'True Blood' Beginnings: Everything You Need to Know about Tara Thornton
'True Blood' Beginnings: Everything You Need to Know about Tara Thornton
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
As the premiere date of True Blood's sixth season draws closer, you may find yourself wondering what the heck else could happen to these characters? It's getting to a 24-esk realm, where you think, seriously, how many bad days can Jack Bauer have? So just to catch you up on all the ridiculousness that has transpired during the first five wonderful seasons, we're recapping the astounding journeys taken by nine main characters in a series called True Blood: Beginnings. We've already done Alcide Hourveaux, Jessica Hamby and Lafayette Reynolds. Next up is Tara Thornton.

Even though she's a bit of a hothead and doesn't exactly help her own cause, no one has really had it worse than Tara in terms of bad things happening without really doing anything to deserve them. She was dealt a bad hand in life, but she's still a fiercely loyal friend and cousin (to Lafayette) who would sacrifice anything (including her own life) to help out. Here's her path from Sookie's bestie to self-loathing vampire.

Jason, Sam and Demons, Oh My!

We first meet Tara when she quits her job at Super Save-a-Bunch after blowing up at a customer. She goes to Merlotte's for a drink, tends bar while Sam waits for Sookie and talks herself into job. As she is in love with Jason, she scoffs when he comes in and starts flirting with Dawn. She heads home to find her mom, Lettie Mae, passed out drunk on the couch. 

She admits a desire of wanting to be seen and to matter while snuggling up with Jason on the couch at Gran's Civil War group meeting, which of course reminds Jason that he has to pick up Dawn at work. So Tara takes it out on bar patron, gets drunk and has angry "I can't bang the one I want" sex with Sam. 

After finding out Lafayette is working as a prostitute, she sees Jason dancing for him in nothing but a Nancy Reagan mask and his underwear. Still, she lies to the police to get a V-infused Jason out of lockup when he is arrested in connection with Dawn's murder. She takes him to the hospital, and during the drive home, she talks about how he used to protect her from her drunk mother when they were little.

Because of the previously-mentioned unrequited love, she is furious at Lafayette for selling Jason V and makes him promise to apologize. But instead, he convinces Jason to try it in a more responsible fashion, thus getting him hooked on it. At Merlotte's, a stoned Jason professes his love to Tara, but she tells him to wait until he's sober. Then she catches him banging a random skank behind the bar and is pissed. 

At Gran's funeral, Lettie Mae pulls Tara aside to say she has a demon inside her that makes her drink and needs money for an exorcism. Tara storms off but doesn't want to be alone, so she takes Sam back to hotel for more hate sex. Afterward, Tara starts to feel conflicted about her mother's problem and leaves Sam alone in the room. 

She later attempts to smooth things over with him, but she is interrupted by a call from a bank where Lettie Mae is making a scene with the bank manager, accusing him of being a bigot for not giving her a loan for her exorcism. Tara drags Lettie Mae away, but not before she offers to have sex with the loan officer in exchange for the money. After this, Tara agrees to pay for treatment. 

I Called the Witch Doctor, She Told Me What to Do

They visit Miss Jeanette, a witch doctor who lives in a run-down bus in the woods. After handing over nearly $500, Lettie Mae gets her exorcism and has a seemingly instant recovery. Just as they are leaving, Miss Jeanette tells Tara that she has a demon that's worse her mother's, and that if she ever wants to lead a happy life, she must have it exorcised. Tara laughs it off. 

As if to back up the point, Tara gets in a huge fight with Sookie about her relationship with Bill, lashes out at her mother and, after sleeping with Sam again, snaps at him for being a racist. After a conversation with Lafayette about Lettie Mae's progression, Tara starts thinking that she may be possessed after all and goes to Miss Jeanette for an $800 exorcism of her own, which Sam pays for AFTER she breaks things off with him. They kiss, then she mends fences with Sookie before heading off to get rid of her demon. 

Stab the Child

The exorcism involves rubbing fire-roasted spit from Miss Jeanette's mouth around Tara's eyes and drinking vomit-inducing snake juice. Tara throws up her demon, which is a child version of herself, and then stabs it with a knife. 

The next day, she is all smiles and rainbows, and she and Lettie Mae go out to celebrate their now demon-free lives. But the crawfish make Lettie Mae sick, so Tara stops for Pepto and finds none other than Miss Jeanette working at the pharmacy.

