were working up to it. We even had the foreshadowing of Gran dead on the kitchen floor. But those last few minutes? Still a shocker. Tara hasn't been the most successful character in the series, but I didn't dislike her and wasn't expecting to lose her. Sookie and Lafayette are both going to be devastated.

I certainly didn't hate Nan, either. She's a hoot. Correction, she was a hoot. She got a lot of great scenes this season, mostly involving hilarious arguments with Bill that were chock full of obscenities. I'd probably be more upset about losing her if it weren't for the cement scene. Russell Edgington returns! Hallelujah!

Bill and Eric

That menage a blood? What a super tease of a scene. Sookie forgives Bill! She's gonna go back to Bill! (Noooooo!) Sookie admits she's always wanted Eric. (I knew it!) She's gonna choose Eric! My word, for a moment I thought she was going to do both of them. And who does she finally choose? Neither? You're kidding me.

Is it wolf time now? Alcide did all but tell Sookie outright that he was in love with her. Once again, noooooo!

I hated seeing Eric and Bill burn, even knowing they could heal from it. Ick. I did like that it was Antonia who blew out the flames that had tormented her for so long. Antonia came full circle as a character, which is pretty cool for a ghost. And all this burning at the stake together and assaulting the magic shop has apparently made buddies out of Bill and Eric. They took out Nan and her bodyguards like they'd been working together forever. And I like that. They're going to need each other now that they're both targets of the Authority.

Eric and Pam didn't make up, and that's sad. Eric still cares, though. When he was about to die on the pyre, he didn't call Pam for help. It was sweet that Bill didn't call Jessica, either. Eric and Bill are both good vampire fathers. Awww.

Jessica and Jason

Jessica showed up at Jason's house as Slutty Red Riding Hood. She was a good girl her whole life, and now she wants to have fun and be bad, and she wants a bad boy to go with her new lifestyle. It's too bad for her that Jason really isn't a bad boy any more. When they were going at it on the sofa, I was expecting Hoyt to show up with his chain saw. And Jason, for future reference, when you go to tell someone that you've slept with the love of his life, don't do it while he's holding a chain saw.

In conclusion

Marnie was an excellent villain. I don't care how misunderstood she was – death was too good for her. Gold acting stars for Nelsan Ellis, who walked and talked like Marnie in this episode. I cheered when Gran yanked Marnie out of Lafayette.

The Halloween trappings were the perfect backdrop for the next season set-up. Russell Edgington returns! The missing Steve Newlin is now a vampire, because you can never have enough irony. Bill and Eric are in trouble with the Authority, which probably means Bill won't get to be king any more. The ghost of Rene warned Arlene about Terry and his friend, Sergeant what's his face, and I have no idea where they're going with that. Alcide's relationship with the Shreveport pack is still up in the air – and was Sam about to be attacked by one of them? Holly's costume was really funny, and a big reminder about the looming fairy threat.

All this un-book-like setup makes me wonder if Alan Ball has decided to leave the one-book-one-season structure behind? You know, maybe it's time.

Bits and pieces:

-- Lisa's costume (pregnant teen) was pretty hilarious and sort of disturbing. Much like True Blood itself.

-- Andy was actually cool with Holly. Maybe there's something going on there, after all.

-- It's been a really bad year for humans working as vampire bodyguards, hasn't it?

-- Nan was 816 years old. Not a bad run.

-- Maxine needs some grandchildren to dote upon, because Sam is never going to call her "Mom." Sam doesn't need adopting or a pork rind casserole.

-- I've never heard of a pork rind casserole, and I've lived in the deep south. Was that perhaps a transparent dig at southern food?

-- Sookie and Holly both had premonitions of doom. I like Holly. What she did with the salt circle was awesome.

-- My candidate for Most Obvious Symbolism was Lafayette sticking his fork in the eggs Jesus made for him.

-- Loved Arlene's zombie costume. And Bill and Eric in matching royal bathrobes.

-- Bodies everywhere. Good thing Andy and Jason know about the supes, huh?

Quotes:

Sam: "Nobody taught Tommy how to love somebody without hurting them."
Poor Tommy. Another poorly attended funeral, like Eggs.

Terry: "I heard you were dead."
Devins: "I heard you were crazy."
Terry: "Well, that's still true."

Marnie: "Nobody cares what I want!"
You got that right.

Marnie: "This fucking sucks."
Antonia: "Change is hard."
Good one, Antonia. I'm glad she turned out to be cool. So to speak.

Gran: "Being alone ain't nothing to be afraid of, my Sookie. We're all alone in death." And yet, wasn't there a massive crowd of dead people hovering around the Bon Temps cemetery? It looked like a convention.

Eric: "Excuse me? We're feeling a little crispy up here."

Pam: "I'm so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name! Fuck Sookie!"
Ginger was there to comfort Pam. I thought Pam was going to rip her to shreds.

Bill: "You saved my life. Both our lives."
Sookie: "It was my turn."

Jesus: "Dude, I'm dead. You're a medium. I'm always with you."

Steve Newlin: "Trick or treat!"

Bill: "We are not fucking puppy dogs!"

Luna: "I just feel like if we are too cute and cheesy, that God is going to drop a brick on our heads."
She got that right.

Eric: "Hi, Nan. And gay stormtroopers."

Four out of four dead characters,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

22 comments:

HellBlazerRaiser said...

I DO NOT think Tara is off the series.

I think Russell is going to swoop in and save Tara (maybe even vamp her) and Tara will be in Russell's thrall with Sookie indebted to him and using Tara as leverage with Sookie.

There, I said it!

I was surprised to see Noel as Terry's friend. I didn't recognize him at first. I wonder if he's a supernatural character?

I thought that maybe the wolf going for Sam was Marcus, returned from the dead and Marcus will kind of vanish or not realize he's incorporeal when he goes for the kill.

Greg Quinnell said...

Kinda hoping Tara stays dead, to be honest. She doesn't do much for me, anymore, and hey.... they need stakes. They should make this major character death stick.

Also... not sure why... but I think Newlin was the one who dug Russell back up. Maybe Russell turned the Rev before he was trapped, as insurance in case he ever got buried, and.... yeah.

Felipe said...

I like Tara, and I really hope she isn't dead. Hopefully Jesus' death will make Lafayette take charge of his gifts, so he can keep the unwanted spirits out.

I do like Alcide but I don't want Sookie jumping from guy to guy, plus I don't think she deserves him.

As much as I enjoyed this episode I'm a bit bothered that it was mostly just setup for next season. The previous episode worked much better as a finale.

topher darling said...

Tara was hilarious a lot of the times and she did bring characters together but I hope they keep her dead too. Initially, I was shocked and not happy but it is a show where people die a lot and they haven't killed off a main character since Gran in season 1. If anyone had to go, I think Tara was a good choice. She had a lot of heart and a 'Deborah Morgan' mouth but no superpowers. I was tired of her as the victim.

I also am glad that Sookie left the vamp mess behind and chose Riley, er, Alcide. We know it won't last anyway but hopefully it'll get him naked more often.

The last bit of the episode through me off though. What was with the return of the villains? We had season 1's Renee, season 2's Newlin and hinting at season 3's Russell. What, was Michelle Forbes busy? (Yes, probably working on season 2 of The Killing which I would highly recommend as a show to review!!)

Overall though, awesome season. It's going to be a long wait until next summer...

Felipe said...

The Killing was reviewed, by Mark Grieg.

topher darling said...

Awesome! Thanks Felipe! I've got some reading to do then!

Juliette said...

I think Tara will be back, though I don't know how - but her death felt more like a cliffhanger than a death, if that makes sense. Though I'd rather she stayed dead, it feels like her story has finished (though I would feel bad for Lafayette).

Gran kicked ass! That was cool.

