While the title of this week's episode, "I'm Alive and On Fire," literally refers to the effects the sun has on Eric's skin after he gets drunk on fairy blood and tries to stay awake during the sunlight hours, it's also a metaphor for the many relationships beginning to burn up — or simmer down — among the supernaturals.
Immediately after apologizing for killing Sookie's fairy godmother, Eric passes out from drinking the fairy blood, then wakes up, drunk and hungry for Sookie's blood, giggling and pinching her "beautiful butt" en route back to their house. Let's just stop right here and give Alexander Skarsgard an Emmy nomination, OK? OK. His puppy-eyed amnesia vamp is a whole other level of appeal and acting that somehow makes us giggle like a schoolgirl more than his seductive airs normally do. And, let's face it, we'd all watch a straight hour of Amnesia Eric if that's how Alan Ball decided to craft the show.
But, such problems are ours and not Sookie's. She, instead, has to deal with a giddy vamp drunk on fairy blood who decided to play tag and run off at something close to the speed of light despite the fact that dawn is approaching. Sookie enlists Alcide to help her track Eric, a mission that proves successful when they find Eric in the river. "Come, come play with me! It's wonderful here," he gleefully tells Sookie. "There's big gators in there, you crazy Viking," she responds as Alcide shifts back to human and it's naked vampire vs. naked werewolf while Sookie tries to restore order (a problem we'd love to have any day). Finally, the fairy blood wears off and she has to mother Eric back to his hiding spot when he starts bleeding. Alcide and Sookie argue about Eric and Debbie on the porch, while a sullen Eric listens from below. But they end the argument in their something-more-than-friends-but-neither-of-us-knows-what relationship with a hug.
Meanwhile, Bill is desperately trying to find Eric and a stud jacket-clad Pam tells him she doesn't know and wouldn't lie because, "all of your subjects are learning how ruthless you are." Nan Flannigan, on the other hand, doesn't get the severity of the situation. "You sent Eric Northman after Wiccans. Are you fucking insane? Clean it up. And don't spill one drop of mortal blood." If Pam thinks Bill's ruthless, he's got nothing on Nan-as-the-Authority's-messenger, who gets some of the episode's most biting lines. "Aw, poor Bill," she says in a baby voice. "Power's so hard. Don't fuck this up. How many retired kings do you know?" Let's just give her an Emmy too, while we're at it.
Things nearly come to a head, when Sookie is comforting Eric, morose at never again experiencing daylight. She tells him Eric Who Has His Memories is a happy vampire, and Amnesia Eric, dissimilar from his original in every way but his desire for Sookie, capitalizes this and promises to be happy — if she'll kiss him. This nearly works, until he detects a visitor: Bill, whose last hope is searching Sookie's house, the only one of Eric's properties (in addition to the farm, Parisian apartment and Barbadian plantation) that hasn't been searched. She refuses, asking him, "When have I lied to you, ever?" Bill faces the great dilemma of love vs. power, and love wins the inner conflict this once: he leaves without searching.
With less than a day to go until they have to meet Pam with the reversal spell in hand, Jesus, Lafayette and Tara descend on Marnie who has had little sleep because of her dreams being possessed by the Spanish witch again. Obviously. We see the witch on the stake, getting burned despite Marnie's attempts to save her. As the witch casts what appears to be a spell on the people around her, her words become Marnie's. None of this helps Marnie in the present, though, as without the spirit, she is meek as ever and unable to connect to her goddess. "You get her ass on the goddamn goddess line and you tell her to turn this curse around," Lafayette orders. Finally, a connection is made and the right spell manifests. They take it to Pam, and tensions are high between her and Lafayette and Tara. "Stop saying 'fuck!' I can't concentrate," Meek Marnie says before conjuring the spirit and becoming Witch Marnie. We don't know yet if her spell worked on Eric (we're betting it didn't) — but she did manage to inflict skin-peeling curse upon Pam, who speeds off screaming.
After helping Sookie track Eric, Alcide returns home to Debbie, where he's up front about where he's been. In either a really good acting job or a testament to how much she's grown (time will tell which; Alcide believes it's the latter), Debbie asks how Sookie is. "For now," Alcide responds. "But you know her, danger on the doorstep every five minutes." Fact. Debbie doesn't care, nor does she seem jealous: "You're in my bed, boy. I ain't worried about Sookie."
