True Blood 3.12 “Evil Is Going On” Review

September 13, 2010 by  

Anna Paquin, True Blood, Sookie StackhouseAnother thrilling finale, another frustratingly long wait for our next fix of True Blood! “Evil Is Going On” saw characters seeking vengeance, facing demons, and searching for direction. We got our first tease of the witches to come, the supernatural element that’s going to be thrown into the melting pot in Season 4 to stir up trouble. We also watched our protagonist disappear right before our eyes. As always, executive producer Alan Ball shook things up in typical style and left us wanting more!

The Coup d’Etat of Russell Edgington

Burning in the sun awaiting death, Russell tries to convince Eric how foolish it is to die over a stupid grudge–it’s not like Eric’s father was a great man or king. Godric appears to Eric as a spirit, urging him to find forgiveness, but Eric resists the words of his beloved Maker. Sookie‘s blood loss sends her on a brief run through fairy land while she’s unconscious. She awakens to Bill‘s face hovering over her and is NOT pleased to see him. She slaps him for betraying her again. “No, I only pretended to betray you to save your life, again.” True enough, but unfortunately Sookie has reached the limits of her tolerance for vampire nonsense. She hears that Eric has gone outside to kill himself and Russell, and pushes past Bill to go save him. With the help of Russell’s taunting words, she gets fired up enough to shoot energy from her hands to break the handcuffs and send Russell flying across the parking lot. She then drags Eric inside and, much to Bill’s dismay, gives him her blood to heal him.

Eric drinks from her wrist and then wipes the blood from his mouth in a way that is charmingly arrogant, before changing his mind about Russell. He wants to bring him inside, not out of forgiveness as Godric wanted, but so that Russell wouldn’t be able to find some sense of peace in the true death. Eric has other plans for the once fearsome vampire. Sookie takes a silver chain to get Russell, now blackened and extra crispy but grateful for her assistance. Eric, Pam, and Bill go to sleep for the day while Sookie watches over Russell. At first she protests, “I’m not babysitting this psycho while you guys take a nap.” But she agrees and even seems to enjoy her power over the fallen king. She toys with him about what it would take for her to make a deal–$5 million dollars, his mansion, etc.–but then she takes the jar of Talbot and pours the last remains of Russell’s lover down the garbage disposal. She laughs almost maniacally as he screams in grief.

Alcide arrives, summoned by Eric for the use of his truck to clear his father’s debt once and for all, and he and Sookie catch up over a beer. He admits that he’s been thinking about her, while Russell plays the part of the peanut gallery:

“I can’t help it that I’m a good guy.”

“Yet every full moon he turns into a wolf and eats his prey.”

“Rabbits and squirrels, not human beings!”

“Details…”

When the vampires wake up, Alcide smiles to hear Sookie’s attitude towards them so altered. She rescinds all their invitations as they leave to do whatever it is they’re going to do to Russell.

The Dark Side of Bill

At a construction site, Eric has devised a cruel punishment for Russell–wrapping him in silver and encasing him in concrete. It won’t kill him, and it won’t hold him forever, but he’ll probably be trapped for a hundred years or so to live in agony. Eric envisions Godric once again, who’s disappointed that his progeny is so full of hatred and unable to make peace. Eric snaps back at the empty air, “This is who I am, Godric. This is what you made!” Up until the end, Russell is making threats at Eric and Bill, swearing that they’ll regret this, although they’re both very happy about it in the moment. Once he disappears under the cement, Bill turns to Eric and offers his hand, seemingly in friendship, but then in a flash snaps the silver handcuff back on Eric’s wrist, tosses him in another pit, and pours concrete on him: “When fate presents one with such a grand opportunity, what else is one to do?” His dark turn doesn’t end there, as he immediately calls up a hit man on Eric’s cell phone and orders the murder of Pam.

Jason: Do the Right Thing

Jason goes to the police station and finds a team from the DEA preparing to raid Hot Shot. Despite Andy‘s warnings, Jason takes Crystal to help her family. Grumpy ol’ Calvin isn’t glad to see them, but at least he listens when Jason says he’s only trying to help these people who are dirty, hungry, and have “obviously got dental problems.” Calvin is in the process of destroying all the V when Felton drops in, clearly high. He shoots a cousin and his father without even blinking, before turning the gun on Jason. He’s going to take the V and Crystal, and ride off in Jason’s truck. With no other options, Jason kisses Crystal and promises to find her, and to take care of her family.