Wasn't so wild about the long scene between Sookie and the boys, but I think Bill's 'We are not puppy dogs!' was important - hopefully, next season they're going to stop whining about Sookie, work together and do something. I really hope Bill is still King, he's so much more fun as a monarch.

I think they'll have to abandon the one book one season structure, as the next book would leave half the main characters doing nothing and the one after it is completely impossible with the changes they've made. I'm hoping to see some stuff from Book 7, which is my second favourite. (By the way, would anyone else be interested in a book/show discussion thread, with book spoilers allowed?)

Sookie will be with Alcide most of next year, they've been building up to it for ages. Sigh. Hopefully they'll break up by the end of the season though.

For a moment I thought Pam, the only other person who knew where Russell was buried, had dug him up, but that doesn't really make sense, so he must have some progeny we don't know about. Really, really slow progeny who was in Europe last year or something! Greg, I love the idea that it was Newlin!

CrazyCris said...

"And I knew Debbie would eventually show up with a shot gun -- it's a book thing"
I've actually been on the lookout for that scene all season! Of course it being at the tail end of the season we don't get to see who helps Sookie hide the body...

I CAN'T believe Tara's dead! I'd swear she didn't receive the brunt of that shot, but the shattered glass that broke from the bullet hitting whatever. So she's lying on the floor with glass embedded in her face. Still not good but at least not dead! I think I'm going to have to re-watch that scene...

Kind of happy Nan's gone, felt REALLY bad about Jesus (especially for Lafayette).

Funny how you guys should mention the books... I just wrote a post comparing the two! Would love some feedback! And would be great spot for some book/TV dialogue. ;o)

http://crazycrishereandthere.blogspot.com/2011/09/page-vs-screen-true-blood-s4-vs-dead-to.html

I have no idea how they're going to match up this next season with the book... only elements I can think of are the fights for pack leadership, Sookie going out with Alcide, and someone ganging up on shifters (seems feasible now that Newlin's back in the picture). How they plan to fit our favourite King back into this is beyond me! PLus the weird friend of Terry's?

This season was both disappointing and yet a lot of fun! :p

michal.dvorak said...

Great review, Billie! Although you missed my favourite quote, by Sam: "No one likes an angry bunny." :-)

Anyway, I hope they don't revive Tara, or if they do, they revive her as someone significantly different. Her character has basically become a professional victim over the course of the series. It's gone so far that I'm now uncomfortable whenever Tara is on screen because I can't help but think what horrible abuse she will suffer next. That being said, I was surprised that her death seemed rather pointless. Just a sort of an afterthought after everything of import has already happened. I would expect the death of a major character to be at least slightly more "epic".

I'm a lot more sorry about Jesus dying. He was nice, interesting, and he and Lafayette worked together well. Please, pretty please, if we're going to revive someone, could it be Jesus?

I haven't read the books so I was surprised when Debbie Pelt appeared with the shotgun, though I should have expected it I guess. It's probably because in the last show in which I saw Britt Morgan (ABC's underrated and unappreciated Middleman) she was such a sweet, eternally optimistic person, I couldn't fully believe what a complete trainwreck her character was here. Somehow I still thought that in the end she would turn out better.

As for Sookie, I don't particularly care who she ends up with - it was interesting to see her with Eric, it will be interesting to see her with someone else or on her own. Although she could have spent some time with un-brainwashed Eric before breaking up with him. There's some unused potential for drama there. But anyway she seems to be growing as a character and that's all I really care about.

I feel ambivalent about Russel Eddington's return. I'm not much of a fan of repeat performances. He was a great villain, he went out with a bang, now it's time for someone new. Anyway, I guess we'll see. Same goes for reverend Newlin, except he wasn't nearly as good a villain as Russel. Maybe he'll be better as a vampire.

All in all this has been another excellent season of True Blood. I'm yet to be disappointed by one.

Billie Doux said...

I should have put this at the bottom of the review -- in fact, I just might. I'm planning to review all of the books this winter, and the reviews will include synopses and book discussion. I won't begin until a bit later this fall, though, because of those pesky television shows returning really soon.

shawnlunn2002 said...

