True Blood season 1 episode 8 review

Back for more bloodthirsty adventures, True Blood serves up its eighth slice of fang-action in the form of The Fourth Man In The Fire...

8. The Fourth Man In The Fire

After all the arson related excitement of the last episode, it turns out that Bill was, in fact, nowhere near the nesting vamps, having taken to the graveyard after Sookie’s frantic voice messages. This, however, is information that he neglected to pass on to his beau, leaving her to believe that he had become the same bubbling sludge that Malcolm et al had been reduced to.

Sookie spends all day mourning her loss, not finding out the truth until she plods out barefoot to Bill’s original grave to lay flowers, and is promptly grabbed by a hand springing from the ground. As she struggles to free herself, Bill’s hand, along with the rest of him, emerges from his newest grave – apparently sleeping in the ground is far more comfortable sans PJ’s. Sookie is, of cours,e ecstatic and spends the rest of the next day telling anyone who will listen that Bill is no more dead than he was two days ago – the fourth coffin actually contained the remains of coroner’s assistant, Neil, a secret fang banger who chose the wrong night to get better acquainted with Bon Temps’ newest residents.

After her own midnight death of sorts, Mrs. Tara is sober, cooking and almost unrecognisable – Tara’s perfect mother dream come true. Except Tara, cynical and angry as ever, is almost offended by the change, and continues to berate her mother, Sookie, Sam and anyone else in earshot. After a miserable day by even her standards, Tara is desperate for a midnight death of her own and makes her way back to the hoodoo trailer, to be met by a self-satisfied and fully prepared Miss Jeanette.

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Someone else undergoing a midnight change in just as unsubtle a manner is Stackhouse trim of the week, Amy. Having started out as an earnest hippy type, helping out at Merlotte’s and generally ingratiating herself to anyone who catches her eye, the sweet temperament has given way to something altogether more sinister. Jonezing for some V, the toxic twins hatch a plan to raid Lafayette’s V cookie jar, also known as Eddie. They follow Lafayette to the vamp’s house, at a professional distance, natch, and once his transaction is concluded, the pair con their way in. Amy throws a silver hood that she just happens to be carrying around with her over Eddie’s head, before they bundle him into Jason’s authentic pickup truck and disappear into the night. Whatever the positive effects of V, which appear to include seeing Jason as some sort of genius, the down side would seem to be a scary military-style ability to subdue and abduct vampires. It’s always the hippies…

As if Bill’s second coming wasn’t excitement enough for Sookie, she also has the pleasure of being summoned to Fangtasia by Eric. After extending the invitation to Bill while luxuriating in Mr Compton’s tub, Sookie and her vamp arrive at the club to conduct a little detective work. It seems someone has been stupid enough to steal money from Sheriff Eric, and Sookie is the last weapon in Eric’s search for the culprit. After ‘interviewing’ a few of the staff, Sookie almost gets the answer from Ginger, a human staff member, but there’s only white noise where the thief’s name should be. . She’s been glamoured, leaving Sookie in no doubt who the culprit is. Before she can reveal the vamp’s name, Longshadow all but screams his guilt by flying at our psychic in a horrific vision of 80s hair, metal and fangs. She really doesn’t have a lot of luck, does she? No need to worry, though. We all know how fang happy Bill gets when someone threatens his human.

Another superb episode from the True Blood team, The Fourth Man In The Fire continues to flesh out many of the characters. Chief among them is the wondrous Lafayette, who just gets better every week. Part queen bitch, part loving cousin and all kinds of cool, he continues to earn his best character in show title. However, from now on he’s got some serious competition in the form of Eric Northman. The Sheriff’s bizarre bath tub appearance, and almost humble appeal to Sookie have him well on the way to throwing off the Diet Lestat comparisons, and good job too – it would be almost insulting to waste the Skarsgard like that.

Fourth Man is an episode full of character-type surprises, the biggest of which was most definitely Amy’s total transformation into a V vixen. Clearly abducting vampires is something she’s had some practise at, and it’s possible this fact is more disturbing than the actual kidnapping. She’s going to be a handful and it’s unlikely that Jason has any idea what he’s got himself into, although the fresh, on tap V will surely make it all worthwhile.

Two thirds of the way through the season, and True Blood is bedding down nicely. There are still plenty of mysteries to be solved, and with just four episodes to go, it’s going to get very interesting indeed…

Check out our review of episode 7 here.

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