Welcome to Sucker Punch, the only blog post that ranks the gaudiest moments on this week's episode of True Blood.
Oh my God... it's like this episode was delivered directly to my heart. It's like Alan Ball and company looked at an X-ray of my desires and said, "Oh, okay. Let's give Mark everything he wants for the end of the season." And sure, that's not what actually happened, but I love this episode no less, no less, no less.
"And When I Die" is a prophetic title since many characters do just that. I've been frustrated with the show for weeks because it keeps creating faux-dangerous situations for its lead characters, then rescuing them 15 seconds later, with no one actually dying or (more importantly) changing. It's been exhausting.
This week, however, real change visits everyone, and in at least a few cases, real death. I'm not saying I've been wanting characters to die, per se, but it's nice to see the writers commit to the end of several arcs and then suggest how the survivors are going to move on. Rather than getting stuck in the rut of "I died, but then I drank your blood/inhabited your body," we get some honest-to-god evolution.
Granted, I expect at least one of these deaths to be magically reversed next season, but since so many other changes have been set it motion, I'll be fine with that. If any of these people survive, then they'll be returning to a different world.
But let's get back to the episode: The finale for Marnie was pretty wonderful, right? Last week I correctly predicted that Jesus would die in order to save Lafayette, yet I wasn't disappointed by the results.
By taking Jesus' magic, Marnie sets herself up for the ultimate revenge. We find her in front of Bill's house, with Bill and Eric (shirtlessly!) chained together over a burning pyre. Holly, Tara, and Sookie roll up to save them, and at first, it seems like it's going to be the same old, same old, with Sookie's faerie hands getting everyone out of a jam.
But that's not what happens. Holly magicks the spirits of ancestors and friends, and the woods fill with ghosts -- including Gran! Eventually, we see Antonia, and she's the one who snuffs out the fire, saving Eric and Bill. To me, that's different than having Sookie save them. It teaches us that once and for all, Antonia has relinquished her anger and her desire to be on earth. She's found peace, just like Gran. By putting out Marnie's fire, she's saying, "The next phase of your existence can begin right now." This gives Fiona Shaw -- whom Gran pulls out of Lafayette's body -- one last, brilliant scene, where she rails against the loss of her new power. She finally realizes, though, that unlike vampires, she can leave the earth and find closure. And so Marnie is given dignity as she departs with Antonia and Gran. She leaves as a different person than she was before.
Before the ghosts leave, Sookie goes to Gran, begging for advice. Gran says there's nothing wrong with being alone, and then she departs for good.
This is major. For one thing, when we see all these characters go to heaven (or wherever), we know they're gone. This will let everyone (including us) evolve and move on. Plus, Gran's advice gives Sookie at excuse to finally jump off of this irritating Bill-Eric pendulum she's been riding. That leads to the stirring moment where she breaks up with Eric and Bill at the same time, after they chomp on her wrists for one last feed. Sookie, girl! You're finally ready to become a more interesting character!
Anna Paquin really rises to this double-breakup scene and the emotional breakdown she has afterward. Homegirl does have an Oscar, after all, and I'm glad to see her get material that showcases her talent.
Of course, the show clarifies that Sookie can now get with Alcide if she chooses, since he luuuuuvs her. It would be nice to see her just be single for a while, and I'm guessing that will happen. Things will be complicated with Alcide, since Sookie ends the episode shooting Debbie in the head with a shotgun... just seconds after Debbie tries to shoot Sookie and accidentally hits Tara in the head.
WHOA! I suspect Tara's death won't take, but then again, Debbie's bullet visibly takes off Tara's skull.
If Tara's really dead, it might be for the best, since she's been stagnant since season one, and again... that would be some serious change in the world of the show. But honestly, the thought of losing Tara makes me realize how much I like her, so I kind of hope they find a way to bring her back. But if they don't, I tip my hat to the series. I didn't think it had the guts to spill such a major character's guts.
That brings me back to Jesus, Joy of Lafayette's Desiring. Though his death is predictable, it's beautifully handled, with Kevin Alejandro and Nelsan Ellis giving typically wonderful performances as Jesus appears to Lafayette for a ghostly goodbye. How will Lafayette react when he finds out his cousin is also dead? I want to jump in the screen and help him myself.