Booze, Pigs and Naked Women

Despite realizing Miss Jeanette is a fraud, Tara decides not to tell her mother, fearing that she would go back to drinking. Instead, Tara shows up drunk to Rene and Arlene's engagement party, wearing a prom dress to get action from Sam. He refuses her out of respect, so she jumps in her car, swigging from a bottle of booze, and crashes into a tree after seeing a naked woman and a pig running down the road. 

She gets arrested for drunk driving and calls her mom to come get her, but Lettie Mae refuses to bail her out, claiming she's on the path to hell and can't be in her house. Tara points out she wouldn't have a house if not for her, even after Lettie Mae beat her, stole her money and made her go to school dirty. Lettie Mae says, "I love you," and leaves Tara alone in her cell. 

Maryann to the Rescue

The mysterious Maryann Forrester bails Tara out of jail, takes her under her wing, introduces her to Eggs and gives her what appears to be a happier life. 

After leaving Merlotte's one day, Tara, Sookie and Andy find Miss Jeanette's severed leg sticking out a car window. Tara reluctantly tells cops what she knows about the victim, but her worst fears are realized when they relay that information to Lettie Mae. 

Now living with Maryann, Tara gets closer with Eggs and learns about his criminal past. Sam warns her to stay away from Maryann, who throws strange parties where seemingly possessed guests have strange sexual interactions. After watching Eggs get freaky with another woman, Tara moves in to Sookie's house while she is out of town searching for Godric. 

Tara is spending her birthday all alone until Maryann shows up with Eggs to throw her a surprise party, and soon a rave is in full swing. As the party grows more and more wild, Maryann moves off on her own in the forest and performs an incantation that causes the wind to stir up and her body to vibrate. It fills the party with an intense sexual energy, and everyone's eyes go black as they start a giant orgy including Tara and Eggs. 

Let's Be Roomies ... at Sookie's

After Tara invites Maryann to live at Sookie's house, she and Eggs go on an out-of-town errand and stumble upon a spot in the woods with bloody clothes and rocks and the charred remains of a fire. Both of them suspect something really gruesome and bad happened there (It was where Eggs killed Miss Jeanette). They return to Sookie's house to find it trashed and follow a trail of clothes to the backyard, where they find another Bon Temps orgy with a bull's head mask on a log while Maryann vibrates wildly. They get the trance-eyes and jump in on the gangbang.

Tara and Eggs wake up on Sookie's couch with no memory of the previous night, and even though she is growing suspicious of Maryann, she still scarfs down the meal made with Daphe's heart (after Maryann had Eggs stab her). The "Hunter's Souffle" causes Tara and Eggs to fly into a rage, and they beat the crap out of each other before some rough animal sex.

How Bruises Help You Connect with God 

The next day, a badly-bruised Tara and Egg wake up and discuss blacking out again the night before. Tara resents the loss of control, in part because of her experience with her mother. Maryann counters with the importance of losing control to connect with god through ecstasy. 

At Merlotte's, an irate Lafayette gets into a fistfight with Eggs over Tara's bruises. Tara breaks it up, but takes an accidental punch before dragging Eggs out the door. Lafayette and Lettie Mae show up at Sookie's house to find Eggs, Tara, and Maryann drinking. Lettie Mae pleads for Tara to change her ways before Maryann blacks out Tara and Eggs. Tara chokes her own mother, while Lafayette floors Eggs, grabs them both and carries everyone out of the house. 

Bill and Sookie use a combination of glamours and telepathy to break the spell over Tara, who insists on going back for Eggs. She convinces her mom that God wants her to save him, so Lettie Mae holds Sookie and Lafayette at gunpoint while Tara makes her getaway. She can't convince Eggs to leave with her, and she is soon back under Maryann's control. The two of them go to Gran's room, where they build a large nest on the bed, on which sits a huge, unhatched egg to be used in a sacrifice ritual. 

Kick Her in the Maenads

After Bill and Sam team up to kill Maryann, snapping everyone out of their trances, Eggs is deeply disturbed by the recent happenings and begs Sookie to help him recall his actions during all the blackouts. After learning that he murdered Miss Jeanette and Daphne and stabbed Sam, Eggs holds Andy at knifepoint and begs to be arrested. Jason doesn't realize what's happening and shoots Eggs in the head. Tara arrives and finds Eggs' body, and she breaks down in tears. 

Tara, beyond upset about Eggs, attacks Sookie after finding out she was the one who restored his memories. Lettie Mae, too distracted by her new relationship with the married Reverend Daniels, leaves a distraught Tara unsupervised, and Lafayette interrupts her suicide attempt. 

Instead of going to the hospital, he takes her to a mental institution to meet his mother Ruby, who is a patient there. He explains that there is darkness in their family, and they must stick together to overcome it.

