If I had to describe last Sunday's True Blood season finale in just one word it would have to be: Bloodbath. There is a certain amount of character deaths expected with a series filled with blood sucking undead carnivorous predators as its main characters like True Blood, but in this fourth season finale it seemed no character was off limits.
In typical True Blood season finale fashion the episode was broken down into two main parts. Just like in seasons past the finale's first half brought all the story arcs from this certain season to their conclusion (or as close as that could get). In the remaining half of the finale it kind of acts as a teaser or a mini season premiere for next summer's fifth season. So I'll break down this crazy fourth season finale in just that same way.
In the first half of the episode Jesus finds out the hard way that Marnie has taken over his Lafayette. Fuelled by revenge and a thirst for more power Marnie uses Jesus' love for his Lafayette making Jesus sacrifice himself as she kills him for his demon magic inside. Before Marine continues her bloodshed later in the night, during the day Sam has a small funeral for Tommy and rehires Sookie back at Merlottes. An old army buddy drops in on Terry and Jason finally tells Hoyt about him and Jessica. After Tara discovers what has happened to Jesus she puts the pieces together and her, Sookie, and Holly race to Bill's mansion to find Marnie/Lafayette. With both Bill and Eric are chained in silver and about to be BBQ'd Sookie stalls Marnie with her pixie dust powers as Holly summons some familiar spirits to their aid.
First off it was kind of shock to see the lovable Jesus pay the ultimate price and be killed off the show. Especially knowing someone was going to go with the episode title being "And When I Die". It wasn't completely out of left field, but a shock just the same. True Blood creator, Alan Ball, did state in an interview post-finale that a happy couple in the series doesn't last for long.
Jessica and Hoyt case 'n point right there.
Jesus' passing, though saddening, was extremely important in tying up this season's witch & magic story arc. Because of Lafayette's new medium ability there is the silver lining to Jesus' death in that actor Kevin Alejandro won't be gone for good as it is very likely he will return in a ghostly guest starring role next year.
Also during the first half of "And When I Die" Jason finally breaks the news of him and Jessica to Hoyt and gets an appropriate ass whooping for it. Even more so because of the way Jason broke the news to him. Meant to be a serious conversation about a huge betrayal in the male brotherhood code (that ex's are off limits) turned into another hilarious classic Jason Stackhouse stupidity moment as he misinterprets Hoyt asking 'how' he did what he did. As Jason begins to awkwardly explain the 'how' question, as he understood it, he lists the several 'positions' him and Jessica did the deed in and you can't not foresee the justified sucker punch coming from Hoyt after an answer like that.
Though the scene played pretty humorous, it still leaves a question mark for Hoyt's actions to follow his best friend's betrayal. Does this add fuel to the fire, making Hoyt hate vampires even more than before and forcing him to something crazy? I don't know but that seems to be the safest bet to make his nice guy character interesting for next year.
At the end of the first half of the episode everything is tied up nicely as Marnie is put to rest and everyone else manages to survive (at least for the time being). True Blood had been planning for this episode to play out on All Hallows Eve since the beginning of the season with little comments in passing and subtle decorations in the background at Merlottes. The reason being for this finale landing on this particular date was a supernatural one because of how the vale between the living and the dead is believed to be at it's thinnest then; hence the multiple dead returning cast members in ghost form. It wasn't just seeing Antonia coming back but Sookie's Gran; along with season one's killer Renee (but I'll come back to him a bit later in the second part). Although Lois Smith's returned as season one's sweetest character Gran was a happy edition for the episode it felt too short or incomplete. Gran could have answered many of those fairy bloodline questions Sookie must have.
Now to sum up the second half of the finale: Sookie says no more Team Eric, Team Bill, or even that distant Team Alcide, as she brakes some hearts and decides to try the single life for once. Lets see how long that lasts into next year. Arlene gets spooked by not only seeing Renee's ghost, but even more frightened when he warns her of Terry's dangerous past. We learn Nan has been fired from the AVL and the Authority with one last task of bringing the 'true death' to both Bill & Eric for their failures. She vaguely hints to the King and his sheriff on the chopping block an alternative to 'true death' by joining her mutiny but Bon Temps' two newest vampire bachelors stake Nan and her backup storm troops before she finishes her offer. Jason spends another night with Jessica but then has a surprise visit from a now vampire Reverend Steve Newland. Alcide discovers someone has broken Russell Edgington from his concrete parking garage prison. Lastly, jealous and hopped up on 'V' again Debbie storms Sookie's house with a shotgun killing Tara before Sookie manages to take the gun and kill Debbie in self-defense.
As you can see all the huge set ups, twists, and cliff hangers amount to my one word previously; Bloodbath. Even though Fiona Shaw (Marnie) became a series regular this year I still was only expecting her to be around for the one season, but when it was also announce at the beginning of the season that Jessica Tuck's Nan Flanagan was promoted from guest star to regular I thought she was going to stick around for quite a while. Not going to lie I was pretty disappointed to see Nan end up amounting to an oversized blood stain on one of Bill's imported rugs. In Nan's death we see Bill and Eric be more than just be on good terms after both hearing Sookie's choice (or lack thereof) but surprisingly they seem to be looking out for one another. Yes this could be self-preservation on their part but I like the idea of an Eric/Bill tag team rather than this overplayed love triangle feud.
With the brief scene with Terry's old army buddy, along with Renee's warning to Arlene suggest something bad will be happening to Merlotte's longest standing waitress. If that tease wasn't enough the hint that season three's Russell Edgington somehow escaped and that season two's Steve Newland will also be back next year probably blew the minds of all those fans who have been with the series since the beginning.
The biggest shock had to be the death of Sookie's childhood friend, fan favorite, and True Blood staple the always outspoken Tara Thornton. Tara's gunshot wound to the skull puts her far beyond the usual vampire blood healing powers so chances are she is gone for good. Having Debbie killed off just moments after didn't even seem to register when seeing it happen because you are still probably in shock from Tara's death. True Blood definitely won't be the same with Rutina Wesley's aggressively forward smack talk.
So to quickly recap the crazy jam packed finale, and this lengthy recount of mine; Jesus, Marnie, Nan, Debbie, and Tara reduce the already shortening cast size for True Blood by 5. Both Reverend Newland and Russell Edgington return to seek revenge. Sookie and Lafayette are single now. Eric and Bill are buds. And there is a very good chance that crap fairy story-line will come back next year. Till summer '12 thanks for reading.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.