This review contains spoilers.
4.10 Burning Down The House
Having already produced a season-long run of fantastic episodes, this week’s True Blood stepped up several gears, from amazing to positively stratospheric, with Burning Down the House. An episode full to bursting with vendettas, vaporisings, broken men, powerful women, and death aplenty, Bon Temps has never seen so much supernatural action.
Racing towards the season conclusion, the episode provided much plot furthering, particularly where Marnie is concerned. Yup, it turns out that poor, pathetic Marnie isn’t anywhere near as poor and pathetic as we’ve been led to believe, and is in the driving seat as far as all the talk of genocide as revenge is concerned.
Of course, she’d be useless without Antonia, whose power has continued to increase, and now includes such delights as banishing unwanted guests to another dimension. Or something like that. With Sookie – the rebel band of humans’ ace in the hole – languishing who knows where, it looks as though the vamp/wiccan barbecue will go down as planned. Dressed as the vamp version of The Matrix, Bill et al clearly mean business, and with Eric almost back to his old self – hallelujah – the wiccans could well be nothing more than a charred memory before the night is through.
Of course, the vamp Matrix is only possible thanks to Sookie having broken up what was a fantastic fight between the two most important vamps in Louisiana with a well-timed thunderbolt. Thankfully, the makers of True Blood allowed us a generous helping of Eric on Bill action, and it was glorious.
In the other major happening of the week, it seems Tommy’s only good turn was, in fact, his last. Despite Alcide’s eventual intervention, the weres did more damage than could be fixed, and Tommy, in the most noble act of his incredibly crappy life, chose to die rather than wade through a lifetime’s worth of more crap.
This leaves Sam, whose luck is now in the negative numbers, on a quest for revenge, along with soon to be cuckolded for a second time Alcide – could this be a true bromance in the making? We can but hope. Clearly, by the end of the next episode, both Sam and Alcide are going to need all the friends they can get. And the sooner Horrific Debbie and Skeevy Marcus are out of the picture, the better.
This week’s episode wasn’t all about the Big Bad and revenge schemes though. With an incredibly deft touch, the show also explored some interesting gender dynamics. Almost all the men, in one way or another are, or have recently been broken – from Diet Eric’s zombie tendencies, to Andy’s V dependency, Jason’s betrayal of his best friend, Sam’s murdered brother, and Tommy’s murder – there doesn’t seem to be a man in the place that isn’t in some kind of trouble.
Contrast that with the women in Bon Temps – Sookie with the lightening fingers, Tara, Marnie, and Holly with the wiccan wonder, and even Jess and her new found rage, all incredibly powerful and capable of pretty much anything, and not one of them really has a clue how to use it. Without wishing to read too deeply into anything, if that’s not a statement about humanity, I don’t know what is.
Gender politics aside, Burning Down The House was one of those episodes that TV fans live for – complex, full of impactful events, both good and bad, and with a generous helping of incredibly powerful character moments.
From Terry and Andy’s junkie heart to heart at Fort Bellefleur, to Sam and Tommy’s emotional goodbye and Jason and Hoyt’s uncomfortable bonding session, each was beautifully written and fantastically well acted. Add in the amazing fight, the Jesus might be a demon revelation and the smooth as you like vamp Matrix closing shot, all in the capable hands of former Twin Peaks director Lesli Linka Glatter, and this episode could well be season four’s crowning glory.
Not that we should be premature about these things – there’s still two full episodes and an agonisingly long wait until we can say for sure, but whatever happens in the final two shows, this week we saw True Blood at its visceral best, and TV as it should be made.
Read our review of episode 9, Let’s Get Out Of Here, right here.