's sixth season draws closer, you may find yourself wondering what the heck else could happen to these characters? It's getting to a
-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
: Beginnings. We've already done
. Next up is Sam Merlotte.
If you didn't know better, you would've thought Sam was a bit of a wuss in the beginning. Sure, he owned Merlotte's and was Sookie's boss, but he really didn't do much but warn her about vampires and yell at her for stuff. People also ask him to look after others a lot. Strange.
Still, he's come quite a ways from the seemingly mild-mannered barkeep/restaurateur (as much as one can be in Bon Temps) with a sordid past and an eye for Sookie. Along the way, he's shifted, fought, loved and murdered, and also had his brother do those things for him. Confused? Here is Sam's path.
Kicking Things Off with a Bang
Sam burst onto our radar after Sookie first meets Bill, and he yells at her for fraternizing with vampires and asks if she has a death wish. After he hires Tara to be a bartender, they drink and reveal that neither has had sex in months. She suggests they do it as a one-time fling, and that sounds good to him. Boom. Then he warns Sookie against going to places like Fangtasia.
After his waitress Dawn is found dead, Sam goes to her house and sniffs her bed and pillow strangely. Then he asks Sookie on a date. To the Descendants of the Glorious Dead meeting. As one does after an employee is found murdered.
They go to the meeting, then out for coffee. Things are going well until the conversation turns to vampires, and Sam warns Sookie that Bill is dangerous no matter how she feels about him. Notice a trend?
Another Senseless Murder ... and Sex!
Sookie storms off from the date and takes a cab home, and Sam follows to make sure she made it safely. He finds her with a dead Gran, and Bill attacks him, believing him to be the murderer. But he was just checking up on her, and the front door was open. After the funeral, he takes Sookie home.
She wants to be alone. He doesn't, so he goes to Tara's hotel for some more bang-the-one-you're-with action.
Back at work, Sam can tell Sookie let Bill do dirty things to her, and he's very critical and warns her about the path she's on. She tells him to mind his own business.
He sleeps with Tara again, but she flips out and accuses him of being racist. So he pays for her $800 exorcism. But not until after he is interrogated by Sheriff Bud and Andy about running naked through the woods. He tells them he's from a family of naturists, grew up in a colony and runs naked to honor them once a year. Andy checks up and finds out that was a big fat fatty fat fat lie.
Man's Best Friend
Bill comes to see Sam at Merlotte's, telling him he has to travel out of town and would like him to watch over Sookie while he's gone. Sure thing, boss. He shifts into a dog, runs to Bill's and sleeps on the bed with Sookie. She names the pooch Dean, but is startled to wake up next to a naked Sam. Awkward!
Sam explains that he is a shapeshifter, but Sookie is upset he didn't tell her earlier and calls him a werewolf. He gets mad and says there really are werewolves and lots of other scary things, so please don't associate him with those kinds of folks.
They are still fighting later at Arlene and Rene's engagement party, and Sookie runs into the serial killer while getting ice. She escapes, runs out the front door and ends up in Sam's arms. Tara shows up drunk and in a prom dress, trying to get some action. Sam declines.
Tracking a Killer
Sookie read the thoughts of the killer, but didn't get much other than a waitress named Cindy and a restaurant with "pie" in the name. Sam knows it, of course, so they drive to Bunkie and end up at Big Patty's Pie House. Cindy was carrying on with vamps and was murdered, but no one knows who dunnit. After her death, her brother, Drew Marshall, disappeared. A police officer agrees to fax a picture of Drew to the Bon Temps PD.
Sam and Sookie bond on the drive home, talking about love. He likes Tara but doesn't love her. She loves Bill but has no idea where he's vanished to. They watch TV and snuggle, and Sam says the best day of his life was when Sookie came in and applied for a job. They kiss, until Bill bursts in, pulls Sam off Sookie and attacks him.
She breaks it up, berating Bill for abandoning her while a killer is on the loose and then fighting the man protecting her. She rescinds his invitation, and Sam asks how it is she can't see what Bill is really like. She says she has too much going on to be with anyone right now.
