Let me start out by saying that this has been my favorite season of True Blood so far. (And that’s not just because Sookie spent so much of it in bed with Eric.) True Blood has always been outrageous, sexy and fun to watch, but the number of characters with separate storylines tended to make the episodes too cluttered. This season, nearly all the plotlines and characters were successfully folded into a bigger story that came together in the end. The pacing was right on target, and I had the best time.
I can’t quite put my finger on what they did to subtly change Sookie, but I liked her more this season than in the previous three combined. Could it be that reversing our two male vamp leads brought out something in her we hadn’t seen before? Eric’s bout of amnesia certainly added a lot of vulnerability and sweetness to his arrogant Viking persona, while Bill became a surprisingly effective and appealing vampire king as well as a caring father figure to Jessica. Maybe this season worked for me because they finally stopped teasing and gave us several episodes with Sookie and Eric all over each other. We even got some remarkably sexy fantasy menage a trois. That dream Sookie had was something special.
Our central love triangle was echoed all season by another, as baby vamp Jessica turned into a badass, broke up with Hoyt and seduced Jason. I wasn’t expecting it, and wasn’t expecting to like it — but I did. I actually cared about Jason this season. He grew up while Sookie was gone, weathered a horrible experience in Hotshot, and tried his hardest not to hurt his best friend. And making him a cop worked better for the continuing story than I ever thought it would.
Shifters and weres
Sam’s storyline this season was the best he’s ever had. Sam Trammell and Marshall Allman did an outstanding job with all of it — comedy, murder, sexual deception, anger, and ultimately, Tommy’s tragic death.
Alcide had a good storyline, too, as well as with several spectacular nude scenes. Even though I’m a Sookie/Eric ‘shipper, I hope they give Joe Manganiello a whole lotta screen time next season. (Quinn? Quinn, who?)
Witches, ghosts and fairies
Fiona Shaw did a terrific job as maniacal homicidal slash crunchy granola witch Marnie. And I particularly liked the way ghost witch Antonia came full circle as a character; it was an effective reversal of what happened to Marnie. It was clever of the writers to fold the characters of Lafayette, Jesus, Tara and Holly into the witch war plotline, and Lafayette’s new powers gave the talented Nelsan Ellis a lot more to do. I’m still sad about losing Jesus, because this season made me like him — a lot.
The ghost stuff started out semi-lame, but turned out quite cool — especially in the finale. (It was lovely seeing Gran again.) And the fairy stuff that was pretty silly last season got seriously ramped up to creepy in the fourth season opener. Cool.
Rest in peace
We lost too many characters this season: Sophie-Anne, Claudine, Tommy Mickens, Jesus, Nan, Tara, assorted sheriffs, witches and black-clad bodyguards, and Maxine’s vampire neighbor Beulah. Not to mention Marnie, Marcus, and Debbie Pelt. But they’re bad guys. Do they count?
The one I’m really going to miss is Jesus. Sorry about that, Tara. There are rumors that Tara may not be gone forever. Couldn’t they bring Jesus back, instead? Sorry about that, Tara.
Seasonal bits and pieces
What else worked this season? (And isn’t it nice to be able to say that, instead of “what didn’t work this season”?)
– Jumping ahead a year allowed the writers to make some significant changes that worked, like Bill as king, Jason as a deputy, Eric buying and fixing up Sookie’s house, and so on.
– We moved away from the truly icky all-incest-all-the-time situation in Hotshot. Personally, I’d be thrilled if we never heard from Crystal and the whole sick panther gang again.
– We learned that vampires used to be heavily into the Catholic church, and now it’s Google and Fox News. Good to know.
– Gators like marshmallows.
– Werewolf divorce. Think of how much we could all save in legal fees.
– Ginger riding a pink coffin like a mechanical bull? Just not something you see on television every day.
– The Festival of Tolerance was absolutely hilarious, and that was even before the screaming began and the bodies started (literally) flying through the air.
– The continuing scenes in Bill’s basement with every vampire in the cast chained down and bitching at each other got better with every episode. And Bill’s continuing conflict with Nan was the gift that kept on giving.
– All of the trouble and conflict appears to have made allies out of Bill and Eric. I was sad that Eric and Pam broke up, though. Let’s hope they mend their fences next season.
– It might not have been intentional, but there were a ton of callbacks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the magic shop, a gay witch with incredible power, Bill’s flashback as a punk in 1982 London, Eric’s cubby with the luxurious bed, and all the black leather. And the rocket launcher. And the Sookie, Bill and Eric triangle keeps reminding me of Buffy, Angel and Spike.
What do I want for next season? I’ve gotten the feeling that Alan Ball may be ready to leave the one-book-one-season structure behind. The series has gotten far enough away from the books that I’m okay with that. I honestly don’t see the need to introduce a certain tiger-like character when we already have an exceptionally hot werewolf in the cast. And I’m happy as a clam that Russell Edgington and Steve Newlin are returning. Hey, as long as Eric continues to be a major character, I’m ready to go wherever the True Blood writers want to take me.
This season’s best lines
Eric: “I know I’m a vampire, Snooki.”
Sookie: “It’s Sookie!”
Sookie: “You drank the whole fairy, and you’re going to your room.”
Eric: “I’ll just lull all the sea monsters. Gators! Krokodiler! Show yourselves!”
Pam: “You are a Viking vampire god, and you bow to no one. If someone crosses you, you rip out their liver with one fang.”
Sookie: “I promised I’d take care of you.”
Jason: “What you think that meant? Change my kitty litter?”
Sookie: “I’m proposing that the two of you be mine.”
Jessica: “That how he said it?”
Jason: “I might be parrot-phrasing a little.”
Tommy: “There ain’t no heaven, and hell’s a dog fight. I’m gonna disappear like I never was. That’s what I want.”
Eric: “Excuse me? We’re feeling a little crispy up here.”
Pam: “I’m so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name! Fuck Sookie!”
As a whole, I’d give this season four out of four krokodilers. See you next June!
Billie Doux and her contributing writers review science fiction, fantasy and cult television shows at BillieDoux.com.