True Blood "F*** the Pain Away" Review: Feels Like Living a Teenage Dream

By Lily Sparks

Jul 15, 2013

True Blood S06E05: "F*** the Pain Away"


What an episode. Never has True Blood veered so closely to The Vampire Diaries territory! The fairy-cavemen costumes, the subtitled pre-history language, the righteously romantic ancient hunk. Even the vampire camp had a weird Hunger Games feel. "F*** the Pain Away" felt like it pulled from every zeitgeist teen fantasy story, except for that whole infanticide thing, and that is meant entirely as a compliment. 


After threatening Ben's/Warlow's life, Sookie learned there was a whole new beau in her rogue’s gallery of undead admirers. Warlos has dreamed of her for millennia, longed for her before she was born, she is his betrothed, his promised, his fae Kate Middleton. And we learned through Lafayette’s intercession that he’s not lying, we saw him in flashback arguing with Sookie’s parents that he was a prince and because of some scroll that looked vaguely RenFaire-ish she was contractually his fairy princess bride. 

Instead of laughing the guy out of the house, Sookie’s dad decided the best way to protect Sookie from this so-called prince's rather premature courtship was to kill his daughter that very night, drugging her and loading her into the car to presumably throw her off a bridge. This was possibly the best twist writers could have thrown into the foundation of the series. What a dark, weird, Southern gothic reveal that both frames Warlow as this impossibly romantic, vampiric Mr. Darcy and simultaneously makes Sookie’s backstory so.much.creepier. 


Unfortunately, as he’s done approximately 48 times before, Lafayette ended up possessed by a murderous ghost (that of Sookie's A-hole dad) who decided to finish the job he first attempted to carry out so many years ago and steep Sookie in the river like a bony teabag. In her panic, Sookie apparently forgot she has tasers for hands and just kind of squirmed around in his arms. Guys, you think they’ll kill her off next week? Hahaha J/K. Yawn. No one f-ck with Lafayette while he has that giant blonde target in his arms, please, or I will be furious. I blame Sookie for not seeing this coming. How many people does he have to accidentally kill while possessed with vengeful spirits before people stop asking him to do free psychic work? I mean, really. Although I did love that before a ghost hopped in his mouth he called Sookie out for not working at her workplace. I guess not eating cuts down on bills.

But let’s backtrack: Before Sookie could get to the bottom of her troubled past/endanger Lafayette’s life by mere proximity, she and Warlow got a good long look at each other in their draws before Bill ran inside the house and activated his Billith powers to their fullest potential by compelling Warlow to leave with him. While I was at first irked by Bill’s cockblockery, the series of flashbacks he was about to treat both Warlow and us to were among some of the funniest moments of television I’ve ever witnessed.

Fairy cavemen! Before fairies built their cultural aesthetic from a mishmash of JC Penney formalwear, Cirque de Soleil, and go-go dancing, they were fairy cavemen, who built straw huts and wore wigs and worked out. This whole sequence! I want it always. I want the frames printed on my sheets so I can see them when I wake up at night in between my dreams.

Then Lillith changed everything by humping Warlow’s leg and changing him. This scene was probably meant to be raw and sexy but all I could think of was how uncomfortable that day of filming must've been. Such context-free, gratuitous, crotch-on-leg humping. This is why some of the best actors in Hollywood are completely dissociative. How else could you get through something like this without giggling?


So Billith was Warlow’s maker by some sort of technicality and Bill was excited about the vampire-cum-fairy-blood he needed to save the vampire race, which is good because Jessica had just decimated the Bon Temps fairy supply. 


I give Andy a lot of guff but the scenes in which he discovered his daughters, stood up to Vampire Bill, and took his lone surviving girl home were incredibly well-acted and touching. The whole premise of Andy having one surviving fairy daughter is both poignant and sad. He saved her with some vampire blood and now she’s been transformed from a sort of jokey, weird tangent to a survivor who just had the only people she’d ever relate to torn away from her during their collective first attempt to deal with the world... and brutally murdered before her eyes. Jessica felt really bad about it.


Jessica was also really high on fairy blood. And she kissed Bill, which was meta-awkward on many levels  and then went over to Jason’s house all weepy and fiending for dick. Her line to Jason of "Stay back Jason I might rape you or somethin’!" was code for "Why are your pants still on?"


But Jessica’s desperate grab for genital intermingling was to be thwarted by the offest part of the episode, Sarah Newlin. Showing all the sensitivity of a rusted anvil, Sarah had started her evening by shooting Willa in front of Governor Burrell and then offering him a replacement baby. Then she threw a fit at him for not having intercourse with her despite her satiny underwear. And THEN she somehow tracked Jason down and waited for him to turn up so she could give him a speech that took all the subtlety out of the satire of her character. 


