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Sam Trammell on True Blood’s Season-Six Finale and the Show’s Condom Problem

Spoilers ahead. In the six-months-later flash forward on Sunday's season finale of True Blood, Sam Merlotte — now mayor — proposed a plan to save Bon Temps from roving Hepatitis V–infected vampires: Humans and vampires should team up as a buddy system, with the human providing fresh blood and vamps providing protection. And since he can't run a bar anymore, Arlene bought Merlotte's and renamed it Bellefleur's. "I don't know how we were staying in business before anyway," Sam Trammell said when we reminded him of all the characters who worked there who've died (R.I.P. Terry). "Arlene will probably do a lot better job." Trammell chatted with Vulture about the Sam-Nicole backlash, his character's condom fail, and how he's going to petition showrunner Brian Buckner to get Eric back on the show.

I still have trouble saying Bellefleur's. I keep wanting to call it Merlotte's.
I know, it had a good ring to it. But you know what: There's dancing! Did you see that? Did you notice the fluorescent lights on the outside that say "Dancing"? Which is a reference I made in season two, when I said, "There's no dancing in Merlotte's." That was when the maenad Maryann got everyone all hyped up and they were dancing in the bar, and I came back and I was very unhappy that people were dancing. The writers were very keen to remember that and have Arlene put that sign out there. I loved that part.

Sookie came by the bar in the previous episode to see if she had a future with Sam. She said that she thought they'd always end up together. Was that a nod to the last book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries, Dead Ever After, because Sookie and Sam do end up together in the end of the series?
Oh, right. She ends up with me. I'm not totally sure if it was a nod to the books, or more than that ... I would say it's whatever the opposite of what serendipitous is — really bad timing — because I had just found out that Nicole was pregnant. And then basically the one person who I've loved since the very beginning of the series, the one that's kind of stayed with me, having her come at that point? The one point I couldn't and wouldn't be accepting of it? Sam finally gets the thing that he wants, or the promise of it, and it's a moment when he can't have it, when his head is furthest from it. It's great irony. I think it was more than just a nod to the books. I think Sookie was probably really having those feelings.

There was a bit of a fan backlash when Sam started up with Nicole, since it was so soon after Luna's death.
Oh, I know. And I get that, I totally get that; that was a very quick transition. And I think it was justified only in the sense that there was such intense life-and-death circumstances happening, and those types of events are extremely bonding. And it was sort of a hook-up of reluctance, because I didn't want anything to do with Nicole at first, or with politics, or with trying to get supernatural creatures to come out of the closet. But given the circumstance, we basically saw all her friends get killed, and it started out just trying to comfort each other, and it became something else. And both of us just expressed an emotion that wasn't a "Let's have sex" emotion, but a release, and that turned into sex. It was weird; it was like an emotion of sorrow that manifested itself with sex. And then when that happened, you're in a different place. And even then, it was like, "I'll see you later," but then she's pregnant. I agree, it was a very quick turn for Sam, but I think it was because of the circumstances, which created the environment for it.

I guess people are out of practice using condoms in Bon Temps, because you didn't need them with vampires the same way. But with humans, or shifters ...
[Laughs.] Condoms? I know. I know! I don't know what to say about that. I guess the gas station or the drugstore were all out. I don't think I was planning on it, that's the thing. I don't think we were planning on doing it. Sam was definitely not carrying around condoms the day after Luna died, you know? It wouldn't have been [laughs] ... but that's a very good point.

But you might want to resurrect condom usage in Bon Temps, even with sex with vampires. Because how else did humans become carriers?
Yeah, because they pass it on. That's a good point! I got to put that in my next speech as mayor. You'll get a special thanks in the end credits for season seven. That's probably how it got spread so quick. I'm just guessing here, but it would have to be from having sex with a vampire or intravenous drugs, like any other kind of hepatitis spreads. What did you think of the setup for next season? That sounds really cool, doesn't it? That's going to cause very interesting relationships. Each single person needs to have a vampire.

Who would you want for Sam?
I'd want Pam! I love Kristen Bauer, and we never get to work together. I think it would be fun to be hooked up with Pam.

One of the questions left from the finale is whether or not Eric is dead. You probably can't say, and you may not even know, but people do not want Eric to be dead.
I don't want Eric to be dead! But I honestly don't know how that works itself out there. I don't know what happens next with him. It's good that he's near water, even if it's frozen water. That seems to be a safer place than somewhere you couldn't put it out. It seems like it could go either way. If you want to ask me to do something, I'll call Bucky!

Good, because I think the True Blood fans out there would want you to call Bucky and say, "You got to find a way to keep Eric."
All right, I'll do that. [Laughs.] I'll put in a call to Bucky! They can work it out, right? 

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty