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Marshall Allman as True Blood's Tommy Mickens.

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True Blood’s Marshall Allman on Last Night’s Episode, the Rules of Skinwalking, and the Tommy-Sookie Hookup That Could Have Been

SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t seen last night’s episode, spoilers ahead. Since following big brother Sam Merlotte to Bon Temps, Tommy Mickens has stolen from him, lied to him, and shape-shifted into him. But while the first two offenses only got the scarred-up sibling shot and kicked to the curb, the latter — a shifter phenomenon known as skinwalking — got him killed on last night’s episode. We spoke with actor Marshall Allman about his True Blood finale, the Tommy-Sookie hookup that never was, and the rules of skinwalking (who knew too much of it could kill you?).

Big episode last night.
I know, it’s so crazy. So weird.

Did you watch it?
No, I haven’t been able to watch it yet. I think I might get emotional. Maybe I’m avoiding it.

Did you go into the fourth season knowing you wouldn’t be back for the fifth?
No, but I found out pretty early on, so I had a lot of time to prepare. They told me around when we were filming the third episode. They were so effusive about how it had nothing to do with me as a person, it was just the way the story went. They did such a good job of honoring me with such great writing this season — it was bittersweet. Hopefully I can come back and “Godric” Sam, you know?

What did you first think about the skinwalker storyline, before you knew how it would backfire on Tommy?
I was so excited. Because from the moment I got on the show I was like, Man, shapeshifters — we need more. Because I didn't think that they were getting the proper attention that they deserved. Everybody likes vampires; they’re all sexy. Whatever. Werewolves: They run hot and they’re big and sexy. Well, shapeshifters — what were they? They didn’t have an identity. They weren’t bad-ass. So I was like, Let’s get shapeshifters out there, because they’re really awesome. You’ve gotta get people’s heart throbbing for shapeshifters.

I think it was hard for a lot of viewers to ever really like Tommy, though, because he kept going from bad to good to bad.
He’s definitely misunderstood. To me he’s a tragic character. Because while his intention and heart are right, for every one good decision he makes, he makes another bad one. Or two more bad ones. So that’s Tommy in a nutshell. Does he want family? Does he want Sam? Yes, absolutely. There was not a single part of me as an actor that was like, I’m really pulling one over, making people feel sad for Tommy. But when he goes into his mode, he doesn't know what he’s doing.

Most of your scenes were with Sam Trammell. Are there any characters you wish you got screen time with?
My one hope was for Tommy and Sookie to have a scene together. We did have a scene together, but that was Tommy as Sam [played by Sam Tramell]. If Tommy were there as Tommy, you know he’d be hittin’ on her, dude. He would want all up in that supernatural lady’s business.

Earlier in the season, it looked like you and vampire Jessica were going to hook up.
Yeah, that was Tommy’s one true love — and now it’s disintegrated into a mess of Ryan Kwanten.

Tommy did get a sex scene with Luna — but, again, that was Tommy as played by Sam Trammell. And there's a good example of Tommy being unlikeable.
A stronger man than Tommy would have relented. It was almost an impossible situation to avoid. You watch the show and you judge Tommy morally, but have Luna take her top off in front of nine out of ten guys and let’s see how they react.

You and Janina Gavinkar [the actress who plays Luna] did a Funny Or Die video together, and it looks like you were more naked in that than you ever were on the show.
No. There’s no such thing as getting more naked than you do on True Blood. When I had to change into that falcon I had to do a full-on Olympic jump onto a pad with the whole crew behind me looking straight up my private parts.

Ha. Back to last night: Your death happened really fast at the very beginning of the episode. Were you hoping for something more climactic?
Tommy’s inception was always to serve Sam’s storyline. So at the end of the day, while I was like, Oh man, we’re just kind of moving on — my main thought was, I hope the fans don’t just forget about me. The people who were Tommy fans, who understood him as a tragic character from the beginning and they loved him despite himself — I hope that those people felt satisfied.

Did you ever find yourself obsessing just a little bit over the rules of skinwalking, though? Like, why do you sometimes die if you skinwalk?
I had to let that go, you know? I always wanted Tommy to turn into a mosquito and go bite a vampire and get some V in him and fight a werewolf or something; I always had my imagination. But I was just so happy to be a part of the show. There are not many complaints on my end.

Photo: HBO