After Sunday night’s final sip of red, True Blood has closed the coffin on its seven-year run as HBO’s most devious guilty pleasure. Its most seductive enticement, beyond the copious amounts of flesh, is when that flesh ran red like drops of crimson down a quivering throat. Like Alan Ball’s previous HBO darling, Six Feet Under, True Blood has long been about the crossroads of death and love. And we never loved the show more than when the Grim Reaper dealt out its gift with a pair of fangs.
Thus we have compiled the 13 best, bloodiest, and most sinfully pleasing death scenes that True Blood fans have had the joy of sinking their teeth into. Bon appétit.
13. Nan Falls for Puppy Love
Nan Flanagan was like a walking personification of self-aware snark. Whenever Ball or the other writers feared they were veering too close toward the earnest and schmaltzy, this AVL (American Vampire League) spokeswoman was there to deliver the smarm and condescension like any politician in a safely gerrymandered district. And given vampires’ penchant for immortality, her position seemed very safe in the deep red.
Unfortunately for Nan, she made the ultimate political snafu in True Blood mythos when she said an unkind word about Sookie Stackhouse while in the presence of both Bill Compton and Eric Northman. Ironically, despite much of the True Blood fanbase having nothing but disdain for the bubbly blonde Merlotte’s waitress, that’s the quickest ticket to the True Death Express this side of relieving yourself on Godric’s grave.
When Nan, with guards at hand, first threatens Sookie’s life, the two would-be Undead beaus try to play it cool. Nan hisses, “I saw the way you both looked at her: hungry puppy dogs slobbering over the same juicy bone.”
Whoops. Faster than you can say bloodbath, Eric has dispatched all of her men from their heads and Bill was yanking out his wooden stake from Nan’s heart. “We are not fucking puppy dogs!”
Ah, they’re just so adorable.
12. Eric Gives It to Talbot from Behind
Eric Northman is a complicated vampire, Viking, and sometime-sex god. But he’s got feelings too.
Despite his outspoken dismissal of humanity, he constantly gives everything for a handful of humans. One is obviously Sookie Stackhouse, but the others are mostly his long-dead Viking family members that were wiped out by a vampire and a pack of werewolves many centuries ago.
The vampire responsible is the dementedly awesome Russell Edgington, who will be appearing many more times on this list. Unfortunately for Eric, Russell is older than the Bible and almost as powerful in certain vampire circles. To attack him is to court death (or a very anti-climactic payoff in season five!), but to get behind Russell’s own family could be a much easier revenge. And that is exactly how Eric mounts this problem when he seduces Russell’s 700-year-old little Greek boy consort, Talbot. Vampires are notoriously open to a number of positions, but few include a silver stake to the bareback. Eric has his first stab at breaking Russell’s heart by penetrating Talbot’s, and the dead vamp spends the rest of season three in a hilariously creepy mason jar of gore.
11. Eric Eats The Fairy Godmother
Sookie’s life is like a fairy tale. After an idyllic childhood where she was raised by her loving grandmother, a charming prince, or two, or three(!), came to sweep her off her feet. She even has Claudine Crane, a real-life faerie godmother, to watch over her. At least, until one of the said princes got hungry…
In one of the most shocking deaths during True Blood’s season four, which more or less announced that the HBO series was done following the Charlaine Harris source material, Claudine came to warn Sookie that there was a dangerous vampire about when an amnesia-stricken Eric made good on the bad tidings by killing the messenger. This proved once again that Eric, or at least Alexander Skarsgard, is immune to book purist hatred since he won over both fans and Sookie with a corpse-eating grin of “my bad?”
10. Governor Burrell Ceases To Be Head of State
There is little denying that first Lilith, and later Billith, was an albatross around True Blood’s neck. However, she wasn’t completely bad. Consider that she gave Bill the opportunity to kill off Governor Burrell in the beautiful light of day. The Louisiana governor, who had dreams of being a premium cable executive of the Rick Perry School, turned his community into a police state for rounding up vampires. But even the police or any other authority couldn’t save him when Billith came calling.
