And so we reach another season finale in Bon Temps. It's amazing how much gets packed into twelve episodes (sometimes a little too much). And the wait until the next season is always interminable. But at least we're given plenty to think and speculate about as we wait. Season Three's finale does not disappoint in this regard.
"Evil Is Going On" picks up where we left off last episode--with Eric and Russell slowly being roasted by the sun. I would enjoy this scene a whole lot more if it hadn't already been established in Season Two's "I Will Rise Up" that when exposed to direct sunlight older vampires (like Russell and maybe even Eric) burn up almost instantly. These two have been out there long enough for a proper immolation to be in progress, rather than a little skin crisping. Sorry but I'm not a fan of series that can't stick to their own mythologies. But at least this is probably the weakest point of the episode. Then again that depends on how you feel about ghosts.
As Eric is dying Godric appears to him and urges him to forgive Russell before they both meet the true death. Eric refuses to forgive Russell for what he did to Eric's family and he's not too happy to hear Godric say that only peace follows death, even for Russell. Overall I didn't love Godric's appearance. I'm not sure it really added anything to the story and while I appreciate the acknowledgment of an afterlife, it's been done to death (sorry--couldn't resist that one).
Meanwhile, Sookie wakes from a dream about the fae realm and instantly goes into bitch mode, slapping Bill and blaming him for just about everything wrong in her life. And yet when she finds out that Eric--whom she supposedly hates and who, I think, did far worse to her than Bill--is about to sacrifice himself she can't run outside fast enough. She even pulls the perennial brat favourite "You don't own me" when Bill tries to stop her. If Sookie is supposed to represent the modern strong and independent woman, I think we're in a lot of trouble.
As Eric feeds he's moaning ecstatically to the point where I'm thinking he and Sookie might need to get a room. But the others stop him before things get out of hand. As soon as he's recovered he insists they bring Russell inside because Godric wants him to spare Russell. Funny--I don't remember Godric saying anything about that. The others think he's lost his mind but when Eric threatens to go out himself and get Russell, Sookie relents and drags the crispy critter back inside via a silver chain around his neck. The makeup/special effects people did an amazing job on burned Russell (see photo above, click to enlarge). He's not only gruesome but realistically so--you can completely believe this is what a vampire would look like after some time in the sun. You've also got to give credit to Russell for being able to tolerate what has to be an insane amount of pain.
Although she really doesn't want to, Sookie agrees to watch Russell (since he can't glamour her, unlike Ginger) while the others get some rest. She's also incredibly rude to all the vampires, calling them "creepy cold freaks." So, consistency--not really one of Sookie's strong points. Before they go Eric calls someone with a van and arranges for their help. Maybe he should load Sookie up and send her where she might actually be happy.
As Sookie reads a copy of Star magazine with a cover photo of Russell ripping out the news anchor's spine, he attempts to bribe her into letting him go. He promises her everything from leaving her alone to killing Bill and/or Eric (her choice) to giving her his house. But Sookie only plays along to torment him--she has no intention of releasing him. It's not a shocker that this upsets him but as he taunts Sookie about her tasty, tasty blood it is on the shocking side when Sookie sprays him in the face with atomized silver. Talk about kicking a man when he's down. When did Sookie get so mean? But it gets worse. When she figures out that Russell is hanging on to Talbot's liquefied remains because he believes he can use Sookie's blood to bring Talbot back to life she decides to pour what's left of Talbot down the drain. As Russell screams and curses in anguish, Sookie giggles psychotically. I think the girl has finally snapped. Yes, Russell is evil but at the moment he's also badly wounded and helpless. And while his recent actions have been motivated in large part because of love, Sookie doesn't seem remotely capable of love anymore. You have to wonder who the real monster is.
Elsewhere Tara watches Steve Newlin vs. Nan Flanagan on TV as Sam makes her breakfast: hoe cakes cooked with bacon grease. I see a reconciliation with Lettie Mae on the horizon. Sam seems to be ready to start over in a positive way, telling Tara he's a shifter and finally accepting himself for who and what he is. Tara, unfortunately, has had enough of all things supernatural. She's clearly majorly traumatized and wishes she could just be a new person in a new life. Well, why not?
The reunion with Lettie Mae doesn't go quite as Tara planned. She walks in on her half-naked mother with the married minister. But it's okay because he's going to leave his wife and marry Lettie Mae and then she'll be a minister's wife! Tara's anger fades to resignation and she wishes her mother happiness in what seems like a final goodbye. Lettie Mae's too wrapped up in herself to realize that anything's amiss, though.
Back at home (that is, Sookie's) Tara stares into the mirror as she holds a massive pair of scissors. It looks as though we're about to witness a bloodbath but the next moment Tara starts cutting her hair as she cries. Rather than getting into all the symbolism a haircut like this entails I think I'll just comment on the style: very cute indeed. I never thought the braids suited Tara so this short, fluffy cut is a nice change. Things seem to be looking up for Tara. But then again, maybe not. After promising Sookie she'll be back soon she heads out to see Lafayette. But instead of actually heading inside Merlotte's Tara just stays in the car looking at the building. She then drives off and disappears into the darkness. Since she never returns as promised it looks like Tara might be gone for good (or at least for a good long while).
