‘True Blood’ Star Reacts to Season Premiere Shocker

62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

True Blood is back, baby! But for the seventh and final summer. Sunday was the season premiere of the final season of HBO’s beloved hit series, True Blood. Showrunners are holding nothing back when it comes to characters biting the dust before the end of the seventh season. In the premiere’s pre-credits opening, viewers were shocked to learn that show regular Tara has been killed. Tara, Sookie’s best friend-turned vampire, has been a staple since the show’s very first episode.

Rutina Wesley has played Tara Thornton since the show premiered in the summer of 2008. Her character was killed off in heroic fashion, while saving her mom (Adina Porter) from another vampire. The killer vampire was infected with this season’s Big Bad, the Hep-V virus, which is turning sick vampires into killing machines. In True Blood‘s season six finale, we saw Tara jump in front of her mom to protect her, which was especially heroic considering their troubled past. Her mother’s alcoholism made her a terrible parent to Tara for 99 percent of her life but things were on the mend.

In last night’s premiere, we didn’t even get to see Wesley on screen at all, except in the form of a pile of bloody vampire goo. She was dead basically as soon as the episode began. Fans learned of Tara’s demise at the beginning and were left to freak out as the opening credits rolled.

Wesley talked to Vulture magazine about her character’s death.

“It’s kind of fun. It wouldn’t be True Blood if someone didn’t die in the final season,” she said of her character’s demise. “I’ve loved my journey on this show, so I have no regrets. It’s like, ‘Okay, cool! Let’s do it!’ And I got this amazing kick-ass fight. I love that she went out winning, and then you cut to the scene where you just see [Tara's mother] Lettie Mae, and you realize I lost the fight.”

The table reading of the season premiere’s script led to understandably emotional reactions from the cast.

“I got some applause, too. I remember it was really sad,” said the 35-year old actress who, prior to True Blood, was most recognizable from starring in the 2007 dance flick, How She Move.. “I remember crying, especially when Lettie Mae was like, ‘They killed her, my baby girl.’ I loved working with Adina. She always brought out the best in me, and just hearing how she connected to the scene, I was crying. Everybody was crying. Kristin [Bauer] was crying.”

“You can never have happy endings on True Blood,” she continued. “I always call Tara the flower that grew through the concrete, because she was incredibly insecure and vulnerable, but also fierce and strong and defensive, all of that mixed together. She was an incredibly complex individual. But if you remember her, I would hope you look back at her strengths, her laugh, her smile. I love that she always spoke her mind.

Of course, Thornton couldn’t give away much as far as what this season holds in store for fans. “I think Tara’s death is going to be the catalyst for the rest of the season. I can’t say more than that!” she added.

So what else happened in the season premiere? Basically the whole town blames Sookie for the vamps being around in the first place. She feels ostracized from her community even though she just wants to help. Luckily she has boyfriend Alcide by her side, but even he feels she is somewhat to blame (a fact she hears him think, hurting her deeply). Jason is still with his vampire “girlfriend” Violet. He is pissed about how she publicly undermines his position in society as a deputy but they have a little hate-sex and he feels better (finally!). Bill seems to be back to his “normal” pre-Lillith self, except now he is a bestselling author after writing a book about what it is like being a god. Jessica apologized to Andy Bellefleur for killing most of his fairy daughters in a fairy blood-fueled frenzy. She decides that she will make it her mission to protect Adilyn. Adilyn dares to invite Jessica inside her home to safety after she is outside facing down another vampire all the way to dawn. Arlene, Holly and Nicole, who is very pregnant with what is presumed to be Sam’s baby, are kidnapped by the gang of sick vampires, along with other town residents. We see them held as prisoners and that, one by one, those prisoners are being eaten to death by the vamps.

The seventh and final season of True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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