True Blood's Season 4 finale was very uneven--much like most of the season:
It's easier to rattle off the 'misses' than the hits so that's where I'll start.
Misses (in no particular order):
1. Alcide's (Joe Manganiello) 'Let's use our brains instead of hearts' chat with Sookie (Anna Paquin). What a way to approach asking a lady out! Having dumped his adulterous, V-addict wife, Debbie Pelt and disapproving of Sookie's choices in men (vampires) he suggests that Sookie start using her head and give him--a werewolf a shot.
This was probably among the longest bits of convo that Joe Manganiello as 'Alcide Herveaux' has had and though others have criticized the actor for being 'wooden,' I did not see it. Until now. Not only did Alcide seal the deal that he will NEVER 'have' Sookie but he pretty much guaranteed that the Alcide storyline is going to evaporate in season 5. Hopefully, Alcide's ending won't be as as brutally abrupt as Jason's stint with the dentally-impaired denizens of Hotshot because let's be honest, he is one fine male specimen. Sookie is going to be man-free for a time--and then--who knows, but at most, a short stint with the wolf-man is all there will be. Too bad.
2. OMG, Marnie (Fiona Shaw) no! Not again with the 'I've been a freak all my life and people are mean, POOR ME.' This has got to be at least the third full-blown pity poor me speech they've given Shaw as the mousy palm reader turned revenge-seeking uber-wiccan. Was her crappy life supposed to justify her behaviour? It would have been better to simply go with her being driven mad. Instead Marnie simply became a harpy. Waste of Shaw's abilities--at least as the season wound down.
3. WTF?! with the long, lingering suckling sounds then wider shot of both Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) feeding on Sookie's wrists?! All three are snug on the sofa with Sookie, as Jason would put it, using Sookie as their own private soda fountain. Just ugh and OMG how freakin' cheesy is the fact that both men were in matching robes? No wonder she dumped them! She knows that a big bromance is brewing between them! Did you see some of the eye-fucking going on between Eric and Bill in the last couple of episodes? I'd love a nice Eric & Bill adventure if only to stir up both sides cheering for Sookie to pick one. The scene though was just icky on all kinds of levels though I think it was meant to be slightly campy and amusing (before Sookie got all traditional and decided she just could. not. love. both of them at the same time).
4. Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Hoyt's 3-minute "I'm doing Jesssica' scene: a total waste of three minutes intended simply to give Jim Parrack as Hoyt some season finale face time. I like the actor but this was totally superfluous.
The rest was typical Jason and the one line of any significance was repeated by Jason to Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) after their tryst--no need for Hoyt to have been in this episode--at all.
5. Speaking of a waste of time. Kevin Alejandro got plenty of face time. He did not need to engage in the interminable back and forth with the possessed-by-Marnie, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis). It went on forever...could have trimmed that by at least a minute with less candle-lighting and chest slashing. RIP 'Jesus', BTW. Kevin Alejandro did a very credible job this season and became a character that the audience grew fond of. That's the point of course, when you know that you will off him before season's end.
6. Luna (Janina Gavankar) & Sam (Sam Trammell). How long did it take them to say a whole lot of nothing and then goodnight? And haven't they been all about nothing? Does anyone care about them? Anyone? I like Sam--who doesn't?--but there is zero chemistry with this pairing and speaking of zero chemistry let's take on the Jason and Jessica storyline that is brewing:
7. Jessica and Jason (above). We get it: they are both really into sex. What else do they have in common? Immature, selfish behavior, punctuated by occasional bravery and selflessness. I'm willing to give this pairing some time in season 5 but what I'm not willing to do is watch the mind-numbingly awful attempts at keeping the actor who play's Jessica, Deborah Ann Woll's, boobies under cover. And by 'boobies' I mean nipples. We get cleavage, we get side boob and maybe even underboob but in the two times we've seen Jason and Jessica make love when her breasts are in camera range she clutches them in an obvious attempt at modesty. Did no one tell her that there is simply no room for modesty on True Blood? The same goofy camera angles and weird use of sheets was employed by Rutina Wesley as well in the two seasons she had a boyfriend. It's very distracting on a show that otherwise is pretty liberal in it's nudity (it is after all, NOT television, but HBO).
