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True Blood Retro: Season 1, Episode 7, “Burning House of Love”

What I do on my own time is no concern of yours or any of y’all’s. Yes! I had sex with Bill, and since every one of y’all’s too chicken to ask, it was great! I enjoyed every second of it. And if you don’t like that, you can just fire me!

True Blood MouthI have to be careful when I rewatch True Blood because of episodes like this, which opens on hard-core doing it. “Burning House of Love” picks up exactly where “Cold Ground” left off, which happens to have been mid-coitus. Sookie and Bill have finally gotten past their sexual tension to the actual sex part and Bill gets over his ten second hesitation to drinking Sookie’s blood, and everyone has a great time in their romance novel, bear skin rug and candle lit sexcapades. Sookie, the cloistered little romantic that she is, could probably not have orchestrated a better first time. There’s even a bath-for-two afterwards. It’s all very sweet.


Sookie probes Bill about vampire myths while they’re lying in the tub, discovering that vampires have reflections, they aren’t scared of crucifixes, garlic doesn’t bother them (except for the smell), and that all of these rumors were actively spread by vampires to help them hide in the years before their coming out. After Bill shares some of his secrets, Sookie absently shares some of hers; one of the reasons she’s remained a virgin for so long was because she was molested by her uncle, Bartlett, the same one Jason invited to Gran’s funeral. What’s worse, because she’s a telepath, she could hear what Bartlett was thinking about whenever she was around him. It’s an obviously upsetting memory and Sookie mentions that she hates that it’s intruding on an otherwise perfect evening.


Bill is listening. He is listening very closely.

When the sun rises, Sookie floats across the graveyard to Gran’s house, wearing Bill’s shirt and nothing else, all warm and glowing. She gets ten

Your weekly dose of Lala.

minutes or so of happiness because as soon as she walks through her front door she interrupts her shitheel of a brother robbing Gran’s house. I don’t know what the addictive profile of V is supposed to be, but Jason has gotten to addict levels of use in the space of three or four days, one of which was spent getting his penis drained of blood after a V overdose. This is some strong shit. Lafayette cut him off after Jason’s horrible behavior at Gran’s wake. Left with no obvious options ““ I mean, apparently the “don’t use a drug that causes your nether regions to swell up like an eggplant” is off the table ““ Jason has resorted to looting his sister’s house for things to fence, like his grandmother’s wedding candlesticks and her jewelry. Sookie throws him out of her house, but not until after he’s called her a whore for sleeping with a vampire.


Jason is just plain unlikable. It’s a real testament to Ryan Kwanten’s charisma and talent that there’s any humanity to be found in the character at all, given that he’s punched his sister, assaulted one of his girlfriends, ran out on another girl he thought he killed, and generally acted like a douchecanoe for the last six episodes.

Ask me about my scarf!

That night at Merlotte’s, Sookie has a huge smile and a neon sign she’s carting around that reads “Ask Me About The Unusual Scarf Tied Around My Neck.” When no one takes the bait, Sookie pushes the issue, cornering Arlene until the barest of conversational openings allows her to reveal that she’s finally had The Sex. I remember that feeling ““ it’s all I wanted to talk about too, but I gossiped with friends who were actually interested in my sex life and who were willing to share a bowl of unbaked brownie batter while we discussed it.  Arlene looks fairly squicked out that Sookie had sex with a vampire, not that Sook notices in the least. It looks like nothing is going to pop her bubble. Well, until Sam stalks over and snatches the scarf off her neck to reveal the fang marks, and then proceeds to slutshame her in front of the entire bar.

No one talks to Sookie like that and no one thinks thoughts like that at her, and she is just happy to let everyone in on that fact. Any further fighting has to be postponed because the creepy orgy trio picks that moment to pay Merlott’s a visit. They’re looking for Bill, who is indisposed killing creepy Uncle Bartlett, so they’ll amuse themselves tormenting the bar patrons. Sam rushes them, the AIDS BURGER guys want to kill them, and it all looks like its about to go to hell in a handbasket when Bill speed-walks into the place. He’ll be happy to go off with his vampire orgy buds, but only if he gets to exchange long and meaningful looks with Sookie while he leaves. It’s all very meaningful.

