By now, I’ve learned to take it as a given that ‘True Blood’ simply has awful season premiere and finale episodes. I’ve been let down with the finales for three straight years, and went into Season 4’s last episode with rock bottom low expectations – especially considering that this was easily the series’ worst season so far. Perhaps that’s why I came out of last week’s ‘And When I Die’ a little pleasantly surprised. The episode is still a schizophrenic mess, of course, but it’s not nearly as terrible as I expected. That’s got to count as progress.
The episode picks up the next morning after Lafayette’s possession by the spirit of Marnie, which just so happens to be Halloween. She wastes little time in attacking Jesus and tying him to a chair. He tries to talk sense to her, but she’s having none of it. Because Lafayette isn’t nearly as powerful a partner as Antonia, Marnie wants Jesus’ brujo magic. After torturing him a little, she also threatens to torture Lafayette’s body until Jesus relents. He summons the demon, at which point Marnie stabs him in the heart and drinks some of the blood, claiming the power for herself.
Later on, Tara finds Jesus’ dead body and runs to warn Sookie. Holly is there and wants to help as well. Knowing that Marnie will seek revenge against the vampires first, they run to Bill’s compound, where they find Bill and Eric chained together with silver in the middle of a big pyre. Marnie ignites the fire and they start to burn.
Holly casts a forcefield spell around the pyre to keep Marnie out and then summons the spirits of the dead in the graveyard. (How did Holly suddenly get to be so powerful?) Among the ghosts are Sookie’s grandmother and Antonia. Gran reaches in and yanks Marnie out of Lafayette’s body. (Why is she so powerful now too? And what happened to Marnie’s newly-acquired demon magic?) Antonia puts out the fire and has a talk with Marnie to make her understand that the battle is finally over and it’s time to leave the vampires for somebody else to deal with. Marnie’s response, “Oh, this fuckin’ sucks!”, kind of sums up the season as a whole.
Marnie eventually accepts that she’s lost, and all the ghosts go off together to the land of the dead. All things considered, this is actually a fairly satisfying conclusion to the storyline. Unfortunately, much like the Season 2 finale, the main conflict is all wrapped up halfway through the episode. The last half hour is then filled with a series of smaller story arcs that are introduced and closed off one after the other in succession. The structure of this episode is bizarre, to say the least.
Other Notable Developments:
- Sam buries Tommy. Only he and Hoyt’s mother attend the funeral. She says that she forgives Tommy for all he did to her (though she doesn’t seem to be aware yet that he sold her house) and that she and Sam are practically family now. “You can call me momma from now on.” Sam doesn’t seem too excited by that.
- Jason confesses to Hoyt that he slept with Jessica, thus ruining their friendship. He lets Hoyt give him a beating, after which Jessica (wearing a smoking hot Sexy Red Riding Hood costume) tells him that she isn’t ready for another committed relationship yet. Jason, of course, wishes that he’d known that before he talked to Hoyt. Jessica offers him a purely sexual relationship, no strings attached. Jason accepts that this will be enough, and they have some really, really hot sex.
- Sam hires back Sookie. (He hadn’t actually realized that Tommy fired her.) He makes the staff at Merlotte’s dress up in costume for Halloween. This leads to three of the best lines of the episode. Arlene: “Zombies are the new vampires.” Holly: “Ain’t nothin’ scary about fairies.” And Sam: “Nobody likes an angry bunny.”
- Terry receives a surprise visit from an old Marine Corps buddy (Scott Foley), whom he seems a little reluctant about seeing again. I guess this storyline will have to be picked up next season.
- One consequence of Holly raising the spirits of the dead is that Rene pays Arlene a visit and scares the shit out of her. He warns her (in as much as he can be trusted) that Terry’s past is about to come back to haunt him. Obviously, he must be referring to the Scott Foley character. Arlene is left unsettled.
- Alcide tells Sookie that he’s done with Debbie forever. He offers himself to Sookie, but she turns him down.
- Pam is pissed at Sookie for taking Eric away from her. She has an uncharacteristic emotional breakdown in front of Ginger, which makes for a very nice character moment.
- Sookie lets both Eric and Bill drink from her to heal their wounds after the fire. Unable to choose between them, she decides to break up with both of them.
- Jesus’ ghost visits Lafayette. He seems oddly fine with the sacrifice he made and with being dead. Because Lafayette is a medium, Jesus promises that he will always be there with him.
- Andy confesses to Holly that he was a V addict. They share a nice moment together.
- Reverend Newlin (leader of the Fellowship of the Sun) returns to pay Jason a visit. He’s now a vampire. He bares his fangs and moves to strike, and the scene leaves off on a cliffhanger. It seems to me that since Jason is still inside his house, the Reverend won’t be able to hurt him without an invitation in. Perhaps this will be played for comedic effect next season?
- Near the end of the episode, it’s implied that Russell Edgington has escaped from his cement imprisonment.
- Sam is confronted by a werewolf. Is this Alcide? Debbie? We don’t know.
- Nan Flanigan shows up at Bill’s house to announce that she’s quit (or been fired from) both the American Vampire League and the Authority. She plans to mutiny against the Authority and is there to recruit Bill and Eric. Of course, she still behaves like a bitch and orders them around. Fed up with her, and no longer beholden to her as a superior, Bill stakes Nan right there in his office, saying, “We’re not fucking puppy dogs!” This is a really unexpected turn of events.
- That’s nothing compared to the way the episode ends. Debbie turns up at Sookie’s house with a shotgun, seeking revenge. Tara jumps in front of Sookie to take the blast, and Debbie blows her brains out. Sookie wrestles the gun from Debbie, pins her to the floor and, as Debbie begs for her life, Sookie cold-heartedly blows her head clean off. This is a really shocking, dark end to the season.
- The episode has a few references to fairies, but none make any appearances. The were-panthers are also nowhere to be found. I guess the season just completely dropped the ball on both of these unresolved storylines.