Episode Title: "Evil is Going On"
Writer: Alan Ball
Director: Anthony Hemingway
Previously on "True Blood":
After taking Pam’s (Kristen Bauer) advice to use Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) as bait against the Vampire King Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare), Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) locked Sookie deep within his dungeon at Fangtasia. Sookie’s lover, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) raced to her defense but was fended off by Pam. However, one of Eric’s jilted lovers helped Bill and Sookie escape. Meanwhile, Eric tracked down Russell and explained that he killed Russell’s husband Talbot in revenge for Russell murdering his own family years ago. He also revealed to Russell that Sookie’s blood can allow vampires to withstand daylight.
Sookie’s brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) discovered that his girlfriend Crystal (Lindsay Pulsipher) is a were-panther, as she convinced him to help save her family at Hotshot from an impending DEA raid that Jason helped orchestrate. Meanwhile, Sam (Sam Trammell) alienated all of his friends and most of his employees while on a drunken rage. He even drove out his younger brother Tommy (Marshall Allman); who returned the favor by stealing money from Sam’s safe. Sam also slept with Tara (Rutina Wesley) after she confronted Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) about the death of her boyfriend, Eggs.
Eric and Russell tracked down Sookie and Bill and forcibly returned them to Fangtasia. Eric picked a fight with Bill outside of the bar to let him know that he had a plan to take down Russell. Inside, Bill confirmed Eric’s story that Sookie’s blood can allow them to survive in daylight. Furious at their perceived betrayal, Sookie cursed out Bill and Eric before Russell and then Eric fed on her deeply and left her unconscious. In the daylight, Eric stepped out first to confirm that it worked, hiding the burns on his skin that revealed the effect was only temporary. When Russell joined him outside, he learned too late that it was a ruse. Eric bound him to his arm in silver and prepared to let them both die together in the sun.
As he and Russell burn to death in the sunlight, Eric receives a vision his sire, Godric (Alan Hyde) urging him to forgive the Vampire king. Inside Fangtasia, Bill revives Sookie, who is initially still furious at him. However, when Bill reveals that his betrayal was just a ruse and that Eric will die with Russell, Sookie storms out to save Eric. She allows Eric to feed on her and restore his strength. To everyone’s astonishment, Eric insists that Russell be saved too, leading to a brief confrontation with Bill. Sookie goes out and saves Russell as well, then helps Eric bind the badly burned vampire to a stripper pole. Eric leaves Sookie in charge of guarding Russell and warns her not to stake him.
After sleeping together the night before, Tara wakes up and finds Sam making breakfast for her. She mentions liking the fact that he’s a normal guy, but Sam reveals that he’s a shifter and no longer seems ashamed by it; although Tara seems stung by the news. Meanwhile, Jason goes to police station and finds the DEA preparing to raid Hotshot. Andy tries to talk him out of tipping off Hotshot about the raid and warns him that if he doesn’t listen to him, it will kill his chances to be a cop. At Hotshot, Crystal and Jason successfully warn her father Calvin (Gregory Sporleder); who in turn tries to hide the V and meth. However, her brother (and former boyfriend) Felton (James Harvey Ward) arrives high on V and kills Calvin. He also abducts Crystal at gunpoint, who extracts a promise from Jason to look after her family at Hotshot who clearly can’t fend for themselves.
During the day, Russell tries to bribe Sookie into letting him go by offering her money and promising to kill Bill and Eric, if she desires. Tired of his presence, Sookie takes the jar containing Talbot’s remains and pours them down the drain. Alcide (Joe Manganiello) arrives, which briefly seems to make Sookie happy. But Alcide tells her that he came at the request of Eric to clear his father’s debts. Eric and Bill emerge from their sleep and drag Russell off to Alcide’s truck. Later, Sookie spends some time with Tara, who has drastically changed her appearance. The two reconcile again before Tara seemingly leaves Bon Temps behind for good.
