Episode Title: "Burning Down the House"
Writer: Nancy Oliver
Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
Previously on "True Blood":
In the aftermath of a battle between the forces of Antonia (Fiona Shaw) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) was seriously wounded by a bullet and Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) was enslaved by Antonia's spell. Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) and Bill managed to save Sookie with Bill's blood, but Alcide seemed disgusted when Sookie didn't realize that her relationship with the vampires was destroying her. Debbie Pelt (Brit Morgan) witnessed Alcide running off with Sookie and scored some V out of desperation. She then presented herself as an ally to Sookie in the search for Eric.
At Merlotte's, Marcus Bozeman (Dan Buran) came with a threat for Sam (Sam Trammell), just as Sam's estranged brother, Tommy (Marshall Allman) was writing a farewell letter. Later, Tommy took Sam's form and he was nearly beaten to death by Marcus and other werewolves until Alcide stopped it and took Tommy to safety. Elsewhere, Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) finally gave in to his attraction to Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and they made love in the back of his truck. At the Moon Goddess Emporium, Debbie kept Antonia distracted while Sookie broke into the back of the store and found Eric entranced.
Sookie also found her best friend, Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) holding a gun on her while Tara mentally told her that Antonia had trapped the coven against their will and they were attempting to kill Bill later that evening at a Vampire Tolerance event. After escaping the emporium, Sookie arrived just in time to warn Bill before Eric and other enslaved vampires attacked the crowd.
As chaos unfolds at the event, Eric and Bill are on the verge of killing each other until Sookie unleashes a magical wave that somehow frees Eric from his enchantment and restores his memories. At the same time, Antonia (Paola Turbay) comes to the surface of Marnie's personality and she is sickened by the sight of the dead and wounded humans from the attack. She retreats with her remaining enslaved vampires as Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) begins sending out vampires to glamour the witnesses into forgetting the attack. In Alcide's truck, Tommy tells him that he's dying and he only wants to go home to Merlotte's.
Sam meets Alcide and Tommy at the restaurant and he wants to find vampire blood to heal Tommy, but Tommy insists that Sam let him die. The brothers reconcile before Tommy passes away and Sam promises Alcide that Marcus Bozeman "is a dead wolf." At Bill's mansion, Eric tells Sookie that he remembers everything in his life, including his time with her and he says that he loves her. Sookie returns the feeling but she adds that she loves Bill too and she couldn't imagine a world without him. At the Bellefleuer mansion, Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe) catches his cousin, Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) with V and he stages an impromptu intervention.
In the back of his truck, Jason is overcome by guilt because he betrayed his best friend, Hoyt (Jim Parrack) by sleeping with her. He asks Jessica to make him forget it, but she refuses and leaves in disgust. Inside the emporium, Holly Cleary (Lauren Bowles) and Tara attempt to find the spell that will let them flee. Meanwhile, Antonia forces her way out of Marnie's body and expresses remorse over the humans she hurt and killed. But Marnie herself convinces Antonia to rejoin with her in an effort to exterminate the vampires once and for all.
Back at Bill's mansion, both Eric and Bill endorse the idea of burning down the emporium to finish off Marnie and Antonia for good, which alienates Sookie because they don't care if Tara is killed in the attack or not. Elsewhere, Alcide helps Sam beat up one of the werewolves that killed his brother as Marcus waits at Alcide's home and attempts to seduce Debbie. Terry finally gets through to Andy at the tree fort they used growing up, but he forces Andy to walk home afterwards. Meanwhile, Sookie recruits Jason, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis) and Jesus Velasquez (Kevin Alejandro) in a bid to free Tara and the other witches.
Jesus is actually able to break Antonia's protection spell by unleashing his inner demon, but he is stunned to learn that Marnie is directing Antonia's anti-vampire rage and she is not the victim that he thought she was. In another room, Tara and Holly find the right spell and get the doors to open, but Marnie senses it immediately. Sookie and Lafayette race towards Holly and Tara as they run out, but Marnie teleports them all inside, leaving Jason alone outside. Hours later, Bill, Eric, Jessica and Pam (Kristin Bauer) show up to deal with Marnie once and for all.
A few episodes back, I wrote that I wanted Tommy to go away, but during his death scene I found that I didn't want him to die. A lot of the credit for that goes to Marshall Allman and Sam Trammell for some terrific performances there and a very well written way for Tommy to leave the series. The thing I'll miss most about Tommy is that now we won't get other actors playing Tommy pretending to be their usual characters. For example, Sam Trammell as Tommy was a lot more fun than Sam Merlotte has ever been.
This storyline has also given us an unusual alliance between Sam and Alcide, which seems destined to either keep Alcide on the outs with his new wolfpack or in charge once Marcus is out of the way. Marcus has revealed himself to be a weak leader and since Alcide appears to be a more natural fit for that role, it seems likely that he'll be the new packmaster whether he wants to be or not.
One of the bigger surprises this week was the revelation that Marnie really is the villain here. It was easy to assume that Antonia was running the show, which made it shocking when she was the one to express remorse and empathy for her victims. Paola Turbay also got the chance to deliver some effective exposition that better explained why she became a necromancer in the first place. Jesus' reaction to the truth was also interesting and his growing fear of his friend was well played. The show finally addressed the fact that Jesus and Lafayette essentially dropped out of the main plot for several weeks. That was probably a mistake because it removed almost all immediacy about their connection to the witches and vampires war.
Original model Eric returned near the top of the show, but Alexander Skarsgard is playing him as more of a synthesis of his two personalities. It was surprising that Eric's memories were restored before the season finale and that he maintained his memories of his time with Sookie. However, it does seem to have watered down some of Eric's ass kicking persona. Eric was almost too meek when he listened to Sookie declare her love for both him and Bill. I can't see that as a long term change to his character.
Some of the scenes between Andy and Terry were interesting, but for the most part Andy's V addiction storyline is far past the expiration date. Almost all of the plots that revolve around the Bellefleuer tend to be the weakest stories on "True Blood." At least the evil doll story appears to be over.
On a closing note, I loved that all of the surviving core group of vampires have turned on Nan Flanagan. Now there's a character I'd like to see face the final death.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.