I feel like I ought to preface this by saying that, blasphemous though it may be, I… generally prefer True Blood in its television canon to Charlaine Harris’ novels. I don’t dislike the novels, I appreciate them for what they are. But I guess I’m just one of those crazy youths who likes their sex and blood every which way.
The fourth book in the series, Dead to the World, on which the fourth season is rather loosely based, is my favorite of the books. This is largely due to the the prominence of doll!Eric and the rather distinct lack of Bill, who I find even more boring in book canon. But, even though it makes me a terrible literary nerd, I am actually more than okay with the changes the show has made, in this season and in the ones prior.
The finale aired this weekend, and I can safely say that I haven’t talked so much and so loudly at a first-run (because yelling at movies I’ve already seen doesn’t count, though I do it) since I watched the end of Dollhouse. Knowing a bit about me, you should be able to understand the weight of this declaration; not knowing a bit about me, just trust me when I say that meant I was talking a lot. My most common exclamation during the episode was… well, it wasn’t particularly polite, but it sure was colorful; come to think of it, most of what I was saying was colorful.
Instead of subjecting the world to too much of a play-by-play ramble, I’ll do a highlights reel (somewhat the finale episode, somewhat the whole season) in the form of my trusty bulletpoint list.
- Earlier in the season, I was decidedly Team Eric (Alexander Skarsgard). Again, my weakness for doll!Eric is unhealthy. Not that I don’t love sociopath Eric too, I do, and I was glad to have him back because he’s ruthless and that’s just good television. I’ve never been Team Bill (Stephen Moyer) in any regard, but I will say that he definitely manned up this season. Being the King made him learn how to make hard decisions, and when he finally admitted that sometimes people had to die for a greater cause, well. Aw, baby Bill has grown up.
- But now, I’m on two teams, and one is shippy-ish, yes: Team Sookie (Anna Paquin) By Herself For A While. She doesn’t need to go off on tirades about it, but right now, until she realizes which of them (if either of them) she wants to be with, it won’t hurt her to be alone. She should not hook up with Alcide (Joe Mangianello) no matter how hard he begs. He thinks that their hearts can’t be trusted and their heads are saying “this might make sense” so they should go for it. But really, Sookie and Alcide need each other as constant friends, not as a romantic relationship that will probably eventually die out. As friends, they can be there for each other. They can be listening ears and supportive shoulders. As romantic partners, they get that plus some sex for a while and then it’ll be over and they won’t have the listening or supporting either. Unfortunately, Team Sookie By Herself For A While could easily turn into Team Quinn next season, and that boring-ass weretiger should just… stay away. I get that she’s trying to do the stable thing. But he’s her Riley (Marc Blucas), to use Buffy metaphors. He’s dull. The only part of their relationship that I remember in detail from the books is the fact that they went to see The Producers. And that’s just because I tend to remember when people see Broadway shows in fiction.
- I’m also on Team Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten). The relationship between Eric and Pam is fundamentally different from Spike (James Marsters) and Dru (Juliet Landau) on Buffy in a lot of ways – Eric is Pam’s maker and not the other way aroud, they aren’t consistently sexual with each other anymore – but it’s also the same in a lot of ways. Eric and Spike have gone through similar life changes, with the being “different” all of a sudden and the loving a blonde not-quite-human with a silly name and the apparent rejection of their lady counterpart. It got me sadder than anything else this episode to see Pam coping with the realization that Sookie was now more important than her in Eric’s life. The realization that the hundred plus years she and Eric have spent together, the relationship they share bonded by blood and experience, pales in comparison to a little magical true love girl. Pam and Dru have very little in common personality-wise, but they’re in the same position in a way, and that upsets me. I suppose Team Pam could also be subtitled, like a great tumblr post I once saw, “Not my Pam you bitch!” That or it could be lengthened to Team Pam Has Been Through So Much Crap, Why Can’t She Just Have A Happy Sociopathic Vampire Ending Without The Hugging And Learning And Changing? My tendency to have affinities for the demented, unapologetic ones tends to mean I have an affinity for the ones getting screwed over by the other characters having Great Life Revelations and Changing Their Ways.
