‘True Blood’ Recap: Burning Down The House

true blood alcideS4E10: Man, maybe I’ve just gone stir-crazy from being trapped in the apartment all weekend (thanks, Irene!), but that was a pretty good episode. And a surprisingly emotional one. I’ve maintained before that True Blood is a show that works best as a comedy, but there are certain relationships at its heart that are capable of bearing dramatic weight – Eric and Pam, or Sookie and Jason, for instance. This episode did a good job of passing a lot of the work of the plot to these emotional connections, and I think it made it a more successful episode than one based solely on advancing the plot.

“You’ve been gone a long time, Antonia. I don’t think you remember what people are really like.” – Marnie

For instance, let’s look at the finale of the episode, where Jesus goes into the Magic shop in order to communicate with Mantonia. It ends up being a very tense scene, tenser than True Blood is usually capable of, for two reasons. First, because of the earlier conversation between Marnie and Antonia where Marnie reveals that she’s the real driving force behind the vengeance kick, we know that Jesus’ attempts to talk appeal to her are bound to fail. Second, because Lafayette, whose relationship adorability with Jesus was reaffirmed last episode, was right there behind the truck watching the entire event unfold. And, because Jesus is a minor enough character to be disposed of in a Tommy-like manner, there’s a distinct possibility that he could get killed that you don’t get when, for example, Sookie gets shot.

And well, Tommy does die this episode. I’ve been running out of patience with the kid, but I guess of all the Mickenses he was the least terrible. And he certainly had a backstory that was pathetic enough to make you feel bad for him, even if you didn’t like him. And unlike some guest stars, he was only insufferable part of the time. Which is not the best epigraph, but sometimes you’ve got to make due. I have to wonder if obliquely resulting in Tommy’s death is enough to give Sam shapeshifter powers, but I hope not. Sam’s got enough on his plate, what with the upcoming revenge that he’s going to exact on Marcus’s face. Alcide’s abrupt shift (heh) to helping Sam seems sudden, since I’m pretty sure they’ve never met. It might be a good move, since Sam and Alcide both have that beleaguered good-guy thing going for them. Maybe they could just run off together to New Orleans.

Speaking of bromance, the saga of Jason and Hoyt continues when Jason tries to convince Jessica to glamour him after their truck-based romp. I’d have more sympathy for Jason if he hadn’t made so many terrible love-life decisions in the past. If Jessica reverses his memory every time he’s made a mistake, how is he ever going to learn not to be so goddamn irresponsible? I can feel for Jessica’s desire for a murder-spree, her life is complicated. Further compounding Jason’s guilt, Hoyt shows up at his doorstep looking for a place to stay. Where I Hoyt, I might be more concerned about the baby kidnapping that went on there and the buried woman in the backyard, but Hoyt’s still focused on Jessica. While this is the kind of angst I usually dread from the show, the relationship dynamic between the three is a strong enough one to make this all watchable.

“If it’s got anything to do with vampires, no thank you. I’ll just sleep in my truck.” – Jason

Now, just because some of the emotional stuff worked, doesn’t mean all of it did. Old Eric seems to have returned, but retained Amnesia Eric’s propensity for terrible dialogue. This meant that there was an adorable reunion between Eric and Pam, and an interesting scene where Pam realizes that she might not be the most important woman in Eric’s life anyone. But it also means that Sookie has suddenly decided that she wants to be with Bill again, (despite all the lying and manipulating) which leads Eric to snark at him all through his King-speech. The Eric and Bill fight at the start of the episode makes it abundantly clear that the only real solution to this dull love triangle is for the two of them to duke it out. Perhaps with oil. Bill is significantly more interesting when he’s spending time with Jessica, or Nan (who he tries to oust out of vampire politics) than when he’s moping around Sookie. Can you imagine the Bill of season two leading a black-ops vampire team to Shreveport? I don’t think so. And man, am I excited to see that next episode.

Best Moments:

I didn’t talk about the scenes with Terry’s gun therapy, but there were a pretty not-terrible conclusion to a terrible subplot. And man, do I really like Terry.

– “No drugs for me! Except for the anti-psychotics.”

– “You were too old for booties!” “I wasn’t too old for socks!”

“I don’t care what happens as long as I get to kill shit!”

Oh man, if someone was able to harness the power of Tara’s bitchiness, we could solve global warming indefinitely.

“If she would’ve god-damned let her parakeet rest in peace…”

I loved the silvered Nan handing out death sentences like they were candy.

“Glad to know that I’m not just chicken-shit.”

“We’ve got our very own vampires in the ladies room.”