That’s three-for-three when it comes to kinda lame finales for True Blood, although at least finally, finally, FINALLY Sookie dumped Bill. I think this time it’s really gonna last! But “Evil is Going On” was really a whole lot of teasing for the show’s next season, hinting heavily at deaths that may or may not happen. Really, the whole thing felt like another penultimate episode that’s never going to happen, given how many shitty cliffhangers we were served up. And True Blood is a show that usually knows its cliffhangers.
As case in point, Tara spent the whole episode giving people long stares, longer hugs, and reflecting on things past. She had post-coital pancakes with Sam, but freaks out when he reveals he’s a shape-shifter (“I cannot deal with non-humans right now”). He tells her to re-invent herself, but the treacly nature of her other scenes with Sookie and her mom almost made it seem like she was going to bite the dust. I didn’t fall for the tease that she was gonna stab herself with scissors (instead she got a nice haircut!) but it felt like the show was saying its farewell to her. Nah – she just drove off into the distance. I’m sure she’ll be back by season 4, episode 3. Big whoop!
The same went for the other Bon Temps peripheral characters. Terry got one extremely odd scene as he sobbed tears of joy on his front steps (even his armadillo Felix is doing good!) and Arlene subsequently made a face about the baby she can’t get rid of. Lafayette freaked out at Jesus about his freaky visions, and Jesus casually revealed he was a Mexican witch. Hoyt moved in with and proposed to Jessica, while his mom ominously bought a rifle. Crystal gave herself up to her betrothed, leaving Jason to care for the derelicts of Hotshot. Tommy stole Sam’s money, and Sam was a douche to him even as he revealed he couldn’t read, possibly firing a gun at him. Alcide showed up to smile warmly at Sookie, but that was about it.
Really, season three is leaving us with a lot of loose ends. Perhaps Alan Ball and company decided that after the largely self-contained second season, it might not be a good idea to get rid of most of the new characters they brought in this year. But I’m surprised just how little characters like Alcide, or Alfre Woodard, or Jessica, got to do this season.
The central Sookie-Bill-Eric plot, along with the overarching vampire plot, was designed to make up for that, I suppose. But I grew tired of Bill and Sookie’s antics about a season and a half ago, and the great revelation that he had engineered their first meeting because he was sent to investigate her felt like an afterthought, considering how desperate I was to see them break up. As Bill detailed how he was going to protect Sookie’s magic fairy blood now and forever, I just got the heebie-jeebies as usual. He's a very creepy boyfriend, even if he means well. Flying out of Sookie's door-frame might be the best thing that ever happened to him. Because if he gets to be a badass like in his final fight scene with Sophie-Anne (and like a lot of his sans-Sookie scenes this year) it'll help his character tremendously.
Eric, of course, doesn't have to work too hard to be a badass, so the finale again tried to address humanizing him, with Godric's saintly spirit begging him to set aside issues of vengeance with Russell, who tells Eric that he only killed his dad and clan because he needed a couple of goats. Hey, it was the year 1000! Eric compromises, but only slightly: he won't kill Russell, but he will bury him in cement for a hundred years. Russell, easily the highlight of the third season, ended up being a villain that was just too good to kill, but he was also too invincible for anyone to really take him on properly. I appreciate that there really was no way to deal with the character in an epic fashion, but his burial was a little too pathetic. The scenes where his ashen self talks to Sookie and she throws poor Talbot in the garbage compactor (giggling maniacally) were much better, more over-the-top and true-to-form for the show.
The twist of Bill turning on Eric and trying to off Pam and the Queen was a decent one, but I was still relieved to quickly see Pam survive the attempt (obviously Eric isn't going anywhere). I was also relieved to see Sookie banish the cement-encrusted Swede from her door along with Bill; switching the players in the love triangle that quickly would have been jarring even for this show.
True Blood season three has been an odd duck. A lot of its elements, like the werewolves, the Hotshot meth-heads, and the Mickens dog-fighting clan, have been really half-baked. But Russell was such an electrifying villain, so everything kept rolling along, and I was ready to declare it the show's best year so far. I think it probably has been. But given that Sookie breaking up with Bill and going off to dance with the faeries was the whole season's big climax, I'm worried that Alan Ball had even LESS of an idea how to construct story arcs than I thought he did.
Still, how can I not be looking forward to next season, given how many cliffhangers they've got to resolve next year? Who isn't excited to see Jason as the new Mayor of Hotshot, a Mother Teresa for the 21st Century? Who doesn't want to see if Alan Ball gets a better special effects budget from HBO next year so he can do a proper fight between Bill and Sophie-Anne? And who can't wait to find out just where Tara is headed? I'm guessing pretty much no one on that last point. See you in 2011, guys.
So, if Eric can break out of the cement, can Russell?
Sookie's "zapping" power was employed again but apart from her having the ability to move people three feet, it doesn't seem all that significant.
Jason doesn't really get the point of busting the Hotshot drug ring. "If we stop 'em, somebody else is just gonna start up, right?" "You just rationalized away all need for law enforcement!" shouts Andy.
Hoyt's lush of a guidance counselor was a great one-off character.
The asshole DEA agent who comes in from New Orleans was pretty great. "Run to the store, grab me a pack of Luckies," he asks Andy. My girlfriend instantly declared him True Blood's sexiest character yet.
Lettie Mae is sleeping with the reverend, as hinted at earlier this season. "I spilled some lemonade…on my pants."
Bill and Alcide are uneasy with each other. "If you two have finished eye-fucking, can we go?" asks Eric.
Pam dealt with Reuben's attack off-screen. "On top of everything, I'm out an assassin," Eric grumbles. Nice to see that duo back to their bitchy selves.