Speaking of empathy: The brilliant acting and writing continue in Pam and Ginger's little scene in Fangtasia. Pam gets to wink at the show's own silliness when she complains that Sookie, with her "stupid name" and "magic faerie vagina," can't be more important than her own hundred-year history with Eric. She allows Ginger to hug her as she cries, and it's reminiscent of last season, when Eric's near-death at the hands of Russell Edgington also made her break down. She's a tough cookie, that Pam, but she can be lovely.
Let me note that Ginger spends this entire scene dressed like a naughty nurse. The episode takes place on Halloween, which not only justifies the arrival of so many dead souls, but also gives many heartfelt scenes a wickedly campy edge, since they play out while characters are dressed like creatures of the night. My favorite joke of the episode comes when Arlene's daughter proudly announces that she's dressed like one of the girls from Teen Mom 2. Pray it's not a vision of things to come, Arlene.
And speaking of that, Arlene, dressed as a zombie, finally gets that dreaded visit from the ghost of Rene. However, he's not here to hurt her. Here's here to warn her that Terry is about to unleash some awfully dark secrets about his past. Surely, that's got something to do with the old military buddy who wanders into Merlotte's. Terry thought the guy was dead, and knowing this show, he's a reanimated corpse or something. Look for Weekend At Terry's to be a running theme next year.
Meanwhile, to win the prize for sexiest moment of the week, the shirtless-vampires-chained-together scene has to compete with the Jason-naked-for-most-of-the-episode scenes. And Jason is super naked. Like, just a little pillow on his tackle box, y'all. Meanwhile, he's also having a revelatory conversation with Jessica, who is firmly embracing her vampire self and telling Jason that she just wants to sleep with him. She's not even willing to drink his blood, since that's too intimate. (She is willing to act like a hooker, if that's what he wants, but that's just because she misinterprets something he says. It's a lovely touch, because her desire to please reminds us that Jessica's not quite comfortable in her burgeoning role as a hardcore vampire.)
Jessica jokes that Jason shouldn't care about being used for sex, but that sounds too much like Hoyt's cruel words. When Jason reveals that he's sleeping with Jessica, Hoyt beats him up while screaming that Jason is missing the part that lets people love. When Jason mentions this to Jessica, she sweetly (and genuinely) insists it isn't the case, but it's possible Jason will do some soul searching next year. Jason's never been shallow, of course: He fell in love with Amy, tried to find redemption at the Fellowship of the Sun, and took care of all those Hotshotters. But this situation with Jessica may make him even more mature. Or it may just be yet another brief distraction from Jason's typical horndog ways.
And speaking of the Fellowship of the Sun... after Jessica leaves, Reverend Steve Newlin shows up at Jason's door. There's a moment where Steve is clearly delighted to see that Jason's naked -- I knew it! -- but it quickly gives way to Steve's fangs. Yep! The anti-vampire preacher is now a fanger.
I like this revelation because it suggests the big villain from next season is going to be a character we already know. This show's universe is already enormous, and I'd rather re-explore older characters than get to know a new set of bad guys.
To that end, I'm thrilled to learn that Russell Edgington has broken out of that cement trap. Who busted him loose? Where will he go? I can't wait to find out, since Russell is my all-time favorite character on this show.
Moving on: A quick hello to Andy and Holly, who are promising to make a cute couple next year, and to Sam, who is getting stalked by a new werewolf as he continues courting Luna. Who could it be?
You know who it won't be? Nan Flanagan, because my girl pushes Eric and Bill too far this time. She bursts into Bill's office, saying she's resigned/been fired from all the vampire organizations, and she's expecting Eric and Bill to follow her. But she makes the mistake of threatening Sookie's life if they don't... and saying the boys are Sookie's puppy dogs. Like that, Eric kills all of Nan's bodyguards while Bill stakes Nan herself. Blood-spattered and standing over the gooey pile of her remains, Bill and Eric become a fearsome pair. Where will their partnership lead?
These are exciting questions, right? Granted, last season's exciting questions led to rather ponderous answers about Hotshot and Mavis and such, but my hope has been renewed.
As for the Sucker Punch of the week? I'm giving the runner-up slot to Steve Newlin's fangs and first place to the sudden, bloody arrival of the Eric-Bill alliance. I am excited to see where both of those moments take us next year.
That's it for season 4! As always, thank you so much for joining me on this ride. Your comments and enthusiasm make this all worthwhile.