True Blood’s Soldier of Bon Temps Terry Bellefleur

August 23, 2009 by  

“Uh huh. Remind me never to get stuck in a fox hole with you…coward,” is the clear and strong reply Terry Bellefleur gives to Sam Merlotte’s, played by Sam Trammell, decision to run from Bon Temps in episode 3, season 2 titled, “Scratches”. Terry Bellefleur is played by actor Todd Lowe, known for his role as Zack Van Gerbig in the Gilmore Girls. dark-terry

Alan Ball has developed and nurtured many characters and plot ideas from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series in order to create an atmosphere that is current and addresses what is happening in the world in the present moment, while also adding the biggest conflict of the show: a coexisting world of vampires and humans. We have seen Alan Ball develop minor characters from the book, such as Tara, played by Rutina Wesley, and Lafayette, played by Nelson Ellis; for the show, Ball has given these characters conflicts and situations that they must overcome, allowing the world of True Blood to be richer and more complex than simply the idea of people for or against vampires. The conflicts these characters experience are based on human emotions. And while many of their conflicts have nothing to do with vampires, their struggles will be the lens with which they view vampires and the supernatural.

Terry Bellefleur is an excellent example of a supporting character’s experiences enriching the world of True Blood. In the show, he is an Iraqi war veteran who has come home from the war with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). In Harris’ series Terry is a veteran of Vietnam, but I feel that changing the war Terry served in gives the viewer a feeling of the present. Everyday veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan war come home and must re-integrate themselves into everyday life. How do they stop being a soldier and start being a civilian? It’s a hard transition and it’s even harder because they carry all of these memories of the war with them…forever. Terry is no exception. As we see in his character, Terry must learn how to be a civilian again…a civilian amongst the supernatural. However, he is still reminded of Iraq and of being a soldier. Remember one of his first compliments to Arlene, a Merlotte’s waitress played by Carrie Preston, is making a connection to her red hair and a bomb exploding.

However, Terry’s time as a soldier has given him a strong personality; he speaks his mind and uses the skills he has learned as a soldier to stand his ground against injustice. He has become a soldier for the discriminated in Bon Temps. One of the best examples of this is when Terry stands up for Lafayette against Andy’s brutal verbal attack. Andy, played by Chris Bauer, overreacts in his search for answers over the recently discovered dead body outside Merlotte’s in the second season. After firmly sending Andy off with his own verbal jab, Terry sits with Layette and comforts him. Terry proves to be strong and understanding, which has won viewers over. From the moment Terry’s character was introduced, we, as viewers, have seen the vulnerability and strength our troops come home with. We respect Terry; we want to look out for him. I can’t count how many times I’ve jumped out of my chair to applaud something Terry has said. I wonder if Alan Ball knew that fans would fall in love with Terry the way that they have.

Right now Terry, like most of the people in Bon Temps, is under the influences of the Maenad Maryann, played by Michelle Forbes, which has caused many to let go of their inhibitions and give in to extreme pleasure and anger. However, each person under Maryann’s influences acts differently. Terry has been able to express his interest in Arlene with more confidence, but he has also closed up from her because he isn’t sure of what he has done when he blacks out. In the last three episodes of the season, we have to wonder what will happen to Terry and his already fragile mind. What will another war, this time with the supernatural, do to him?

The decision to develop Terry as Iraqi war veteran has given the Iraqi veterans air time on a popular show. How many people watch True Blood every Sunday night? How many people are being reminded of the newest veterans our country has? In a world where television has forgotten veterans, True Blood has pushed the issue forward. Now that these men and women have come home, how can we help them? How can we make the transition easier for them? Because, as Terry has proven to us, they have so much knowledge to give us. Terry expresses to Sookie in Episode 12 of Season 1 titled, “You’ll Be the Death of Me”,

“Nobody ever listens to me, but they should.”

Well, Terry, maybe the people from Bon Temps aren’t listening to you, but you’ve got fans upon fans listening.

Source: imdb.com

(Photo credit: TrueBloodGuide.com, HBO  Inc)

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  • Jenny Loritiz

    Abby, I totally agree with you. Alan Ball and Todd Lowe bring such a respect to our soldiers. And you noted that they are doing a great service. It’s true. The news has forgotten about our troops. It’s very rare that we hear about the troop over in Iraq. And if we do they get about a minute of air time. It’s unfortunate.

    However, what Alan Ball and Todd Lowe have done is put our veterans on television. So many people are exposed to television and popular shows and Ball has used that to remind us of these brave soldiers. It also lets the soldiers, the veterans, and their families know that people are still thinking about them and respect them for their military service.

  • Abby

    I hope all who watch and do not have the insight to the soldiers and the war and what all that comes with it, are able to see Terry and understand something that for many is not even imaginable.

    Thank you Alan Ball and to Todd Lowe for bringing insight and respect to our brave soldiers and those who love them. You have done us all a great service.