The Bride of Franklin-Stein 

Back at Merlotte's, a drunk Tara gets into a conversation with the vampire Franklin, and they team up to beat down a couple rednecks making racist remarks about Eggs before having some mind-blowing sex at a seedy motel. Sookie and Tara bury the hatchet at Eggs' funeral, which Sookie pays for. Tara and Sookie are the only ones who attend. 

Franklin glamours his way inside Tara's house, grilling her about Sookie, Bill and Jason. Tara snaps out of it and tries to run, but Franklin catches her, bites her and ties her up. Let the kidnapping begin! He takes her to Russell Edgington's mansion, where she spots Bill and begs for help. But since he is pretending to go along with Russell's plan, he refuses. 

It quickly becomes clear how deranged Franklin is, and he makes plans to turn Tara into his vampire bride. She chews through her bindings and makes an escape, but werewolf Coot catcher her and returns her to captivity. She realizes her best bet is to play along, but she needs strength, so she seduces Franklin and bites him, drinking his blood in gruesome fashion. But he's into it, so all is well. 

The Great Escape

As her time of transformation nears, Tara bashes Franklin in the face with a mace, frees Sookie and fights her way out of the mansion. 

But Sookie insists on going back for Bill, so Tara exits the house on her own and finds Alcide coming to save the day. The two of them find Sookie and a badly injured Bill, who they are wrapping up for day transport when Alcide's ex Debbie jumps them with a gun. Tara think-tells Sookie to create a distraction and tackles Debbie, while Alcide recovers the gun and fatally shoots a charging Cooter. 

They lock up Debbie and the entire gang makes the escape.

I Hate Vampires

After discovering that a half-starved Bill has nearly drained Sookie in the back of the getaway van, a still-V-charged Tara kicks him into the sunlight, where he only smokes a bit (instead of exploding) thanks to Sookie's fairy blood. 

At the hospital, Tara calls Jason, who rushes to Sookie's bedside. He and Tara tell her how much they needs her. Tara is against using Bill's blood to heal Sookie, but it works. Still, they tell him to back off after she wakes up screaming. The entire experience make Tara realize she wants to live, but she is still haunted by sex dreams with Franklin because of drinking his blood. 

She unsuccessfully tries to convince Sookie that Bill is just as bad as Franklin, curses after dropping a bottle of Tru Blood at Merlotte's and gets comforted by Sam. 

The Road to Recovery

She decides to attend a support group meeting for victims of violent crimes, where she forges a bond with new Merlotte's waitress Holly. Back at the bar, Tara is again snatched up by Franklin, who Jason then kills with wooden bullets. They bury Franklin's remains, dispose of his clothes and head to Jason's, where they find Sookie and Bill. 

Tara admits to Sookie that she was abducted, held captive and raped by Franklin at Russell's, and that Bill did nothing to help her. She swears that she will never forgive Bill or trust any vampire ever again. She thanks Jason for saving her, and they end up kissing before he blurts out that he was the one who killed Eggs. She is a horrified emotional wreck at this point, and she just leaves without saying a word.

Time to Get Out of Dodge

Tara weeps at Eggs' grave and confronts an apologetic Andy about the truth, but says she has no intention of ratting him out. After Sam gets in a huge fight with Tommy and kicks out all the customers, the two of them get drunk and have sex again. 

Afterwards, he admits to her that he is a shapeshifter, and she's so done with the supernatural that she decides to skip town. But first, she cuts off all her hair, patches things up with Sookie and wishes her mom luck with the happiness she expects to have if she successfully breaks up the reverend's marriage. 

Escape from New Orleans

In the world of all things plausible (vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters notwithstanding), Tara has become a cage fighter in New Orleans and enters into a lesbian relationship with Naomi, another cage fighter. While they're in bed together, she gets a text from Lafayette saying that Sookie has returned home, alive, several months after disappearing (to fairyland). She lies to Naomi, saying her grandmother died, and heads back to Bon Temps. 

After catching up with Sookie, she greets Lafayette, who is on his way to a Wiccan gathering with Jesus. They convince Tara to join them, and the witches sit around bragging about raising a bird from the dead. Marnie tells them they're going to resurrect a human next, and Eric bursts in, tells them the group is disbanding and then attacks and bites Marnie. Tara rushes in to stake Eric, but he catchers her and lets go of Marnie, who quickly casts a spell wiping Eric's memory clean. 