All smiles in the light of day as he made the bodyguards commit suicide, Bill found a governor only too willing to die for the cause. “Cut my head off and another will grow in its place.” Don’t worry; Bill will be there to “rip that fucking head off too!” He then leaves the governor’s skull like a marble paperweight for all vampire-haters to enjoy.
9. Willa Gets Turned On…To Vampirism
Whether vampire-making really counts as death on this show is debatable, but the end result is clearly a pale, soulless, sack of meat. Yet, as Eric tells Willa about the ugliness of all that, “Not the way I do it.” Well other than that one redneck I orally dismembered in season two…
Sure enough, Eric wasn’t whistling “Dixie” or any Nordic tunes either when he went the full Christopher Lee on this willing, virginal, white-gowned good girl who gave in without a second’s hesitation. Obviously fan-bait, which was underscored by the relative uselessness of Willa in season seven, this scene still hits all the right notes for a steamy turn to darkness when the bodily fluids were swapped in a shallow grave. Many fangirls would probably have what she’s having.
8. Jessica Hamby’s Far More Painful Childbirth
But on the flipside, getting turned into a walking corpse has got to suck for more than just blood. And never did it look more painful than when Bill was forced by the Vampire Magistrate to turn an innocent teenager into his daughter during a grotesque and truly horrifying scene. Cheered on and mocked by a sea of undead jackasses, Bill is forced against his will to merely smile at a 16-year-old kid who says, “I’m going to be with Jesus” before brutally ripping her throat out. He wasn’t even allowed to glamour her.
It is such a mean-spirited injustice to both the Maker and burgeoning Progeny that even Pam seemed mildly annoyed. It’s the rare instance where True Blood treated vampires like the demon-spawn of the night that they’re supposed to be. Jessica might be everybody’s favorite Baby Vamp, but her birth was a real nasty affair.
7. Lorena’s Heart Explodes with Love
Lorena was already twisted well beyond belief before William knocked her head backwards in a vampire’s attempt at foreplay. So when she had to meet the True Death, it was going to be more than a little batty.
But in a rare instance of Sookie Stackhouse being proactive on her own show, she was the one to turn Lorena’s head to the big bright light in the sky. Coming upon Lorena’s attempt to drain Bill to the last drop of blood, she gets the opportunity to slay the competition when Bill knocks Lorena over. “What are you?” Lorena remarks at the smell of Sookie’s faerie blood.
“I’m the bitch that’s going to kill you.” But when Lorena in a last ditch breath cries out her love for Bill, Sookie is compelled to add, “You wouldn’t know love if it kicked you in the teeth!” Maybe not, but she sure knew it was to be punched in the heart by the pointy end of Miss Stackhouse’s jealousy!
6. Russell Edgington Delivers His Treatise On Peace
The fifth season of True Blood may have been its nadir, but Russell Edgington was at least around to deliver some darkness to all the dippy faerie light. And it began when Christopher Meloni’s Roman Zimojic attempted to execute the true millennial vampire. These two apparently have had bad blood between them (likely coming from someone else’s body) going back to the Renaissance. So when Roman gets his chance to condemn Russell to death, he takes a special kind of glee in it, as does Russell.
“I am the only honest one here! I want to gorge on human blood not because some fucking bible tells me to, but because I like it. It’s fun. It makes my dick hard!”
No doubt then that Russell was at full salute when he got his hands on the Authority’s leader. Moments earlier, Roman insisted that killing Russell was about ushering in peace. As Russell drove his silver stake through Roman’s heart, he spat with the lyricism of a warrior poet, “Peace is for pussies!”
5. Amy Goes Over the Rainbow
In one of the few non-vampire facilitated deaths on this list, Lizzy Caplan discovered a way to master sex long before she met Michael Sheen on the Showtime series. Playing the narcissistic wild child with a gift for manipulating poor, slow-thinking simpletons (sorry, Jason), she blows into Bon Temps like a tornado looking for a V-fix of vampire blood.
