Warning: MAJOR spoilers for "The Walking Dead" midseason premiere, "What Happened and What's Going On," lie ahead!
Hey, "Walking Dead" fans -- have you managed to start breathing again? Have your tears dried? Has your soul found a reason to go on, despite Tyreese's (Chad Coleman) demise at the hands of that adorable child zombie? No?
Well, either way, MTV News chatted with Rick Grimes himself, Andrew Lincoln, about the seemingly horrifying experience that was shooting Coleman's last hurrah in "What Happened and What's Going On." Find out what the bearded Brit had to say about the episode itself -- and what comes next -- below!
MTV News: Why oh why, after all this time, did something like this happen? How did they slip up this badly?! I am upset.
Andrew Lincoln: I know, I'm sorry... I don’t think they even thought that anything would possibly come of it, or there would be safety [concerns], or any family members [left] for Noah. It was more of a statement, for Beth. I do think that yet again, it’s a body blow. Losing these two characters, these two beloved characters, back-to-back is a pounding for these people. What you realize is they probably find their lowest low in the next two episodes.
MTV: It gets darker?
Lincoln: Afraid so. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
MTV: We got to see a lot of "Dead" dead, from Lizzie to the Governor to Beth, in the episode. You didn't share scenes with them, but did you get to see them? What was that like?
Lincoln: I watched a lot of it. I had the great privilege to act in a lot of scenes with Chad, then when I wasn’t in the scenes I was around -- I wanted to watch him, because that whole sequence when he’s hallucinating was stylistically such a departure for us. I thought it was a really bold thing. Also, David [Morrissey] was there, Emily [Kinney] was back, the girls were back -- it was this extraordinary, spaced out reunion. I really wanted to see the filming of it. I thought [director] Greg [Nicotero] did an absolutely magnificent job. Watching Chad work was like a master class, it was a real honor. I was just a fan watching it, basically.
MTV: This was kind of a return for badass, walker-killing Rick, too. It was Chad's episode, but you had your moments. Do you have a favorite kill?
Lincoln: We did have a sequence when -- and I think it was Chad’s POV -- when he sits back and he’s losing blood. Noah comes forward -- Tyler [James Williams], brilliant actor -- he comes forward, and I think it was the first time we’d ever done a slo-mo sequence. We opened the gates, and there’s a battle sequence. It was so cool to do it. It was wild, and it was sort of un-choreographed -- it wanted to be messy. That sequence I thought was really elegant, because it was the first time we’d done an almost slo-mo, POV sequence. So that was my favorite.
MTV: How do you slo-mo kill a walker?
Lincoln: It’s very difficult. You have to train for years to get to that phase. It’s something we’ve only attempted very rarely. Takes about five seasons before you can do the slo-mo brain shot.
MTV: When you finally reunite with Noah and Tyreese after his bite, you cut his arm off. It's a brutal shot. Are you used to chopping off limbs by now?
Lincoln: This wasn’t my first limb that I cut off. But it was incredibly intense, that scene. What I was excited about in the episode was the juxtaposition between this amazingly poetic, dream-like, almost first-person reality from Chad, intercut with an evac situation. It was a battle sequence. ‘We have to pull this guy out of the war zone.’ It was a desperate fight to pull this guy out, and I think that that was the most exciting thing. We had to up the ante and make it as rough and raw and... a hustle. As much of a hustle as possible. We just threw everything at it, as we always do. It was emotional, it was bloody, and it was a mess. Getting through the wires was... we didn’t really choreograph it, we just did it. People were hitting each other and bashing heads, it was a disaster. But it kind of worked for the madness of the futility of the evac.
MTV: Is there a difference, as an actor, between saying goodbye emotionally to Beth -- who was gone so soon -- and Tyreese, who had a whole episode dedicated to his demise?
Lincoln: They both were incredibly uncomfortable. Like you said, with their own uniqueness. Beth was so desperately upsetting because it was so abrupt, and because she was taken from us, she was pulled from our grasp so brutally. It was awful. Everybody was reeling from it, because it happened so quickly. Tyreese on the other hand, Chad’s departure, was agonizing. It was like pulling really a determined tooth, a rotten tooth, that takes hours. Every scene you saw this magnificent man and actor slowly dying, bleeding out in front of you. And it took days. It was agonizing for completely different reasons, but with exactly the same net result.
MTV: Things got pretty tense with Glenn and Michonne before everything went down... is Rick going to have to play peer mediator to these two opposing sides?
Lincoln: I think you’re right; I think you’ve identified it. Rick is still anchored by his friendships -- even though he’s uncompromising and brutal and a ferocious, pragmatic leader, there are still family members that pull him in. And these are two of his most vital. He sees that Glenn is catching up with him... and he doesn’t like it, it concerns him.
Even though he’s waiting for people to get up to speed with where he’s at, this [Glenn], if he’d met this guy and he’d been in the tank in season one in the first episode, this guy would not have saved his life. That, for Rick, is a very upsetting realization. And Michonne, interestingly, for being an outsider and for being in the wilderness for so long, she’s realized that this family has healed her and brought her back into humanity... She’s seeing that we’re falling apart, we’re ravaged with grief, we’re hungry, we’re tired, we’re homeless... the back eight is very much Glenn and Michonne having a huge part to play in this in regard to leadership, in their own right. You’ll be thrilled to see how their character journeys evolve.
MTV: What is Tyreese's death going to mean to the group as a whole?
Lincoln: I think you will see the fallout over both of those deaths, those body blows, play out over the next few episodes, affecting everybody. Principally, Sasha, the sister, she’s lost Bob and her brother in a very short space of time, and you’ll see an electrifying performance from her in the back eight -- in a really detailed study in grief, amongst other things. Also, of course, Maggie and Daryl -- it will have a profound affect on everybody, but watch out for those three, and how they process these deaths over the next couple of episodes.
MTV: I'm terrified. And in other news, where is Morgan?
Lincoln: He seems to show up every three seasons, doesn’t he? Maybe not this season, because that wouldn’t balance it out. He was in season one, three... I would imagine [we'll see him in] six.