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True Blood: Burning Down the House

Tommy: "There ain't no heaven, and hell's a dog fight. I'm gonna disappear like I never was. That's what I want."

Yet another terrific episode that just flew by. It was jam-packed with all the right stuff, too, with many scenes of personal connection between two characters.

Sam and Tommy

Tommy's exit was surprisingly moving. How incredibly sad that Tommy thought of Merlotte's as his only real home, and Sam as his only real family. How incredibly sad that Tommy was hoping for nonexistence instead of heaven. Tommy just self-destructed, probably because he couldn't live with the guilt of what he did to his parents and to Sam. It was good of Sam to tell Tommy he loved him, and I believed it. I've never liked Tommy, but I always felt sympathy for him and his death made me cry.

(This is only the second time a True Blood scene made me cry. The other was Sookie at the kitchen table eating Gran's last pecan pie.)

Alcide and Debbie

Tommy's unexpected death has inadvertently resulted in Sam and Alcide teaming up. I'm starting to like more about Alcide than his spectacular body; he's a stand up wolf who chose justice over Pack politics. Does Debbie have any taste at all? Who could possibly prefer Marcus or Cooter to Alcide? Although Marcus and Debbie have all that poisonous jealousy in common and would probably make a great pair. If Sam doesn't kill Marcus, that is.

Sookie and Eric

Eric remembered everything, which really pleased me. It would be so frustrating if he didn't, and I'm deliberately not going to discuss what happened in the fourth book. Absorbing his amnesiac experiences appears to have pushed a lot of the arrogant jerkiness right out of him. He's now both Erics, a combination of the sweetie that Sookie fell for and the vampire Viking we all know and love. As far as I'm concerned, that makes him practically perfect in every way – for a vampire love interest, that is. What more could Sookie possibly want? Why, oh why is she still hung up on Bill?

Bill and Nan

Bill's continuing conflict with Nan this season has been the gift that keeps on giving. The two of them keep making me laugh out loud. Eric said that Nan was on her way out, though. What does Eric know that Bill does not?

I have to give the writers tons of credit for the fun scenes in the cell under Bill's house. It started with just Bill and Jessica chained to the beds, and now it's every vampire in the cast – and all they can do is argue. I can't blame them for being crabby, under the circumstances. At least Bill and Eric seemed to have buried their differences for now because of a common foe. Actually, Bill had better hang on to Eric, because I don't think he's going to have any other sheriffs around when all this is over.

Terry and Andy

Andy's struggle with V addiction has been boring and frustrating, but it finally paid off. Terry finally knocking some sense into Andy at Fort Bellefleur were probably the best scenes both characters have ever had. Their common past and shared experiences with serious addiction worked for me. And it was nice to hear that back when Terry was at his worst, it was Andy who took care of him, and Terry was just returning the favor.

Jason and Jessica

Jason has become such an adult. He was serious about asking Jessica to glamour him, and he didn't blurt out the truth to Hoyt, after all – something I'm sure he would have done a couple of seasons ago. I'm all for truth, but Hoyt doesn't need to lose his BFF on top of Jessica. Maybe they won't go for predictable, and Hoyt won't find out.

Antonia and Marnie

We finally know Antonia's backstory, and her shock at what happened at the Festival of Tolerance makes sense – she was a healer, not a killer. Antonia was ready to pack it in, but Marnie wouldn't let her. Marnie didn't care about the humans who were injured at the Festival; she hates the "normal" humans who have mocked her. So she's not the crunchy granola innocent victim that we thought. She invited it. She wants the power. She wants to kill. Good to know. Maybe Antonia is the only one who can stop Marnie.

Frontal assaults on the Moon Goddess

Sookie, Jason, Lafayette and Jesus decided it was time to get Tara out of the Moon Goddess Emporium. Jesus impressed me by taking the lead. He was wrong about Marnie, but I absolutely give him credit for trying. I didn't like Jesus at first, but I do now. He's shown where his heart is. I hope that means he's not about to die.

And now Sookie, Lafayette, Holly and Tara have vanished. (I had to run that scene three times to be sure exactly who disappeared.) Since there's more than one main character in the mix, I think they'll magically appear somewhere else. I was sorta expecting them to show up at Fort Bellefleur.

Our four favorite vamps in black, striding toward the Moon Goddess armed and ready to take down their common threat -- I want that shot for my screen saver. Seriously. It made me think of Angel, Darla, Drusilla and Spike during the Boxer Rebellion.

Was that a bazooka Jessica was carrying? Jessica seems to be turning into a vampire bad ass. I love it.

Bits and pieces:

-- Tara and Holly also found common ground and were pulling together with the Latin.

-- Sookie and Jason standing together with their arms folded and determined expressions on their faces looked and felt like brother and sister, possibly for the first time.

