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TV Testimony: True Blood Season 3 Finale

September 14, 2010

Let the carping begin as we try and make sense of Alan Ball’s convoluted finale to a scattershot season of True Blood.  Much like the blast radius of poor Franklin’s noggin, this season has been all over the place.  Fans of the show have already hit the blogosphere and boards with a vengeance.   Why not add more to the already stirred up pot, eh?  SPOILER ALERT – do not click the “Read More” below if you have not seen the Season 3 finale.  You have been warned.  All others, join me after the jump.

Well, supes and humans alike may be as stumped as I am after last night’s finale.  I like a good cliffhanger as much as the next girl, but “Evil Is Going On” seemed more like a leaky roof hastily tarped up until the real construction crew comes along to take care of the root issue at hand.    For me, that issue is Bon Temps lack of unity this season. 

During the season finale, we discovered that Crystal sacrificed herself to save Jason and Hotshot, Sam may or may not have shot his little bro, and Bill has effectively managed to double and triple cross everyone. 

Sookie and Bill's dysfunctional dynamic

Eric’s plan to kill Russell went awry when Sookie re-discovered her conscience (Bill would have let both Eric and Russell rot) and dragged Eric’s  marshmallow crisp self back into Fangtasia.  For some strange reason, her plan included dragging Russell back in as well, which led to a quandry – what to do with the King of Mississippi?  While Bill and Sookie wavered, Eric once again took charge, deciding to bury Russell alive under concrete while subdued by massive amounts of silver chain.  As he eyeballed Bill’s shady offering of a handshake to seal their deal, Bill double-crossed Eric and made a concrete grave of his own for our favorite Viking.  Bill’s plan was to “save” Sookie by ridding the universe of all those who know her “fairy” secret – including Sophie Anne, Russell, Pam and Eric.   Luckily, Bill is never as clever nor creative as he thinks he is and all of his plans were foiled by a crafty Pam, who immediately released Eric from his cement trap.  

As the episode closed, Sookie found out about Bill’s multiple betrayals (he hired the Rattrays to attack him in season 1 to gain Sookie’s trust, and was working for Sophie Anne all along to discover Sookie’s nature ) thanks to a smug Eric.   This led Bill to battle with Sophie Anne, and Sookie to pout at Gran’s graveside after swearing off all vampires (even a genuinely remorseful Eric) for good.  The last we see of Sookie, she has melded hands with fairy Claudine and is off to who knows where.

I hope Alan Ball’s plan all along has been to fool both the viewer and Sookie about Bill and Eric’s true natures.  How perfect and poetic if we were to find out that Bill was the baddie all along, and Eric the complex but steady viking vamp with a heart of gold.   Sadly, I think Ball will find a way for Bill to redeem himself yet again next season, but I hope either Eric or Alcide get a chance at melting Sookie’s heart.

Eric tells it like it is

Overall, what started out as an action-packed and promising season seemed to lose its focus once we left the weres behind and were stuck with a disintegrating family and community dynamic.

There have been highs and lows – see below…

HIGHS:

1.) Any scene involving Denis O’Hare’s Russell, who is a master at scenery chewing and managed to show all the other characters in their messy love triangle/quadrangles the meaning of commitment (albeit a creepy, vampire goo-toting category of commitment).  As Pam notably quipped at Bill, a whole mess of characters this season (Tara, Bill, Sookie, Jason) have been acting like tweens run rampant after their BFF or significant other dissed them on Facebook.  Russell’s spine-ripping, glee-filled vision of the apocalypse was a refreshing change.

2.) Eric gets a backstory.  Finally, we have more depth to the character we always knew was going to play an important role in the main story arc.  Eric doesn’t put up with bull, and he’ll be the first to tell you when your whining is out of control (Sookie, Bill  – I’m talking to you).  We got to see the wealth of love and trust he has for his progeny Pam (their teary goodbye while Bill and Sookie were still bickering was a poignant moment) and he once again laid his cards on the table to bring an end to Russell when everyone else was still chasing his/her proverbial tail.  Still, his need for revenge may be his undoing, as the vision of Godric so explicitly pointed out.  I’m betting (if Alan Ball’s hints hold up) that next season may see a whole “new” Eric .

Sookie pouts at Gran's grave

LOWS:

1.) Hoyt’s mama and psycho ex-girlfriend are out to sabotage his relationship with Jessica.  Will someone just let these two be happy already?  I’m guessing from the long focus on the creepy doll in the new couple’s “house” and the shot of Mama F. buying  a vamp-killing rifle…umm,  NO.

2.) The saga of the Mickens/Merlotte clan.  Anyone who thinks Sam really shot his annoyingly short brother please raise his/her hand.  Yep, thought so.   I appreciate the backstory and the fact that the writers/creators are trying to give Sam a raison d’ etre, but anyone else think his “past” smells a little too much like Sawyer from LOST?

3.) Tara’s gone crazy.  I might be the only one who believes this, but I hope Tara is gone for good.  The show has done nothing but turn her from the  likable, loving  loudmouth from season 1 into a suicidal, screaming mess by the end of season 3.

4.) Jason Stackhouse’s last stand.  I almost hope Crystal never returns, and Jason’s subplot with the were-panthers of Hotshot was a bloody mess (literally).  Still, he got the evenings most memorable line, saying , “Sometimes the right thing to do is the wrong thing.”   Let’s start making this guy a capable leader instead of the world’s biggest patsy.

So, fans – what are you hoping develops for season 4?  I’m looking forward to the witches subplot and hoping Ball adapts the main plot of book 4 in Charlaine Harris’s series as the primary arc for next season.  That would mean more of our favorite viking (albeit in a whole new way) and more focus on a true battle royale between supernatural clans.

It will be a long wait until next June…

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