Not that it means anything to anyone else in the bar, who have just been terrorized by some creepy vampires. The AIDS BURGER guys decide that proper payback is the daylight firebombing of the vampire trio’s house, which burns to the ground while the vampires scream inside. Things look grim for Vampire Bill and Sookie. If only there was some sort of promo material that assured us that he’ll be ok!

While dangerous vampire hi-jinx are going on in Bon Temps, ridiculous vampire hi-jinx are going on over in Shreveport, home of Fangtasia. Jason decides his best plan of attack is to head up to the vampire bar and loudly ask around for V. It’s made from vampire blood, so what can possible go wrong with this plan? Who cares! It’s an excuse to get more Eric screentime, including a shot of him scrolling through his Blackberry, bored, while human bar patrons stare at him.

Ooh! And we also get this exchange between Jason and Pam:


Pam: Jason Stackhouse from Bon Temps?
Jason: Uh, huh.
Pam: You related to Sookie by any chance?
Jason: Uh, yeah. She’s my sister. Well, how do you know her?
Pam: She stands out. Do you?
Jason: Uh, no. Maybe. In other…ways.
Pam: Why are you here?
Jason: Why? Well, you know, I was…I heard it was cool. I wanted to…check it out, see what’s up. I’m one of those open-minded kind of guys. Yeah.
Pam: Tell me why you came here.
Jason: I want some vampire blood.  What time do you get off work?

And the hits don’t end! While inexpertly feeling around for some V, Jason is rescued from certain vampire-murder by Janice Motherf’n Ian. Janice Ian! Janice Ian is Jason’s hippy dippy new girlfriend! They go home and Jason has to listen to Janice Ian’s privileged girl drivel about authenticity and Gaia and realness in order to get her to share her V, and then they have hippie sex, which is all well and good because Janice Ian!







I don’t want to short-shrift Tara’s storyline in this episode. We’ve gotten glimpses of her alcoholic mother in other episodes and this is the one in which things come to a head. Lettie Mae has decided that she, a good God-fearing woman, is possessed by a demon. It is the demon that is making her drink and for the low-low price of $450, she knows a woman who can perform an exorcism. Tara, predictably, isn’t buying any of this. She wants her mom to quit drinking and go to AA like a normal person. It takes a horrifying, excruciatingly embarrassing episode in the local bank, where Lettie has turned up trying to get a loan for her exorcism to change her mind. Lettie moves from asking for a loan to suggesting she’ll have sex with the middle-aged manager to get it, to alleging racial discrimination (the manager protests claiming he’s got a “vampire-American” client), sweating alcohol, and making a scene.   The desperation is enough to make you squirm in your seat.

Anything has to be better than that. Anything that will help Lettie Mae get past this is good enough for Tara and though she pulls out her emergency savings to pay for the ritual, she won’t pretend to believe in it. The two end up out in the bayou, paying a mysterious woman to perform the exorcism in an abandoned bus. Tara gripes through the whole process but even she is shocked into silence when the voudoun puts the demon into a possum and drowns the thing, hissing and screeching, in a tub. Tara drags her mother out of there. Her bitching and moaning is silenced when the voudoun claims Tara is possessed herself and that her inability to keep friends or lovers is the demon’s fault.  They’re out of there. But Tara is clearly worrying that prediction like a bone.

Bonus Content: X’s song “Burning House of Love,” off of Ain’t Love Grand.

By [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 You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

5 replies on “True Blood Retro: Season 1, Episode 7, “Burning House of Love””

He is! Its such a non-human reaction to what Sookie went through, but it gets shaded as ‘romantic’, which is so fucked up. I thought maybe people were missing the subtext of Bill’s actions in the first three seasons when they’d defend him so vehemently, but no. In the rewatch, all that creepy shit is pretty upfront.

Which is why I’m Team Eric. He’s not faking what he is. She’ll take him as he is or she won’t, but he’s not going to pretend to be human for her.

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