At Merlotte's, Lafayette turns in Rene's construction vest to be put in the lost and found. Sam sniffs it, matches it to the smell on Dawn's bed and takes off out the door. Sam the dog jumps up and bites Rene (Drew Marshall) as he prepares to bury an unconscious Sookie.
Rene slams him to the ground and hits him with a stone, and the dog turns back into naked Sam, who lies there while Bill struggles to save Sookie while his body burns in the sunlight. She wakes up, picks up the shovel and kills Rene.
Sam and Sookie drag a severely wounded Bill to the freshly dug grave, toss him in and cover him with dirt.
The Shifter and Maryann, Here on Merlotte's Isle
Tara asks Sam to look after Sookie, because she's going off with Maryann. He is instantly wary of her, and we see via flashback that they had a sexual encounter when he was 17 that ended with him stealing $100,000 from her. He warns Tara to stay away from her, because he likes to warn people about stuff. He also hires a new waitress, Daphne, because his waitresses have a tendency to die. So there's usually an opening.
Sam goes to Tara's house, where she is supposed to be spending her birthday alone. But Maryann and Eggs came by and threw a raging party for her. There, Daphne reveals that she is also a shifter, and she and Sam go running together. Sam brought a gift to the party from Tara's mom, but Maryann tosses it before heading into the woods and performing a ritual that makes everyone's eyes black out as they partake in a massive orgy.
Sam and Daphne grow closer and start doin' it, but then, during one of their runs, she leads him towards another one of Maryann's orgies. He is hesitant, but two men jump out of the bushes and grab him, dragging him to the party where he is to be sacrificed by Maryann in a bull's head mask. Thankfully, a drunk Andy had followed them and stumbled on the party, firing his pistol and giving Sam a chance to shift into an owl and fly away.
Sam confronts Daphne (at gunpoint), who explains that Maryann is a Maenad, an immortal creature from ancient Greece who is a female follower of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine revelry. She wants Sam because he escaped her once, but she can't influence the supernatural like she can the normies.
How the Hell Do You Kill an Immortal Maenad?
Daphne's body is found in the freezer of Merlotte's with her heart torn out, left there by Eggs, and Sam is arrested for the murder. Maryann pays him a visit, but he shifts into a fly and escapes the cell.
Enraged, Maryann blacks out all the townsfolk and orders them to find Sam, who is tricked (along with Andy) into returning to Merlotte's, where they are trapped in the walk-in fridge.
Jason comes to their aid and pretends to smite Sam, who turns into a fly again, leaving his clothes behind. The crazy mob is convinced that Jason is a god, and they begin to worship him.
Sam goes to Eric for help, who agrees to ask Queen Sophie Anne how to stop a Maenad, but Bill gets the deets first. Apparently, the only way Maryann can be killed is if she willingly gives herself to her god, who she believes is using her as a vessel to enter our world. That is what drives her, and what she hopes to accomplish with her sacrifices.
Bill and Sam arrive at Sookie's (where Maryann has built a sacrificial nest and egg) and offer to trade Sam for Sookie (who is now being held captive there). Maryann agrees, and Eggs stabs Sam in the chest as he hangs from the offering.
Eggs gives the bloody knife to Maryann, who rubs it all over her body. Sam is not dead, though, and he think-tells Sookie to destroy the nest and egg to disrupt the ceremony. She does, and an angry Maryann switches into beast form and chases Sookie into the woods.
There, she is stopped by a white bull, who she believes to be the god she has so desperately summoned. The bull impales her with one of its horns, and she accepts the chance to be an offering. She is now willingly vulnerable to death, and the bull changes into Sam, who rips out her heart.
Bill reveals to Sookie that he allowed Sam to drink his blood to heal, and he thanks Sam for helping save the people and town of Bon Temps.
Reconnecting with the Past
Sam visits his adopted parents, the Merlottes, in an attempt to learn more about his biological parents. His stepmom just cries, still unable to accept that he is a shifter, while his gravely ill father writes a note with their names and last-known address.
Sam sets off to find the Mickens, tracking down son Tommy at an auto mechanic's garage. Tommy plays dumb, but Sam follows him to a house and camps outside. He wakes up from a nap to find Tommy pointing a shotgun at him. Welcome to the family!
