'True Blood' Season Finale Recap: Night of the Living Dead - Rolling Stone
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‘True Blood’ Season Finale Recap: Night of the Living Dead

Season Four wraps up with a literal bang, and multiple cliffhangers leave viewers primed for Season Five

true blood season finale vampire hbo bill compton sookie stackhouse

Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton and Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse

John P. Johnson/Home Box Office

In its four seasons, the only thing that’s remained predictable about True Blood is that nothing is ever as it seems. Alan Ball, a master of twists and turns, has succeeded in leaving his audience salivating for Season Five with “And When I Die.” Although Sookie makes her long-awaited choice between Bill and Eric, and Marnie’s control over Bon Temps is finally vanquished, we are left with very little resolution as Season Four closes out, and a multitude of cliffhangers pepper the story lines. Long-lost villains from seasons past (Russell Edgington! Steve Newlin! Rene!) are creeping their way back into the lives of Bon Temps’ residents, only hinting at the evil to come. And as the episode title teased, death is a prominent visitor in this season finale, with Jesus making the ultimate sacrifice to save the man he loves – and Tara doing the same to protect Sookie. The creatures of the True Blood universe took one hell of a beating this season, but it looks like it was just a warm-up to the terror that awaits them in Season Five.

Vampires and Witches
is apologizing to a pink-silk-kimono-clad Lafayette for pushing him into using dark magic as they eat breakfast on their porch. The brujo notices his boyfriend is unusually silent and unresponsive. His theory that something isn’t quite right is proven when Lafayette, who is still possessed by Marnie, stabs him in the hand with a fork.

Post-credits, a tied-up Jesus is trying to reason with Marnie. For a second, Lafayette succeeds in breaking through Marnie’s grip: “Jesus, this bitch is strong, and seriously homicidal!” But Marnie’s spirit overpowers him and soon enough, Lafayette is holding a kitchen knife to his eye and warning, “Call me ‘bitch’ again, boy, and I’ll cut out your eyeball and feed it to you.” Nelsan Ellis is frightening when he’s threatening himself. Understandably, Marnie is pissed at Jesus for taking Antonia away from her, and now she wants his brujo magic, even though Jesus tries to explain to Marnie that “you can’t trade magic like fucking Pokémon cards!” At this point, Jesus is baffled as to what Marnie is trying to prove, because she just seems hell-bent on destroying all creatures, be they human, Wiccan or vampire. “Who are you fighting for?” he asks her. “You’ve turned into everything you hate!” A trembling Jesus eventually gives in to Marnie when she threatens to kill Lafayette – who begins slicing the skin around his heart. In his final act as a brujo, Jesus turns into a demon. Marnie stabs him in the chest and licks the blood off the knife, drawing the power into herself. With tears in his eyes, Jesus, who has reverted back to his human face, looks at his lover and says, “Lafayette, I’m sorry.”

At nightfall, Tara arrives at Lafayette and Jesus’ place, where she is horrified to discover Jesus’ dead body still in the chair. Outside Merlotte’s, Sookie is lighting Jack O’Lanterns when Holly walks toward her dressed as a faerie – “There’s nothing scary about faeries” she tells a visibly disturbed Sookie. Sookie begs to differ. Holly explains that for Wiccans, Halloween is known as Samhain, the witches’ New Year. On this night, “the veil between the dead and living is at its thinnest.” Good to know, because that’s when Tara shows up with the news about Jesus, and she’s deduced that Marnie has taken possession of Lafayette. The three women race off to find Bill and Eric.

Cut to outside Compton Manor, where Bill and Eric are silvered to a stake atop a pyre, with Bill’s security detail lying dead at their feet. Sookie, Tara and Holly arrive to find Lafayette, now dressed in a floor-length blue tunic, preparing to kill the two vampires in the name of “justice.” Using Jesus’ stolen magic, Lafayette ignites the pyre, as Bill and Eric cry out in agony. Sookie uses her light power against her possessed friend, but it only knocks him to the ground. Following Holly’s lead, the three girls join hands and begin chanting for the spirits of the dead to help them. Soon enough, all of Bon Temps’  departed emerge from the cemetery to help – including Adele Stackhouse and Antonia.

Antonia’s spirit extinguishes the fire, and she turns to Lafayette, announcing, “I am here to take you home.” Adele, still dressed in the white nightgown she died in, reaches into Lafayette’s mouth and pulls Marnie’s spirit out. Marnie begs Antonia to not take her away yet: “Nobody cares what I want!” She claims that dead people murmuring into her ears nonstop is what made her the freak she is. Antonia goes on to explain to Marnie that “life is pain,” but all she has suffered will be meaningless now that her spirit is free. Antonia reminds Marnie that that is better than what the vampires have, which is to be stuck on Earth forever. “There is no victory in that.” Marnie capitulates, and she disappears along with the rest of the ghosts, at long last releasing Bon Temps from her wrath.