At a construction site, Alcide leaves before Bill and Eric taunt Russell with the knowledge that he will be encased in the concrete foundation of a building for at least the next hundred years. As the concrete pours over Russell, Bill and Eric shake hands. However, the moment is broken when Bill pushes Eric into another hole and encases him in concrete as well. Bill then uses Eric’s phone to put a hit out on Pam. Elsewhere, Jason is arrested by the DEA for tipping off the people of Hotshot. Andy angrily lashes into him, but Jason is seemingly at peace with his choice and confident that he did the right thing. On the other side of town, Sam discovers that Tommy has stolen a great deal of money from him and tracks him down. Tommy and Sam briefly confront each other before Tommy tries to walk away with the money, prompting Sam to shoot a gun in his direction.
Back at her home, Bill explains that he has "ended" Eric and Pam and anyone else who might know Sookie’s secret, even if they can’t be together. Sookie is moved by his gesture, until Eric arrives on her doorstep covered in concrete. He says that Bill tried to silence him to keep him from telling Sookie that the Queen ordered Bill to get close to Sookie and that he allowed Sookie to be beaten shortly after their first meeting in order to get her to drink his blood. Furious, Sookie revokes Bill’s invitation to her house and kicks him out of her life.
Later, Eric discovers that Pam has survived the attempt on her life; while Bill lures the Queen into a trap and tries to kill her to preserve Sookie’s secret. Distraught by the turmoil in her life, Sookie flees to a graveyard where she encounters Claudine (Lara Pulver) and other faeries in person. Claudine offers Sookie the chance to come with them and she accepts; and they all disappear in a flash of light.
The resolution to the Russell and Eric cliffhanger from the previous episode didn’t live up to the initial set up. It would have been more powerful if one or both of them had died in the sun. While Russell’s final fate left the door potentially open for his return, I think his death should have been sealed in the opening moments of the show. It especially seemed like a cheat that Russell survived all of those burns even after staying out in the sun much longer than Eric.
Although there was a good misdirection about Eric’s motives for saving Russell. At first it seemed as if Eric had forgiven him on some level, but it turned out that he simply didn’t want Russell to know the peace of death. And I have to question why Bill and Eric were so certain that Russell wouldn’t die from starvation from lack of new blood or how he could possibly recover from having concrete pour over his severely cracked and exposed skin. I can see Eric escaping, since he was in much better health at the time. But even that escape was too easy and probably should have saved for next season.
Speaking of which, Bill’s betrayal of Eric definitely seemed more villainous than anything else. Not that Eric hasn’t betrayed or set up Bill before, but when the so-called "hero" of the piece comes off as more treacherous than the "anti-hero," then there’s a problem. Come to think of it, Bill really didn’t have many hero moments throughout the season. As I recall, he spent most of the season either as Russell’s captive or getting beaten up. Even the one time he tried to defend Sookie directly from Russell and his werewolves, Bill still got lucky that it was the same night that Eric killed Talbot. That’s not the mark of a great hero…
And speaking of heroes who aren’t great, Jason Stackhouse everybody! The king of the village idiots stepped up this week to become the protector of a group of people that make him look like Luke Wilson in "Idiocracy." Of course that might be because they weren’t kidding when they called Calvin "Uncle-daddy." But the whole storyline with Crystal kind of puttered out. For a show that values cliffhangers, there wasn’t much of one to hang the fourth season on. Crystal’s kidnapping and Sookie’s faerie vacation aren’t exactly the kind of mysteries that drive fandom to distraction in the long months between seasons. Oh… and Hoyt’s mom bought a gun. Scary!! Sure…
There was an intriguing moment where Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) saw Rene’s spirit hanging around Arlene (Carrie Preston). But there was surprisingly little set up for next season’s witch-heavy storyline. Also, the only moment I sympathized with Sam at all this season was when he clearly couldn’t wait to get away from Terry (Todd Lowe), who couldn’t stop telling him how great his life was. It’s really saying something when even the characters on this show realize how boring some of the human plotlines are.
In the end, "True Blood" wrapped up season three in a lackluster fashion. The finale was merely an "okay" episode, when I was holding out for it to be great.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.