Recap: True Blood, Episode 4.12, “And When I Die”

“I am so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name. F**k Sookie!”

It’s the end to another season of True Blood. I know that you, dear readers, have many important feelings about the gory finale, just as I do, so let’s share them over this recap.

As I predicted, the last episode was definitely the best. There were times I cheered at loud, once I pumped my fists in the air, and another time I clasped my hands and giggled like a wee schoolgirl. But I have not forgotten what a horrid mess the rest of the season was. Oh, I’ll be back next year like the little sheep I am, but if Ball thinks and episode about forgiveness and moving on is going to trick the audience into forgiving and moving on, well, I’m not sure it’ll work.

But giving us back Russell is a start.

Terry and Arlene: Arlene’s daughter dresses up for Halloween as Janelle from Teen Mom, when I thought she was dressed up as Arlene. Arlene and Terry go as zombies, because as she helpfully points out, “Zombies are the new vampires.” Since this is the second time this season zombies have been mentioned, we’re going to have zombies in S5. Terry is visited by an old army buddy, who I assume is a ghost, and then Rene shows up to warn his ex-girlfriend that Terry’s ghosts are going to make her life hell.

I am totally down with more screentime for the Bellefleur family. Can they bring Mona back? Please?

Andy and Holly: Andy declares himself clean, even though he only gave up V yesterday. But he’s adorable and sweet, and while Holly isn’t ready to date him, she’ll take a comforting hug in the parking lot of Merlotte’s.  More focus on this pair, plz.

Sam: He buries his brother at the worst attended funeral in the world. There’s not even a priest. Mama Foytenberry shows up because she really loved Tommy, even though he was a no-goodnik and invites Sam to call her Mama. This is either sweet or twisted. Or a bit of both.  Luna seems to be OK with Sam’s role in Marcus’s death and there’s a sweet promise of a future there.  His personal cliffhanger: being confronted by a snarling wolf outside his trailer. I’m assuming that the wolf is ghost Marcus.

Alcide: Moaning over his break up with Debbie, Alcide shows up at Merlotte’s to suggest that Sookie start dating him, because he’s really, really, ridiculously good-looking. He’s not dysfunctional enough to be attractive to her though, so he gets sent packing, just in time to get an Important Plot Phone call from one of his construction workers.  Someone’s dug a giant hole in the floor of a parking garage! Someone who was tied down with silver chains!

I am in no way exaggerating that I threw both of my arms into the arm and yelled “˜RUUUUUSSSELLLL!” at the top of my lungs.

Pam: Pam does not understand why her hundred-year-old relationship with her father is being shoved in the trashbin. She is flipping out. She is rightfully flipping out about Sookie Stackhouse and her magical fairy vagina. And then she is having a total meltdown while Ginger comforts her. Oh, Pam. You’ve gone through so much this season. You don’t know it, but Eric still loves you. He’s unwilling to summon you to your death to save himself from Marnie, but you’ll have to wait a couple of months to make up with your maker.

Nan: I take this death the hardest. Even though I laughed hysterically when Eric ripped the heads off the gay stormtroopers, and you did nothing but speak the sarcastic, bitter truth, you still got staked by King Bill for insulting his manliness. You deserved better. Or at least more screen time for your one-liners.

Jessica and Jason: Jason owns up to his transgressions with Hoyt, who immediately beats the snot out of him. And you know what? Jason had it coming. Everything that Hoyt spit at him is completely accurate ““ Jason’s life is ruled by his dick, and he doesn’t care what kind of trouble it leads him into, or who he hurts by acting like a horny teenager.

Jess plays Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, showing up at Jason’s doorstep on Halloween. I was actually surprised by who was under the hood ““ I was sure that it was going to be Crystal, since that whole Hotshot storyline disappeared into the ether, but I’m not complaining. Red is definitely her color. Jessica just wants to use Jason for sex, since she was a sheltered teenager turned vamp turned move-in girlfriend in under three months, and needs to experience life a little. Jason did not look like he knew how to handle that role reversal.

And then Vampire Steve Newland showed up at his house. This isn’t as awesome as, you know, Russell ““fucking”“ Edgington, but mostly because it wasn’t as big of a surprise. Almost every single newscast on the show this year mentioned that he’s been missing, so, yeah. But still! He’s a vampire who loves coordinated sweater sets!

And the rest!