Speaking of Lafayette, there's a nice scene when Sam lets Lafayette into Merlotte's. Sam is lit up in the sun while Lafayette, in a dark hoodie, seems to be in a perpetual shadow. Both metaphor and irony as Sam is the one with the shadowy past and Lafayette seems to be achieving some sort of enlightenment. In any case Lafayette's V-induced hallucinations don't seem to be going away as he sees blood on Sam's hands and hears Sam's voice saying "Cross me and you're a dead man." Creepy. And it's freaking Lafayette out. Later, when he hallucinates Rene strangling Arlene and claiming to be inside her, Lafayette makes a panicky call to Jesus, who drops everything to come see him. What really worries Lafayette is that he's turning into his mother (what I'd be more concerned about was that maybe I'd institutionalized my mother when she wasn't actually crazy). When Jesus shows up he manages to assuage Lafayette's worries somewhat, although it might not have been the best time to admit that he's a brujo-- a male witch (not to be confused with manwich).
Sam spends the rest of the episode focused on Tommy. When he stops by the house to see him he finds the place in a shambles and clearly abandoned. On a hunch Sam heads back to Merlotte's, where he discovers his safe is missing. In a rage he screams for Tommy before grabbing a gun. I'm not quite sure how Sam finds Tommy but after a short chase Sam shoots the gun in the air and brings Tommy to a stop. He wants his money back and doesn't care at all that he tore Tommy out of his old life just to abandon him, or that Tommy has no way of supporting himself or anywhere to live. I liked Sam a lot better when he was sweet. As Tommy tries to walk away Sam shoots. We don't get to see what, if anything, the bullet hits so I guess that's for next season to reveal.
Jason is kept busy trying to thwart the DEA from raiding Hotshot (never mind that he was the one who ratted on Hotshot in the first place). Andy's on to him and warns Jason that his future career as a cop is on the line. Jason tries to reason with Andy (well, Jason-style reasoning anyway) and although he's not getting anywhere he does catch a break when Andy accidentally lets slip that the raid is taking place that day. Jason runs to get Crystal and they both head to Hotshot. It's hard to believe this is a functioning community: everyone looks dirty and underfed and helpless. It's even harder to believe that Jason is their only hope. After a V-addicted Felton kills his/Crystal's father (the town patriarch), grabs all the V, kidnaps Crystal, and steals Jason's truck, Jason is suddenly in charge (and he seems to actually want the responsibility). This is an annoying turn of events and would be a disappointing storyline even if it were remotely believable. Definitely weak sauce.
Starting anew is the big theme in "Evil Is Going On." Hoyt shows up at work and finds an intervention waiting for him. His mom, Summer, and his high school guidance counsellor try vainly to bring him back to the side of light--in other words the anti-vampire side. But finally having grown a pair, Hoyt shuts them down and tells them he loves Jessica. End of discussion. Later he take Jessica to see their new place because not only does he want to live together but he wants to marry her. Their happiness is clear...until Hoyt mentions that she'll never have to find out what she'd do without him. That's a sure sign of impending doom. And to underscore that, the camera slowly pulls out. As we see the happy couple in the background the shadows in the foreground reveal a baby doll lying on the floor. Strangely enough it's one of the creepiest images ever on the show. And for one last nail in their coffin (so to speak) Hoyt's mom heads to the local gun shop and buys a rifle. Somehow I get the feeling that Hoyt won't be with us much longer, whether by accident or intention.
Back at Fangtasia there's an amusingly morbid moment as Ginger unknowingly washes and dries the urn that held Talbot. Suddenly Alcide arrives. He was the one Eric called earlier and has agreed to help Eric in exchange for his father's debts being cleared. Although Alcide is there on business it doesn't stop him from taking a few moments to flirt with Sookie. And she flirts back, including after the vamps have woken and joined them. Bill's helplessness is practically palpable. As Eric grabs Russell he orders Sookie to stay at the bar, where Pam will protect her. Now while I applaud Sookie's decision to protect herself I'm not enjoying her sudden attitude toward the vamps, particularly Bill. She rightly doesn't want to be controlled or used by them, yet she seems to expect them to be at her beck and call and to behave the way she believes is appropriate (and if they don't acquiesce to her demands she treats them like complete scum). It doesn't work both ways.
Bill, Eric, and Russell end up at a Herveaux construction site where they're preparing to encase Russell in a cement foundation. This won't kill him--it'll just be long-term torture and starvation, likely destroying what's left of Russell's sanity. It turns out that when Eric wanted to "save" Russell it was only because he didn't want Russell to enjoy the peace of death. No, he wants Russell to keep suffering. Ghostly Godric looks on, disappointed and saddened. As Eric pours cement on top of Russell, Godric steps back and fades away.