-- I don't see a good future ahead for Marnie's buddy Roy.

-- Even though the shots are working, I assume Pam is still spellbound. She should have gone to the Tolerance Festival and hung out with spellbound Eric. Maybe Sookie's death ray would have caught her, too.

-- Gold acting stars for Marshall Allman and Sam Trammell. Everyone was good in this episode, but they deserve singling out.


Nan: "What's the deal with your little dairy maid and her lightning trick?"

Jessica: "Fucking humans. I'm gonna find somebody to eat."

Sookie: "Maybe it's just chemical." And she's just thinking that now?

Jason: "He drank eleven of my beers, passed out and started farting continuously."

Andy: "For a year after the Marines, you lived up there like an insane squirrel."

Lafayette: "If she woulda goddam let her parakeet rest in peace, then Eric Northman and Bill Compton wouldn't be marching on Moon Goddess to blow up my only fucking cousin."

Marnie: (to Antonia) "Fate brought us together to fight evil. Did you really think no one was going to get hurt?"

Jessica: "I don't care what happens, as long as I get to kill shit."

Jason: "What's that on his head?"
Lafayette: "It's a... Latin thing."

Marnie: "It's marvelous. They'll do anything I want. They'll slaughter their friends, kill each other, eat chocolate, go to the beach..."

Four out of four bazookas,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I was having trouble taking Marnie seriously as the Big Bad this season until this epsiode. I love Fiona Shaw, but I still saw her as the drippy Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter. But what Fiona and Paola have done with the Antonia/Marnie character makes her a top-notch bad guy for me.

    Same goes with Cooter from last season. As an Australian, I've got a sense of pride that both Ryan Kwanten and Grant Bowler are and have been in True Blood.

    I always hang out for your TB reviews, Billie. Here's a cookie.

  2. love your reviews and look forward to them!

  3. I am loving (LOVING!!!) this season!!!

    This has been a very BUFFY season so far.

    Nan staking the vamp with a pencil....

    Jess with the bazooka....

    The Wannablessedbes....

    Lala, Jesus, Sookie and Jason acting like a pseudo-Scooby Gang....

    I can hear Lala saying to Jess (who we know MUST have watched BUFFY), "Hookah, you is working the Buffy with that bazooka, bitch."

  4. I thought about Buffy too when Nan staked the vamp with the pencil. Dan just said, yes, it's a lot like Buffy but with nudity. :)

  5. Hey Billie, great review! :)

    But did you notice how Sookie is not really feeling all lovey with Eric now that his memory is back? The look on her face when he killed and later during their discussion made me feel like she's having second thoughts. And I totally get why she loves Bill. I'd take him over Eric any day!

    Anyway, I've noticed something interesting about the reviews for this season of True Blood. As you like this season more and more, I've noticed that most of the other review sites (a good majority actually) are liking it less and less. Fan reaction has been mixed as well. Have you noticed any of this?

  6. I was actually really disappointed Eric remembered everything, I thought the book version was hilarious... on the upside, the show is now so vastly different from the books I have no clue what's going to happen, which is nice!

    I thought of that Buffy shot from Fool for Love as well - there's definitely some Buffy channelling going on (and Jesus' weird demon head thing looks very like a Buffy demon - like Anyanka maybe?). I really hope Jesus isn't about to get blown up by vampires, I *love* him.

    Best of all though was Marnie turning out to be the real bad guy, not Antonia (or not Antonia alone anyway). Nicely done.

    And I won't miss Tommy, but he got a nice death scene.

  7. Oh, and my theory on where our heroes have disappeared to is fairyland, but the fairy stuff is really dull so I'll be happy to be proved wrong!

  8. Steven asked, "As you like this season more and more, I've noticed that most of the other review sites (a good majority actually) are liking it less and less. Fan reaction has been mixed as well. Have you noticed any of this?"

    I don't know how you want me to react, Steven. Like, OMG, everyone else hates this season, what's wrong with me, I'd better hate it, too? I don't tend to read other reviews, especially before I post mine. I post what I thought and what I felt. Unless they blow it in the final two episodes, this is my favorite season. I'm not an undercover reviewer for HBO, if that's what you think. If I were, I'd be covering Boardwalk Empire and Hung instead of Supernatural and Dexter. :)

  9. With all the major cast members getting beamed away at the end, I don't think things are looking good for Holly. She may as well be wearing a red shirt...or a Merlotte's waitress uniform since we haven't had a Merlotte's waitress die yet this season.

    It's a shame too because I was just starting to like her but I guess that will make her death a little more tragic.

  10. Not my fave episode but it was enjoyable and the last two looks exciting.

  11. Steven, I've noticed that trend, too. Many other reviewers really have been increasingly negative, and Billie's reviews have been great at reminding me to enjoy the ride.

