True Blood 4.04: "I'm Alive and On Fire" Review

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Danny Djeljosevic, Rafael Gaitan
The not-very-good-but-incredibly-fun HBO vampire drama continues! Besides having the funniest title for an episode I've ever seen (assuming you've never heard of Danko Jones), "I'm Alive and On Fire" features such deep, resonant themes as incest and adults being reduced to drunken teenagers.



Rafael: We are officially like a third of the season through.

Danny: This episode picks up where the first left off, with Eric having eaten Cookie's Fairy Godmother. Then he tries to bite her. But that's not the best part of this scene. Which is hilarious. Won me over immediately.

Rafael: Ain't that the truth?

Danny: After drinking that fairy blood, he begins pinching Cookie's ass at superspeed and teasing her into chasing him.

Rafael: I'm suspecting the writers might read our reviews, because we get entire minutes of playful, goofy Eric, a.k.a. the most entertaining character on the show. I also liked the glimmers of old Eric, like when she chastises him and he responds "I know what I am." Alexander Skarsgard could do so much more if he wanted to.

Danny: He's pretty much acting like most dangerous drunk teen on Earth.

Rafael: "I wrapped my dad's Hearse around a cross!"



Danny: As a result, Eric disappears for a good long while and Cookie's Italian Lumberjack friend search for him.

Rafael: Yeah Joe Mangione, father of Chuck.

Danny: They eventually find him in broad daylight, playing in a lake, teasing crocodiles.

Rafael: And that led to one of my favorite scenes -- two dudes with any excuse to take off their shirts doing so.

Danny: That was great, watching two sets of abs scowling at one another.



Rafael: Oh man, so much shouting! "Fuck you, she wants me here!"

Danny: This episode has to have the biggest ab to shirt ratio.

Rafael: I wish they had snake-slapped, like in that one episode of Archer, but I'll take the blatant homoeroticism any way I can get it.

Danny: I'm loving this rambunctious Eric, especially when he gets back home and tries to get Cookie to kiss him. And she's actually a little... flattered?

Rafael: Absolutely. In a post-Russell Edgington world, it's great to see a vampire that's more entertaining than consumed with his own importance. And man, I was wrong -- I thought that Eric flirting with Spooky would be groan-worthy, but the two actors pull it off quite well. It's a side of Eric you'd never expect to see! Everyone else on this show walks around like they have a stake up their ass, but not Eric Northman!

Danny: Especially with Cookie, who for once isn't like WUT DA FUCK, ERIC. Now it's closer to WANNA FUCK ERIC.

Rafael: She wants to get fang-banged a little bit, boyee!



Danny: Speaking of banging, I'm really glad Jason escapes the backwoods rape shed so early in the season. I was almost expecting him to be stuck there for the rest of the season, but instead he gets the only nice person there to cut him loose, then he takes off for the woods, and back to society.

Rafael: The thought has crossed my mind, but you're right- that story had run its course, and if it got dragged any further Jason's balls might have exploded like so many vampires. And it was awesome to see him not fuck up something. It's like what you talked about in The Green Hornet, you wanna see this schlub redeem himself fully at least once, and Jason did just that.

Danny: Plus, he gets to kill a panther-man with a sharpened stick. He just dives down from a tree with a sharpened stick, 300-style.

Rafael: Man. That was so rad! It was such a supreme payoff, especially because Panther Man was despicable.

Danny: This subplot also gives us some new and exciting incest nomenclature. Daughter-niece, for example.

Rafael: I used to have an uncle-brother once. Then I killed him for being an abhorration unto Grodd. Jay kay, no I didn't.

Danny: And they call themselves that!

Rafael: They embrace the terminology so well!

Danny: It did not ring true at all, but was totally wonderful.

Rafael: My favorite was "brother-hubby," I think.

Danny: It's like the writer of this episode was having a ton of fun writing these ridiculous hicks.

Rafael: It's perfectly trashy, too -- they know they're making light of these backwater-ass people. "Tell Uncle-Daddy Felton all about it." I need two showers, now.



Danny: Also! Bill finds out that the Bellefleur girl he's been banging is one of his descendents. This is like "The Incest Episode," yo.

Rafael: They should have called this show All in the Family. "Edith, you vex me so!"

Danny: Besides looking around for Eric, Bill hangs out with Andy Bellefleur's grandma, and they shake the family tree a bit. They do not like what falls out. That, too, was hilarious.

Rafael: Good ol' Man Crazy Mona (Katherine Helmond herself) shows up to look at pictures and do grandmother stuff, because, yeah?

Danny: Because she's incredibly old and Bill is only slightly younger than her (probably), so she has someone to relate to. Then there's Andy.

