'True Blood' recap: The witch is dead and so is...
Nan Flanagan, Debbie Pelt, Jesus and possibly Tara! The body count for Sunday's Season 4 finale of "True Blood" was high by nearly any measure and certainly full of surprises, like, say the fact that Steve Newlin's back -- and he's a vampire! -- not to mention that Russell Edgington sure seems to have managed to worm his way out of that concrete grave that Bill and Eric had confined him to at the end of last year...
The most heart-wrenching loss, clearly, is that of Jesus (because there's no way that Tara won't pull through, but more on that later). Things began to look not so good for Lafayette's magically inclined boyfriend as soon as the episode opened. He sincerely apologizes to Lafayette for dragging him into a world of magic before he was ready, totally unaware that Marnie's spirit has taken possession of Lafayette and has big plans to use his physical body to continue her vengeance tour through Bon Temps.
When Jesus encourages Lafayette to eat his breakfast, the nurse ends up with a fork through his hand, and he's next seen tied to a chair with Marnie/Lafayette torturing him, demanding he surrender his supernatural powers to her. Frustrated, he tells her that you "can't trade magic like Pokeman cards," but Marnie threatens to kill Lafayette unless Jesus complies. (Just as an aside, can we take a moment to say how fantastic Fiona Shaw and Nelsan Ellis were on the show this season? Seriously, well done.)
Speaking of the dead, Sam stands beside Tommy's grave, where a weepy Maxine turns up to comfort him, offering to bring by a pork rind casserole and inviting Sam to call her "Mama" from now on. Maxine's real son, Hoyt, happens to be at work on the road crew, when Jason turns up and confesses that he and Jessica had sex. Hoyt punches him, and when Jason blames his inability to resist her on the fact that he drank her blood, Hoyt punches him again, telling his best friend that he's selfish and that he'll never experience real love because something essential inside of him is missing.
At Merlotte's, Halloween festivities are underway with Terry and Arlene dressed like zombies -- "zombies are the new vampires," after all. Sookie goes to see Sam and ends up with her old job back, though Sam does force her to wear bunny ears in honor of the holiday. (Lisa's costume as Jenelle Evans from "Teen Mom 2"? Hilariously inappropriate.) Terry runs into an old war buddy, Patrick Devins, whose life he saved twice, as Sookie and Alcide chat by the bar. With "Monster Mash" playing in the background, the werewolf tells her that Debbie is out of his life for good and that he and Sookie should attempt to make a go of things. She tells him that she can't change who she loves, but he says that maybe she should try harder.
Back at Lafayette's, Jesus, desperate to save Lafayette's life, begins chanting, summoning a strong wind in order to transmit his dark magic to Marnie. When his features get demonic, Marnie stabs him, licks the blood from the knife and in short order the demon face appears on Lafayette's body. By the time Tara shows up, Marnie/Lafayette is long gone, leaving behind Jesus' corpse. (So sad!!) Tara runs to Merlotte's to report what she's learned to Sookie and Holly.
The trio of women, with Holly's "Wiccan first aid kit" of salt and sage and a lock of hair in tow, immediately head to Bill's, where Marnie/Lafayette has killed a slew of the king's guards and has chained up a shirtless Bill and Eric to burn them at the stake. Sookie uses her powers to repel Marnie outside of the circle of salt Holly draws, and Holly, Sookie and Tara take hands. They summon the spirits of the dead, as Bill and Eric burn, and in moments, a host of specters appear, among them Antonia.
She calls Marnie her sister and extinguishes the fire, saying that all creatures have a purpose -- the vampires' purpose was to bring her together with Marnie. Although Marnie protests, Antonia (and Gran!) insists that she must depart the Earth. She tells Marnie that life is pain, so while she ultimately will find peace, the vampires never will. Sookie begs Gran not to go, but Adele wisely tells her that "being alone ain't nothing to be afraid of."
Sookie takes her advice to heart, offering her blood to heal Bill and Eric, but then tearfully walking out on both vampires, deciding that she's simply better off on her own, as much as it might pain her. At Fangtasia, though, Pam, knowing only that Eric is missing and fearing that she's lost her maker to Sookie "with her precious fairy vagina and unbelievably stupid name" is beyond distraught. So, too, is Arlene, after running into the spirit of former lover Rene, who warns her that she must run away from Terry, that the ghosts of his past won't rest forever.
And while we're on the subject of ghosts from the past, Jason, feeling a little wounded by Jessica's request that their relationship remain purely physical for the time being, is astonished to answer the door and find the good Rev. Newlin standing there, fangs bared. (Weren't we all!)
Although Lafayette is beside himself with grief that Jesus is gone, the two have a moment of closure when Jesus drops by to say farewell ("Dude, I'm dead. You're a medium," he tells the started Lafayette). Holly and Andy have their own moment, when Andy says to her that he's sober and would like to have a chance to be good to someone. Sam and Luna seem to be figuring things out for themselves, too, though Sam tells her he thinks life is violent and cruel by nature. Cue the appearance of a yellow-eyed werewolf.
That wolf is not Alcide, who has been called out to the site of one of his construction projects, a parking garage where the foreman's been glamored and a chain is found on the ground by a patch of busted up cement floor. And that can mean only one thing: the former King of Mississippi has escaped! That certainly will not be a problem for Nan Flanagan, however, given that she meets the true death at the hands of Bill and Eric, the latter of whom personally dispatches her entourage after she confesses that she's left -- or was fired -- from her spokeswoman duties for the AVL and the Authority. (It really is nice to have the old Eric back.)
But there's more bloodshed at Sookie's, when she finds herself at home with an irate Debbie Pelt pointing a shotgun right at her. Tara runs in front of the weapon in order to save her friend's life and does so -- only to wind up without the side of her skull. Sookie turns the gun on Debbie and pulls the trigger, then, sobbing, cradles Tara's body in her arms. Tara has more spirit and spunk than almost anyone, but that surely isn't enough to survive such a severe injury. Someone is going to have to save her.
So, what did you think? Will Sookie harness her power to rescue Tara from death's clutches? Will Bill and/or Eric come to the rescue with their restorative blood? Will Russell Edgington be looking to reclaim his throne? And has Steve Newlin reconsidered some of his anti-vampire positions now that he's among the undead (or is it possible he was just wearing a convincing Halloween costume and is very much still among the living)?
Please leave your comments below.
-- Gina McIntyre
Photo: Sookie with Alcide chat about their relationship in Sunday's Season 4 finale of "True Blood"