Andy sits in his office, feeling worthless because of the macho DEA leader and curiously examining the V that’s supposed to be in evidence, but thankfully he’s interrupted by Jason being hauled in for impeding the drug bust. Andy scolds him for this, as well as for spilling the truth to Tara, and says he’s wasted any shot he had at becoming something. On the contrary, Jason might finally be turning into a guy worth knowing. Then again, he might be up to his dumb antics soon enough, or he could surprise us and really grow up now that he’s got people depending on him. At the very least, he wisely tells Andy that this is bigger than the two of them, and that “sometimes the right thing to do is the wrong thing.”

Tara’s Ch-ch-changes

After their night together, Sam (who looks mighty cute in the morning, by the way) cooks breakfast for Tara. Casual conversation turns serious when Sam opens up about the secret he’s been hiding for a long time–he’s a shapeshifter. Tara sees this as just another freaky supernatural thing in a long list of them, and while she doesn’t seem to reject Sam’s true identity, she talks about how much she’d like to start her life over. Speaking as someone who’s done it, Sam says she could do that if she wanted to. There’s so much she wants to forget–Maryann, Eggs, Franklin–and the first person she turns to is her mother. She catches Lettie Mae and Reverend Daniels with their pants down. She doesn’t judge her mom but recognizes how deluded she is into thinking that this affair is a good thing and will make everything better in her life: “I’m finally gonna be happy.” Tara just smiles and says she hopes that’s true. I think the encounter makes her see that other people are messed up, too, and if she wants to change, she’ll have to do it herself. The first step: a haircut. She symbolically cuts away all her burdens (and it’s a very nice look for Rutina Wesley). Sookie arrives home and the two best friends share a quiet scene together before hugging and parting for what will probably be longer than either one expects. Tara says she’s just going to see Lafayette, but when she pulls up to Merlotte’s and takes in the familiar sight, she smiles and keeps on driving. Who knows where she’s going, but it’s clear that she needs a fresh start.

Lafayette: See No Evil

Lafayette’s post-V delusions continue. He sees Sam and imagines him, with hands bloody, saying, “Cross me, you’re a dead man.” Then in the kitchen talking to Arlene, Lafayette pictures Rene holding her throat, saying he’s inside her. He calls Jesus in a panic, who comes to Merlotte’s right away to comfort him. His reassurance turns out to be more shocking than Lafayette anticipated: Jesus recalls the first time magic was unleashed in him and he started seeing things before he could control it. He tells Lafayette that he’s a “brujo”–a witch. “You’re a witch who’s a nurse who’s a dude,” Lafayette says in astonishment. Surprisingly, though, he seems to be fine with the news about his boyfriend. It will be interesting to see what role Lafayette has to play in the story of the witches next season.

Jessica & Hoyt: Happily Ever After?

Hoyt drives to work and finds himself on the receiving end of an intervention. Maxine, Summer, and his high school guidance counselor sit him down to discuss what they perceive as his mistakes. Summer reads a note about how sad she is that he chose darkness over life, and Maxine threatens to kick him out of the house and take away his inheritance. Well, Hoyt has already moved out, and she has no money, so she really has no leverage. He’s in love with Jessica, and he’s finally in control of his own life. That night, he surprises Jessica with a house he bought for them, and a marriage proposal. They are really the brightest part of the entire show right now. Jessica says, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” “Lucky for you,” he replies, “you’ll never have to find out.” As Hoyt picks her up to kiss her, it’s a picture perfect moment of young love, as the camera pans out of the doorway…until it falls on the doll lying in the dark, a reminder of those who would break them apart. I’m not sure what doll-fanatic Summer is capable of, but Maxine showed the lengths to which she would go when she bought a gun with wooden bullets.