The bulk of the episode was devoted to the aftermath of Marnie’s death. Not one to be ignored, Marnie shoved her astral body into Lala’s mouth and took over command. This ends up being a Bad Thing for Jesus, who uttered the character kiss of death by saying out loud he just wants to be with his boyfriend forever. (Tara does the same thing later. Do none of these people watch TV?)  Since Marnie is still steamed about Jesus betraying her, she forces him to give up his brujo powers and then stabs him in the heart.

Goodbye, functional adult relationship. You were sweet while you lasted.

Marnie then decides to finish what she started, by burning Bill and Eric at the stake. Sookie, Tara, and Holly, party poopers that they are, show up at Bill’s house to ruin her plans, and, like, save Lala from the mad ghost. Holly pulls some neat witch magic out of her purse and Sookie uses her powers deliberately for once, but the real hero of the day? Adele Stackhouse.

Gran is summoned by Holly’s spell, crossing over the thin veil, along with a bunch of other old cemetery spirits, and then rips Marnie right out of Lala’s body. Antonia and Gran convince Marnie to cross over and let her anger and hatred go. I don’t, as other people have suggested, think that they’re headed to heaven. They’re just moving on to the afterlife.

I really liked Marnie as a villain this year. I know she’s doesn’t have the kind of grand motivation that we’ve come to expect in our bad guys, but rooting her maliciousness in her feelings of oppression and otherness is  very human. It’s a different kind of evil. Evil that lives in the weak and the wounded, and her slip towards Big Bad is entirely recognizable.

Before Gran leaves, she assures Sookie that there’s no need to fear being alone. Sook already knew what she needed to do ““ she’s been mulling this over since the middle of the season ““ she just needed the final kick in the ass to pull the trigger. After a real-life reenactment of her sex dream, Sook tells the boys she loves them, she forgives them, and then she walks out of their lives.

Back at her house, Tara is comforting Lala as best she can. How do you get past stabbing your lover to death, even if you weren’t steering your own body? There’s pale comfort in being a medium. Jesus visits to tell Lala he loves him and he’ll see him again. But ghosts don’t keep you warm at night.

Sookie comes home, calling out for Tara as she hunts around in the fridge for something to eat. Debbie has been waiting for her, a total wreck ““ Alcide abjuring her was the last straw. She was barely holding on when she was playing happy homemaker at the beginning of the season. Now she’s got nothing but a loaded shotgun.

Tara takes the shot meant for Sookie. In a rage, Sookie tackles Debbie, wrestles the gun away from her, sticks it under her chin, and pulls the trigger. Our last shot of the season is Sookie cradling Tara’s body, screaming for help.

Here’s the problem with killing Tara. It’s cheap. She’s a character the show never seemed to know what to do with, who heaped a lot of crap on her (impressive) shoulders, and then short-shrifted over and over. The fans disliked her, which is not really Tara’s or Rutina Wesley’s fault ““ how were they supposed to know how to feel about her when most of the time the show didn’t either?

And when the show inevitably resurrects her, nothing’s changed, because there’s still no danger for the main characters on the show. It’ll just be another emotionally hollow moment.

I stand by what I said before: They should have killed Jessica.

Bonus Content: Nirvana Unplugged, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”

Published by

[E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of powderroom.jezebel.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at slay@persephonemagazine.com. She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

17 thoughts on “Recap: True Blood, Episode 4.12, “And When I Die””

  1. I hate that no one on this show is allowed to have a long-term happy relationship. Lafayette and Jesus were such a great couple. Jessica and Hoyt were great too but their breakup actually makes sense, in that Jessica is so young and she’s still figuring out who she is and what she wants. Even hooking up with Jason makes sense, though that storyline doesn’t interest me at all. And now they’re messing with Terry and Arlene. Jeez.

    I giggled like a lunatic during the matching bathrobes threeway scene. It was just so damn ridiculous and utterly lacking in anything even remotely approaching sexy. Anna Paquin’s sexy face makes me laugh too. I mean, just look at that photo above and tell me if you see any real passion or arousal in that face.  

    I’ve given up hoping that Alan Ball will ever give Tara a break. She’s the show’s punching bag and he will always find a way to beat her down and keep her angry and whining. It’s so frustrating because you know that Tara has so much potential and that Rutina Wesley is capable of so much more.

    I enjoy the wackiness of TB and I will continue watching but there is a part of me that is wistful for what could’ve been. This show could’ve been so much more than a supernatural soap opera.