Personally I think smarmy right-wing nuts are hilarious enough on their own and don’t need spicing up, so this felt like a ridiculously heavy-handed portrayal: Like, True Blood didn’t just gild the lily on this one, they dunked that flower in gold, rolled it in fake pearls and wrapped that shit in a string of Christmas lights. Sarah Newlin's character, I’m saying, felt kind of overdone. Her line about the Lord telling her to fuck Jason felt less like an eloquent crystallization of how fundamentalists use religion to justify their own desires, and more like a broad parody of True Blood. But she got what she came for (diiiiiick), then walked in on Jessica and Jason, got sort of diddled by Jessica, and then rescinded Jessica’s invitation? What? Don’t you have to own a house to rescind an invitation? I was confused, but I’m not a traffic cop for story logic, not with True Blood anyway, I got things to do, so let’s keep moving. 

Alcide made it rain on his dad and Nicole did a face right after getting out of bed with Sam that SAID IT ALL. 

The explicit subtext here is that Sam Merlotte has all the sexual prowess of a wet Birkenstock sandal—which, quelle suprise. The werewolf and shifter plot is chasing its own tail in a circle of pure irrelevancy. Nicole’s face, seriously, is all I can say about Alcide and his pack, Sam and his titties.

Terry, in a surprise move at getting a plotline going, has engaged an army friend/assassin to kill him a couple days from now, without warning. He basically said, "I’m going to be in that sort of high-concept '80s-movie plot where you’ve hired someone to kill you then decide you want to live and run around figuring out the meaning of your life and then realize you can’t die and it's a huge mistake and then you’re trying to escape your own self-arranged assassination. So that’ll be neat." I hope no one kills Terry but this just feels like a waste of everyone’s time. Also, your bro just lost three of his daughters. Kind of rude to put him through more tragedy. 


Eric and Tara surrendered themselves to the vampire camp to save Pam. We talked last week about how quickly True Blood's main characters were getting centralized at the camp,  and now they’ve got practically every vampire on the show in there. Initially I was really worried the vampire camp would be a big, soul-sucking, story-stalling plot warmer. But while there’s a visual resemblance in the very underground/fluorescent-light-heavy setting, (no doubt a big relief for True Blood’s filming schedule but hell on their makeup department) the concept for the camp is way, way, way more exciting than that of the Vampire Authority. 

In this devious little laboratory, humans play vampires against each other, make them run in giant gerbil wheels and basically just dick around with them. Eric was pitted against some other vampires in a mini Hunger Games challenge that he'd handily won before I could even figure out how it worked. When Jessica showed up later, she and Tara were suddenly in a delightful exploitation film about sexy inmate vixens right out of the '60s, with a bad girl runnin’ the joint and everything. It was neat. 


But maybe my favorite part of vampire camp (which is arguably the most intriguing part of the show now) was that Pam was forced to do some introspection, and treated us to a trip inside her head that didn’t disappoint. When she said valued the life of the tuna her psychiatrist ate more than his own, I believed her. It was some great and nuanced work by Kristin Bauer van Straten, hilarious at first and then deeply grounded and real, especially when she spoke of Eric with this amazing mix of guarded casualness and real hurt.  Her expression when they later met face to face, stakes in hand, in the best cliffhanger so far this season—maybe this series—was absolutely perfect.  

Eric had, on his own, been subjected to fighting for survival against other vampires, and this man-on-man, gladiator-style match between Pam and Eric was an intense final scene. Will they rush the mirror and stake humans? Will one of them stake themselves? Will they tussle? Will they throw down their stakes? I honestly have no idea and I care, I actually really and completely care about how it goes down. My fanbrain is engaged by this on every level and it practically glows with electricity every time I think about next week's episode, even though it's such a preposterously sci-fi, adolescently melodramatic set-up . Going back to our teen fantasies theme, this cliffhanger almost exactly mirrors the standoff between Peeta and Katniss in the first Hunger Games, and dammit—that dynamic just works. It's some penultimate conflict between love and self, otherness and safety. Someone smarter than me should write a thesis about why our teens' (and our) fantasies these days traffic so much in the concepts of being deeply desired by the undead or being forced to kill people you’re sexually attracted to. Creepy! Smash cut to relevant song:  "Creep On Creepin' On"


QUESTIONS:

... Is Terry basically dead?!

... Vampire camp: love it or hate it so far?

... How is Sookie going to get out of this one?

... Is Warlow True Blood's Mr. Darcy?

... What are Eric and Pam going to do?

... What'd you think of "F*** the Pain Away"?

  • Comments (254)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • ElainePinto Jul 22, 2013

    I only have one thing to say about this episode: MORE PAM, finally. Thanks.