- Nelsan Ellis is just a damn fun performer. He has such expressive eyes that everything he’s trying to get across can be clear in one look. The choice to make Lafayette a medium was kind of an awesome one, not just for plot reasons but for dude can pull it off reasons.
- This season overall had a lot of fun inhabiting someone else’s body hijinks, and those are always amusing.
- I was happy with this season’s tendency to kill a crap ton of characters. None of them were main main characters, but there was a lot of death. And while death in real life is bad and upsetting, death on television shows that the writers have some guts. For example, I wasn’t too sad to see Tommy (Marshall Allman) go; I never really cared about him one way or the other, and if he did have to go out, he did so in a way that was somewhat redemptive. I was actually sadder about the flashback to Sophie-Anne’s (Evan Rachel Wood) true death, if for no other reason than Sophie-Anne amused me (fictional sociopaths often do).
- The business of Marnie (Fiona Shaw) passing was pretty epic. I do love me some ghosts, even if all of the ones that weren’t Sookie’s gran (Lois Smith) or Antonia (Paola Turbay) just hung out in the background. I tend to applaud every time Sookie uses her fairy powers, just because she should really have devoted some time to learning how but I understand why she hasn’t and it’s neat when she gets around to doing it anyway.
- Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) dying was sort of sad, though. I sort of knew he had it coming, because I’ve learned to be skeptical when characters are allowed to be in a relationship uninterrupted and (witch drama aside) happily for too long and also he wasn’t in the book canon so he was fairer game. I knew that poor Lafayette would blame himself, and he actually deserved the happy, so it was unfortunate. But damned if it didn’t make me wibble (well, giggle then wibble) when he came back to visit a little and Lafayette was like “Don’t leave me” and Jesus smirked “Dude, I’m dead. And you’re a medium. I’ll always be with you.” There is nothing more perfect than “Dude, I’m dead” to lighten the mood a little.
- I was actually surprised by Tara (Rutina Wesley) dying. I mean, she’s got to be dead. There is no way you’re coming back from getting the back of your head blown off. When I saw “Debbie visits Sookie and Tara” or whatever in the synopsis on my TV, I knew it would be Debbie’s (Brit Morgan) time to go craycray, but I didn’t think Tara would be on the receiving end of it. There are many times over the course of the series that Tara has narrowly escaped a gruesome supernatural death (and some of those times, she’s probably deserved it) but it was actually like Tommy’s death in a way. At least she met her end in a slightly noble way, protecting Sookie. And then Sookie got hella epic and avenged her friend messily, and that’s fun.
- Onto lighter subjects and skipping over anything involving the Bellefleurs because I don’t know that I have anything particularly intricate to say about those people, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). Jason is dumb as a box of rocks, but he’s not a terrible person, and I just keep hoping he’ll panther out even if it probably isn’t going to happen; his heart is in the right place when it’s not following his penis around, but that’s what makes his new relationship with Jessica so perfect. Jess is a young woman. She’s never been independent and single, between her strict upbringing and Hoyt (Jim Parrack), and she needs to give it a try. But she can still have her fun with a decent person that seems to appreciate her, can’t she? He doesn’t mind her going out and nomming on other people. He’ll give her sex and a good time, and that’s really all that it needs to be for now. They’re young and crazy, why not. And from a completely shallow standpoint, I’m okay with the relationship because damn, Jess is sexy. That sexy Little Red Riding Hood thing she had going, all corsety and gartery, was… whoa freaking hell.
- Russell (Denis O’Hare) is going to be back next season! Probably more fairy stuff next season! Flashbacks next season! (HELL YES FLASHBACKS. HELL YES ERIC & PAM FLASHBACKS.)
- I get sad when characters die, or when characters are basically betrayed by the people closest to them, or when characters see their dead grandma giving them advice from beyond. But there’s still the detached writervoice in my head respecting these various choices and the nerve that some of them require.
–your fangirl heroine.