Any fair-weather viewer of True Blood knows that death is par for the course on the HBO supernatural drama. Over the past six seasons, we’ve bid both tearful and joyful farewells to characters like Adele Stackhouse, Maryann Forester, Roman Zimojic, Russell Edgington, Jesus Velasquez, Truman Burrell and countless more. But saying goodbye to stalwart Bon Temps presence Terry Bellefleur was a tough one for Truebies, even though we’ve had plenty of warnings that a principal character wouldn’t survive this season.
Terry’s inability to reconcile his guilt over murdering his Marines superior Sgt. Patrick Devins (Scott Foley) last season (which allowed him to vanquish the Ifrit smoke monster that had been terrorizing him and his family) resulted in his setting up his own suicide courtesy of a fellow Marine from basic training. But Terry hadn’t counted on his loving wife and Merlotte’s coworker, Arlene, having a vampire glamour him into forgetting his sordid history with the Marines before he could call off the hit he had placed on himself. So on the last day of his life, Terry was at peace, happy with his family and with his job, and that’s what made his death so tragic. Unlike most killings on True Blood, which come and go with a blood splatter and without repercussions, Terry’s demise was a real sobfest as Arlene cradled his body and sang her husband a lullaby as he drew his final breaths.
The morning after “Don’t You Feel Me” aired, Rolling Stone took a call from Todd Lowe in Los Angeles, who didn’t hold back his sadness over saying goodbye to Terry Bellefleur.
Hi Todd – good to talk to you again. Sorry it has to be under such sad circumstances.
You know, I’m kind of coming out of that funk myself. But it’s a new day.
When did you find out this was the way your character’s storyline was headed?
I found out at the beginning [of the season], when we just started shooting. I guess it was in late January. I got a call from my rep because I was driving, and I hadn’t read or auditioned for anything recently, so I was like, “I wonder what this call is.” Then Brian Buckner, the new showrunner, took me out for a drink and told me how [Terry’s] going to go out. It made good sense. It was the right time. I was happy to die for the good of the many and for the good of the show. And I think it was impactful. I watched the episode last night, and I got emotional again. I was emotional when I first heard about it, I was emotional at the table read, I was emotional when we shot it. And now, I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my back. I can focus now on another project.
I thought the final scene between you and Carrie Preston (“Arlene“) was perfect. I really like how Terry died in peace. It was a real honor to the character because he’s been there since the beginning.
You know, what I was the most flattered about is that they kept announcing at the beginning of the season that a major character was going to die. Like, “Oh, wow, they’re considering me a major character.” That’s flattering, if not a bit misleading. But it felt good to be included as that. I never really saw myself as that, but I guess Terry had gotten bigger through the years, and kind of played his storyline out, and it was the right time to go.
Were you bummed that you didn’t get to go out in a blaze of blood and guts and gore like most True Blood characters?
No. I’m a little bummed that I have to leave the party early. But I’m still friends with everyone in the cast and a lot of people on the crew. You work on a show for six years, and – anytime you’re an actor – when a play closes its run, there’s postpartum depression there. So I’m bummed mainly that I don’t get to work with all these great people anymore on this project.
But at the same time, you are now part of an elite group of actors whose characters have been killed on the show. Is there a support group out there? You, Denis O’Hare, Scott Foley, Arliss Howard, Christopher Meloni – all of you need to get together and go for drinks.
[Laughs] Yeah, I’ll find them on Twitter, and I’ll be the one to suggest that.
Was there a send-off party, not just for you, but for Arliss Howard [Gov. Burrell] as well?
Well, Arliss was kind of a quick member. I mean, he came in and out. I didn’t even realize, because I was just so focused on myself, that he died in this episode. When we had the table read and we read that scene [where Terry is killed], there was five steady minutes of applause, I guess as an ovation to my character. And meanwhile, Gov. Burrell goes out, and he didn’t get that applause. But he hadn’t had time to really establish himself in the world of the show. But there was a little bit of a ceremony on my last day of shooting. They surprised me with a red-velvet armadillo cake because my character has a pet armadillo. I don’t know who the baker was that made it, but it was incredibly realistic-looking. Unappetizing to the eye, but delicious.
I chatted with Brian Buckner before the start of the season, and he spoke at length about how important it was to him that the lives of the Bon Temps residents be honored regardless of the show’s tendency for bloodshed. So is it safe to assume that Terry’s memory is going to live on in the upcoming episodes?
Yes, it’s going to. They’re going to have to deal with the funeral, and that’s a good plot device to bring people back to Bon Temps. And then if everybody is congregated in Bon Temps, hmm. . . what could happen?
More human-vampire war, perhaps? And what’s it going to be like for Arlene now? Because one of the lines that stuck out for me Sunday night was when she said, “My life just don’t work without that man.“
I can’t go into too much detail about what’s gonna happen. I do know that that safety-deposit box is gonna play a factor. That’s pretty much what you can gather from watching it.
Any chance that we haven’t seen the last of Terry? I mean, Lafayette’s a medium, and the ghost of Jesus has come back, the ghost of Adele Stackhouse has come back, so. . .
Yeah, that’s up out there for the writers to decide. I can’t speak too much on it. But sure, I’d love to come back. My fear, though, is Lafayette would channel me and he would get to play Terry and I don’t even make an appearance.
Well, usually when that happens, they have the spirit flashing before him, so I’d like to think that we’ll at least get to see you again. So you talked about wanting to focus on new projects – do you have anything coming up?
Unfortunately, this really it took its toll on me emotionally, for the last seven months having to plan my suicide. Now I’ve put on a little weight and I got out of shape and it’s like, “Ugh, I gotta get myself back into shape and find another job.” But fortunately I’ve been on the show a while, saved a little bit of money. I don’t have to run into some project that I’m not that excited about, so I can afford to be picky for a little bit and wait for the right thing to come down the pike.
And when we talked last summer, we chatted at length about your band L.A. Hootenanny. Is that still a thing?
That’s still going on. We’re on a little hiatus for this month of July and we’re coming back in August so we finally finished the last three tracks on our little record and we’ll put that out.