I'm not sure about Tara either. Maybe she will be saved. I suppose it's possible, right?

Great finale and Monster Mash used in this episode - bloody hilarious.

Billie Doux said...

and the reviews will include synopses and book discussion. Of course, I meant book versus series discussion. That will teach me to post a comment before my first cup of coffee.

Cecilia said...

Michael, I agree with you, I don't like return villains. It seems that there can never be closure that way. I do hope they don't start reviving dead people.

I have to admit that some of my favorite moments of the finale came from Jason. The scenes of him icing his eye with a popsicle and covering his manhood with a Miller Lite pillow were absolutely priceless.

Did they really need to kill Jesus? And make Terry a doubtful guy? And have Rene turn into a guardian angel? Now, all of a sudden all Bon Temps residents can see dead people?

I thought Marnie going away with Antonia and Gran was very anticlimactic. It pretty much says that regardless of what you've done in life, you go to the same place. I expected the dead squad to take her kicking and screaming to a really bad place, not for her to live with Gran (who by the way, kicked butt this episode).

As much as I think I could stare at Alcide for hours without getting bored, I hope he does not end up with Sookie. He is not the most interesting character. And people in this town rebound so quickly it is scary.

CrazyCris said...

Brilliant idea Billie! Definitely looking forward to it. ;o)

Juliette said...

Looking forward to the book reviews Billie! I think we may have a substantial difference of opinion about Book 3... agree on Book 4 though! ;)

I don't think the ghosts will be turning up regularly, except maybe Jesus since Lala is a medium and will need help with the magic thing - it was Holly's spell plus Halloween that brought them all forth, now they're gone again.

Gus Brunetti said...

This finale disappointed me so deeply that I'm considering not watching the next season. It's a pity, because I'd been enjoying season 4.

Samantha Gomes said...

I must confess that even as a TB huge fan I still don't know what to make of the finale. There were great fantastic scenes, such as the already mentioned supersexy scene with Bill, Sookie and Eric and the Naughty Red Riding Hood with jason, and the way Bill and Eric work well together. I even accepted Jesus's death, although I'm very worried at how Lala is going to deal with the brujo magic inside of his now without Jesus's guidance, more than his own grief.
But I am not happy with Tara's death, I mean it was so pointless... Ok, Debbie is gone for good now, but how will Sookie live with that? And I also felt disappointed at the way they finished off Marnie, it was just too easy. I felt it needed to be bigger than that.
I'm excited about Russell being back, and pretty sure Newlin had everything to do with it. Ok, Newlin needs to be invited in Jason's house, doesn't he?
I must say I expected more, or I expected something different. let's just wait for next season... PS: How could Sookie leave both Eric and Bill in their royal bathrobes?!Come on...

Paul Kelly said...

This was probably my favourite finale to date. That last half hour was mental. "Fucking Sookie!" has been the catch phrase of the season, and Bill's "We are not fucking puppy dogs," had me crying with laughter. Four out of four naked Jessicas.

Victor said...

I totally agree with you Gus, I don't think any of the cliffhangers are leading to anything I'd enjoy. I'm going to be disappointed if Tara dies because, despite everything, she is my favourite character. But I'm also going to be disappointed if she lives because, as michal.dvorak pointed out, she's become a perpetual victim. Bad cliffhanger :(

Maaian said...

My only thought at this point is about the zombies. That could not have been a coincidence! Perhaps Terry's buddy is one? I hope Mrs. reverend is also back.

HellBlazerRaiser said...

I just bought the two songs playing during the Jessica/Jason scene.

Man, this show has such good music!!!

Anonymous said...

I liked it but there were stuff that didn´t sit right with me, like the scene at the cemetery with Gran. I found that cheesy. And of course, Bill and Eric weren´t gonna die.
But still, it was a pretty good season! Much better than season three and I am gonna watch season five when it airs.