No More Mr. Nice Sam

Sam goes to apologize to Terry and Tommy for what he said in anger the previous day. Terry cries with happiness because of all the good things in his life, and the fact that he’s got his friend back. Sam seems a little uncomfortable at the display of emotion (Terry is quirky, but I think we could all stand to view life more from his perspective). Tommy’s house has been cleared out, and so has Sam’s safe full of money. He freaks out again, grabs his gun, and hunts his little brother down. When Sam catches up to him, Tommy cries about how Sam changed his whole life and is throwing him away now. When he finds no sympathy, he picks up the bag of money and stalks off, calling his brother’s bluff on the threatening gun. Sam lifts it and fires with a steady hand. Did he kill Tommy? Probably not, but the point is that he’s not taking people’s crap anymore.

Sookie’s Disillusionment

Bill shows up at Sookie’s to talk. He tells her about Russell and Eric, and how he’s going to kill any other vampire that finds out about what she truly is. They pose too great a danger to her–Russell was proof enough of that when he said her blood was heavenly delicious and that others wouldn’t be able to stop themselves from draining her. Bill explains that even if she doesn’t want to be with him anymore, he’ll always protect her, and will always love her. She almost stops him from leaving, but then Eric busts open the door, covered in concrete (Pam came to the rescue, yay!) and spills the dark secrets Bill has been hiding. He was sent to Bon Temps by Queen Sophie-Anne to find out more about her, and he allowed the Rattrays to beat her so that she would need to drink his blood to heal. Sookie is furious and devastated.  Bill tries to explain that he loves her for who she is NOT what she is and he was not going to “give her up” to Sophie-Anne. He tries to make her understand that although he was sent there by the Queen he DID fall in love with her. She feels like she was manipulated into loving him, and despite the words he has said and continues to say, so she kicks him out of her house and wants nothing more to do with him. It’s not like she runs into Eric’s arms–she screams at him to leave her alone, as well. “I’m sorry to see you suffer like this. I thought you had a right to know.” Eric return back to Fangtasia where Pam has tried to wash the cement out of her hair as she askes Eric if he killed Bill.  Eric simply responds that he created a fate far worst then the true death for him and this punishment will hurt him more.

Back at his own house, Bill opens the door to Sophie-Anne. She can barely contain her excitement about tasting fairy blood and walking in the sun. Bill dashes her hopes, saying he lured her there to kill her. She may be older, “but I have nothing left to lose.” They both rise up into the air, fangs drawn, and fly at each other across the room. Meanwhile, Sookie takes off running into the woods, echoing her first night with Bill, after Gran died. This time, however, she goes to Gran to mourn the loss of Bill. Kneeling in the cemetery by her grandmother’s headstone, she cries over how lost she feels. Claudine appears: “You are not alone. Come with us.” Encircled by faeries, her kind about whom she knows so little, Sookie takes Claudine’s hand, and they all vanish in a burst of light.

It was a well-written episode, to be sure–Alan Ball always delivers great dialogue and a compelling story. The general reaction, however, seems to be somewhat negative, at least from what I’ve seen on Twitter. I think people enjoyed it and got emotional over key moments, but if we’re comparing this finale to the previous 2 years, I think what may have been lacking was the element of excitement and tension to carry us into next year. Especially with the Season 2 finale, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” the characters took down Maryann in grand fashion, after which new, surprising storylines began. Exactly as a good finale should, there was resolution to the season-long journey, as well as a cliffhanger to leave us craving answers.

“Evil Is Going On” seemed to have the resolution part down with very little in the way of shocking twists and new doors being opened. We already knew Sookie was a fairy, so her disappearing with Claudine was more like a continuation of her quest for identity. It will lead to more revelations in Season 4, certainly, but it wasn’t quite on par with “Oh my, someone’s been murdered in the back seat of this car/someone’s taken Bill!” Both of those things seemed to come out of nowhere and leave us awe-struck with disbelief, in a good way.

Come next summer, I’m sure we’ll all be hyped up with anticipation as always. This episode hasn’t lessened my feelings for the show, by any means. As someone who loves True Blood but still wants to examine it critically, I’m just facing this hiatus not quite as full of burning questions as usual. Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s get the 9 month-long discussion started!

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)

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