I can honestly say that, after a few weeks of lackluster episodes, last night’s finale was more entertaining than tits on a turtle. And that’s plenty entertaining indeed.
In a classic True Blood misdirection, the huge cliffhanger that ended last episode with Eric and Russell facing certain doom was resolves before the credits sequence. It’s nice to see Eric front and center this episode, but it’s Denis O’Hare who steals the show. Reason #421 that I love Russell: he manages to remain hilariously snarky even when burnt to a crisp. (Reason #422 is the way he mumbles “fucking goats” as Eric tries to have a meaningful hallucination with Godric.) Seriously, I could not be happier that they’re keeping the former King around, though I doubt it will work out well for our protagonists. Sookie flushed Talbot down the trash disposal, I don’t think Russell’s letting go of that any time soon. And, surprisingly, neither is Eric, who spends the episode getting Jiminy Cricket-ed by his conscience, in Godric form. He seems to take his maker’s suggestion to spare Russell’s life, but instead condemns him to a crueler, slower fate, much to the glowing Godric’s dismay. Normally, this would cross some kind of moral rubicon, but we’ve been promised that Russell will return from his mafia-esque cement nap more crazy than ever, and that just sounds like a lot of fun.
But if you think that Eric’s got ethical issues this episode, wait until you see Bill. It’s one thing to trick Sookie into liking you so that you can feed her to the Queen, or throw Eric in a cement pit, but trying to kill Pam?! That’s the point of no return, Mr. Compton. Fortunately, Pam is fine, and Eric is no worse for wear, though I don’t think I can say the same of Sookie. The episode ends with a pretty great subversion of every Bill and Sookie fight scene we’ve had so far: as usual, Bill confesses to doing terrible things, but claims it was all out of love, and Sookie gets mad but decides to forgive him anyway. But then Eric (still covered in cement, amusingly enough) shows up to reveal the whole truth, and Sookie throws him out of the house for good. We haven’t seen Bill be badass since he left the King’s service, and I must admit that I enjoyed his return to deviousness. Even if directed against Pam. True Blood seems to be quantifiably better when Bill and Sookie aren’t together, and now that they may be broken up more permanently than normal, I’m looking forward to the return of interesting Bill. Assuming that he survives the fight with Sophie-Ann, of course.
Even if Bill doesn’t survive, I’m not sure that Sookie needs him anymore. She’s figured out how to access her magic lightbulb powers (as Russell puts it, it’s about fucking time) and she’s got fairy family to look out for her. Not to mention the return of Brawny, who’s obviously still into her, and still wearing the same flannel shirt. It was kind of excellent to see Sookie take an active role this episode, rescuing Eric and standing up to Russell. For the supposed main character, Sookie often has very little to do, and I hope the writers remember to use her more next season.
On the other hand, Tara is given a fairly graceful and magnanimous exit, and one that I can only hope will be permanent. True Blood suffers from a surplus of characters, and Tara was the obvious weak link, but I’m glad they sent her out with a horrible haircut rather than a sudden pregnancy (the other standby for removing unwanted characters from TV shows). I’m sure Lafayette will miss her, but now he’s got his gay witch nurse boyfriend for company, so he’ll be fine.
Jason’s storyline comes to a far less dignified end this episode, as Crystal is kidnapped by her fiancee/brother and leaves Jason in charge of her creepy inbred village. Which only serves to emphasize how little Jason and Crystal know about each other, because anyone who’s spent more than ten minutes with Jason wouldn’t leave him in charge of a goldfish. Somehow, this doesn’t end with Jason getting immediately arrested and shipped off to federal prison, but maybe that’s how the premiere will start. Jason can be a pretty excellent character, but it’s clear that no one knew what to do with him this season. The kid goes through more jobs than Homer Simpson, and it doesn’t seem likely that his new position as “meth addict babysitter” will stick. Maybe, with Tara gone and Bill out of the picture, Jason will have a shot at a plot that makes sense.
And oh yeah, Sam shot Tommy or something.
So that’s it for season three of True Blood, which may have been the strongest season yet. It’s true, there were some missteps (mostly involving Sam), but I can consider myself thoroughly entertained. And it’s not like we’re watching True Blood for the deep philosophic discourse. It may be hard to go back to a life that doesn’t include regular spine-rippings and a shirtless Alexander Skarsgard, but there’s always next summer.
“I only pretended to betray you so that I could save your life, again!” - Thanks for the plot summary, Bill, but that’s my job. Only I don’t usually sound as hilariously petulant as Bill. I think.
“I will not surrender to the true death. I will find a way to come back and kill your precious viking and your brooding Mr Compton and his unbearable progeny!”
“Ignoring the fact that your word’s worth as much as tits on a turtle?”
“You just rationalized away all need for law enforcement!"
"If you two have finished eye-fucking, can we go?"