True Blood: Review: Season 4 Ep 4

HBO, July 17 (US)

Eric enjoys the fairy blood. See Eric run! Jason escapes from Hotshot. Run, Jason, run! Pam confronts Marnie. Run away, run away!

Alexander Skarsgard steals the show again as Eric is roaring drunk after draining Claudine. He is more than a match for Sookie and Alcide put together as he romps in the sunlight and goes skinny-dipping. Not that there isn’t a sting in the tail—while the ‘gators in the swamp don’t faze him, there’s a nasty sunburn in the making. These scenes craft comedy and threat together seamlessly as Skarsgard throws in just the right level of childishness to capture the amoral, amnesiac Eric.

Pam (pictured left) and Bill are not faring so well though, as they fail miserably to solve the Eric problem. It seems that King Bill might have taken on more than he can chew (or suck) with Nan, let alone Pam going against Bill’s orders to leave the witches well alone, and it’s going to be interesting seeing where this goes as the series develops. As, indeed, it will with Jason when the full moon comes around—it was a real cheer moment when he gets Felton but he’s clearly not out of the grasp of the werepanthers yet. Jason as Ghost Daddy—that’s a corker.

Fiona Shaw is also continuing her star turn as the dour and possibly conflicted Marnie, though this does at present leave Tara, Lafayette and Jesus as rather redundant characters. Hopefully, this will change over the next few episodes, but there is rather too much going on and a few too many characters being squeezed into each episode at the moment. Things do seems to be getting a bit diluted around all the ancillary storylines— goodness, there’s Arlene’s baby writing ominous grafitti on the living room wall, here’s Sam learning about Luna’s homelife and potentially threatening ex, while at the Bellefleur place, Andy’s addiction is growing and Portia’s learning about her true connection to Bill. The reappearance of Sam’s parents is not particularly welcome either, and detracts from Tommy’s ‘relationship’ with Mrs Fortenberry.

It’s hard to get away from the fact that the narrative is getting very crowded (though it was curiously funny seeing Katherine Helmond from Soap and Brazil as Andy’s grandmamma). Hopefully some of these threads will start coming together soon.

Verdict: This is a season for brilliant episode endings. Things are getting really nasty now.

Episode 4 ‘I’m Alive and on Fire’: 8/10

Brigid Cherry

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