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imageHow awesome is it to see Eric and Bill grow some balls after a “True Blood” season of puppy love amnesia for one and royal bluster for the other? As we all know, it takes an irresistibly flaming faerie.

Over the course of a week, our bristles have begun to go back down over the worst episode ever, and the opening action helps us move on with a payoff that’s been sorely missing. A vampire fight to the death is just what the doctor ordered. With bodies flying and people dying, Sookie’s faerie lightning bolt keeps her men from killing each other, and the jolt puts the memories and badass glimmer back in Eric’s eye (top photo). Bill seems better for the wear, too. He’s ready to tell bossy Nan where to shove it and solve the witch problem his way.

imageOf course, a few cuts to last week’s filler would have made this scene a perfect ending and the saving grace of that episode. Cropping the most exciting scenes in half is an unfortunate formula this season, and it’s a lazy way to create cliffhangers. Ultimately though, we’re just glad to feel that “True Blood” exhilaration again.

Like the witches and vampires, even we need to take a breath and regroup. Disgusted by the mess she’s made, Marnie- Antonia (second photo) is literally of two minds about it, and we have fun when she starts to argue with herself. Turns out, Marnie’s also been growing some balls. She’s calling more shots than we thought, and Antonia has more conscience. It’s a little hard to swallow, but just go with it. Even with his balls back, Eric still loves Sookie, and she still loves both him and Bill. It’s a conundrum, but there’s no time for feelings with war to be waged.

imageOr is there? It wouldn’t be Season 4 without the cheesy filling. Thankfully, there’s less of it this week as we hurtle toward the finale. Terry stages an intervention on cousin Andy’s V addiction, Hoyt pines for Jessica, and Jason feels guilty for having sex with her behind Hoyt’s back. Love-you-hate-you brother Tommy dies a gruesome if unexplained death (third photo), and Sam suddenly cares. We don’t.

Returning to the real action, the lockdown at the Wicca store starts to boil over. Back from Mexico and armed with a demon possession – “It’s a Latin thing” – Jesus tries to mediate with Marnie while Tara and Holly try some spells of their own to escape. Unfortunately for everyone, those efforts don’t go so well. Sookie sticks her nose in and not only fails to rescue anyone, but now she, Lafayette and Jesus are sucked inside the force field sourrounding the store.

imageAw shoot, and just in time for the leather-clad vampires’ rock video entrance (bottom photo) to blow up the place to the tune of Taking Heads’ “Burning Down the House.” You guessed it. Tune in next week.

Even with filler scenes, there are still gaps. What happened to Nan, who is last seen threatening everyone with death for insubordination? Why is Jason even at the witches’ hideout in the first place if he’s just going to be spared and drive away? Why is everyone on the show getting laid except Lafayette and Jesus? What, no gratuitous nudity this week? And by the way, where are those damn werepanthers?