Recap: True Blood, Episode 4.11, “Soul of Fire”

F**king Sookie!

Two weeks in a row! Two weeks in a row I’ve enjoyed a True Blood episode. I’m going to go right ahead and predict that next week’s season finale will also be thoroughly wonderful, so that the season ends on a good note and all us complaining fans will come back for season five. I’m OK with that, especially if it gets me some more time with Real Eric.

Since the season is winding down, all the B-plotlines are coalescing, which in turn allows the episode to feel more streamlined and less scattershot. Maybe the writers could take some notes on this. Next year: more coherence and internal consistency.

Andy’s post-intervention nature walk leads him right into the arms of a fairy. Remember when that was an important issue on this show? At least one fairy has managed to find another portal into this world. After blasting Andy with her light fingers, she makes love to him, as you do. Poor Andy. I’m sure he’s not aware that swearing binding oaths with the fae is a Bad Idea, but I do, and I sympathetically cringed as he ignorantly agreed to the fairy’s terms. I’ll guess we have until next season before this puts Andy at odds with Sookie.

Sam and Alcide are trying to track down Marcus, so Sam can beat the crap out of him, but unsurprisingly, members of the Shreveport pack are unexcited about giving up their pack leader’s whereabouts. Things are at a standstill until Luna also shows up, freaking out about how Marcus has pulled their daughter out of school and disappeared with her. Which coincidentally is the same time the cub calls her mother from Alcide’s house and everyone figures out where they are. Dun dun dun!

For whatever reason, Marcus has decided he needs Debbie to run off with him and Emma. Not that that’s going to happen. Debbie’s downward spiral hasn’t gotten so low she’s willing to leave Alcide, which is what they’re arguing about when Sam and Alcide burst into the room. Sam proceeds to hand Marcus his ass, no guns, no shifting, kicking him every which way from Sunday, until he has the werewolf cowed. Sam wants to leave him like that, beaten and alive, but when his back is turned, Marcus goes for a gun. Alcide crushes his throat.

And then, while Debbie practically has a nervous breakdown, Alcide abjures her.

Which leads us to Team Badass.

When last we left Team Badass, they got themselves a bunch of matching leather jackets and boots from the Army-Navy store, and marched on Moon Goddesss with a rocket launcher.  They’re going to end the necromancy threat tonight. They don’t care about collateral damage or the AVL or Nan Flanagan (who did not get an invite to this outing), This is the survival of a species they’re fighting for.

This just makes it so awkward when Jason runs out of an alley and lets them know that Sookie is stuck inside of Moon Goddess.

Fucking Sookie.

Plans are immediately scrapped. Bill and Eric try to come up with a new plan to get through the force field surrounding the shop to kill Antonia without hurting Sookie.  Jessica and Pam roll their eyes. Jason gets indignant on behalf of his sister.

Inside the shop, Roy accurately describes their situation as vintage Hotel California. Marnie takes issue with this, claiming that it’s nothing of the sort, and then immediately kills the first follower to break rank. Antonia rips herself free of Marnie, disgusted with what is happening. Lafayette, the other medium in the room, can see this, and Jesus can identify the spell that Marnie starts chanting to bind Antonia to her. Despite Jesus’s urgent warnings that this is a Really Bad Thing, no one does anything to stop this, like, say giving Antonia another medium to jump into, or tackling Marnie before she can finish the spell.

To make up for this, Jesus tricks Marnie into believing that Cassie is still alive and he might be able to save her, which I absolutely buy because Marnie is deeply invested in seeing herself as the good guy. Jesus and Lala drag Cassie into the bathroom, where Jesus will use the body to work some brujo magic and free Antonia.

Marnie sends her pet vampire sheriffs out to attack Team Badass. They don’t get further than being kicked into the force field, which, oops, is concentrated sunlight and lethal to vampires. Marnie is pretty tickled about how clever she is. And she’s even more tickled when Bill and Eric agree to kill themselves if she’ll set Sookie free. As free as a dead bird, Marnie promises, and since no one else in the scene was there to know the bird died as soon as it went outside of Marnie’s magic circle, no one knows that she’s not going to let Sookie go at all.