Once Russell is fully encased, Bill extends his hand to shake Eric's. Then he snaps a silver handcuff on Eric and pushes him into an adjoining hole, which he then fills with cement. Gotta say--I wasn't expecting this. Bill also calls one of Eric's lackeys and, imitating Eric's voice, orders the lackey to kill Pam. What the hell has come over Bill?
We find out when he shows up a while later at Sookie's. She invites him in despite making a point earlier of revoking all the vampires' invitations and telling them not to follow her home. Like I said--consistency is not her strong suit. He tells her that Russell, Eric, and Pam are gone; that he will get rid of anyone who has tasted her blood or knows what she is (he's okay, though because he has self control). He also tells her that even if they part ways, he'll still always do whatever he can to protect her. Then he adds that he's never loved like he's loved her, and he never will again. That's enough to melt even Sookie's icy demeanour. As he's leaving she gets up to stop him, but he's already opened the door--and there stands Eric (looking surprisingly hot covered with a layer of cement).
Eric gets right to the point telling Sookie that Bill first came to Bon Temps because the Queen sent him to get close to her. Not only that but Bill let the Rattrays beat Sookie nearly into a coma just so he could have an excuse to feed her his blood. Yikes. Bill admits that what Eric is saying is true. Eric then adds that Bill tried to get rid of him not because he was protecting Sookie, but because he was protecting himself from Eric ever telling Sookie what he knew. Her rage pushes Bill right through the doorway. Tearfully he tries to tell her he loves her and always will but that just pisses Sookie off even more. (And as with Eric's coating of cement, Bill looks surprisingly hot with bloodied eyes. I have issues.) Bill leaves.
Eric tells Sookie that, for what it's worth, he wouldn't have given her to Russell. This prompts her to hurl abuse at him too. But rather than get angry he tells her he's sorry to see her suffer like this but he thought she had a right to know. Then he's also gone. And since Tara hasn't come back (and likely won't) Sookie is truly alone. After crying for a while she suddenly gets up and runs out of the house.
A knock at Bill's door has us thinking Sookie's come to him but it turns out to be the Queen, wearing an amazing dress (want!) She believes Bill has Sookie waiting for her but he lets her know he's got other plans for the evening (namely killing the Queen). He claims he has nothing left to lose. A moment later their fangs are out and they're literally flying at each other. Best of luck, Bill.
Meanwhile Sookie ended up running to the cemetery where she visits her Gran's grave. She tells Gran that she's lost and has never felt so alone. Suddenly Claudine the fairy is there inviting Sookie to come with them. From behind the trees fairies start appearing everywhere. Sookie goes to Claudine and a bright light appears between them. Then they all disappear.
The show covered a lot of ground this season, and there's plenty set up for Season Four. But I can't help feeling that a lot of the storylines this season were forced and the characters have lost their spark (with a few exceptions). I think True Blood would have been better off following Harris's novels more closely, as it did in Season One--the best so far, rather than straining to come up with increasingly weird or extreme situations and storylines. There's already plenty in place to work with and deviating as much as the show has seems to not be working out as well as it could. I'm looking forward to next season, but with a lot of reservations.
Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and long, snakelike fangs that descend or retract at will (occasionally the vampire has no control over his or her fangs). Vampires cry blood.
Strengths: Vampires can heal bite wounds with a bit of their own blood. Fast healing. Ability to glamour/hypnotize humans. Super speed, strength. The older the vampire the stronger they are. Ability to fly, levitate.
Weaknesses: Sun, silver. Staying up during the day (causes "the bleeds"). Starvation. Vampires need an invitation to enter a private residence and the invitation can be revoked at any time (forcing the vampire to leave).
Mythology: Apparently makers can appear and offer advice to their "children" from beyond the grave (the force must be strong with them). Vampire blood is a powerful drug and aphrodisiac with unpredictable effects. Once a human has consumed a vampire's blood, the vampire can sense their emotions and find them wherever they are.
Sookie: You fucking betrayed me. Again.
Bill: I only pretended to betray you so that I could save your life. Again.
Pam: [re: saving Russell] Eric, do the world a favour and let that little fuck fry.
Russell: [trying to bribe Sookie into releasing him] One million dollars.
Russell: Okay five.
Lafayette: [to Jesus] You a witch? You a witch who's a nurse who's a dude. [pause] Oh shit, I guess I lucked out then, huh?
Godric: [to Eric] You make me bleed, my child. So much hatred.
Pam: [to Eric re: Bill] Did you kill him? Please tell me you killed him because I will never get all the cement out of my hair.
True Blood, Season 3 Episode 12 (Finale) "Evil Is Going On." Written by Alan Ball. Directed by Anthony Hemingway. From HBO.
Read my other Season 3 reviews:
Episode 1 (Season Premiere) "Bad Blood"
Episode 2 "Beautifully Broken"
Episode 3 "It Hurts Me Too"
Episode 4 "9 Crimes"
Episode 5 "Trouble"
Episode 6 "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues"
Episode 7 "Hitting the Ground"
Episode 8 "Night on the Sun"
Episode 9 "Everything Is Broken"
Episode 10 "I Smell a Rat"
Episode 11 "Fresh Blood"