Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.
Gothtopia first read Dracula at age 8, and Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire not long after that. Suffice to say that over the last 20 years or so, we've seen a few vampires. Aside from one time in the Preacher comics, we've never seen a vampire drunk before. That was also the first time we'd seen a vampire moon anyone.
Well, now we can add True Blood to the short list of drunken buffoonery perpetrated by the undead. When we signed off last week, the faerie Claudine was being drained to the point of going poof by an amnesiac Eric. Last season established that faerie blood allowed vampires to briefly walk in the sunlight . Well, apparently, if you completely drain a full-blooded faerie, it's like taking a whole bunch of tequila shots.
Watching Eric using super-speed to repeatedly pinch Sookie's butt before running off into the woods to taunt alligators in the water is one of the funniest things we have ever seen, as was when the blood started to wear off and the sun began baking tall, pale, and stupid.
"Ah, did hims have too much faerie and gets a tummy ache?" quipped the Wife With One F beside us on the love seat.
Meanwhile, Sookie's brother Jason is being force-fed Viagra and gets gang-raped by a bunch of werepanthers hoping to deepen their rather shallow gene pool, a situation that the True Blood Facebook page called his comeuppance for a life of being a horndog. So, apparently, HBO says that if you're kind of a ho and you get kidnapped and repeatedly raped, then it's just karma.
Leaving our soapbox behind, the witch storyline is taking an interesting turn. Apparently in the True Blood universe vampires initiated many of the historical witch hunts to combat the threat of necromancy. This has led our season's big, bad Marnie to being possessed by the spirit of an angry witch who got herself perished in one of these purges. This is the source of her amazing powers against the vampires, which usually manifest themselves with a burning light in her eyes.
Danko Jones, "I'm Alive and On Fire"
Burning seems to be the theme of this episode, the fire of vengeance and the heat of life itself. Alan Ball has chosen a pretty appropriate track from Canadian rock band Danko Jones called "I'm Alive and On Fire," which is also the name of the episode.
Catchy and brief - real brief at less than a minute and a half - the song contains all the frantic energy of a Motorhead song mixed with a nice bit of modern pop rock. The band is definitely on its way up, having opened for the Rolling Stones, Our Lady Peace and the modern incarnation of Guns N' Roses.
While we're not going to be handing out an award to the band for being the most original-sounding thing on the radio, we have to give major kudos for capturing joie de vivre and meth-fueled violence in a jar and hooking it up to an amplifier. Their music is out of control, and "I'm Alive and On Fire" is the perfect example of their overall approach.
We get hit with the song right in the face after Marnie summons the spirit of the dead witch to make Eric's vampire progeny Pam back off with a sudden case of OMG HER FACE IS ROTTING OFF! As the song says, whoever this woman was, she is obviously back in some form, is just the tiniest bit pissed off at being roasted alive, and wants to work through her anger on the local vampire population.
One of the questions that True Blood seems to continuously tackle is, "What exactly constitutes living?" The vampires are dead, yet walking around. The faeries exist mostly hidden in another plane. The humans are constantly at war with desire and repulsion for creatures that are alternately lover and predator. Can you call it a life when your entire existence revolves around death?
We've got a pissed-off she-bitch wreaking havoc through a sort of half-life in the body of Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter. It makes for a good TV moment, but when you think about it, it's kind of depressing. Sure, being burned at the stake is a crap way to go, but hanging around waiting for a vessel for a few hundred years seems stupid. Move on and take a harp lesson, lady.
Only the humans in True Blood ever seem really happy. They're the only ones who seem content with their existence, and the ones with the least amount of illusions about their own mortality. The supernaturals preen about power and immortality, but we see them die all the time - and die badly, we might add.
Real life is as short as Danko Jones's little ditty up there. That's how we know it's real.
Be sure to visit the Loving True Blood in Dallas blog, where Jef With One F will be a semi-regular contributor to the podcast this season.