"True Blood" -- "I'm Alive and on Fire": "You Done Drew Your Last Free Breath"
Out of everyone in "True Blood," Lafayette has it right: Stay away from the supernatural, hooka, or be ready for some ugly consequences coming your way. He does his best to set things right in Season Four's fourth episode, "I'm Alive and on Fire," among the witches and the vampires, but the magic involved takes its own turn. Equally, and thankfully, keeping her cool is Sookie -- resourceful, helpful and not entirely in distress. Paquin seems to be having more fun with her character this season, giving her a personality but steering clear of caricature territory. In fact, most of the characters have settled nicely into the campy Southern gothic tableau, and while "True Blood" still deals with some fairly messed up plots, the show is funnier of late -- more comfortable in its own skin, as last night's episode showed. The humor is welcome, and we need more of it.
We also need more Eric, whose memory loss has provided a splendid outlet for actor Alexander Skarsgard to add silliness to his vampiness. Having drained Claudine at the end of Episode Three, Eric is high on fairy blood and can't be corralled by Sookie into staying put. She has to enlist Alcide to help her track him, and they find the viking enjoying swimming in the sunlight -- until the blood wears off and he starts to burn. Alcide isn't thrilled with the arrangement of Eric hiding out at Sookie's, but after a cozy little hug with Sookie, he heads home to Debbie. Sookie isn't resisting the chance to care for Eric, babying him a little -- and getting quite close to kissing him -- and even lying to protect him. He's still in danger, and after Bill tells Nan about the missing sheriff, he comes looking for him at Sookie's. She lies to him, saying Eric isn't there, and uses the fact that she's never (before) lied to Bill to convince him not to search her house. Bill has enough on his plate, especially now that he's learned his recent fling with Portia is incest. She's his great-great-great-great-granddaughter. (I realize I spoiled this in past recaps, it being a fact in the books and one presented so differently here I couldn't tell if they would keep the plot in the show. My apologies. I'll try and do better.)
With Eric still memoryless and Pam still righteously pissed, Lafayette, Jesus and Tara work with Marnie to try to find a counterspell to get the vampires off their backs. They search through book after book in Marnie's store, resembling the Scooby Gang efforts seen in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," until one book is magically thrown to the floor. In it the find the right spell to return Eric's memory, but when it is time to perform the magic, a mouthy Pam sets Marnie off and gets a spell put on her, one that takes some of the flesh from her face to make her resemble the "walking corpse" that she is. Pam flees and Marnie collapses, and we know by now that it's not Marnie casting the spells but the spirit of an ancient witch working through her. Through a dream, Marnie even saw the witch being burned at the stake centuries ago. Interesting for Marnie but horrible for everyone else. If she can't control her spells, they can't control her. Now Pam is likely to sic even more vampires on the coven to have the various spells reversed -- and to kill various witches.
Arlene and Terry have their own blend of creepiness to attend to with their possibly possessed son, Mikey, who when left unsupervised scrawls "Not your son" on the wall in marker. That sure makes the parents jump. Is the biological father, Rene Lenier, a part of this? Roots are important, and after everything he's been through, Tommy is just looking for a place to belong. Notice when he was yelling at Sam in last week's episode, he used the phrase "your own flesh and blood" several times, as well as using Sam's full name -- Sam Merlotte!" -- twice, which emphasizes their different last names. Tommy wants a family, and feeling forsaken by Sam he tracks down his mom, Melinda Mickens (J. Smith-Cameron). She claims to have left Tommy's father, Joe Lee (Cooper Huckabee), after the drama concerning them using Tommy and herself in dog fighting rings. But as Tommy talks to her, saying he can tell Joe Lee made her continue to fight, Joe Lee attacks him from behind with a chain and lets Tommy know he's the one now headed back to the ring. The situation appears to be almost a repeat of Season Three, when Sam rescued Tommy from a fight and Tommy chose his brother over his parents. Will Sam come to his rescue now? His anger management is working, though no doubt his new relationship with Luna plays a part. He learns she has a daughter, Emma, and proves he's good with children. Luna didn't need to hide the fact she has a daughter from him, he tells her. She responds that it's not so much him she's worried about, but Emma's father -- an unruly werewolf with a tendency to be a stalker.
Jason, however, has by far had the worst time with the jealous ex of a girlfriend. Crystal and Felton have had him tied to a bed for days now, and one by one, the were-panther women of Hot Shot have come by to systematically rape him. I don't think the writers are condoning or making light of the grisly act, but it's graphic inclusion in the episodes is debatable. Mercifully, Jason is able to convince a young girl, sent in to have sex with him, to set him free, and he takes off running. Felton and Crystal chase him down in panther form, but Jason kills Felton and threatens the increasingly psychotic Crystal to stay away from him. Eventually, he's found on the side of a road by Hoyt and Jessica, who feeds him some of her blood.
Whatever uneasy alliances were in place before among the humans and supernaturals are now mostly destroyed. Pam wants to witches' heads. Jason isn't so much a fan of shifters, especially Crystal, now. The fairies likely will want revenge for Eric killing Claudine. Tara is still anti-vampire -- her gun loaded with wooden bullets says everything -- while Lafayette is just trying to keep everyone alive. Marnie and the witch she channels hate vampires, too, and the head vampire, Bill, won't hesitate to kill his own kind if it means avoiding bad PR. Him getting his hands on Eric in his altered state would be dangerous. But the one person who can give him pause, Sookie, will see to it she gets in the way. She's the real force to be reckoned with.
Sarah Carlson has a front-row seat to the decline of the newspaper industry and lives in Alabama with her overly excitable Pembroke Welsh Corgi.