True Blood: What a Terribly Brilliant Finale!

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Holy moly, what a finale. There's a lot to process: a genuinely shocking ending, game-changing developments, and the ham-fisted ruination of the main love triangle, for starters. Almost every supporting character has now been set up with an interesting arc for Season 5, yet our three leads are behaving like telenovela characters, which made the experience of watching the finale a wild see-saw ride between completely brilliant and completely terrible.

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Terrible: Marnie was basically peer-pressured out of being the bad guy by a bunch of ghosts. After a season of deadly resolve, Marnie had one good cry and was like "Peace out." Women are so emotional! Good thing no one takes them seriously, ever.

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Also, Marnie was burning Eric and Bill over a pile of Bill's shutters? And they were super cavalier about it, too. Bill and Eric's cute repartee as they were SILVERED TOGETHER on either side of a stake was our first clue that no one is allowed to take these two seriously anymore.

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I'm glad they wrapped everything up so fast—believe me, that was one of the best things about last night. The much-promoted showdown between the season's villain and three very ineffective people (Sookie, Tara, and Holly) was over about 15 minutes into the show. But it also felt half-baked. How did Marnie miss the part where Holly poured salt in a giant circle around the stake? The lady just tiptoed around in silver go-go boots whispering incantations, and Marnie did nothing? Hell, I knew salt circles were magical just from watching The Skeleton Key, yet a demon-witch spirit didn't even notice a grown woman in body glitter saltin' a 20-foot circle ?

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Also, for all their talk of eternal peace, the dead folks looked rough. Like Alan Ball's concept of the afterlife has no hair product and is HOT and only serves junk food. Gran looked beat up and did not have time for chitter-chatter, other than letting Sookie know we all die alone. Thanks Gran! So helpful and reassuring. Wish we could just hold hands and talk barefoot in our nightdresses all night long about death and snatching souls.

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Luckily a literally half-baked Eric interrupted the solemnity with a lighthearted quip. I know vampires are resilient, but when did pain become completely meaningless on this show? If Bill was almost killed in Season 1 when he was silvered by drainers, why can he and Eric now sustain third-degree burns and pounds of steel chain and still be pithy?

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Also terrible:

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This is my last terrible thing, bear with me. There was a lot of good stuff in this episode we still have to discuss, but this whole scene made me genuinely mad. I enjoy the color and character of the various subplots of True Blood, but the reason I watch the show is the Sookie, Eric, and Bill love triangle. I loved its subtlety in the first two seasons, and I was enthralled when Season 4 started and Sookie and Eric developed their relationship. So to have Sookie give a bizarre, coy speech to Bill and Eric as they cartoonishly mugged with excitement/disappointment was excruciating. If you have not just one, but three romantic leads that you've spent years crafting into three-dimensional characters—characters your audience is completely invested in—please do not dismiss everything they feel about each other with a single, weird paragraph of dialogue. Even if Sookie would leave them both (and she wouldn't), show me, don't tell me. No human being, fairy, or vampire would resolve an important relationship so unnaturally or succinctly. Now I feel like a low fool for taking either relationship seriously, and while the show used to create meaningful and naturalistic moments between these three, their interactions in the last three episodes have been straight out of Dynasty.

And it doesn’t have to be this way! If you want an example of the kind of naturalism and authenticity the True Blood writing staff is capable of, look no further than Jason, Jessica, and Hoyt. Jason's confrontation with Hoyt was heartfelt and real, and Hoyt's reaction was spot-on.

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The tentative way that Jason and Jessica's relationship is progressing has all the giddiness and instability of a genuine fledgling romance. Jessica walking to Jason's door was a gorgeous cinematic moment, and then their conversation after their cape-sexin' had the perfect tone of "I'm crushing" + "I barely know you." Considering that the writers are handling this relationship so well, it makes me wonder why they've turned their back on cultivating real moments between Eric and Sookie. But Jason, Jessica and Hoyt: They are going to be wonderful next season, I love this triangle, you three actors are the hotness.

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Arlene and Terry also are taking an interesting turn next season: Terry's army friend Scott Speedman Scott Foley has popped up in town, and ghost Rene returned with a danger forecast for Arlene! Love these ghosts turning up and dishing secrets. So gossipy, ghosts!