Fleeting Thoughts of Love

As the witches argue over how to deal with the situation, Tara is pissed that she's been home for just two days and she's already back to dealing with supernatural bullsh*t. She urges Lafayette to stay away from Fangtasia, but he goes anyway and is attacked by Pam. Tara and Jesus get there just in time to save him, and Pam gives them a day to fix the situation with Eric. They try to convince Marnie to reverse the curse, but she instead casts another one on Pam that burns off her skin. Tara has had enough and says she is going back to New Orleans.

But before she gets the chance, Naomi gets some mail and realizes Tara has been lying about who she is. Tara is discussing thing with Sookie when Eric, who has amnesia, emerges from his cubby. Tara curses him for all the awful things he has done (of which he has no memory) and storms off to Lafayette's. There, Naomi arrives, looking for answers. Tara explains about her past and they make up and make out. 

At Merlotte's, they are attacked by leper Pam, who a group of passing tourists think is a zombie. Tara urges Naomi to leave for her own safety, and she reluctantly complies.

Turning the Tables on the Undead

Marnie/Antonia convinces Tara that they are kindred spirits when it comes to being wronged by vampires, so she joins the coven as they cast a spell forcing all vampires out into the sunlight. Only one vampire dies, which disappoints the group, and they plan a vampire smackdown in the cemetery. 

During the battle, Pam grabs Tara and is about to kill her when Bill steps in and orders that Tara never be harmed. Afterwards, back at the Mood Goddess Emporium, Tara berates Marnie for dismissing Bill's peace offering and causing needless violence. Marnie responds by holding them all captive against their will.

Wonder Twins, Activate: Form of, Debbie and Sookie

While Debbie creates a distraction, Sookie breaks in through a back window of the emporium and searches for Eric, who she finds in a dazed state. An armed Tara orders Sookie to leave, but not before telling her telepathically that Marnie is holding them hostage. They stage a fight so Tara won't look like a traitor, and Sookie escapes with Debbie. 

When Marnie/Antonia takes Eric to the "Festival of Tolerance," she leaves the rest of the coven trapped inside by a spell. Tara tries the open the door, but the knob burns her hand. 

"Martonia" returns and communicates with Jesus about the possession, informing everyone that Marnie and not Antonia is actually running the show. Tara and Holly break her spell and rush outside to meet Jason, Sookie and Lafayette, but Marnie casts another spell to suck them all back in (except for Jason, who is left outside by himself as Eric, Pam, Bill and Jessica arrive to blow the place to hell). 

The Life and Death of Marnie Stonebrook

Tara is a bystander as the situation escalates and eventually ends with the death of Marnie, who then possesses Lafayette and makes him kill Jesus. Tara finds the body and rushes to Merlotte's to warn Sookie and Holly, who predict "Marfayette" will go after Bill and Eric. 

They find her/him trying to burn the vampires at a stake, and the three of them combine to cast a spell that brings the spirits from the graveyard back from the beyond. They convince Marnie to just come rest with them in the afterlife, and everything ends peacefully.

That is, of course, until Tara walks in on Debbie holding Sookie at gunpoint. She had just tried to convince Lafayette that none of what happened with Jesus was his fault when Debbie breaks into the house. As she opens fire, Tara pushes Sookie out of the way and takes a shotgun blast to the head. 

The Life and Undead Life of Tara Thornton

Lafayette hears Sookie yelling for help and comes downstairs around the same time Pam arrives, looking for Eric. Lafayette convinces her to turn Tara into a vampire in exchange for Sookie helping to repair Pam's relationship with her maker (who was pissed after Pam fired a rocket into the force field, which potentially could have injured Sookie).

Pam feeds her blood to Tara, then bites her, and Sookie and Lafayette bury them together. The next day, when they check to see if the turning worked, Tara emerges at lightning vampire speed and bites Sookie. Pam pulls her off, puts her in Sookie's house and tells her not to go anywhere. Well, that just won't do, so Tara trashes the house, attacks Lafayette, hits herself in the head because she knows something isn't right, then rushes upstairs and destroys more stuff there. 

Lafayette cuts his arm and lures her out with blood, and Sookie silvers her so they can get her in the cubby before dawn. There, Lafayette attempts to stake her before Sookie convinces him that she's just new and will mature with time. 

Learning to Love Yourself (Despite Not Having a Beating Heart)

Tara wakes up after sundown, tells Lafayette and Sookie that she'll never forgive them, then rushes out the door. In the woods, she is amazed by her newfound heightened senses. She can sense the heartbeats of animals and clearly sees things that humans cannot. She attacks a girl fixing a flat tire, but can't bring herself to drink and instead goes to Merlotte's, where Sam calms her down and feeds her bottle after bottle of Tru Blood. He hides her in the freezer as the sun rises. 

