On the cusp of True Blood's fourth season finale the side story-lines get a much needed reprieve in this second last episode of the year, just so that all hell could break loose. There was no messing around in this episode as the vampire/witch feud finally comes to a head with blood spilt on both sides.
In this week's episode, "Soul of Fire", we finally get the first straight forward episode of the season in terms of story. The vampires and the witches are at a standoff. Sam and Alcide finish going after Marcus. Two main story arcs and no messing around with unnecessary subplots (with a couple minor exceptions). Just a damn good episode that tied up some loose ends, concluded a season worth of set-up, while still leaving more than enough for next week's final episode of the year.
"Soul of Fire" picks up right away with the slowmo all leather vampire commando strike team in front of Moon Goddess Emporium. Jason warns Bill, Eric, Jessica, and Pam about Marnie's sunlight inspired force field and puts the vampires at a stalemate. While inside everyone, including Antonia (and except that dumbass Roy), side against Marnie's suicide vendetta which only fuels her anger. Marnie makes an example of Casey, killing her in cold blood, and Jesus & Lafayette use her death to summon his crazy brujo demon to counteract Marnie's magic. Meanwhile as Sam and Alcide are tracking down Marcus he kidnaps Emma, his and Luna's daughter, and tries to persuade Debbie to run away together. Sam and Marcus get to have their mono e mono showdown without any supernatural advantages.
Marine had always shown small glimpses of breaking away from that lovely kind persona but here in "Soul of Fire" she officially goes darkside. She not only held those who once followed her captive against their will, but began murdering them to set an example. It was pretty obvious to the captive group, who witness her kill Casey in cold blood, that Marine went too far but for Antonia's sprit that was the last straw. However, there was one part of that scene when Marine started binding the unwilling spirit of Antonia to herself that I didn't quite get. If Lafayette could see Antonia struggling to get away from Marnie, and Jesus was the only one magically inclined to understand what Marnie was chanting, then why did the two of them just stand there giving play-by-play commentary while it was happening instead of stopping her? Maybe they it was because they slowed that action in the scene down so both Jesus & Lafayette could explain to the others what was going on but for anyone who had been following this season all summer long would have recognized what was going on immediately.
That minor hiccup a side, the final battle did more than just finish the vampire/witch (maybe, the season isn't over yet) it also altered relationships for those present there. With both Bill and Eric pledging their lives to sacrifice in exchange for Sookie's safety she has become more confused than ever on which vampire she cares about more. After seeing Eric's selfless act for Sookie Pam disobeys her maker and tries to kill both Marnie and Sookie with an RPG. In the heat of the moment Eric pretty much banishes Pam, which for her hearing that from her own maker is the vampire equivalent of losing your only family member. It should be interesting where this leaves Pam. She could either wait patiently for Eric to regain his trust in her or it could push her over the deep end and she could go after Sookie out of vengeance. Lastly because of Pam's rocket launching lapse in judgement Jason is almost killed and Jessica has to use her blood to save him again. With both Jason and Jessica nearly dying during the standoff it seems like he might have changed his perspective on seeing his best friend's ex-girlfriend.
Although the battle at Moon Goddess was pretty awesome to watch the secondary story going on was my favourite to see unfold. I had always liked Alcide's character within the rest of the cast of supernatural additions to show over the last few seasons but after this episode he is my new favourite. Alcide is like True Blood's version of Batman. Ok maybe Batman doesn't have any powers like the alpha werewolf, nor does Alcide have a billionaire sized bank account, but as far as character traits go he is just like Gotham's Dark Knight. When he was with Sam tracking down Marcus he showed that pack loyalty doesn't exceed the principals of right and wrong. He wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty to administer his own particular brand of justice and yet Alcide never once crossed that line most people never come back from. That being said there was the matter of Marcus' death at Alcide's hands at the end of the episode.
Even though Alcide killed Marcus it was still in self defense or Sam and him would have been dead. The whole fight scene inside the bedroom was an odd one to watch. Maybe it was because Alcide was pissed when he walked in on Debbie with Marcus in his own bedroom, and she was only wearing a tank top and panties, but he didn't seem to mind Sam and Marcus trashing his place to settle their score. With Alcide killing the town's pack master and also disowning Debbie from being his mate it will being interesting to see what this lone wolf will get up to now. I'm hoping Alcide and Sam continue to have some kind of friendship after this because if the Shreveport pack hears who killed their pack master, self defense or not, Alcide might need his shifter sidekick to back him up. See just like Batman. Lone wolf Alcide (aka like Batman) and his partner in crime Sam (like Robin). Who by the way could actually turn into a robin if he wanted to. Yes I'm a geek.
In the only side story-line away from the two main one's going on in this episode Andy goes all Gollum for one moment and then E.T. the next on his sobering walk home from last episode. Andy starts out arguing with himself before he abruptly runs into one of those fairies Sookie was with at the beginning of the season. Not sure what the fairy's agenda is by hooking up with Andy but she obviously has something in store for him after making him swear some kind protection oath as both of their fingers light up like E.T. and Elliot's did in 1982. Out of the few things I've disliked about this season so far the whole fairies from fairy land has to take top spot. Here's hoping True Blood doesn't spend any more time on that story-line then they have to.
Just when I thought it would be a cool idea to have Fiona Shaw return as Marine next season in a similar ghost like form that Antonia she possess Lafayette for this episode's cliff-hanging ending. I think some people may have been fine ending the whole witch season arc with Eric drinking Roy's heart like it's a slurpee and Marnie being gone for good. Not me though. If the sneak peek for next week's episode is any indication of what to expect from True Blood's season finale it looks like it will be just as crazy, if not crazier then, the season two finale. If you don't remember that episode it was the one were the powerful Maenad creature, Maryann, turned everyone into orgy zombies to try and summon a god to walk the Earth. I guess we'll have to all tune in next week to see if True Blood can top themselves from that zaniness.
The dry witted Pam turns in this week's True Blood quote during the fully armed standoff:
"Can we blow up these Wiccan dipsticks already? I've got a manny-pedi at 4."
Pam did have another more shocking quote during this episode but I'm not sure I want to repeat it; even in written form. She said something that if it had been said by any male on the show people would find it a hundred times more offensive. Like I said I won't repeat it but if you missed it or still want to hear the, shall I say, 'unpleasant' quote it is at the 7:30 mark of the episode. Remember I'm only the messenger.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.