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Review #2985: True Blood 4.10: “Burning Down the House”

Posted on the 30 August 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

This is very much a transitional, set-up episode, at least once the melee at the tolerance rally is all said and done. Characters are moved into position for the final two episodes of the season, and events look to heat up as various assumptions are confirmed or tossed to the winds. Oddly, while this episode covers a number of necessary character beats, it’s not always as successful as it needs to be to maintain the tension.

Review #2985: True Blood 4.10: “Burning Down the House”

For example, Andy’s V addiction comes to a bit of a crossroads in this episode, as Terry forces him to see where his life is going (or not, as the case may be). While it does more to establish their familial connection than possibly any other moment since the beginning of the series, it also highlights how disconnected this entire plot thread has been from the rest of the season arc. Andy’s solitary trek through the woods had better lead to something meaningful.

Tommy finally dies in this episode, something that fans have been waiting for since about two seconds after his introduction. It appears to set Sam and Alcide on a mission to take down Marcus, which ought to have some meaningful fallout at this point. With Debbie now pairing up with Marcus, possibly in more ways than one, events seem to be conspiring to take Debbie out of the picture along with Marcus, putting Alcide in charge of the pack. All interesting enough on a certain level, but still too disconnected from the main arc at the moment.

Everything else is more or less caught up in the main drama to one extent or another, which is a good sign. The whole Sookie/Eric/Bill triangle has gotten a lot more complicated now that Eric has his memories back, just in time for Sookie to feel conflicted about her rekindled feelings for Bill. Eric is perhaps understandably confused and annoyed. On the other hand, despite Sookie’s stance in her dream in the previous episode, she gives a lot of mixed signals, which doesn’t help the situation at all. She needs to put her foot down and get control over the situation, post haste.

Sookie’s faerie power is becoming a bit of a plot convenience, but at least it’s semi-consistent. The question is whether or not it would be useful to take down Marntonia. Whatever the case, it seems that Bill and Eric are both losing patience with Nan’s interference in handling the witches. I don’t remember if Nan stopped Bill from taking down Marntonia in the first place, but if so, it has caused a lot of unnecessary carnage.

I’m worried about Jessica’s role in the impending showdown. She’s straying into a bit of desperate nihilism over the whole Hoyt/Jason thing, and Jason’s typical idiocy isn’t helping. I’m trying to give Jason some benefit of the doubt; after all, he has been through a lot, and he’s basically reeling from it all. And I’m sure naked time with Jessica is sufficiently mind-blowing to add to his usual confusion. (Keep in mind that, for him, it’s been mere days since being repeatedly raped by dozens of were-panther women. Dude has a reason to be psychologically conflicted after screwing his best friend’s ex-vampire.)

I’m somewhat pleased to have been right about the overall purpose of the Jesus/Lafayette plot thread this season, and how it effectively makes Jesus a potent weapon against Marntonia. Jesus might have the juice to force the union apart. I’m just not sold on this notion that Jesus has a demon inside of him. Was that supposed to be connected to all that third season nonsense?

The very end of the episode set up a nice little standoff, with all of our favorites more or less in the middle of the fray, and loved ones trapped on opposite sides. The body count looks to rise before all is said and done. But kudos to the producers for reminding the audience that this is all, in the end, campy fun, no matter how serious they manage to get. That final shot of the vampires stalking at the camera in slow-mo was beyond hilariously bad, and clearly intentional.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 7/10

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