    A lot of reviewers seem resistant to TB's soap-opera-like elements. "More crazy stuff keeps happening!" they shout, forgetting that if crazy stuff didn't happen, there would be no show, no tension, just people sitting around sipping sweet tea and blood.

    Hopefully not in the same glass.

  12. It just occurred to me what the split over response to this season of True Blood reminds me of -- season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some fans were absolutely crazy about it and others despised it. And I wonder what they both have in common? The heroine having a whole lotta sex with a blond vampire semi-villain, maybe?

  13. I HATED season six of Buffy, and I love this season of True Blood, but I guess they do have similar subject matter - witches and late-comer love interests (that's not my problem with Buffy S6, but maybe it was some people's?)

    The Den of Geek reviews are pretty positive, and so are Rob's over at Rob Will Review, though a friend tells me SFX magazine hate it (which doesn't surprise me, they hate everything I like!)

  14. I wouldn't say SFX hate this season but they are clearly less enthusiastic about the show than they have been in the past.

    This season has been hit and miss for me, much like Buffy season six. I've enjoyed it more than season 3 but there have been too many plot threads that have left me bored. I did enjoy this episode, though. It was great to see all my favourite vampires (which now includes King Bill) heading off to kick Antonia's backside, all dressed in black, heavily armed and strutting in slow-motion.

  15. i love love love your reviews! thanks for taking the time :)
    I have a prediction... if you dont like predictions on here then you can delete this :)

    I think that Antonia will jump to Lafyette and then they will side to take out Marnie... I hope Jesus can get through to her - as I believe the character speaking is a combo of Antonia and Marnie... if it was just Antonia then she may break to the humanity side of it all... yet she hasnt...

    thanks again!

  16. I loved BUFFY Season Six. (NORMAL AGAIN is one of my top five favorite BUFFY episodes.)

    I rank the BUFFY seasons in this order:
    2, 5, 6, 7, 4, 1 and 3.

    But I digress....

    No one person's tastes or opinions are going to sync up perfectly with someone else's.

    Even those of us who agree that something is great (or something stinks) might not necessarily have the same reasons for liking/loving (or disliking) a given season, episode or character.

    I don't understand why one reviewer should worry about what other reviewers are writing or try to analyze why there is a discrepancy.

  17. Buffy Season 3 last? Insanity.

  18. *Stares at HBR in shock*

    The season that introduced Faith last, and the season that introduced Dawn second, really. Season 2 hooked me, season 3 made me fall in love. Of course that is just my opinion, still though *SHOCK*

    I'm quite enjoying this season, even with all the Sookie/Eric sex ( I wish Anna Paquin would add a no nudity clause to her contract, I could do with never seeing her breasts again) and it looks like they're setting up the finale to be quite a battle. And who cares about the reviews on other sites, I may not always agree with them, but I've yet to find another batch of reviewers as classy or as witty as the reviewers on this site.

  19. I may not always agree with them, but I've yet to find another batch of reviewers as classy or as witty as the reviewers on this site. What a lovely comment, Felipe. We all thank you.

  20. Well, there were mitigating, outside factors that clouded then and continue to cloud my opinion of Season Three. There are some brilliant episodes and scenes in the third season, but the season as a whole, whenever I watch it, brings me back to what was going on during that time.

    Season Two is #1 for me because that’s when the series solidified itself as one of the greatest TV series of all time. I still remember verbatim the discussions we had at work about Ms. Calendar’s murder, Buffy and Angel’s passion, the move from Monday to Tuesday, Cordelia giving in little by little and becoming a Scooby, Spike’s intro and arc, Buffy coming out to her mom, Kendra’s murder and so many other stunning moments.

    I lost my pop a couple of weeks before I WAS MADE TO LOVE YOU and THE BODY aired and I was also in kind of a dark place after that – in the summer of 2001 – so Season Five still holds me and the darkness of Season Six registered with me as did the bright ending of that season, as things changed in my life leading to the summer of ’02.

    My life at the time kind of followed Season Five’s emotional progression, as odd as that seems. I usually vacillate between S2 and S5 being tied for #1.

    (I also loved Dawn. Yes! I did! There, I said it!)

    Sorry for the derailment of the TRUE BLOOD discussion….

    BUFFY is my #2 TV series of all-time and I can’t help but compare every other “supernatural genre” (as well as most other TV series, to be honest) series to it, for good or bad.

    TRUE BLOOD falls in the good category.

    As original and fun as TRUE BLOOD is (it’s already in my top ten all time series), there is so much about the show that reminds of BUFFY (not just the vamps, but the characters and characterization). BUFFY was the perfect show for me during its initial run – I was a couple of years older than the characters, but I identified with them quite a bit.

