Rather than one over-arching problem (like Maryanne last season), we had a more intimate look at the characters' personal issues. Most of them revolved around Russell Edgington's sudden case of the crazies after 3000 years, but really they placed themselves in Russell's way as a result of their own ridiculous issues.
The A Plot
Bill Loses His Shine
Bill got kidnapped by crazy vampire -blood-drinking werewolves and taken to Mississippi, where he was held captive by vampire King Russell Edgington. And by held captive, I mean "gets to wear tuxes and hang out in a mansion and eats delicious blood-based cuisine." It's a gilded cage, the Edgington manse. His capture catapults Sookie into motion, trying to find him any which way she can. She goes to Eric for help, who hooks her up with a hot werewolf named Alcide with contacts in Mississippi. She learns (very very slowly) that Bill hasn't been completely up front with her and that she's a fairy. And she's pretty miffed about both. In that sorta kinda way. Lorena meets the pointy end of sharp stick after realizing she's truly unlovable.
As a result of Bill's kidnapping, we find out about Eric's viking past. Originally interested in securing Sookie for himself (he has some silly Sookie fantasies) and getting rid of Bill, he goes to Russell only to realize that his entire family was killed by Russell's werewolves. This propels him into a plan for vengeance that leads to an ultimate sacrifice: a really bad sunburn.
I have to say, this plot line ended well, in the way that it didn't end completely but we feel some kind of closure. Talbot got insinkerator'd, so he's not resurrecting any time soon. Russell is in a vat of hardening concrete, which I think will probably hold him for 3 months tops, not the 100 years Eric and Bill predicted. I mean, I'm not an idiot True Blood. I've seen Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. If Han Solo can make it, Russell can totally make it. I also know that if you don't decapitate a vampire and see his or her goop explode all over the room, that sucker is still a liability.
Anyway, Bill and Sookie are broken up again. No really, they're really for real broken up. Probably forever. Maybe. Eric outed Bill's vampire plans to capture Sookie for Queen Sophie Ann, firmly putting himself in the "vampires aren't really first, I'm first" category. That dastardly Bill; and we thought he was such a gentleman!
TV Eric Rulez
In the past few seasons, Eric has actually struck me as better than the book Eric. Book Eric is too sweet and protective of Sookie to be the ferocious guy his reputation insists he is. I like that True Blood showed that dual nature he must have to be able to care for a human and maintain a leadership role among bloodthirsty creatures.
Sookie Screams a lot and then Goes into the Starlight
Sookie got a little bit stronger in the last episode, able to take charge and not be a victim, but honey, I waited much too long for this girl to come to her senses....and then after rescinding all vampires from ever being in her house, she invites Bill in. AGAIN. Like, hang out on the porch, you live in nowheresville. Christ! You don't have to invite in everyone that knocks. You know who aren't good at teaching someone how to be fierce and powerful? Flighty, flowy, sunlight drenched fairies. They better butch up these fairies next season or I'm gonna have a problem.
The B Plot(s)
Tara's Origin Story or How I Make Sense of this Tragic Woman
Tara was mourning Eggs this season and ended up getting involved with a bad vampire named Franklin Mott, who continues the Torture Tara sideshow that has gone on since she was born. As good as the actor was, her rape and torment was played for laughs, and his psychotic fantasy of their "love" was not given the darkness it deserved. Her anger afterward seemed justified, but she spends so much time angry (even her depression is angry) that it didn't have the same impact. I did like, however, that she's the smart one who figured out how to escape her captor and flee the mansion.
If I was Sookie's friend, I probably would have left her ass for wanting to go back to rescue Bill. It was nice to see her take a step forward and realize that she needed to be a different person, rather than just heading for self-destruction. She cut off her hair and got the hell out of town. In my fantasy, she becomes a vampire slayer. Not like an "every one of those things should die" kind, but a protector of humanity from the bad ones. I kind of wish this was her superhero origin story. Superheroes need to go through some effed up stuff to get to the point where they go nuts and wear costumes patrolling the streets. That's the level of stuff Tara's had to go through.
