Following the death of his wife Lori, Rick Grimes took a turn down a dark path in the latest episode of AMC's The Walking Dead. As his own personal form of therapy, Rick entered the prison and proceeded to hack and slash anything without a heartbeat. Meanwhile, we also found out some disturbing details about The Governor and his settlement of Woodbury—not only do they regularly hold gladiator matches in a ring surrounded by chained-up zombies, but the Gov is secretly keeping his undead daughter locked up in a room in his apartment.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman discussed these developments and more. Although the Reporter guessed that the phone call Rick received at the end of the episode would mirror the storyline in the comic book, Kirkman acknowledged that readers of the comics would "have a leg up on the television show" and tried to remain ambiguous. For those who have not read the comics, I won't spoil anything here. Kirkman did reveal that the show would continue to explore Rick's precarious state of mind. "He's definitely not in a good place. This is a guy who has had the weight of this entire world on his shoulders for a very long time, and what we've witnessed in this last episode and the one before it is his breaking point," he said. "And now that he's broken, it's a question of whether or not he comes back from that or if he continues to go down the dark path. That's what we'll be seeing moving forward."
As for the Governor and his zombified daughter Penny, Kirkman explains that he is possibly holding onto the hope that a cure will be discovered: "That's really the answer as to why he puts so much stock in Milton (Dallas Roberts). He is desperately clinging to Penny despite her status of being a zombie, and he's got this guy who's saying, 'Look, there are certain things about these creatures that we don't necessarily know, and I'm going to study and find out more things about them.' The Governor is certainly hopeful that there will be some kind of thing discovered that tells them that that is in fact still his daughter and he hasn't lost her. But who knows where that'll go or what his reaction will be when he gets the news."
A throwback to the gladiator bouts of old, the staged fights held for the entertainment of the citizens of Woodbury caught Andrea off-guard after she opted to remain in the town while Michonne elected to depart. According to Kirkman, the contrast between Woodbury and Rick's group of survivors is, in a word, bizarre. "That's a very jarring and bizarre thing to go from this idealistic community of peace and solitude to seeing this very bizarre way of letting off steam and this very bizarre form of entertainment. It's very primal, and it kind of goes back to older human civilizations and calls back to ways we used to do things. It's definitely staged and something that is done for entertainment," Kirkman affirms. "Whether it remains that way throughout the season remains to be seen, but this is something that Woodbury has established and that Andrea is somewhat uncomfortable with. She's found that thing that does make her think twice and go, 'Hey, wait a minute, maybe there was something to what Michonne was saying.' What she does with this knowledge is something we'll find out going forward."
Another development in the episode was the emergence of Daryl as a leader in the absence of Rick. Will he continue to fill that role? "He's definitely stepping up and taking on that role in Rick's absence, and that's something that he's very capable of doing. Whether or not that's something that he wants to do, we'll see. We've seen that Daryl is a character who, while he is very capable, is someone who is not exactly looking for a lot of responsibility," explains Kirkman. "So I don't necessarily see it going that way, but Daryl is an extremely versatile character, and there's a lot of depth to that guy. The fact that he is so caring and is such a compassionate person just by being such a total badass, he definitely will make a good leader. But whether or not we go in that direction remains to be seen."
To see Kirkman's answers about the questionable fate of Carol and the future of Merle, as well as other topics, check out the full interview at The Hollywood Reporter.
How did you feel about the most recent edition of everyone's favorite post-apocalyptic drama? Head on over to my review of "Say The Word" and share your thoughts!