We pick up where last week left off, only now the answer to the "Was it rape?" question that overwhelmed the internet last week is clearly "Yes": Crystal has finished with a still-handcuffed Jason and has passed him onto the rest of the Hot Shot women. "I don't know why you're crying; I'm the one that's getting raped," he tells his latest attacker, who reveals her situation isn't much better and he's the best she ever had — reminding us that it's a twisted, and often grotesque, world that True Blood orbits in, and we're just watching.
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it'll stop anytime soon. "Breed, Ghost Daddy, breed!" Jason is ordered as teenager Becky comes in, prepared to lose her virginity in the name of procreation for the panthers. Jason paints her a picture of what the experience should really be like and confesses he's scared he'll die in Hot Shot. "So am I," she says, before cutting him loose. Uncle-Daddy Felton gets pissed when he finds out what Becky has done, and he shifts and takes off in pursuit of Jason, who's severely weakened by fever but strong enough to craft a spear and stab panther Felton to death. Crystal comes up behind him, shifts back into a human and sees what Jason has done. "So long motherfucker," she says as she kicks Felton's body, then turns to Jason without missing a beat. "Hey baby. I'm big mama kitty now." Jason's attempts to tell her how twisted this is ("We ain't nothing but disaster. You're the worst thing that's ever happened to me.") don't get through and, though he stumbles off, Crystal is convinced they'll be united shortly: "I'll be waitin' for you Jason. Full moon!" We'd say we can't wait to see what happens, but that's partially a lie. We know this much: it won't be pretty.
Portia Bellefleur's plans to seduce Bill are thwarted when — in the midst of turning on the charm at a nauseatingly high level for her strong-willed grandmother, Caroline — he discovers that Portia is his great-great-great-great granddaughter. Whoops. Andy skipped out on the history lesson, again full of V-withdrawal symptoms, which Caroline chalks up to drinking. It's about time someone actually discovers what Andy is up to and stops the pitifully awkward exits he's making in the name of securing vampire blood. Elsewhere, at demon baby headquarters, Terry leaves the baby on the floor to tend to laundry while Arlene and the rest of the brood are asleep on the couch — and comes back to find the baby has grabbed a red marker and scrawled, "BABY NOT YOURS" on the wall in surprisingly neat handwriting. That he's now convinced something is wrong with this kid is an understatement. Like Andy, it's about time someone finds out what's really up with possessed tot.
Sam goes to Luna's house with more embarrassing pick-up lines in tow ("I just want to say 'hey' to a beautiful girl.") and discovers his shifter love is mother to a were-child. Sam's charms win over the girl right away, which gets him through Luna's defenses, though she warns she's not sure what her werewolf ex will do if Sam gets too close. Tommy flees Bon Temps without telling anyone, leaving Maxine in a tizzy. He goes home to his real mama, who confirms she left Joe Lee for real this time. He gives her the highlights: "I can read! And Sam shot me in the leg because he hates me." Melinda's pretense of joy is short-lived; by the end of the episode, Joe Lee has strangled Tommy into captivity, literally. "Son, you're gonna breathe your last free breath," Joe Lee says, as Melinda exclaims, "Honey, we missed you, we love you, we can't live without you!" It's the only moment this season we've felt bad for Tommy, but we can't say we're interested in what comes next — it seems like a rinse, wash, repeat of last season's plot, which found Sam interfering to take Tommy away.
Favorite Couple: Sookie and Alcide. Their heartwarming relationship seems relatively simple at the moment, except for the burning sexual tension just under the surface, but we like the idea of Sookie having someone to lean on who's mostly human.
Losing Species of the Week: The shifters. It's not certain yet whether this season will feel very similar to last, but things are moving too slowly to tell. Wake us up when the shifters get interesting.
Winning Species of the Week: The vampires. Until someone manages to out-act Eric and Nan, it's going to continue being the vampires.
• Video: Deborah Ann Woll Reveals 'True Blood' Secrets at Sexy Photo Shoot
• The Season of the Witch: 'True Blood' Delves Into Magic and Past Lives in Season Four
• The Kinky Beasts of 'True Blood'
• 'True Blood': Key Moments of the First Three Seasons
• The Joy of Vampire Sex: The Schlocky, Sensual Secrets Behind the Success of 'True Blood'
• Peter Travers on the Best and Worst Vampires on Film and TV
• Eric Has Amnesia
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