- "You can't trust Sam. He may be blood, but he ain't family. And he ain't never gonna be. He looks down on us, thinks he's better than us."
- ―Melinda Mickens, to her son, Tommy[src]
Melinda Mickens is a shapeshifter on the HBO original series True Blood. Played by American guest starring actress J. Smith-Cameron, Melinda makes her debut on the episode "Beautifully Broken" in the series' third season. The mother of Tommy Mickens and Sam Merlotte, she was only 16 when she gave up Sam for adoption by the Merlottes. Playing a recurring role through the series' third and fourth seasons, Melinda was last seen in the Season 4 episode "Me and the Devil".
Melinda was a selfish, overbearing, irresponsible and belligerent woman. She was verbally and emotionally abusive to her son Tommy and would slap and beat him when he defied her.
She was also greedy and would use the bonds of family loyalty to manipulate Tommy into fighting in brutal dog fights to earn her and her husband money.
She ultimately proved herself a poor parent, unfit mother, and a base human being, even going so far as to kidnap Tommy and force him to fight, effectively making him a prisoner for her and her husband to exploit for their own gain.
Her only remarkable act of consideration was when she gave Sam up for adoption, as she knew she would have been an unfit mother.
As a shapeshifter, Melinda took part in dog fights, and when she became pregnant with Tommy, Joe Lee convinced her to keep the child in the hope that he would turn out to be a shapeshifter like her. ("I Got a Right to Sing the Blues")
Melinda's first appearance is when Sam Merlotte is brought at gun point in her house by Tommy. After a short discussion, she realizes who Sam is and explains the reason she gave him up, hoping that he would have a better life. Melinda feels bad and apologizes to Sam when she finds out that the Merlottes left him when he was fifteen. ("Beautifully Broken")
Having been thrown out of their home, she and Joe Lee camp in the Merlotte's parking lot, until Sam offers them a place to stay. ("9 Crimes")
She visits Tommy when he refuses to return with Joe Lee, and admits that although Sam is blood, he is not family, and convinces Tommy to continue to participate in dog fights. ("I Got a Right to Sing the Blues")
She is saddened when both her sons leave her following the incident at the dog fighting ring. ("Hitting the Ground")
She visits Sam and Tommy to retrieve her belongings and tells them she understands why they want to leave her and that she continues to love them. She also asks Sam for money, after which he makes her leave. ("Night on the Sun")
When Tommy returned to visit Melinda, she lied to him claiming she left Joe Lee, but in reality she had not. Joe Lee attacked Tommy by choking him with a chain in an attempt to capture him and force him to participate in dog fighting once again. Tommy feigned passing out then used the chain on Joe Lee. Melinda tried to stop him, but Tommy killed him with multiple blows to the head with a pipe. He then inadvertently hit Melinda with the pipe as well, snapping her neck and killing her instantly. ("Me and the Devil")
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Melinda is a shapeshifter, able to change into many animals. She can not shift into a different human form, the reason given is that humans are too complex. A dog was her go-to shift, which means it was the easiest animal for her to become.
Years of participating in dog fights have taken their toll on Melinda and her ability to shift may have been affected.
|Season three appearances|
|"Bad Blood"||"Beautifully Broken"||"It Hurts Me Too"||"9 Crimes"|
|"Trouble"||"I Got a Right to Sing the Blues"||"Hitting the Ground"||"Night on the Sun"|
|"Everything Is Broken"||"I Smell a Rat"||"Fresh Blood"||"Evil is Going On"|
|Season four appearances|
|"She's Not There"||"You Smell Like Dinner"||"If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?"||"I'm Alive and on Fire"|
|"Me and the Devil"||"I Wish I Was the Moon"||"Cold Grey Light of Dawn"||"Spellbound"|
|"Let's Get Out of Here"||"Burning Down the House"||"Soul of Fire"||"And When I Die"|