09/14/2010 04:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

True Blood Sucker Punch: Season 3, Ep. 12

Welcome to Sucker Punch, the only blog post that ranks the gaudiest moments on this week's episode of True Blood.

(Warning: Spoilers Ahead)


"I'm gonna be a minister's wife!"

True, Lettie Mae's assertion that she's turned her life around by having an affair with her minister may not be the most important moment of this year's season finale, "Evil Is Going On," but for me, that declaration sums up a lot of what has made this season great.

For one thing, it's a funny, tacky line, especially the way that Adina Porter delivers it, and True Blood would be nothing without its tacky humor and excellent acting.

But Lettie Mae's pronouncement, made to Tara as they stand on Lettie Mae's porch, also suggests a yawning chasm of desperation... of the pain brought about by misguided love. And if you've been reading Sucker Punch this year, then you know I've been following that very theme for weeks.

The Lettie Mae moment also captures the specific tenor of this episode. When she tells her daughter that she has found peace in the arms of a philandering man of God, you can see Tara's heartbreak... and heartbreak ties everything together this week.

Because really, despite the murders and the screaming and the visions of demons, this is one of the saddest episodes of the year. It's pretty gutsy to close the season on such a devastated note, but as I reflect on it, it makes sense. True Blood spent the last eleven episodes showing us all the ways that love can hurt people, and more to the point, it showed people doing crazy things because of that love. By ending the year in a (relatively) quiet place, the show gives itself the freedom to explore new emotional terrain in 2011. Instead of picking up at the same fevered point, it can take a breath and adjust its tone, if it chooses.

Lord knows, there are plenty of interesting places to go next year. For one thing, Tommy's heartbreak led him to steal from Sam, and as we see, that breaks Sam's heart, too. But then black oil starts pouring out of the cracks, and Sam becomes the same vicious bastard we saw in those flashbacks a few weeks ago. When he shoots his own brother in the back, he essentially ends his current life. Who will he become now? Tommy's death was inevitable -- he was clearly in the Maryanne/Rene slot -- but I wasn't expecting it to come at Sam's hands. Kudos to Sam Trammell for pulling of this transformation, particularly after that dubious meltdown in Merlotte's in episode 11.

On the "terrible family" tip... how about Hoyt's Mama? Ain't nothing good coming from her decision to buy a gun. And is she the one who put the creepy baby in Hoyt and Jessica's new house? Because that really freaked me out. Or is the baby part of Jesus' witchcraft? Or Holly's?

At any rate, witchcraft will clearly dominate the fourth season, and I'm down with that. If nothing else, it may give Lafayette more screen time. He spends this episode tapping into his cosmic ability to see horrible visions of the future (or of people's souls, or whatever), which suggests he may be a fulcrum for the upcoming witchy doings. His mama did warn him that people wanted his light, after all.

But what will Fay Fay's cousin do? She seems caught between becoming an annoying, whiny victim yet again and actually sucking it up, getting strong, and doing something with her life. Personally, though I thought she had a decently interesting arc this year, I wouldn't mind seeing Tara disappear for a season. There are only so many more "angry crying" scenes that I can take, and God knows I can't take any more scenes where Sookie and Tara talk about being friends but don't actually behave like friends. "Sookie, I love you so much! But you know how you're terrifed right now? Well, too bad, hooker. I'm going to steal my cousin's car." "Oh, Tara, that's okay. I love you, too! And since I got pissed off at you for not helping Bill after you got raped by a vampire, I kind of understand why you're bolting right now."

Ahem. You get my point. I love this show, but they need to work that mess out.

Another danger zone? Godric. His entire sanctimonious character gets on my damn nerves, and when I saw him floating above Eric like some jailbait Jiminy Cricket, I thought I was going to scream. That is, until I realized Eric was going to ignore Godric's wisdom. Sure, Eric believes that Russell will find peace if he dies, but that's exactly why he drags him out of the sun and then buries him in concrete: He doesn't want Russell to have peace. He wants Russell to suffer forever.

Now that is some complicated plot development! Eric's heart is so broken that he will not give up his quest for vengeance. (Conveniently, his concrete plan also makes room for Russell to return to the show. Hooray!)

Along those lines, I can't help but feel for Russell -- ashy, ashy Russell -- as he watches the remains of Talbot get poured down Fangtasia's garbage disposal. The King of Louisiana may be a psycho, but he's still got feelings. On the other hand, I love the look on Anna Paquin's face as she gets rid of Talbot's remains. Did anyone else notice that that's exactly the way she looks in The Piano when she betrays Holly Hunter?

Speaking of Stackhouses... I don't know what to make of Jason Stackhouse, Mayor of Petticoat Junction. Lay aside the potential DEA conviction and the fact that Crystal just got dragged off by her inbreeding werepanther brother. What is Jason going to do with the people of Hotshot? I'm glad this season has awakened his sense of honor and purpose, but is he up to this challenge? I have no idea where this story will go, and that makes me want to follow it. (But whatever Jason does in Hotbox, can he please do it without a shirt on? Thanks.)

Of course, I guess Hotbox is nothing compared to FairyTown. Now that Sookie's broken heart and fear for her safety have convinced her to follow the light, I don't know what to expect for her, either. I'm praying that there's at least one scene in FairyTown that involves a Tori Amos song. Right? What other contemporary pop artist would be better suited for that soundtrack? Maybe a little "Professional Widow" as Sookie dances in the Fairy Club? Or some "Cornflake Girl" as she eats a bowl of Fairy Food?

But I digress. Half the reason Sookie flees is because she doesn't trust Eric, but the other half is because she doesn't trust Bill. The writers made it clear weeks ago that Queen Sophie-Anne sent Bill to Bon Temps to kidnap Sookie, but actually hearing it confirmed by Bill is shocking. And learning (thanks to Eric's tattling) that Bill arranged the parking lot assault that made Sookie need his blood? Why, that means that Bill was "saving" her just so he could track her. Damn. That's cold.

However, I believe Bill when he says he fell in love with Sookie. (It's just like The Bodyguard: Rule number two, never fall in love.) I also understand why brokenhearted Sookie can't believe him. It's just a terrible situation all around.

And then there's moment whn Bill's heart breaks -- when he's clutching Sookie's doorframe, being magically pulled out her house as she rescinds his invitation across her threshold. What a perfect image for collapsing love: Hanging on by your fingertips, even though it's obvious you're about to be blasted into darkness. That moment gives the finale a resonant emotional undertow, and it is my final Sucker Punch of the year.

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed discussing True Blood with you. This has been my favorite season of the show, and my enjoyment has been magnified by our interactions.

As we wait for season four, I'd love to keep chatting with you at The Critical Condition. I'll be discussing all sorts of pop culture there, and you're welcome anytime!