Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s True Blood, stop reading now. For those of you who have, read on for what Carrie Preston (Arlene) has to say about the latest loss in Bon Temps and what’s to come.
Preston learned her TV husband Terry, played by Todd Lowe, was going to die before the season began. “We were still on hiatus, and Todd just texted me and said, ‘Goodbye, Terry.’ I called him up, and I was like, ‘WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?’ We were just completely devastated. As Todd says, ‘Nobody wants to leave the party early,’” she recalls. “But we put ourselves in the hands of the writers and we trust them, and I think the way they chose to have that moment happen was very poignant and not like anything else that happened on the show. I think it was a necessary turning point for the show to bring it back to its original roots, which are grounded in relationships — in particular, human ones. What is making this season so special is that it’s also going back to [the idea that] the worst thing in this world is humans. In season 1, Rene [Michael Raymond-James] was the murderer, and he was human. Then we went off for many seasons into the worlds of the supernatural, and now we’re back into the world of the humans — both glorifying them in the relationship with Terry and Arlene, and vilifying them with the Governor and the Vamp Camp.” (“That was very philosophical. Sorry,” she adds, laughing.)
Because they had to shoot Terry’s death scene from so many angles, Preston, who just scored an Emmy nomination for guesting on The Good Wife, estimates she had to weep for about eight hours. “I was very pleased with how they kept [the scene] very simple. In particular, I don’t know if you noticed, but there was no score,” she says. “They just let it be raw, and naked, and this moment when Arlene is singing to Terry was clear. It wasn’t amplified or enhanced by score, which is what people usually want to do in TV — over-sell something. Again, it made the scene stand out from other things on the show.”
What’s next for Arlene? “We saw the moment where she was holding her husband as he died in her arms, now we’re gonna see the shock, and the aftermath, and the true coming apart. How do you not be unhinged?” she says. We will see Terry’s funeral, but not in this Sunday’s episode. “There’s a scene coming up that was just as challenging as the death. And then the funeral, which will come up somewhere down the line — also quite sobering, to say the least,” she teases. “I was constantly texting Todd photos when we were shooting the funeral.”