Tommy takes him to Melinda and Joe Lee (because Billy Bob would've been too stereotypical) Mickens. Melinda had Sam when she was on a 16 and Pregnant episode, while Joe Lee was in prison, and she thought he'd have a better life with another family. She was right, until his adoptive parents found out he was a shifter at 15 and abandoned him. Tommy and Melinda are also shifters, but Joe Lee is not.
Tommy is jealous that Sam had better opportunities than he did, and tries to get him killed while they are running together as dogs. Tommy stops in front of an oncoming truck, then shifts into a hawk and flies away at the last second, leaving dog Sam to barely jump out of the way. At that, Sam decides to go back to Bon Temps.
Unwelcome Rings and Unwelcome Visitors
Back at Merlotte's, Sam notices Sookie's engagement ring. But Bill is missing, so Sookie is leaving town to look for him and wants Sam to look after Jessica. He agrees, and then hires her as a hostess at the bar.
The Mickens make a surprise visit, so Sam offers them a free meal that quickly turns into a huge drunken bar tab. Joe Lee goes after Sam when he tries to stop the underage Tommy from drinking, and Sam gently kicks them out.
Later, he wakes to the sound of his security alarm and finds a pit bull rifling through his office. Tommy shifts into a bird and flies out the window, and Sam gives chase and finds the Mickens are living in their van in the bar parking lot. He tells Melinda that Tommy tried to steal from him, and she says they're behind on bills and have nowhere to go, but that they'll clear out when Tommy returns. Instead, they grill in the parking lot.
A Soft Spot for Family
Sam offers to hook up his family with a home he leases out, hiring Tommy as a busboy and Joe Lee as a handyman for his rental properties. Tommy and Sam are having a brother bonding night watching nature shows when a sauced-up Joe Lee shows up ranting and raving about owning Tommy "from head to tail."
When Tommy doesn't show up for work and Arlene describes the Mickens leaving with a pit bull that morning, Sam puts it together that they make money by entering Tommy in dog fights, and that's why his body is covered in animal scars.
Sam stops the fight and confronts the Mickens, convincing Tommy to come live with him. He gives Melinda just enough money to get her and Joe Lee out of the area, despite her complaints that it won't get them far. She kisses Tommy goodbye and leaves with a suitcase.
Everyone Has a Breaking Point, But Rage Issues Help
Sam hires Holly, who isn't bothered by the string of dead waitresses, and Tommy almost gets in a fight with Hoyt over his crush on Jessica. Sam tells him to stop making trouble and focus on the future, suggesting college, and Tommy replies that Sam obviously doesn't know him at all (yeah, Tommy can't read).
Werepanthers Calvin (dad) and Felton (brother and fiance ... yup) come in looking for Crystal (who is gallivanting around with Jason), and they threaten Sam directly as a shifter before they leave.
Calvin returns to the bar to confront Jason about Crystal, but his barbs push Sam over the edge. He beats Calvin bloody, goes home and pours whiskey on his knuckles. He takes a swig and flashes back to a jewelry heist he pulled with a woman who double crosses him with the help of another man. He shifts into a beagle, sneaks up on the couple, kills them both and takes back the spoils.
The staff at Merlotte's is terrified of Sam after the attack on Calvin, except for Tommy who says he is proud of his big brother.
After Tommy attacks Hoyt in pit bull form and Jessica tosses dog Tommy into the woods, Sam gets bombed and storms into the restaurant, yelling at customers and employees. He calls the waitresses bitches, so they walk out, forcing him to wait his own tables.
He orders Tommy to be a waiter as well, which sparks an argument during which Tommy declares that Sam is just like Joe Lee. Sam fires him immediately and tells him to move out. Tommy apologizes and begs to stay, but Sam says he doesn't care and kicks him to the curb.
After the Tommy incident, Sam kicks everyone out of the bar, but Tara refuses to leave. They drink, with Tara pointing out that even though he just alienated pretty much everyone he knew, he still had a friend in her. He complains about being a walkover nice guy, and she the opposite, before they go to his trailer and have sex.
The next day, after he makes Tara breakfast, he reveals to her that he's a shifter. She is shocked and appalled, particularly after her run-ins with Franklin the vampire and Maryann. She says she wants to start a new life sans the supernatural.
