True Blood season 4 episode 12 review: And When I Die: season finale

Season four of True Blood draws to a close with death, death and more death. Here’s Emma’s review of the finale, And When I Die...

This review contains spoilers.

4.12 And When I Die

After what has been an amazing fourth season, True Blood somehow managed to outdo itself, and produced a finale so good you’ll think you’ve died and gone to TV heaven. Funny, shocking, and with more death and cliff hangers than the rest of the season put together, And When I Die could well have changed Bon Temps forever…

Despite being vanquished in a fairly mellow way – by the spirit of Grandma Stackhouse, no less – not particularly big bad Marnie kicked off the death-fest that was the finale, with the murder of Jesus for his demon. Shocking as it was to see Jesus go, his death turned out to be the least shocking of the episode.

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With Marnie, Jesus and Grandma Stackhouse safely back in heaven, the powers at True Blood really started to enjoy themselves, and the reason for the fairly bloodless end to the wiccan storyline became clear – they were saving it for the rest of the town.

In addition to Jesus, we also witnessed the demise of Nan Flanagan, courtesy of Bill and Eric – Louisiana’s newest double act, the putting down of Horrific Debbie by one Sookie Stackhouse, and most shocking of all, Tara taking a shotgun blast to the head. The brains all over the floor would appear to suggest that Tara is gone for good, but then, this is Bon Temps, and no one is ever really gone for good. What this bloody extravaganza proves beyond a doubt – outside of the fact that they just really like blood – is that Team True Blood isn’t afraid to literally pull the trigger on well loved characters.

Shocking character exits aside, surely the most exciting development to come out of the finale is the prospect that next year’s big bad will be a whole hell of a lot more dangerous than a lonely witch. Step forward one Russell Edgington… With the parking lot reveal almost thrown away amid all the death and reborn ministers, it’s easy to overlook just how huge that will be.

Yes, the standoff between Debbie, Sookie and Tara was the most shocking development, and the formation of the Bill and Eric double act was without doubt  the most entertaining, but the Return of the King makes the wait for season five all the more excruciating. Thank god Eric’s almost himself again – Diet Eric Vs Russell would not go well for our favourite Viking…

And as if all the death wasn’t enough excitement for one evening, the old “No one is allowed to be happy in Bon Temps” adage once again proved itself right. From Sookie doing the unthinkable and finally making up her frickin’ mind, to Sam’s werewolf showdown and Jason’s imminent draining, anyone approaching contentment is about to have it shattered, if they haven’t already. Even Arlene and Terry appear to be in line for some trouble, not least because Renee has taken to appearing and scaring the bejesus out of his ex-wife. The smart money says we’ll be learning a lot more about Terry before season five is over. Misery, death and ghosts of lives past – that’s Bon Temps, baby!

As a farewell to what has been a superb season of television, And When I Die stands as a fitting testament to the talent and skill of True Blood’s writers. Shocking, relentless, hysterical (“moist”, anyone?) and at times, just plain beautiful, the finale encapsulated everything that was season four.

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The writing, direction and production have been fantastic from minute one, and the cast, to a man, have easily matched that week after week. The emerging maturity of Ryan Kwanten has already been discussed in these very reviews, but add to that the spectacular performance of Deborah Ann Woll as the confused baby vamp Jess, Alexander Skarsgard’s playful rendering of Diet Eric and Nelsan Ellis’ double whammy of unwanted possessions, to name just a few, and what you have is a show hitting its stride in spectacular fashion, and it’s a pleasure to behold.

And, in the tradition of all the best shows, we leave Bon Temps, and season four, with more questions than answers – Is Tara really gone? Who the frick turned Reverend Steve? And why didn’t someone put Horrific Debbie out of her misery months ago? Guess we’ll find out next summer. Y’all take care now.

Read our review of episode 11, Soul Of Fire, here.

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