Over at Fangtasia, Pam is trashing her office. She is still devastated that she has been replaced in Eric’s heart by Sookie and “her precious faerie vagina and her unbelievably stupid name!” With no one else to turn to, she allows herself to be consoled by Fangtasia human employee Ginger, dressed in a sexy nurse’s uniform, as tears of blood stream down her face. Her future and her relationship with Eric  uncertain.

Back at Compton Manor, Sookie is in ecstasy as Bill and Eric, dressed in matching striped robes, feed off of her. Then the moment of truth arrives: She feels ripped in half by the two of them, despite the fact that she “can’t imagine a world without both of you in it.” But Sookie really only needs three words describe the situation: “What a mess.” She’s tired of all the lying the three of them have done to protect each other, and the only choice she has is to not be with either Bill or Eric. As she exits the house, she sobs uncontrollably.

In the middle of the night, Lafayette wakes up to see Jesus’ spirit in the bedroom. Lafayette is  distraught over what happened, and he blames himself for Jesus’ death. But his beloved reassures him that he is at peace. When Lafayette begs Jesus to stay with him, Jesus deadpans, “Dude, I’m dead. You’re a medium. I’ll always be with you.” It’s a sweet wrap-up to the Lafayette-Jesus story arc, but it’s no less heartbreaking. And if Lafayette is a medium, then perhaps Kevin Alejandro will be making some Season Five appearances.

Nan arrives at Compton Manor with three American Vampire League soldiers. She’s in a foul mood, because she “quit” the AVL and the Authority (“‘quit,’ ‘fired,’ same difference”) and now she wants Bill and Eric to join her rebellion. The 816-year-old PR machine refuses to “be retired like a fat first wife,” so she holds her knowledge of Sookie’s abilities as leverage to get the two Louisiana vamps to do her bidding. Nan offers to protect Sookie from swarms of hungry vampires if Bill and Eric agree to mutiny with her against the Authority. Bill and Eric try to call Nan’s bluff, but she’s not buying it: “I saw the way you both looked at her – hungry puppy dogs, slobbering over the same juicy bone.” Realizing she knows too much, Eric swiftly beheads the three “gay Storm Troopers,” while Bill stakes Nan. Covered in her blood, he hisses, “We are not fucking puppy dogs!” And we end Season Four with the most unexpected twist yet: Bill and Eric as willing allies.

At the cemetery, Sam is laying Tommy to rest, where he is joined by Maxine. Despite the fact that Tommy stole her clothes (“even a pair of my underpants”), Maxine is genuinely sad over his death and insists Sam call her “Mama” from now on, because Tommy was like a son to her. She’d probably feel different if she ever learned that Tommy swindled her out of a bunch of money. Luna and Emma arrive at the cemetery and they embrace Sam.

Later in the day, at Merlotte’s, Sookie arrives to discover that it’s Halloween (thanks to Arlene and Terry in zombie makeup, and a poke at reality TV, with Arlene’s preteen daughter dressed as “Jenelle from Teen Mom 2“) – and that she can have her job back. Sam, realizing that a skinwalking Tommy had fired Sookie several days ago, chalked it up to his “not being himself” and immediately puts his longtime waitress back to work.

That evening, Luna confides in Sam that she’s skeptical that they could be truly happy after all the pain and suffering they’ve experienced at the hands of people like Tommy and Marcus. Sam doesn’t doubt that life can suck most of the time, but he believes that when something good comes along, you have to celebrate it, and that’s what he wants to do with Luna and Emma. Luna’s cool with that idea. As she drives away with her daughter in tow, Sam turns around and is met face-to-face with a wolf bearing its teeth. Someone loyal to Marcus?

Vampires and Humans
confronts Hoyt about his relationship with Jessica. In a surprise to no one, Jason gets his ass kicked by a brokenhearted Hoyt. (Note to Jason: When your best friend asks “How” you had sex with his ex, answering with “Missionary, then doggy, then her on top” guarantees you will end up flat on your back.) Hoyt, oblivious to all Jess and Jason have been through in the past week (i.e., Jason being blinded due to half his body being burned; Jess saving him), doesn’t believe a man-whore like Jason will ever know what it feels like to truly love someone: “There’s something inside you that’s just missing.” That one stung.