When she wakes up, Lafayette tries to give her more Tru Blood, but she throws him through the freezer door. Tara bears her fangs, tells everyone to leave her alone or she'll kill them and runs out through the back door. She attempts suicide via tanning bed, but Pam feels her pain and rushes to her rescue. 

She commands Tara never to do it again, then takes her to Fangtasia, where Bill tries to reassure her about her new un-life. He asserts that her impulses to kill herself will pass, and she tells him that he needs to move on when it comes to Sookie, but she is safe and always has people around willing to take a bullet for her. 

The next night, Pam wakes up Tara to introduce her to a girl named Melanie who she can feed off of. Tara is reluctant, but Pam commands her to eat while also instructing her on how to do it properly without killing the supplier. She soothes Tara, pointing out that she is now at the top of the food chain and that no one can hurt her anymore (except possibly anyone with access to wood). 

A New Job and a New Life

Tara takes in the atmosphere at Fangtasia wearing Pam's digs, and she is made a bartender and eventually a pole dancer. She's still impetuous, though, and she grabs and feeds off a random bar patron. Pam warns that if Tara does anything to jeopardize the bar, she will be silvered and locked in a coffin to rot for all of eternity. Jessica observes this bit of motherly love, and she bonds with Tara and commiserates about the confusing new impulses. Her big piece of advice is to drink from a human during sex, because the feeling is amazing. 

The friendship is short lived though, after Tara feeds on Hoyt in the bar bathroom. Jessica, feeding off another human in the next stall, senses Hoyt's pain and breaks down the stall. A full-on vamp fight ensues, which Pam watches with an amused smile before dragging Tara to the back and reminding her that Fangtasia is her spot and Tara just works there. She then smiles and tells Tara that she did her proud, but tempers it by saying "proud the way a human is proud of a well-trained dog."

Saying Goodbye to the Past

Lettie Mae pays Tara a visit to say goodbye, because a minister's wife can't have a daughter who's a vampire. Tara refuses to let her mother go and ends up crying in the office, where Pam comforts her and says that it doesn't matter, because Lettie Mae isn't her mom anymore. They hug before Pam orders Tara back on the pole. 

An old acquaintance of Tara named Tracy comes in and makes rude and racist comments. Tara fires back, but Pam intercedes and berates her for not treating customers better. But then she kidnaps Tracy and glamours her into becoming Tara's slave.

Murders, Rescues and More Lesbian Kisses 

A new boss named Elijah who is supplied by the Authority takes over at Fangtasia while Eric is missing, and the attacks on Tru Blood factories have led to a shortage that can only end in a human bloodbath, especially with standing orders to create new baby vampires. Fearing that they will lose the bar and be forced to live in hiding, Tara decapitates him with a sword. Though she is proud of her progeny's work, Pam fears the Authority and orders Tara never to speak of Elijah. 

Jessica arrives at the bar after she and Jason killed a couple of Authority agents and asks for asylum, which Pam refuses until she finds out that Jessica knows Eric's whereabouts. In the basement, they discuss Bill and Eric's behavior and whether they have been tainted by living in the Authority's nest and drinking the so-called blood of Lilith. Jessica and Tara make amends and solidify their bond, and Jessica asks if Tara "like likes" Pam. 

Rosyln arrives, knowing her progeny Elijah was killed, and arrests Pam, bringing Jessica in as well. Pam joins up with the recently-escaped Eric and Nora, and the three of them convince Sookie and Jason to help them infiltrate the Authority and stop Bill. 

As they move through the compound, killing everyone they see, they rescue the prisoners and Pam embraces Tara in a passionate kiss. She and the rest wait in the elevator for Eric and Sookie to get Bill, who drinks all of Lilith and turns into some sort of a blood demon. They rush back to the elevator and ride it to the surface, waiting to battle whatever might be on the other side.

What's Next for Tara

I mean, who knows, really. She's been abused from the beginning, which makes the absurd choice of being a cage fighter surprisingly fitting. Still, now that she's a vampire, can she really get the short end of the stick forever? And for someone who hates vampires so much to have to become one? After being raped by one? It's all nuts. 

What do you expect to happen to Tara in season 6? Is she a full-on lesbian? Does she still love Jason (even though HE now hates vampires)? Will she have to sacrifice herself for Sookie yet again? Only time will tell.

Check back on Friday for our next profile: Eric Northman, Jason Stackhouse, Sam Merlotte and Bill Compton.

True Blood season 6 premieres June 16 at 9 pm on HBO.

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(Images courtesy of HBO)