Gun Violence and Werepanthers -- Keep it in the Family
Sam finds his office ransacked and his safe empty, puts his gun in his belt and goes after Tommy. He catches up with him on a dark road, chases him into the woods, overtakes him and demands his money back. Tommy blames Sam for taking away his family and leaving him no way to make it in the world, and Sam tells him to get a job.
Tommy admits he is illiterate, and Sam says that's not his problem. As a tearful Tommy walks away, mumbling that Sam won't actually shoot him, Sam points his gun at Tommy and pulls the trigger.
From Shapeshifter to Skinwalker
A year has passed (with Sookie in fairyland) since Tommy took a bullet in the leg but survived, albeit with a limp, and Sam has entered anger management with a group of shifters to get over his issues. But Tommy's really fine and Sam is just going running, so they're both lying.
In the group is a shifter named Luna, who initially rebuffs Sam's romantic advances before he finds her sexily draped in his chair at the bar.
She also admits during one of the group's meetings that she once skinwalked, which can only be accomplished by killing another shifter from your own family. Her mom died during childbirth, so Luna once shifted into her mother and found it exhilarating.
After the revelation, Sam and Luna both sniff another shifter, and Sam chases an eavesdropping Tommy through the night, both as birds. They accuse each other of betrayal, but Tommy says he just wants to be brothers again. Though Sam doesn't trust him, he agrees they can start to chip away at their differences and work towards a better relationship.
Tommy, who is living with Maxine Fortenberry after Hoyt walked out on her, hatches a plan to sell the natural gas rights to her property and make off with the cash. He offers to let Sam in on the grift, but Sam is unimpressed and urges Tommy to follow a better path.
Tommy does the deed anyway and takes the proceeds to his mother, who claims to have left Joe Lee.
Sam pays Luna a surprise visit, but she's not happy to see him because she hasn't yet told him about her daughter, Emma. He convinces her to let him hang out with the family for the day, despite her warnings about Emma's spying werewolf father, Marcus Bozeman.
Back at Melinda's trailer, Joe Lee jumps Tommy and puts a chain around his neck, saying he's breathed his last free breath. Tommy kills them both and takes the bodies to Sam, who helps dispose of them in an alligator swamp. Having killed his shifter mother, Tommy unknowingly has new powers.
How to Royally Piss Off Your Brother
Tommy shifts into Sam, fires Sookie, sleeps with Luna and then kicks her out before passing out in a pool of his own bloody vomit. Sam rushes him to the hospital, where he is diagnosed with food poisoning. But Sam pieces it together after visiting a very angry Luna and having no idea what she's upset about.
He nearly strangles Tommy in a fit of rage and accuses him of plotting to kill Sam and take over his life. Tommy denies it and apologizes, but Sam kicks him out for good.
Sam is begging Luna to forgive him when Marcus shows up and is none to happy to see him there. He tells Sam that he "pissed on the wrong boots" and leaves, because really pissing on anyone's boots just isn't nice.
Luna urges Sam to take off, saying it'll be worse for everyone if Sam is there when Marcus returns. Instead, Sam suggests they go camping and delights Emma by shifting into a bunny.
Marcus shows up at Merlotte's demanding to know where Sam is, but Tommy says he doesn't know. Marcus gives him a card and says to have Sam meet him that night to settle things. So Tommy skinwalks as Sam again, showing up at the bike shop and insulting Marcus until three werewovles beat him to a pulp, only stopping when Alcide forces them.
An unconscious Tommy shifts back to his teenage self, horrifying his attackers. Alcide attempts to rush him to the hospital, but Tommy wants to go to Sam's trailer, where he can die in peace.
Back at Merlotte's, Sam wants to give Tommy V to save him, but Alcide says the boy has a right to pick his own time to die. Tommy breathes his last breath on the pool table, but not before telling Sam not to forget about him right away and apologizing for everything. He wishes he could disappear, like he never was. Sam plans to kill Marcus.
Finishing the Job
Sam goes to the bike shop and beats the crap out of Nate, one of the werewolves who attacked Tommy. Luna shows up, saying Marcus has kidnapped Emma, when a phone call from the child lets everyone know they are at Alcide's house.
