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True Blood, Ep. 6.05: “Fuck the Pain Away” finally gets it right

True Blood, Ep. 6.05: “Fuck the Pain Away” finally gets it right


True Blood, Season 6: Episode 5 – “Fuck the Pain Away”
Directed by Michael Ruscio
Written by Angela Robinson
Airs Sunday nights at 9 on HBO

If you didn’t hear, True Blood has been renewed for a seventh season, which will make it the first ever HBO drama series to reach that mark. Rather than putting all their eggs into the Game of Thrones + new original series baskets, HBO has given its vampire hit the benefit of the doubt based on ratings, which HBO claims is upwards of 10 million including repeat and online viewing. Up until Sunday night’s episode, it would have been very appropriate to roll your eyes at this news. The first few episodes of season six had been on par with what the show had become used to doing – which, for fans, is fine – but it had become a less fun show to watch given some of the other shows that have aired so far this year, including HBO’s Game of Thrones. Right on cue, though, “Fuck the Pain Away” arrives and reminds viewers why and how this show can be fun.

It’s a simple premise: fuck the pain away. And it’s one that really fits with the nature of True Blood. It gets right at two things that have been omnipresent since season one: sex and violence (physical and/or emotional). When we last left Jessica, she was at the peak of both of these feelings, having thought she unintentionally killed all of Andy’s fairy daughters which, in turn, creates the intense desire to have sex in her. Acts of sex and violence are probably the easiest ways for these characters and people in general to express feelings even if those acts are taboo based on custom or law. There may be some irony in one of the key scenes that addresses this because Sookie is practically naked, but her defying Warlow and saying she’s desperately tired of all these supernatural beings coming into her life trying to either kill her or have sex with her is surely a self-aware wink to the viewer who has grown accustomed to seeing just that on True Blood.

And even if Alcide and Sam’s shared plotline is still dragging, it’s worth noting that that’s really the only one that is. Everyone else (except Terry and Arlene) has now been drawn into the same story revolving around the vampire interment/experimentation camp. The visions Billith had about all the vampires dying is creeping into the show’s narrative present. Along the way, we get great scenes like Eric saying “Fuck you” to the governor and smiling while he outclasses the other vampires in his trials. We also get moments of genuineness as we can see what Pam’s not saying when she talks to her human therapist about Eric. She’s got one of the toughest exteriors of anyone in True Blood, but we get the idea that that’s because it’s to protect her feelings for Eric, which are anything but meaningless to her.

To top it off, “Fuck the Pain Away” delivers an absolute classic cliffhanger. This is the True Blood formula, through and through, which makes it great to see it get pulled off without any hitches. Not only are Eric and Pam about to star in a deathmatch against each other, but LaFayette is possessed by Sookie’s dad and is drowning her. That, fellow viewers, is what this show is about. Season six just got a whole lot more fun.