    1. I agree. It’s a very different show now than how it started out. Were I to catch an episode of one of the last few seasons instead of having started at the beginning, I doubt I’d even be watching this show right now. I miss it’s darkness. The first season seemed smart to me. You could kind of equate the whole humans discriminating against vampires thing with goings on in our world right now, and it made sense. Even when they introduced Sam as a shapeshifter, the show still retained a lot of darkness and mystery. I think it’s because you didn’t know yet who was good and who was bad, maybe? For a time we all thought that Sam might be the killer. We didn’t know what Bill’s intentions were. We didn’t know the extent of Sookie’s powers. Eric was much more mysterious. Nobody knew if Jason was really dumb or really deviant (or both). Now it’s all out there for us to see. No dangers lurking around the corner, none of the characters have anything left to reveal, and they’ve introduced so much supernatural shit that it’s corny. I never watched the show Buffy for that reason. I’m so invested in True Blood that I’ll never give it up, but yeah, it’s not the same show anymore.

      And yes, the matching bathrobes were hilarical!

  2. Tara’s gonna be a zombie, kids. Zombies are the new vampires.

    I was so, so, so sad Jesus died. Poor Lala. But I hope he’ll be making a few cameo appearances.

    What is Terry’s strange friend going to do?? did anyone get an ex-boyfriend vibe from him?

     

  3. I was actually pretty disappointed in this episode, a few scenes excepted. The hug between Holly and Andy was sweet, and I really enjoyed Pam and Ginger.

    Wholeheartedly agree on everything you said about Tara … 100% accurate by my reasoning.

    Now here’s my problem with killing not only Tara, but also Jesus. This is going to completely break Lala. He will be the new Tara (as far as how the writers [mis]handle him). Seriously hope I’m wrong.

    Super glad Russell will be back though!

  4. You know what I want to see happen with Tara next season?

    She recovers, opens a clothing store called Tara’s Togs, and starts dating J. B. DuRhone.  But I’ve learned the (mostly) hard way that Alan Ball doesn’t give a hoot about the books.

    And I totally did the RUSSELL touchdown dance, too.

  5. I loved the episode for the most part. I was devastated when Jesus died, though I have been expecting it for weeks. Nan and Tara were much more of a shock to me. Debbie I also expected, though I’m really sad to see her go…I just love that actress and it would’ve been cool to see her hanging around causing trouble for a while. I feel sorry for Debbie Pelt. The more I think about it, the more I think she got a raw deal. When she got back with Alcide, she was a fragile person, battling V addiction. He knew from the get-go that she was vulnerable, already suspicious of Sookie…and yet he kept lying to her and going back to see Sookie/save Sookie’s ass. Debbie repeatedly told Alcide what she needed. It wasn’t like she was some fluttering flower leaving him to guess – she straight up told him time and again what he needed to do to keep her happy. And he never did it. I’m not justifying any of her actions, but I can certainly see why she cracked.

    I totally thought Red Riding Hood was Crystal, too. What a weird thing they did with her and the whole Hotshot plot – it just disappeared into thin air halfway through the season. I’m not complaining, because man, it was boring (and disturbing with the rape stuff).

    I knew Newland was coming back because some idiot on Twitter spoiled it for me, but I didn’t know they were bringing back RUSSELL! And I am so excited! He MADE Season 3. Had it not been for him Season 3 wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable. I’m super pumped to see him and his quippy quips again. I hope he is just as much of a BAMF in Season 5.

    I read an interview with Rutina Wesley where she didn’t rule out the possibility of being back next Season. Whether that is as a ghost, or in flashbacks, or as a zombie, or what, I dunno. But you know, for several seasons now I’ve been hoping that they turn her into a vamp. It would be a fantastic character progression for her. She’s always hated vampires, and to become one? How fucking awesome. The storylines would be endless. And then maybe she could turn back into the Tara I fell in love with during the first half of Season 1. The scene with Tara reading in the department store and quitting her job with all that sass was actually the REASON I got hooked on True Blood. By the end, she was unrecognizable from that character.

    1. I heard that Rutina Wesley had actually signed contracts for Season Five. I agree, she’s going to go vampire — Bill or Eric will hear Sookie’s pain and come save the day… except she’ll be too far gone to save as a human. I’ve actually been hoping for a while that one of the existing characters would become vamp. It’s kind of inevitable, and with Tara already being the show’s punching bag, I’m not surprised that Alan Ball would give her a ramp-up in the self-loathing department.

      1. My left field theory is that Lala, who now has the power of Jesus’s demon, is the person who responds to Sookie’s cry for help. He’s only upstairs. He tries to heal her and she comes back wrong. Zombie, perhaps. Or just wrong, since she’s missing part of her brain.

        But the easy money is on vampire.

        My second left field theory: it’s Jason that becomes a vampire.

         

        I obviously have many important thoughts and feelings about this series.

         

         

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