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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Great Season and an Improvement on the Last, February 24, 2012
This review is from: True Blood: Season 4 (DVD)
After the kitchen-sink approach of season three, season four of True Blood went back to basics in many ways. Maybe the writers saw the need to have more cohesive stories this year (In fact, a couple of the commentators on the season three DVDs mentioned their desire to have things be more contained writing-wise). That I feel was the major flaw of the still deliciously entertaining third season. But, season four reminded me of the first season in some ways. Things stayed in Bon Temps and everyone was much more involved with each other. I really enjoyed how everyone became intertwined again.

So, the Big Bad for this season is technically two women: a timid medium named Marnie (Fiona Show) who becomes possessed with the vengeful spirit of an Inquisition-era witch Antonia (Paula Turbay). Marnie was an interesting villain; much more vulnerable and humanized than Maryann or Russell Edgington or even Rene. She was so shy and meek that she had to become possessed by a witch to find her inner Bad. For this reason, she can be considered somewhat of a weak villain. But, once Antonia enters the picture, Marnie becomes quite the bad ass. The commanding confidence she exudes from this point on demonstrates Shaw's talent as an actress, since she's basically going from one extreme to the other. Still, I found it hard to enjoy Marnie's evilness as much as I did Maryann or Russell, who were endlessly fun to watch.

Now, on to the big deal of season four: Sookie and Eric finally hook up, after about a season and a half of sexual tension. I had been waiting for this day since season three and, even though Eric had to lose his bite for it to happen, I still relished every moment. Anna Paquin and Alexander Skarsgard have always had fantastic chemistry. Not as searing as her with Stephen Moyer, but still undeniably believable. I'd have to disagree wholeheartedly with the reviewer who said their sex scenes "lacked heat". The episode where they first make love was some of the hottest sex I've seen on the show. The build-up of tension and release was comparable to the first time Sookie and Bill had sex in season one. There's such a sweet satisfaction in just seeing it finally happen.

I haven't read the books but I heard Bill gradually disappears after he and Sookie break up. The fact that the show still has Bill around made for some great tension. As much as I was annoyed with Bill in season three, he grew back on me this season. All the mixed emotions he experienced in regards to Sookie and Eric - petty jealousy, regret, wanting her to be happy, trying to focus on his duties as king instead - really humanized him. He wasn't dealing with it as a cold-blooded vampire but as a flesh-and-blood man would deal with a breakup and seeing his ex with his former nemesis. Stephen Moyer really took command of this season and his new title as King brought out an interesting new dimension of Bill.

The Jason/Jessica/Hoyt love triangle was completely unexpected but I enjoyed it every minute of it, as well as the consequences it brought. As far as the other storylines, there were pros and cons. Kristin Bauer van Straten was at the top of her game as Pam, more sarcastic and biting than ever, but she didn't have much to do but stand around and complain (and rot). Tara has always been one of my favorites and I appreciated her getting her strength back this year and not crying every single episode. Her joining forces with Marnie/Antonia was a smart twist, due to her history with vampires, but it didn't seem to have a payoff. In the end, Tara obviously regretted it but we didn't learn how much it developed her character. I did really love Sam and Tommy's relationship, though. It was so troubled and turbulent but, in the end, we saw how deeply both men loved each other.

The season finale was epic. So many twists and turns and surprises. In my opinion, it's the best season finale in the show's history. We've been left with so many unanswered questions and so many juicy cliffhangers. I absolutely cannot wait until season five!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 3, 2012 5:08:13 AM PDT
Absolutely loved your breakdown of the season. I am kind of glad you didn't read the series (I have read all and mind you I LOVE the differences it would be so boring without certain characters and events if they "stuck by the book") you have a un-jaded perspective. Many people cannot appreciate the difference between the two. Charlaine created the Sookie world she just gave Alan Ball/HBO creative rights to expand (okay bookies don't try to stake me on how I broke it down but it's just about right....) I say to anyone if you have an open mind and are not afraid to take each (book/show) for what it is than I feel sorry for your imagination. If Lafayette who happens to be one of my favorites one the show can keep an open mind than keep that in thout when reading the books at your leisure and appreciate all that Sookies world (via book) and HBO have to offer with their twist. HBO cannot cover one book in a 12 epi season and honestly no book can deliver all detail via screen (c'mon when are ppl going quit trying to compare anyways) but anyhooooo I've enjoyed both. To be completly honest I LOVE THE SHOW slightly (not much) more than the books!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 5:14:48 PM PDT
w.s. says:
Yes, I personally can't stand when people compare the two. Of course the show isn't completely identical to the books. What fun would that be for a) the creative team (as it would require zero imagination) and b) the audience (as you could go to any bookstore and find out what happens next). I love how Alan Ball keeps things fresh and unpredictable. He doesn't try to please all the book fans either and good for him!

And P.S. As of last week, I skimmed through the first few books in my local bookstore, out of pure curiosity. They're good but I like the HBO world better. To my surprise, though, season one is VERY faithful to the first book in many ways, even taking large bits of dialogue straight from the book. Yet, people still complained. Funny.
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