Alcide's girlfriend Debbie has slept with Marcus, who is trying to convince her to run away with him because a girl deserves a proper mother -- a were, not a shifter. Debbie says no, citing her love for Alcide.
Alcide, Sam and Luna find Emma in the living room, and Luna ushers her out so the men can take care of Marcus. Alcide bursts into the bedroom to find a half-clothed Debbie with the packmaster. Sam walks in and decides to forego shifting and his gun to fight Marcus like a man.
Sam beats Marcus within an inch of his life, but decides not to kill him. Marcus thanks him for sparing his life by picking up Sam's gun. Before he can pull the trigger, Alcide tackles him and crushes his windpipe with one fatal blow.
Sam attends Tommy's funeral with Maxine, who says that while Tommy wasn't her flesh and blood, he was a son to her and Sam should call her "Momma" from now on. Back at Merlotte's, everyone is celebrating Halloween when Sookie comes in to talk to Sam. He realizes that Tommy had fired her, so he rehires her without disclosing what happened to his brother.
Sam is surrounded by werewolves who demand to know Marcus' whereabouts, because he's been missing for more than two days. He morphs into an owl and escapes, rushing to Luna's to warn her. But before they can flee, werewolf Rikki arrives and threatens them. Sam takes responsibility for killing Marcus so that the pack will leave Emma and Luna alone, and they torture him until he agrees to give them Marcus' body. In return, mom Martha Bozeman no harm will come to Marcus' family.
Sam leads them to Marcus, who they dig up and proceed to eat. Rikki is about to throw Sam in the grave when Alcide and Luna show up and break the news that Sam didn't actually kill Marcus. They bow to Alcide and declare him packmaster, but he wants nothing to do with it.
A Werewolf or a Shifter?
Luna takes Sam home to clean up his wounds, and Martha pays a surprise visit to ask what will happen when her granddaughter "turns." She feels that Emma is likely a werewolf, whereas Luna believes she'll be a shifter.
Sam tries to reason with Luna, who goes all crazy on him at the possibility her daughter might take after Marcus. She later opens Emma's door to find an adorable werewolf cub waiting for her. Perfect timing, right?
Enter Vampire Tara
Sam is taking a crate of beer bottles out of Merlotte's when he spots Tara crying blood, so he feeds her Tru Blood and locks her in the walk-in freezer as dawn approaches. Sookie and Lafayette arrive the next day, and she reads Sam's mind to find out where he stashed Tara.
He berates Sookie for her involvement in turning Tara into something she hates with such a passion but she argues Tara was going to die otherwise. Sam comes clean about not fighting harder to save Tommy, who died in his arms. He says Sookie gave Tara a second chance, but it's up to her what she does with it.
The Obama Murders (aka GOP Wet Dream)
Suzanne and Emory, two shifters from Sam's running club, stop by Merlotte's and ask Sam why he hasn't been coming around. At their begging, and at the news that they chose him over Luna, he agrees to join them that night. But when he arrives, he finds them both fatally shot in the head. He calls the police and admits to Andy that they're all shifters who run together, but he has no idea why anyone would murder them.
Sam breaks the news to Luna, who says Suzanne and Emory were wonderful people and begins crying. Sam wants to be there for her, but she asks him to leave. He agrees, but says he'll check in the next day.
As soon as he gets outside, a group of drunk men with Obama masks and rifles pull up in a pickup truck and open fire. Sam is shot once and Luna twice. Emma shifts into wolf cub form and avoids the bullets, running off to grandma Martha's house.
The Hunt is On
Luna and Sam are rushed to the hospital, both alive. Sam visit's Luna's bedside, arriving at the same time as Martha, who is carrying Emma (in pup form). She says she doesn't want to compete with Luna or take Emma away, but she wants to be in her granddaughter's life. Luna says that someone is hunting shifters and asks Martha to keep Emma safe for the time being.
Sam finds Andy and demands that he begin an investigation, so they go to the Stake House to see who has purchased supernatural-fighting weapons. The clerk reaches under the counter and pulls out a loaded gun, but Sam fires a crossbow arrow through his chest after sensing the man going into survival mode.