That evening, to the strains of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” a girl in a red velvet hooded cape is running through the woods. She knocks on Jason’s door to reveal that she’s none other than Jessica, vamping it up as an X-rated Red Riding Hood in a red and black lace corset. Jason, who is still nursing his wounds by holding a red Popsicle to his face, consents to Jess’ request to be invited in – and they have incredibly hot Halloween sex on his couch, with Jess’ cape still tied around her neck. Jessica may be 17 for eternity, but the way she took control of this scene is her announcement to the world that she’s no longer a “baby vamp.” “I don’t want to be your girlfriend,” she tells Jason. She knows what she did to Hoyt was wrong, and she doesn’t want to hurt Jason – but she isn’t ready for another relationship. Yet. Given Jason’s poor track record with women, Jessica, in her wild, dangerous way, just may be his perfect match.

As Jess is getting ready to leave, Jason, echoing Hoyt’s earlier comment, asks her if there’s a part of him that’s missing. Jess insists that it’s not true: “You’re funny and you’re exciting and you have the sexiest hip bones I’ve ever seen.” She explains that she’s leaving because she’s hungry and she’s not ready to drink from Jason yet –  too intimate. Jason then pays Jessica the ideal compliment: “You’re like no other woman I’ve even been with. And I’ve been with a lot of women.” Jess is so touched by his words that her fangs descend. They kiss tenderly and she zips off. They’re so good together because they’re flawed individuals who don’t make excuses for who they are. Two seconds later, there’s a knock on the door. No, it’s not Jess back for another round – it’s Rev. Steve Newlin, of the Fellowship of the Sun church, dressed in a blue plaid button-down shirt and a sweater tied around his shoulders. And fangs. Yep, the country’s most renowned anti-vampire crusader is now a bloodsucker himself. Please, Jason, do not invite this guy in.

At Merlotte’s, Terry has a visitor: Sgt. Patrick Devins (Scott Foley!). Apparently Terry saved his life in the Marine corps twice. Which is news to Arlene. That evening, she’s taking out the trash at Merlotte’s when she stunned to see Rene‘s ghost. Rene assures his frightened ex he’s not there to hurt her, but to warn her: “That man [Terry] is bringing trouble of the worst kind. Run.” Just so we’re clear: The ghost of a serial killer is warning his former lover that her gentle husband’s cute Marine buddy is dangerous. And. Scene.

In the parking lot, Holly is greeted by Andy, bearing flowers. He explains his erratic behavior was due to a V addiction, but Holly, exhausted from the past several days’ events, rebuffs his advances and asks for a simple hug: “I could really use one tonight.” They’re leaving the door open for a possible relationship between these two, which is nice – they deserve a little happiness.

stops by Merlotte’s to see Sookie, where he tells her that Debbie is out of his life for good: “I’m done with the drama.” And he wants Sookie to take a chance on him romantically – because Lord knows she could use a little less drama too. It’s a scene all True Blood fans have been waiting for since Alcide first showed up, but Sookie turns him down. She can’t just stop loving Bill and Eric. She’s tried. Their heart-to-heart is interrupted by an unidentified phone call for Alcide, and he leaves.

That night, Alcide is walking with a hard-hatted construction worker in a deserted parking garage. His employee has no clue how it happened (glamouring will do that), but there’s a huge hole dug in the middle of the concrete lot. A silent Alcide picks up a large silver chain. This can mean only one thing: Mississippi King Russell Edgington has escaped.

After turning down both Bill and Eric, Sookie comes home to a dark kitchen. Debbie is there waiting for her, brandishing a shotgun. As Debbie is about to pull the trigger, Tara intercedes, pushing Sookie out of the way – but the gun still goes off. Sookie manages to grab the gun, holds it to Debbie’s neck and shoots. Sookie turns around to see her best friend lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Holding a lifeless Tara alone in her arms, Sookie screams for help as the credits roll.

Favorite Couple: Jesus sacrificing his own life to save Lafayette‘s is a more selfless act than any of the hundreds of pints of blood that have been exchanged between Sookie, Bill and Eric.

Winning Species of the Week: The ghosts offered more protection than the vampires and witches combined. Antonia didn’t need a human body to put out the burning pyre – or to help Marnie understand that her days of going bat-shit crazy were over. Adele released Lafayette from Marnie’s possession – and it looks like Rene might play a vital role in saving Arlene’s life.

Losing Species of the Week: The vampires. Nan’s dead. Jessica refuses to live by the rules. Pam is one bad mood away from a nervous breakdown. Bill and Eric will sooner kill off their own species than let Sookie become a nationwide snack. Steve Newlin is now a vampire. And Russell Edgington is at large. It’s anarchy in the U.S.A.

Last Episode: Showdown at the Moon Goddess Emporium

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