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In an episode that centered on the dead returning to Bon Temps, it made me laugh that Tommy still was not onscreen. Whose lunch did he piss on to get so written-out this season? Even when his character had scenes, he was usually played by someone else, and after essentially telling him to hurry up and die, Sam shelled out about eight dollars on his funeral.

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More brilliance: I feel reassured that Kevin Alejandro will be returning next season. I was swooning over Jésus this entire episode; his determination to protect Lafayette at all costs would have been heartbreaking even if he hadn't already won me over in the last two episodes. The idea of a medium being haunted by the man he loves is agonizingly romantic, as was the line "Dude, I'm dead, you're a medium. I'll always be with you." Seriously swooning! Guys, please be thirty percent of next season, at least.

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Another thirty percent of Season 5 might be Alcide. After a long night of killing strangers and abjuring his girlfriend, he sidled right up to Sookie and told her they should soberly consider banging for the benefit of their mental health. Practical! Alcide, isn’t there a body in your house right now? Priorities!

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So, Season 5 so far: Terry menacing Arlene, Andy maybe got a fairy pregnant, Jesus popping in to check up on Lafayette, Alcide making a play for Sookie.

Oh, also: Nan showed up toward the end of the episode, in hot boots and with hot news: AVL has fired her and is gunning for Eric and Bill next, so they should all start a rebellion! Then she bad-mouthed Sookie, so Bill naturally had to kill her. Sigh.

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However, this is very exciting news for next season! Cloak-and-dagger vampire rebellion! Vampires forced to choose sides! Bill and Eric might be able to salvage their once-vaunted cool and become real characters squaring off against the Authority, and there are also some serious rogue players at large: Pam figuratively cut loose by Eric, and Russell Edgington literally cut loose, possibly by this guy:

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Also another free agent in the vampire world might possibly be Tara. Can we unpack this a little? Tara's murder shocked me. The finale was bookended with Sookie and Tara in the kitchen, opening with the two having a heart-to-heart over coffee, like a Constant Comment commercial staged at a battered women's shelter.

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... and then ending with Tara diving in front of Debbie Pelt's shotgun to save Sookie.

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I mean, that is definitely brain matter, and I don't think any amount of V is going to heal that hole. Yet in no way do I believe True Blood is killing Tara. I'm going to publicly wager that she is resurrected as a vampire. It would make her character all the more conflicted, and would also invest another lead character in the coming vampire rebellion. I hope this is the case, because while she does have a lot of movie projects coming up, Rutina Wesley is just too good to let go. I know a lot of you despise Tara's character, but imagine her as a vampire. "Awesome" only begins to describe it.

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Hoo-effing-ray for Sookie that she killed Ke$ha! The last few episodes, Sookie was the worst part of the show. Her behavior at Moon Goddess Emporium was confounding, her weird monologues to Bill and Eric have completely killed those romances, and her use of fairy powers has been puzzling and sporadic. Giving Sookie a moment where she had to pop the shell out of the gun, put it under Debbie's chin and consider Debbie's pleas was crucial to the brilliance of the ending. She definitely had time to consider not killing Debbie, but she took a dark turn and went for it. I'm no fan of murder, but this choice makes Sookie so much more compelling as a lead than she's been in the last three seasons. This is a Sookie I want to follow into Season 5.

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The balance of the terrible and brilliant this episode started out teetering, but this clinched the finale in favor of brilliance.The more complicated and interesting Sookie is, the more justifiable this whole world becomes, since it increasingly centers on Sookie's appeal. And her choice at the end made her more appealing than she's been all season, and elevated her to the status of a fully fledged, multidimensional heroine. I am still your vampire bride, True Blood, and any time you're on I will be summoned inexorably to my television screen.

Thank you everyone who's watched the show with me this season. I've looked forward to reading the comments so much and I'm continually impressed by TV.Com's True Blood fans. KIT until next season + you guys are the best! Now let me know what you think is in store for Season 5….


QUESTIONS:

… Is Tara dead, will she be saved through V, or will she return as a vampire?

… Who will be the romantic lead of Season 5: Eric, Bill, or Alcide?

… Did Hoyt cross a line when Jason told him about Jessica? Is there any hope for the guys' friendship?

… What is Russell Edgington up to? Is Steven Newlin (FotS leader) his progeny?

… Sookie: badass or murderess?

… Will next season be vampires vs. vampires vs. fairies ?

… What did you think of the finale?

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