  • tv_gonzo Jul 21, 2013

    The werewolf and shifter plot is chasing its own tail in a circle of pure irrelevancy. I need this printed on a t-shirt or framed in some way. Great. Just great.
    As always i enjoyed the episode even though i couldn't follow Sookie's parents logic one bit. But this seems to be a Stackhouse tradition and nice to see where Sookie and Jason got their penchant for making decisions I can't understand.
    The only thing missing in your Bulworth description was Halle Berry.

  • chrelle66 Jul 20, 2013

    Kind of a pseudo-cliffhanger ending there.
    How is Niall still alive?
    Who is Mr. Darcy?
    Eric and Pam, now there is a real cliffhanger.
    All in all a pretty bizarre ep. Kind of par for the season.

  • ben45tpy Jul 18, 2013

    This was the best episode of True Blood I have seen in a long time. Not perfect but most of it was enthralling.

  • SEOOutsourcing Jul 18, 2013

    I was thrilled about True Blood. I always watch it.

  • Samantha_101 Jul 17, 2013

    I was thrilled when Sookie used Lafayette's skills to connect to her parents. *wooooohooooo* He is such an interesting character, but we've seen this homicidal-possession-thing before. Maybe fashion some kind of talisman to prevent possessions next time? I think I may be watching too many supernatural tv shows!

    I was shocked by how quickly all the vampires are being corralled, but was very impressed/shocked/repulsed/moved/amused/outraged by the vampire "experiments" being conducted. Pam was just amazing in this episode. At last!

    Like everyone else, I fail to see the relevance of the werewolves/ and shifters to the plot. I do hope they tie it together soon, because their scenes are annoying me. (And we still don't know why Alcide is such a jerk, when he was such a good guy before! just another case of power corrupting? Please explain it to us!)

    And Terry gets Deucalion to agree to kill him? *hehehehe* Crazy, huh?
    :)


  • Vabz Jul 17, 2013

    Great episode... I thought last episode's cliffhanger was great but this one topped by a mile! They should have actually ended it with the revealation of Pam with the stake and now i cannot wait to see what happens between these vampires that we love. I hope they jump the mirror or something... and please dont die :(.

    Hope this season went for the usual 12 episodes :( Unfortuantely not.

  • laurensuth Jul 17, 2013

    I don't know what it was with this episode but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoyed the first few episodes of this season. I was expecting to love it and I just really didn't. Maybe it was Jessica kissing Bill that started me not enjoying it. I don't hate vampire camp which is a surprise, definitely not like the Authority which is such a relief. The whole Warlow thing felt weird only because Sookie and Eric (and even Bill) never seem to really be finished off (despite the first episode that seemed to try to put closure on those relationships) and the Warlow supposedly loving Sookie was just ridiculous. I don't hate him I just feel that whole sequence was very forced. Can't wait for next episode though, Pam and Eric is going to be amazing. Especially excited as I feel Eric hasn't been given enough screen time or good scenes or something. Eric would've made a better Lilith although I would have hated if he was!

  • ermahgerd94 Jul 18, 2013

    Sometimes I just don't understand why people bother commenting. This episode was amazing! The Jessica-Bill kiss is a social commentary on incest (obviously) - the idea was to evoke that uneasiness in the audience because Bill has been seen as Jessica's dad in many respects. Sookie and Eric did finish (when she rescinded his invitation into her house...duh...how can you get more finished than that???) Warlow loving Sookie is so perfect and is the only way the writers should have taken this plotline. If he had wanted to kill Sookie from the start then he coulda/woulda/shoulda done it at any of the points in time when he was with her, alone, in her house and while she was attracted to him (and it's not like there weren't plenty of those times). Have you been reading my comments on another website?? Because I'm pretty sure you've literally copied and pasted part of one of them. "Eric would've made a better Lilith although I would have hated if he was!" is not your own work Laurensuth. Get some originality puh-lease

  • mtones Jul 18, 2013

    Dude, just because someone did not come away from an episode liking it as much as you or even not liking it at all does not mean they should not "bother commenting." As is I personally found quite a few things in this episode to be way too cheesy and out of place, and clearly even the reviewer is pointing out some of the same things. Doesn't mean we hate the show or shouldn't comment on it. Get a grip.

  • ermahgerd94 Jul 19, 2013

    Mate. I have got a grip and I'm sure that this laurensuth can fight their own battles. But thanks for your input

  • Elleee Jul 17, 2013

    Hey, is that 'The Demon Wolf' from Teen Wolf?

  • Vicky8675309 Jul 25, 2013

    yes!

  • Vabz Jul 17, 2013

    Yeah it looked like him ayy... just couldn't fully recognise him since he wasn't wearing the typical blind glasses

  • tariwicks Jul 16, 2013

    BAHAHA. Your reviews just make me happy, was trying not to laugh out loud at work. Brilliant. Great episode, loving this season - it's giving me the same thrills I got in S1 and S2.

  • See More Comments (71)