Spoiler alert: This story contains details from June 30 première of Season 2 of Under the Dome on CBS.
There's nothing certain about death on television.
Amid a cavalcade of casualties -- thanks, Game of Thrones! -- reports of character deaths can nevertheless be greatly exaggerated. As some recent TV episodes illustrate, some fatalities aren't what they appear to be and others are hardly final.
On Monday's second-season première of CBS's Under the Dome, Sheriff Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez) was killed by an SUV but later reappeared and spoke to Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris), who interpreted her communication as a message from the dome. Another goner, Dodee (Jolene Purdy), also came back to haunt Big Jim.
The deceased "may come back as avatars," executive producer Neal Baer says. The dome "took that form to communicate with Big Jim."
HBO's True Blood brought back vampires Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Tara (Rutina Wesley) on June 29's episode. Eric apparently survived incineration by daylight, a vampire's permanent demise, in last season's finale. Tara, the loser of a fight to the finish with an infected vampire in the season première, appeared as a vision during her mother's vampire-blood high.
Supernatural dramas are most likely to consider death a temporary infirmity. ABC's Resurrection and Sundance's The Returned are built around people coming back from the great beyond, while zombie mobs frequent AMC's The Walking Dead.
Other shows fake deaths: Villain Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) seemed to have exploded in Fox's The Following, only to resurface last season, and 24's President James Heller (William Devane) appeared to be the victim of a drone strike, but it was only his digital image. It faked out the terrorists, along with more viewers than producers had anticipated.
"Some people were upset and couldn't believe Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) would allow this to happen. Others were outraged that there was no silent clock," a 24 tribute to significant fallen characters, executive producer Manny Coto says. "Others were saying, 'Hey, no silent clock. I don't think he's dead.'"
24 book-ended Heller's survival with the death of his assailant, Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley), as an unforgiving Jack tossed her out a fifth-floor window. This is getting to be familiar territory for Fairley, whose Catelyn Stark had her throat slashed last year on HBO's Thrones.
On Dome, Angie McAlister (Britt Robertson) also died during the première. At the same time, one character thought to be dead -- Junior's mother, Pauline (Sherry Stringfield) -- was alive outside the dome.
Angie may be deceased, but she's not necessarily gone.
"I love that I died in an episode Stephen King wrote. That's cool and a little notch on my belt," Robertson says. "Maybe that won't be the last you see of Angie... Almost every character that has died has come back, so hopefully I won't be the one that's left out."
-- USA Today