While officers question Andy in the front of the store, Sam is sniffing for clues in the back as Deputy Kenya Jones watches him curiously. He finds a box full of Obama masks and comments on the shooters' poor diets and lifestyles.
Sam tells Luna what he has discovered, and she wants to be out there helping. But he convinces her it's safer in the hospital. Sookie stops by with a gift, and she and Sam catch up over coffee, with her revealing she could become human if she uses up all her magic.
Later, a nurse kicks Sam out because visiting hours are over. On his way out, he spots one of the Obamas (Joe Bob, because again, Billy Bob would just be too stereotypical), posing as an orderly and intending to kill Luna. Sam tackles him and punches him in the face.
How to Make a Suspect Talk
Luna is furious and wants to go after the people trying to kill them, but Sam convinces her to rest. After he leaves, she shifts into Sam form, steals some clothes and leaves the hospital. Meanwhile, Sam shifts into a cobra to convince an uncooperative Joe Bob to talk, and he reveals the location of the compound and that the Obamas are holding Jessica hostage.
Luna arrives (in Sam form) at the station and tells Sam she doesn't know what happened and can't shift back.
Following the Bread Crumbs
Andy, Sam and Luna arrive at the compound and rescue Jessica, who is the only one there with a guard that she killed (Hoyt went for help because it was daylight). Also, they smell pigs.
Sam is able to turn Luna back to Luna by kissing her forehead, but he expresses concern for her well being because Tommy died from Skinwalking (Actually, he died from getting the crap beat out of him while skinwalking, but whatever, apparently it's not good for you).
Dissatisfied with how Andy is conducting the investigation, Sam and Luna decide to go out on their own. They shift into flies and overhear Andy and Jason linking the former Sheriff Bud to the Obamas, based on his retirement boots showing up on a video and the fact that he owns a pig farm.
The two of them beat Jason and Andy to the farm, and Sam, in pig form, rescues a now-abducted Sookie as she is about to be tossed into the pigpen. He takes on all the Obamas and knocks them out, as Bud's mistress Sweetie flees at the sight of the "dirty shifters." Luna gives chase.
Jason and Andy finally arrive, and when Bud makes a move at Sam, Andy shoots him dead. Luna takes the form of a dog to run down Sweetie, then shifts back into a human and lays a beatdown. The survivors are arrested, and Sam thanks Andy.
Russell Edgington, who is commanding the werewolf pack by supplying his blood, seizes pup Emma to be new vampire sidekick Steve Newlin's first pet. Sam poses as a reporter for a dog magazine to confirm the news. He and Luna fly to New Orleans for a live debate that Newlin is partaking in, but they are dismayed to learn he didn't bring Emma. They hide in his bag, and he brings them back to the Authority headquarters.
There, they scurry out of his bag as mice, finding Emma in a cage in werepup form. They are discovered outside the cell, but the guards assume they are escaped humans being kept as vampire food and lock them up again.
When feeding times comes around, Sam volunteers and is brought to Bill. He escapes by shifting into a fly, and he goes back to Luna and Emma to plan their escape.
Sam finds Steve's room and convinces Luna to skinwalk as him, which would also allow them to take Emma with them. But Chancellor Roslyn grabs her on the way out and drags her to a live television announcement regarding footage of Russell and Steve feeding on 22 fraternity brothers.
Halfway through the interview, Luna transforms back into herself, revealing to the world that shifters exist in addition to all the other crap humans have been dealing with since Tru Blood was invented.
Roslyn prepares to attack, but fly-form Sam flies into her mouth and shifts back into human form, destroying her from the inside. He stands there, naked and covered in blood, on live TV. As they rush to escape, Luna collapses from apparent exhaustion.
What's Next for Sam?
Who knows, really? It kind of depends on Luna's condition, but something tells me she's going to pull through. It's hard to tell which side Sam will be on in the human-vampire war that is brewing. He'll probably just be there for Sookie, warning her about the dangers of Bilith and yelling at her for the choices she makes. And he'll probably have to look out for someone while someone else is away. Because that's just what Sam does. What do you hope to see out of Sam this season?
True Blood season 6 premieres June 16 at 9pm on HBO.