    TRUE BLOOD is filling that niche for me now – as older and less wiser as I am. I’m not as damaged as so many of the TB characters are, but I pull a lot of emotion and identification from each episode as I watch and rewatch them.

    Again, I apologize for the digression….

  21. Aww wow, I feel treated this week! Not just the best episode of the season (for me) but a fantastic review and some wonderful comments too.

    HBR, you'll never need to apologise for discussing Buffy at any time on Billiedoux.com, this is the site that Buffy built after all. I think it's great how you strongly you associate Buffy seasons with your life's events - so did I.

    For the record, my favourite Buffy season is 5, closely followed 2 and 4. My least favourite while it was airing was 6, but I like it a lot more now. At the time I was sheltered 16 year old and didn't have any way to relate to the themes of depression and addiction that were at its core.

    I don't think True Blood season 4 is much at all like Buffy 6, it may deal with similar themes of addiction and destructive relationships but handles them very differently. You have only to look at Andy and Terry's hilarious and heartfelt scenes this week to see how TB can find the humour in subject matter that Buffy S6 really got down and dirty with.

    And to segue back onto the subject of Burning Down The House, I think episode has many parallels with Buffy season 5. The Big Bad is a powerful woman with two personalities played by two different actors in the same body.

    The possible key to the final battle is Willow/Lala, a good witch who might be the only one with powers that can directly hurt the Big Bad. That Big Bad is hurting Tara/Jesus, the significant other who helped Willow/Lala develop their powers. This threat was/may be the catalyst that allows Willow/Lala to fight the Big Bad to their full magical potential.

    Interestingly, both Tara and Jesus have a connection to demons - Tara was worried she was part demon whereas Jesus May actually be part demon. Tara thought her powers came from her demonyness whereas Jesus' powers may be so strong because of their demonic origins.

    I'm theorising because the season hasn't finished yet but I am still thinking Lala will be instrumental to defeating Marntonia because otherwise, that whole Mavis ghost thing was a complete and utter wacky pipedream.

  22. The Andy/Terry scenes were my favorite of this episode.

    And, um, I don't think Steven was trying to rile things up - what I got from his question was just curiosity, not a challenge. 'Course I don't know Steven so I could be wrong, but anyway...

  23. Sooze, you're probably right. And I apologize to Steven if I sounded crabby. I'm having a really bad week and I'm probably pissing people off.

  24. Thanks so much, Sooze! I was not trying to rile things up. Not my intention at all. And Billie, I was not trying to taunt or anger you in any way (got a sarcastic, defensive vibe from your post).

    I just happened to notice that, in general, a good majority of review sites have been giving lower and lower scores as the season progresses while your scores, or opinions, have been getting higher and higher. I thought it was worth commenting on and getting your opinion on this discrepancy. Not in any way trying to say "Wow Billie. You're an awful reviewer and your site is awful." Quite the contrary, actually.

  25. If I had waited a few more minutes I would have seen your post Billie. No harm done. I just like to discuss different aspects of the show in general. :)

  26. Thanks Harry!!!

    I reread all of Billie’s BUFFY reviews last winter as I re-watched the whole series. It was BUFFY that brought me to Billie in the first place.

    Billie Doux is the guru of smart TV analysis.

    For me, TRUE BLOOD is airing at the perfect time in my life, just like BUFFY did then. I don’t think I would have enjoyed TRUE BLOOD if it had aired in the early 00s.

    I’m at a place now that the themes and sensibilities of TRUE BLOOD speak to me the way BUFFY spoke to me in the late 90s/early 00s. I doubt I would have such an affection for my BUFFY if it started airing now.

    On a surface level, TRUE BLOOD is a HELLA fun series to watch and chat about with friends. It’s so crazy most of the time and so grounded some of the time.
    One a deeper level, I can identify with the characters and the damage they’ve inflicted upon themselves – sometimes willingly, other times purely by circumstance.

  27. Billie, great review again and great insights. Here in Brazil, this season of True Blood is getting a good rating, and in my opinion it's another one that beats the book. This episode closed a couple of secondary storylines pretty well. Tommy's death was realy touching and it also made me cry. Sam is going to go hard on Marcus, and by the way Debbie really deserves a psycho boyfriend. You can see it is a perfect match. I hope Alcide learns this time. Andy's boring V addiction had a perfect ending at the Bellefleur fort.
    I'm thrilled Eric remembers it all. Amnesiac Eric is still there, and Sookie has got to be really dumb if she chooses over BIll.
    Remind me something, please, Sookie had always fet something for Eric, but had she taken his blood before the crazy Narnia love scene? I don't remember.
    Two more episodes and then an endless wait for season 5...

  28. Thanks, Samantha. Yes, Sookie had some of Eric's blood before and had dreams about him awhile back.

  29. I really liked this episode and this season is much better than the third one. And you´re right, this episode just flew by.


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