Pam, furious at the stupidity of all of this, grabs the rocket launcher, shoots it at Marnie (though I think she was aiming for Sookie), only to have it explode on the barrier and nearly fry everyone on the vampire side of it.

What really works about the infighting on Team Badass is the growing frustration of characters who are not involved in the Romantic Triangle. They are just fed up with this bullshit. The boys are making ridiculous decisions based on their emotions (wieners) that are just so patently ridiculous it’s impossible to believe that they’ve been alive a combined 1174 years, give or take a few decades. Mutual suicide as a form of dick measuring? Gambling away the safety of their entire race for the chance that the insane possessed witch will let one mortal go? The betrayal of every other relationship in their lives?

You can practically taste Jessica and Pam’s anger. It feels sour in the back of the throat. The worst part is that we know these actions are nothing but posturing, but within the context of the world, Pam and Jessica have to stand there and watch their makers ““ their fathers ““ choose to kill themselves. Every pissed off word that falls from Pam’s rotten lips is entirely justifiable:

 Holy shit, gentlemen. Do not tell me you put our entire species at risk for a gash in a sundress.

 Seriously? The true death to save Bo Peep?

This makes this all the more heartbreaking when Eric orders Pam from his sight, because she’s so right about everything that’s going on.

Marnie uses Pam’s anger as proof that vampires can’t be trusted. After getting a vision of the future that includes her own death, Marnie forces everyone in the shop into a new circle to “protect them,” even Sookie, and starts chanting a spell that begins pulling all the vamps towards the shield. Sookie, who honestly is looking incredibly traumatized, just stands passively in the circle until she hears Jason’s panicked thoughts screaming for help. She blasts her light hands again, and because everyone in the circle is connected, Sook does some serious damage.

That’s just about enough for the unraveling Marnie. She traps Sookie in a circle of fire and is willing to watch her burn to death, just like Antonia 400 years earlier. Outside the shop Eric and Bill are helpless in the face of Sookie’s terror ““ all of which would be so much more affecting if Sookie (or Eric, Pam, Jason, or Jessica) were in any real danger. Jesus’s spell works at just the right moment, severing Antonia and her powers from Marnie, breaking all the spells set in place.

The boys immediately rush the shop, listen for a moment to Sookie’s protests that no one else was in on the killing vamps issue (which is bull, since most of them were at the graveyard showdown), and then when Roy opens his big mouth, Eric rips out his heart.

 And then sucks on it like a juice box.

I am so glad to have Eric back.

Bill finishes Marnie off with a shot to the head, which should end things, but this is a world with mediums and spirits. Death can’t keep a good witch (or a terrible one) down. Marnie is back in the last moments of the show to possess Lala.

 

Body count: 6, every one of them a secondary character.

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[E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of powderroom.jezebel.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at slay@persephonemagazine.com. She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

9 thoughts on “Recap: True Blood, Episode 4.11, “Soul of Fire””

  1. I liked this episode, too. I love Debbie Pelt – she stole the episode, in my opinion. You could feel her desperation, her anxiety. You could feel her internal screaming, the oh-my-god-I-have-SO-fucked-up. What a great actress (I may possibly also have a girl crush on her – something about her facial expressions I find really cute and badass).

    After this episode I am okay with Sookie and Eric being no more (at least for a while). I hope that Sookie swears off both Eric and Bill for a bit. They are clearly both too enamored with her and too competitive with each other over her to give two shits about anything going on around them (including their ‘children’, like you said). It’s gotten to be so cheesy. Eric is better than that. I’d like to think Bill is, too. So yeah, I hope she cuts her losses and we can watch them both become badasses again over the next season or two. Cause this whole, “I love you both, now fight over me” thing is boring and unrealistic. And not worthy of the bamf sexy motherfuckerness that is Eric Northman.

    I thought the part where Bill and Eric were willing to kill themselves to save Sookie was stupid. At what point was it even suggested that Sookie was in immediate danger? Marnie never threatened to kill her (did she? Maybe I missed something). Seemed to me like they showed up to stop Marnie’s threat on the vampire species, not to save Sookie. So why all of a sudden abandon the cause you showed up for to save someone that may not even be in danger? And even if she was in danger, Sookie has proven several times now that she’s quite capable of saving herself and others. I just thought that was badly written.