There were some great moments in the True Blood season 4 finale but not enough--by a long shot--to make a great episode:
Nan Flanagan's (Jessica Tuck) comeuppance at the hands of Eric and Bill was spot on-- though I will miss her.
Pam's (Kristen Bauer van Straten) tirade-to-tears about Sookie's 'fairy vagina' and stupid name only to have Ginger (Tara Buck) uh, gingerly slip an arm around her in comfort was really quite a sight (you just know Pam is going to glamour that memory out of Ginger given the first chance). Scroll down after the jump for the video of the scene.
The return of dead-since season-one Gran (Lois Smith)! It was totally awesome to see her in all her glorious badassery when she literally tore Marnie's spirit out of Lafayette. (The resultant tedious and trite convo between Marnie and Antonia (Paola Turbay) took some momentum out of the scene, however. )
Debbie Pelt's (Brit Morgan) reappearance was no surprise to the 'bookies. With a few change-ups this was how she died in the Sookie Stackhouse series. In the book series however, Sookie took her out alone. 'Book' Tara is a minor character and was in no way involved.
What True Blood Tara did was pretty cool though--but ultimately pretty stupid. She got half of the side of her skull blown away. I think this was done to telegraph to any doubting audience members that yes, at last, the never-written-well character of Tara Thorton is finally over.*
But will Rutina Wesley be back? She, as you can read below, is unsure but 'trusts' Alan Ball and she reminds us, this is True Blood (so anything can happen). Other than short otherworldly-type visits I'm thinking the majority of the audience want Tara gone. We've long since realized that the True Blood writers are incapable of giving the perfectly capable Wesley a storyline she can sink her teeth into. RIP then, Tara and Jesus. I'm assuming though, that the bad guys won't be resting in peace.
Season 4 Finale Grade: B-. Out of the four True Blood seasons so far, I rank Season 1 and Season 2 in that order and Seasons 3 and 4 about on par with one another. Both suffered from sloppy, self-indulgent writing and extremely bad editing. Please, in the name of good screenwriting Alan Ball, please ditch Raelle Tucker. If you have any doubt about this women's rationalle whist writing True Blood, listen to her explain Jessica's sexuality in the 'Inside The Episode' HBO clip (embedded in this post). Tucker explains that she wanted "Jessica' to flaunt her sexuality unashamedly (like a man could). We, the audience however, see Jessica in flagrante, seemingly ashamed of her own body (the breast-clutching). Huge disconnect there. Tip of iceberg in Tucker's writing skills-issues. Don't even get me started on her apparent non-acquaintance with healthy sexuality.
From the 9.12.11 exclusive interview with Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton):
A: Well I mean half my head is missing.
I’m just gonna keep saying that. You know, it’s True Blood. I feel like anything is possible. If anything, it is the golden hour though. If she is able to be saved, it’s like she’s got 20 seconds. It’s not a lot of time. I’m curious to see what they’re going to do with all of it. I hope I’m back. But again half my head is missing [laughs] ...
I don’t know what their plans are for next season. I know that Alan has said there are “big plans,” but I don’t know what that really means, and things can always change. I’m not for sure, but I trust him completely. At the end of the day, it’s hard to see how I’m coming back, seeing as half of my head was just blown off. I don’t know. They may figure something out. I mean it’s True Blood. There’s always flashbacks. There’s phantasms.
*Q: Has your contract option for Season 5 been officially picked up?
A: Yes. I know I’m coming back. I just don’t know in what capacity.
After the jump - True Blood 4x12 | And When I Die - Ginger comforts Pam VIDEO