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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

True Blood: “Fuck The Pain Away”

Illustration for article titled True Blood: “Fuck The Pain Away”
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Finally! This is what I’ve been waiting for all season: An episode that takes all of this improved story work and world building and makes it fun. Once you see an episode like “Fuck The Pain Away,” which almost seamlessly blends True Blood staple elements like sex, humor, and over-the-top supernatural shenanigans into season six’s improved framework, it’s easy to see exactly what’s been missing so far this season: A good time.

The sense of fun kicks off right away, as the opening features some awkward-yet-amusing cross-cutting of Sookie threatening to annihilate Warlow with her light bomb with Jessica freaking out to Bill post-fairy murder. Perhaps the best part is Warlow declaring he doesn’t want to hurt Sookie—no, she is his “intended” and he has been looking for her for centuries. He wasn’t maliciously killing her parents; he was saving her from them! So they could be together once she was of age! The look of disgust on Sookie’s face—coupled with her angry screed about how she doesn’t exist just to be some plaything for supernatural beings, which, okay, Sookie—is absolutely delightful, as is Billith’s realization that Warlow is in town due to Sookie burning him with her light bomb, causing him to show up at Sookie’s house and summon Warlow away like a lost puppy.

From here, things just get better: Lilith is Warlow’s maker, and the show wants us to know exactly how, so it flashes back to 3500 B.C. 3500 B.C. is apparently a time without shirts but with merkins, where fairy Warlow meets a naked Lilith and does exactly what any normal fairy would do: Fucks her brains out, then acquiesces as she turns him into a vampire. These flashbacks were likely supposed to be poignant reminders of everything Warlow lost when he was turned into a vampire, but really they’re just a silly lark into nonsense, like all good True Blood flashbacks should be. When the episode returns to the present to deal with Billith and his desire to take Warlow’s blood and use it to create the new, improved TruBlood, it is revealed that Warlow wants nothing to do with Lilith and her prophecy, and he’s pretty keen on letting all of the vampires die. Time to do some brainstorming, Billith.

Meanwhile, everything else in the episode is pushing all of the vampires of Louisiana towards the LAVTF prison camp, which turns out to be a very good thing. Once Pam is captured, Eric and Tara give themselves up voluntarily on a mission to rescue her. What we see inside the camp is combination of Nazi-esque experiments and vampire hunger games, as the task force studies the vampires in an effort to see how they can be defeated. Eric and Pam take to their surroundings immediately, Eric dominating in physical prowess and Pam in a more surprising place, a therapist’s couch. Basically, these sequences are fantastic because they are the first time in a long time the characters get a chance to feel like themselves: snarky, clever, and most of all, connected to each other. When the Governor (assisted by Sarah and Steve Newlin, of course) pits Pam and Eric against each other in what looks to be a game to the death the result finally feels like an Eric and Pam scene to look forward to.

But Pam, Tara, and Eric aren’t the only familiar vampires under lock and key: Jessica ends up there as well after being turned in by none other than Sarah Newlin. Sarah’s return to the show has been such a pleasant addition, as Anna Camp’s particular buttoned-up-yet-twisted energy is such an asset to everyone she shares scenes with. Her return to Jason in a misguided attempt to “save” him (by having vigorous, hilarious sex with him, naturally) finally gives Ryan Kwanten something semi-logical to do and capitalizes on all his strengths as a comedic actor. The best thing about this story is how it uses the insane amount of backstory the series has built up to its advantage, bringing Sarah Newlin and a freaked out, repentant Jessica into the same orbit. The sole purpose of this was to get Jessica arrested, but it’s plot coming from character rather than existing just to be plot, which is one reason this season’s plotting is so much stronger. And Jason infiltrating the LAVTF in order to save Jessica is the most logical thing the character has done all season.

There were still things that didn’t quite work in this episode; this is True Blood, after all. Alcide’s sudden clash with his father—a clash we’ve seen before, but has never been interesting—and search for Sam is still kicking around the background, as is Terry and his remorse over Patrick’s death. Terry’s remorse is basically useless, but it’s morphed into a story where he’s hiring his old military buddies to kill him, which might have promise. (And if it doesn’t have promise, at least if Terry is dead he’ll shut up about Patrick.) Sam is still in the background with Emma and an increasingly weary Nicole, who is likely wondering why she ever thought negotiating shifter rights was a good idea in the first place.


But these more boring elements are acceptable in episodes like this, where everything surrounding the less interesting bits is filled with momentum and sarcastic quips. It doesn’t hurt that the episode ends with the first good use of Lafayette and his magic in quite a while, as he does a séance to summon Sookie’s parents and ends up being possessed by the spirit of her father who attempts to finish what he started all those years ago. As the episode ends, on Sookie’s scream as a possessed Lafayette thrusts her head underwater, it’s so clear: This is what we watch True Blood to see.

Let’s keep this up, show.

Stray observations:

  • One of Andy’s fairy daughters is alive! I wonder if it’s One, Two, Three, or Four?
  • Robert Patrick finally got a few lines, after episode upon episode of being stuck in the background. I hope he’s getting a good paycheck for what has amounted to glorified extra work.
  • Sarah: “When a woman comes to you in black lingerie, you unwrap her!”