Who Cares About Jason? You? Anyone? *crickets*
Jason decided he wanted to be a cop this season, but doesn't want to do any of the actual work involved in getting there (as per usual). So he blackmails Andy into giving him a job at the station, which results in him meeting a werepanther named Crystal from Hotshot. Hotshot is an inbred redneck community that loves to make crystal meth. Do you think Crystal's dad bestowed her name upon her in honor of the family business? He blunders his way into saving the town from destruction, but really, it's Crystal whose choices freed those people. I don't think Jason will ever see that. You know what, though? I don't care about this story. I haven't all season. I actually felt like it took precious time away from Eric and Pam. We hardly got any Pam!
The Fall of Sam Merlotte
Sam meets his biological family and they are all a-holes who take advantage of him and his hospitality. He learns that he's become a bit of a pushover since moving to Bon Temps. Once upon a time, he was a thief, and an accidental murderer, and he was into putting gel in his hair. He was fierce and unafraid to threaten people while being naked. These days, he just gets drunk and berates customers and his friends. After slowly convincing Tommy to see himself and others like human beings, he decides to treat him like dirt. This results in Tommy stealing his money, Sam chasing after him, and in the only real cliffhanger of the season, Sam shoots at Tommy. Did he kill his own brother? Is Sam really a bad person and he's been pretending to be nice? I....also don't care about this story. I liked that Sookie had one person in her life that was genuine and good. Her abandonment of Merlotte's and his fall from grace doesn't sit well with me. Can he come back from this? Hmph.
I Would Totally Hang Out with Jessica Hanby
Jessica was lost without Bill, who taught her nothing about survival or about what to do if he were to go away for the weekend. She had broken up with Hoyt last season and spent the season hating what she has become. After trying to clean up the mess she caused by draining a trucker, she gets a job at Merlotte's and is actually very good at her job. Eventually, she and Hoyt reunite and it looks like he rented a house for them to live in together. I heart this girl. I want to take her out for a girls night of dancing and help her with her problems. I'd have to wear 7-inch heels and lose 80 pounds to walk into a club next to her, though, so maybe I'm not the right gal for the job. She needs a best girl friend. And NOT SOOKIE, for the love of god.
Lala + Jesus
Lafayette continues to live (which I LOVE) and is amazing. We learn about his mom's schizophrenia, he gets a cute boyfriend who is a witch, and manages to have some moments of joy. He goes on a V trip with said boyfriend that really teaches the lesson that you shouldn't take hallucinogens if you've got a bungalow decorated in varieties of freaky figurines. Just a tip. And now it seems he has some measure of clairvoyance. But not the "bad feeling" or "dark aura" kind that you would want to have. No instead he gets the "frightening visions" form of the affliction. Great job universe! That has to be the most disturbing power ever. Whatever, I'm just glad he's still alive. He's one of the best characters that has ever been on television.
Arlene and Terry get serious, she finds out she's pregnant with Rene's baby (time sure goes slowly in Bon Temps) and freaks out about carrying serial murderer DNA into the world. This leads her to attempt a mystical witchy herb tea abortion that doesn't work. Don't you hate when that happens?
The Fall and Rise and Possibly Fall of Sophie Ann
Sophie Ann wore some fierce outfits this season, and was a delight even though she didn't play that large of an on-screen role. She started to lose her grip on her queendom by peddling V, attracting the attention of the Authority and Edgington, which resulted in her time in the cage (above) and a forced marriage to Russell. She lucks out with Russell going to sleep with the pylons. At the end of the season, she's back on top.
This dress, with the scarlet lining on the inside? Amazing:
Our real cliffhanger this season happens when Bill lures her to his house to kill her (to save Sookie from her clutches, aww..he wuvs her still). But, in true Bill fashion, he fucks it up. You never tell the lure that they are caught and then explain why and how you are going to kill them. That gives them time to come up with a battle plan! Anyway, I forget why I was supposed to worry about things between Bill and Sophie Ann because I was distracted by the lameness that was the flying across the room at each other. It reminded me of Rocky. It didn't make me wonder what is going to happen to Bill. Bill, you make bad decisions. Almost all of the decisions you've made in the past 3 years were bad. Take a step back, reassess, OK? Maybe start working on a vampire database or something. Geez.
Au revoire season 3! I love you for bringing Russell into our lives.