The end is only the beginning
If it is possible for a season finale to act more like a prequel to the next season, I haven’t seen it in a long time. Not, perhaps, since the hatch was blown open at the end of season 1 of Lost did I think that everything I had just seen was only for the purpose of something yet to come. That is not to say I didn’t like the episode. I did. It had enough resolution of some central stories and enough momentum of its own to prevent the drag that has slowed some of the last episodes. But it didn’t really feel like a finale. It felt like Alan Ball and writers have finally figured out what they want to do with various story lines and then they ran out of time. There wasn’t even a cliffhanger that left me absolutely on the edge of my seat:sure, I want to know what is happening in fairy land. But not like I wanted to know what had happened to Bill at the end of last season. I am mildly curious if Sam really shot Tommy and wonder where Tara is off to. But not in the way that merits waiting an entire season. I very much want to know if Russell can escape from concrete like Eric did, but I suspect that is not where things are headed. I am not at all sure what is happening with Jason and the sad denizens of Hot Shot, but neither am I sure that that story should be given too much more life. I am sorry it took us this long to get to the heart of Lafayette and Jesus’ story. I am glad they are likely to feature prominently next season, but I would have been happy to get here five episodes ago and just dive in.
I guess that is how I feel about most of the stories. Once it was clear that Russell was not going to make a maniacal bid to take over the world it also became clear that we were just biding our time for the real action to begin. Which I presume is going to be the action with witches next season and whatever is on the horizon now that Bill and Sookie seem to be on the rocks in a more permanent way. And since there wasn’t enough time left to actually get into these developments, we just hung around watching flashbacks of Sam the huckster and learning more about the inbreeding of were panthers.
There were some truly fine and surprising moments in the finale. Bill’s vicious turn against Eric and Pam and his ambush of Sophie-Anne being the best of all. One thing we definitely learned this season is that Bill is far more interesting when he is a bad boy and I hope that lesson lasts into season 4 (have you noticed that when Bill is really serious about being a bad ass he puts on his leather jacket? Kind of obvious, but I love it!). I would love to get more background into his work for Sophie-Anne and to see to what depths of desperation his despair over Sookie will lead him. Lafayette’s visions were also pretty fantastic. Even though I hope they do a better job explaining the mythologies and hierarchies of witches than they have with either werewolves or fairies so far, watching him discover this untapped power is pretty fun (and even a little scary). Sookie’s manic laugh as she pours Talbot down the garbage disposal was also wonderful. Perhaps she needs to go off the deep end a bit more herself. The extended scenes of Russell fried to a flaking crisp were gothic campy excess at its best (did he look a bit like a lizard to anyone else?). In general I love Sam and Jason, but it just feels like they are being given increasingly random stories to keep them in play. I would prefer a far-fetched way to draw them into the main stories or even to let them go [and let me just take a moment to register my discontent with the handling of Calvin Norris. Nay the whole of Hot Shot. It is not exactly like Hot Shot is a well kept suburb in the books, but there is a real and sustained dignity to the working class characters Charlaine Harris’ created – Calvin Norris was perhaps one of the only real gentleman Sookie ever met, Bill not excepted. To paint them as hillbilly, woman-beating, inbred meth-heads just played into the red state/blue state politics that colored the depiction of the Fellowship of the Sun last season, except even worse. Though, digression within a digression, I love the little news clips with Rev. Newlin]. Likewise with Hoyt and Jessica. They are some of the best characters on the show (and the only functioning couple at all, except perhaps Jesus and Lafayette and it is a bit early to say). But I don’t want them just to stand in for vampire-human love in a wacky little side bar with Hoyt’s mother.
My real affection remains focused on the vampire-human relationships, but if they are going to keep delving into layers of supernatural creatures, witches seem like a great place to go. Provided that we actually learn something about witches and see how they fit into the overall world. Werewolves promised to be a great addition and then just fizzled off the screen. Some viewers have complained that the supernatural world is getting too crowded. I can see the point, especially because it still feels like a human/vampire world with minor players in orbits of their own. If I can be convinced that the supes really inhabit a unified world, with tensions and frictions and alliances and histories, then I am all about layering on their existence.
I suppose all of this is to say that I am eager for season 4 to see where all of this is going to go. And that, I suppose, is what a finale is supposed to do after all.
–I know Bill claims that it is who Sookie is not what she is that makes him love her. But given that they hardly know each other and her blood is like vampire crack, how much can he really mean this?
–It was nice to see that Godric settled the question of universal salvation. There is peace for everyone. Even 3,000 year old psychopathic vampires.
–Bill’s willingness to take out everyone who ever tasted Sookie’s blood or knows her secret was supposed to be a sign of his undying love, but didn’t it seem just a tad bit creepy and only different in degree from some of Franklin’s ravings earlier?
Posted by Kathryn.