But after every storm, there’s a rainbow on the other side, and ironically a fellow vampire killer helps Amy cross it. While on a mutually shared V-trip with boy-toy Jason Stackhouse in faerie land, both are way too high to hear the vamp-hating serial killer (later revealed to be Rene) sneak into their bedroom and snuff out Amy’s light. When Jason throws a blissful Amy into the rain-sodden rainbow, little did he know that her life was floating away with her. The most surreal send-off the show has had, few TV deaths have ever gotten this high.
4. Steve Newlin Reaches Out to the One He Loves
Steve Newlin had it coming. This manipulative little snake attempted to execute Godric in season two of True Blood and then fingered Godric’s progeny, Nora, for death in season six. He was only one sweater vest and suicide away from being a full-blown parody of the self-hating gay Christian conservative. And it looks like Eric Nortman was all out of sweater vests.
In the most hilarious forced death, Eric sees that Steve Newlin is being denied a chance to drink from Billith’s sun-walking gift blood by the rest of the pack. Steve pleads, and he begs, but he is only getting started after Eric’s hands find him. This is the man who was too close during the death of the two most important vampires in his life, and now Eric will be there to watch Steve’s own demise. “I [won’t be weak] in the future” Steve suggests. “You don’t have a future.”
As Sarah Newlin opens up the sun door to let the rays of death rain down on the vampires, the only one who is there to burn is her ex-husband. “I love you JASON STACKHOUSE!” are Steve’s last words. One has to wonder who was more horrified by that moment: Sarah or Jason?
3. Rene Gets Dug In Deep
As the mystery big bad for True Blood’s first and best season, Rene had the advantage of anonymity to gain fan support before his last minute reveal as a looney tune serial killer. Spiteful of vampires ever since he discovered his sister was a fang-banger (leading to her becoming his first victim), this misogynist needed a crash course in sensitivity. Luckily, Sookie (back when she actually got to do things on this show) provided that hit over the head with all the weight of a shovel.
When Rene has Sookie cornered in the Bon Temps graveyard, a toasty Bill offers a momentary distraction before Sookie shovels her way out of this problem and on top of Rene’s head. She then cracks his neck again…just to be sure the point sinks in. Sookie actually getting to kill the big bad is easily a series high note.
2. Russell Rips into the Mainstream Media
Never let it go unsaid that Russell Edgington doesn’t know how to make an entrance. Despite killing a nameless news anchor in this brief season three closer, Russell still manages to offer one of the greatest TV death scenes of all time when he rips out the hapless hairpiece’s spine with his bare hand, holding it for most of his following speech like Groucho Marx brandishing a cigar.
Ultimately, he disposes of the body part while licking his singularly red-caked palm, becoming more sadistically monstrous with each passing jab at humanity’s expense. “You are not our equals. We will eat you. After we eat your children.”
It should have been enough to send chills down the real spines of every viewer, which is why his actual sign-off is so stunningly jarring that it goes down in history as one of the best TV episode mic-drops ever: “Now for the weather, Tiffany?”
But don’t take my word for it. You can watch it in all its glory right here.
1. Godric Meets His Maker
If there is any doubt about how good True Blood once was oh, so many years ago, watch this clip from the second season. Once upon a time, in spite of all the camp and gore and breasts (often in the same scene), this was a show that had genuine emotional landscapes vast enough to create a sense of grandeur in both life and death. And True Blood had one such moment when Eric’s maker, the 2,000-year old Godric, left this plain of existence.
Not unlike Bill’s series finale death in motivation (except, you know, good) Godric grew tired of his monstrous existence through the millennia and was ready to happily meet the sun like a long lost friend. This is a vampire who lived long enough to muse that he was around during the same time as Christ, but sadly had been unable to meet him. Instead he met death with a smile and the tears of a very human, and very humane, Sookie Stackhouse. He had sent Eric away in the Nordic vampire’s first sincere moment of compassion, and then he crossed over to meet Sookie’s (hopefully) forgiving God in a scene that was nothing short of inspired.
Watching it now it is still impressive, if only to see how far a height from which True Blood has fallen. Nonetheless, in that morning air, there is something beautiful in this remarkably peaceful immolation.
So there are our top 13 True Blood deaths. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comment section below!