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imageJust shy of too little too late, “True Blood” is starting to get most of its mojo back. The season’s shot in the arm includes a bullet to Marnie’s head, but you just knew she wouldn’t go that easily.

Plotwise, Sookie’s faerie lightning and Jesus’ big gay Brujo magic (top photo) save the day, but the real hero this week is focus. Gone are the distracting werepanthers, extraneous Bellefleur family members, go-nowhere ghost stories and road trips. Explained away or not, their absence isn’t missed.

Gone with them is the airtime they ate up – almost swallowing the whole season – to make room for a witch-vampire showdown that’s more than the half-ass battle teasers we’ve been subjected to so far.

imageUnfortunately, the leather-clad, slow-mo vampire ass whooping that we saw coming last week doesn’t get its rock-video ending. Plans are foiled when Eric, Bill, Pam and Jessica realize there’s a wall of super-saturated sunlight around the witchy sundries shop.

Mostly, it’s OK that we don’t get the anticipated war-ending showdown. We are somewhat entertained by a non-negotiable negotiation, the vampire bug-zapping force field, Pam’s ill-advised rocket-launch (second photo) and some great one-liners. It’s not fang-tastic perfection, but despite eye-rolling missteps (Bill and Eric suicide? Please.), the rush of some “True Blood” bite returns.

Ultimately, “fucking Sookie” – as pretty much everyone agrees and “a gash in a sundress” as Pam puts it – uses her powers to bring down the witchy wall, only to be encircled in fire by a vengeful Marnie. Meanwhile, the gays are getting busy in the restroom making magic of their own.

imageNo, not in the naked man-on-man way that’s been sorely missing, but there is a bit of bondage involved. Nobody climaxes, but the efforts of Lafayette and Jesus do get the vampires in the door.

In the short breaks that they should have been all season, Sam and Alcide resolve their respective Marcus and Debbie problems (third photo), and Sheriff Andy gets laid in a sex scene apparently reserved only for straight people.

Speaking of also-rans, the show exacts our revenge on too many characters by ripping out and sucking the blood from What’s His Name’s heart and hurling a knife into Who’s Her Face’s chest. Two more nobodies down!

imageHaving made her bed, Marnie gets what’s coming to her courtesy a battery of bullets with a coup de grace shot in the forehead (bottom photo). Also in bed together with fate are Lafayette and Jesus. Finally!

But no, Jesus falls asleep. Uh-huh. That’s what we thought. Again, nobody gets a climax, most of all the show, but there is a saving grace. In an actual cliffhanger for once, the spirit of Marnie appears, and Lafayette’s newfound powers as a medium suck her in. Marnie’ creepy grin crossing his face better spell one hell of a finale next week.