    Maybe Sookie will get with Alcide next season and she and Debbie Pelt can have another kickass fight.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see Andy have an encounter with a faerie. And his scene with Arlene was pretty awesome. Carrie Preston deserves more scenes. Maybe Arlene and Terry will have a storyline next season that isn’t so cheesy and stupid. I love them both.

    Can I just say the end scene where Jesus is lying in bed with Lafayette with tears in his eyes just killed me? I’ve never paid much attention to Jesus’ character one way or the other. But man, that was a sweet, tender scene.

    Just great acting all around in this episode. Considering the cheesy material, I think it’s a credit to all the actors on the show. They are all SO good.

    1. Jesus really evolved as a character this season, at least in the sense that he seemed more like a real person than just a plot device for Lala. I’d like to know more about the demon face. I’d like to continue seeing one adult, mature relationship on this show. But I’m not convinced he’s going to survive the next episode, since Ball has said more people are going to die. It won’t be Lala, Tara, Sookie, Eric, Jason, Arlene, Terry, Sam, Alcide, or Bill. So there’s precious few people left to kill off that we’ve seen on screen for more than a few seconds.

      I also feel you on Debbie. The actress is really selling her as a flawed character. But the guest stars this season have really been excellent all around. Marnie? Tommy? Debbie? I think we’ve seen some great acting from them.

  2. To be honest I’m not sold on this season AT ALL. The pacing was so off, and apart from a few good moments from Lafayette, Pam, Eric (I suck your milkshake!!), and Jessica, I don’t really care about the others anymore. The Bill+Eric sacrificing themselves shit? PLEASE. I didn’t believe for a second that was every going to happen, so instead of being a good, emotional, tense moment for the characters it was just irritating and cheesy.

    Totally agree with you about Lafayette not trying to talk to Antonia when he had the chance. And also? Jesús loves to bang on about what a gift Lafayette has, but doesn’t even mention any possible way to try to protect him, even after he’s already been possessed by a ghost?

  3. I enjoyed this episode a little bit more as well, but I was totally annoyed by the inconsistencies in Sookie’s powers. Why didn’t she use the light blaster thing earlier. Like, when Eric and Bill were going to kill each other, she should have just blasted the hell out of Marnie. When she was in the circle I was actually yelling “For fucks sake, Sookie, use your stupid powers!” because it was so obvious it was coming, but she waited until the last possible minute.

    Also, why didn’t they charge Marnie when Lafayette saw Antonia come out of her body? Jesus was saying “If this spell works, we’re fucked?” Why didn’t they hit her in the head or something when she was temporarily disabled?

    Still though, much better work. Though I’m with you, I’d like to see a major character killed off, just to keep it spicy.

    1. The light hand powers bother me less than the inconsistency in her telepathy. They’ve done a good job of showing that she really can only access the light hands in moments of extreme emotional distress. I don’t know why ‘both my lovers are committing suicide’ doesn’t count, but apparently it doesn’t. Sookie hears Jason yelling for her from outside, but she’s not mind-spying on Marnie to know what she’s planning to do? DOES NOT COMPUTE.

      One of the things I really did like about the episode was how emotionally wrung out Sookie looked by the end of it. She just looked burned. I hope this will parlay into a realization from all parties that their relationship is destructive and dangerous, so they actually go their separate ways and the narrative has a little more room to breath.

      1. I actually really thought that Bill and Eric were playing Sookie with their threat of double suicide to try to get her to use her powers, like an actual strategy. I think I thought it was too silly to be genuine, but I apparently overestimated the cheese factor in True Blood…

        1. I thought so initially as well, trying to figure out what kind of game Bill and Eric were playing. But on my second watch through, the tiny little smile Bill gives Sookie as he turns to shoot Eric convinced me that there was no plan. They were just going to kill themselves. And it seemed competitive, like they needed to prove who loved her more by being willing to eat a bullet.

          That scene was definitely the biggest misstep of the season, IMHO.

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