Episode Title: "Soul of Fire"
Writer: Mark Hudis
Director: Michael Lehmann
Previously on "True Blood":
Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) arrived too late to prevent Marnie (Fiona Shaw) from attacking the Vampire tolerance event, but when the enslaved Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) was about to destroy Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), Sookie was somehow able to use her powers to free Eric of Marnie's control and return his memories to him. Meanwhile, the spirit of Antonia (Paola Turbay) began to doubt the righteousness of their actions, but Marnie convinced her to remain as one with her in order to destroy the vampires.
Eric and Bill both managed to alienate Sookie by planning to destroy Marnie's emporium despite Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) and the other coven members being held inside against their will by Marnie. Elsewhere, Sam (Sam Trammell) and Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) hunted down Marcus Bozeman (Dan Buran) for his role in the murder of Sam's estranged brother, Tommy (Marshall Allman). Back in town, Sookie recruited her brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis) and Jesus Velasquez (Kevin Alejandro) to free their friends from Marnie. However, everyone but Jason was soon captured.
Hours later, Eric, Bill, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Pam (Kristin Bauer) arrived outside of the emporium intent upon destroying the witches once and for all.
In the emporium, Sookie and her friends beg Marnie to end the conflict, but Marnie arrogantly blows off their concerns. When a young woman named Casey (Fiona Dourif) charges her, Marnie casually kills her with a knife. Lafayette then witnesses Antonia forcibly separate from Marnie's body and condemn her as evil, before Marnie casts a spell that rebinds Antonia to her. Realizing the danger that Marnie represents, Jesus tells her that Casey is still alive as an excuse to get himself and Lafayette some privacy as they use the dead girl's body to prepare a powerful spell.
Outside, Jason prevents the vampires from using their rocket launcher (!) on the emporium because of Sookie's presence and he lays into them when they treat Sookie's actions as a nuisance. The lull in the attack doesn't last long as Marnie's other enslaved vampires attack them. They try to spare the female vamp, but Marnie compels her puppet to incinerate herself on the protection field surrounding the store. Sookie attempts to get Marnie to negotiate, but what she wants is for Eric and Bill to kill themselves so that Sookie can live. Over Pam's objections, they agree. But Pam fires a rocket launcher at the store rather than let Eric die, seriously wounding Jason in the process.
At Marcus' garage, Sam and Alcide find Luna (Janina Gavankar) frantically searching for her daughter Emma (Chloe Noelle) after Marcus took her from her school. Emma eventually calls her mom and they see that Marcus has taken her to Alcide's home, where he is trying to convince Debbie Pelt (Brit Morgan) to run away with them. Meanwhile, Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) encounters a fairy named Maurella (Kristina Anapau) on his way home. At first she attacks him, but then she awakens him and tells him how handsome he is, She also compels him to give a magical oath to protect her before making love with him.
Sam and Alcide arrive in time to see Debbie barely dressed with Marcus before Sam and Marcus battle without shifting. Although he nearly loses at one point, Sam comes out on top and he humiliates Marcus by letting him live. When Marcus then tries to kill Sam, Alcide kills him and he essentially banishes Debbie from his life for the perceived betrayal. Outside the emporium, Jessica tends to Jason with her blood while Eric screams at Pam for nearly killing Sookie. Inside, Jesus warns Lafayette that the spell he's attempting may take them into some dark places, but Lafayette tells him the ship has already sailed on that.
Using Casey's blood to view the future, Marnie sees her own immanent death from a bullet to the head. She convinces the entire coven to join her in a circle of protection, even Sookie. Outside, the latest spell nearly sends all of the vampires head first into the protective barrier and certain death. Sookie hears Eric's telepathic S.O.S. and she stuns the coven with her fairy powers. Enraged, Marnie surrounds Sookie with a circle of flames that closes in on her. But before Sookie dies in a fire, Jesus completes his spell and Antonia is freed from Marnie's body. Sookie is released as Eric and Bill enter the store.
Eric kills Roy and taunts Marnie with his heart before Bill shoots her dead. In the aftermath, Eric banishes Pam from his presence and life starts to return to normal. But just as Lafayette lies down in bed with Jesus, the spirit of Marnie appears and possesses his body.
For the last few minutes, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because there was no way that the season long story was going to end one episode before the finale. As a final twist, it's a great touch to finally make Lafayette's story come to the forefront of the season and the series. And there's almost no way that this can end well for him. Either he's going to die with Marnie or Jesus is going down. But I'm calling it now, one of these guys will probably not make it through the season finale alive.
I'm not usually impressed by Nelsan Ellis' quips, but "Marnie just puked up a bitch!" may be the funniest line of the entire season. Jesus also had some interesting beats as he used dark magic to take down Marnie and free Antonia. On their own, Lafayette and Jesus don't always have the most interesting stories. But when they've been involved with the main plot as they were here, it tends to make them seem more vivid and essential to the series.
Jason also got some really strong character moments near the beginning when he finally told off Bill and Eric. It's been kind of an up and down season for Jason's character and his repeated rape at Hot Shot was not handled well or written compellingly. But outside of that plotline, Jason has finally emerged as a legitimate leading character instead of the clown that he was for most of the first three seasons. When he's given some actual dramatic moments, Ryan Kwanten can do more than just be the "King of the Idiots."
Regular Eric made his return to badassery when he used Roy's heart like a juice box in front of Marnie. That was hilarious. But seriously, how can Sookie constantly see Eric and Bill brutalize people and still want to be with either one of them?
Sookie herself had an odd moment when she agreed to be in Marnie's circle. I assumed at first that it was her plan all along to disrupt it, but the way that Anna Paquin played it made it seem like Sookie would have gone along with the chanting until she heard her brother's thoughts. Although it would have been darkly humorous if Sookie had accidentally killed Eric or Bill, it doesn't exactly make her look like the smartest Stackhouse sibling. And when Jason is shinning star in the family, there's a real problem there.
Andy's tryst with the fairy wins the "WTF?!" award of the week. So, all of Andy's "V" addiction struggles led him to screw a fairy girl in the woods after making a promise to her glowing magic finger? Nothing about that sentence looks good in any context. I can only assume that it's setting up something for next season's storyline, unless the fairies are going to attack next week and try to force Sookie to go back with them.
On a side note, I think I know why the fairy girl was so attracted to Andy, When you look like a goblin underneath your magic spells, even Andy probably seems handsome by comparison.
I was hoping for a little more kick to the last all out battle between Marnie and the vampires, but that could still come next week. The HBO promos have been hinting at a lot of character deaths to come, so place your bets now: Who's dying in the season finale?! Feel free to share your theories below.
Crave Online Rating: 7. 5 out of 10.