Rafael: Oh yeah, jonesing for V in front of his family. This episode was "The Drunk Teenager Episode." They should have called this show True Life.

Danny: And Andy's forced to sit with them the whole time and be polite. And every time he opens his mouth, Man Crazy Mona just tells him that's not "proper sitting room talk."

Rafael: Yeah, people really don't respect Andy. No wonder he seeks chemicals. V never forgets your birthday, or insists that you don't know what you're talking about.

Danny: He could never get any respect -- not here, not the docks, nowhere.

Rafael: Children of Earth: Life got you down? Drugs: A Family Activity.



Danny: So, Witches.

Rafael: (GROANS AUDIBLY)

Danny: I dunno, I'm liking the witch subplot, albeit ironically.

Rafael:I can't stand it. It's the same scene every episode. LaFayette says something, Boyfriend talks to Witch, Witch is tired or unable, Tara makes a remark about vampires. Then Witch sits down enervated, taking my patience with her. It just feels like a plot from an entirely different show, one I wouldn't watch.

Danny: They should put that subplot into its own spinoff so we don't have to watch it. Maybe some webisodes?

Rafael: And they should call that show Who's the Boss?

Danny: To me, the saving graces are Crazy Marnie (not to be confused with Man Crazy Mona) saying witchy spell things constantly and Lafayette just being himself in this situation. Even his prayer to the sprites is like "Save my fucking ass." But even this subplot goes somewhere in this episode, with the gang making Nan Flanagan's flesh peel off. That was dope.

Rafael: Okay. I will acquiesce that the face melting was "rad." As was the IRL LOLZ of the fire in Marnie's eyes.



Danny: Yeah -- Crazy Marnie is possessed by some witch that was burned at the stake centuries ago. In other words, someone more enjoyably crazy than she is. It's like a Dark Phoenix situation.

Rafael: And you know what? I don't want to know what happens next!

Danny: Every time Crazy Marnie talks, I look forward to her exploding or getting murder in some awesome way. It's like an investment. The return will be SPLAT. And we will be happy again.

Rafael: At least this episode she's been doing stuff. Instead of just being powerful weak. And man, LOL IRL again at that CGI fire.



Danny: At least this time the Sam Merlotte scenes are worth talking about, because it's not just nudity. Sam goes and visits his shifter girlfriend Luna, and finds out she has a kid. A kid who takes a really weird liking to Sam.

Rafael: That was a sweet moment, granted.

Danny: Merlotte, upon seeing a child to deal with, starts channelling Sam Rockwell in talking to her. I feel like that will make him more hapless. And Jason Stackhouse is our hapless hero.


Rafael: But if we're talking about kids in True Blood, theres only one plot point worth addressing: Terry and Arlene.



Danny: Yes. Best scene in this episode.

Rafael: Man, they should just have an entire episode of Terry and Arlene and their baby.

Danny: The family's asleep on the couch, and Terry leaves for two seconds to find that the baby has written BABY NOT YOURS on the wall with a marker. Terry, of course, freaks the fuck out.

Rafael: And Arlene and her daughter fucking lose it. It's undercut with another heartfelt moment of Terry talking to his son, reassuring him that he'll love him all the same.

Danny: Even if his son is a demon or something.

Rafael: Terry is the best dude. They should make a show about him and Eric Northman being goofs. And call it The Good Guys



THE BIG SCORE

Rafael:

Once again, enough okay stuff, couple of awesome things, but I could keep watching this or could not. I have no compulsion like I would an episode of Who's the Boss? or Wings or any of the other wonderful shows television has birthed.

Danny:

The silly shit in this episode really shone. From the panther killing to the creepy baby to the grandpa-nieces. Plus, some subplots get advanced.

Rafael: I just wish the witch stuff could be cut out completely. We need more awesome scenes like Jason Stackhouse in Rambone: True Blood, Part 2. And less of the N'awlins Smiletime Witching Hour.

Danny: This will probably be the height of the season. Mark my words.

Rafael: I've never hoped you were more wrong. Even when you predicted my death. I'd rather die than watch True Blood get worse.

Danny: That's how much Raf loves this show.

For more True Blood hijinx, check out our reviews of previous Season 4 episodes:

Episode 4.01: "She's Not There"

Episode 4.02: "You Smell Like Dinner"

Episode 4.03: "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'"




Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book writer, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter as @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his newest comic, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics.



Rafael Gaitan was born in 1985, but he belongs to the '70s. He is a big fan of onomatopoeia, being profane and spelling words right on the first try. Rafael has a hilariously infrequent blog and writes love letters to inanimate objects as well as tweets of whiskey and the mysteries of the heart at @bearsurprise. He ain't got time to bleed.

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