The Beth death hit the group extremely hard, but we have yet to see extended reactions from the people to whom she was closest—Maggie and Daryl. That will change on this Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead. We spoke with Lauren Cohan about what to expect from Maggie coming up, and now we chat with Norman Reedus to find out what it all means for the crossbow-wielding warrior.
EW: Let’s start with the whole Beth thing. What is her death going to do to Daryl?
NORMAN REEDUS: The show’s really good at giving you a little something and taking it away before you can really celebrate it or ingest it. They’re good at dangling that carrot out in front of you and ripping it away. Beth was teaching Daryl a lesson for a while—telling him that not everybody’s bad and there are still good people out there, at a point when he pretty much thought the opposite and he had given up on that whole idea. She was this little beacon of hope and slowly her ideals were seeping into Daryl. I don’t know that it was so much of a love thing—like he was in love with her or felt love feelings for her. There was love there. I don’t know if it was romantic love, but there was the idea of hope and love, and that the world’s not as dark everywhere.
She held onto that belief. Taking her away from him like that, in front of his face, when he fought so hard to get her back, was crushing to him. He goes into a depression and I think he’ll slowly seep back into a dark place, which sucks. It sucks for him, it sucks for everybody—but that’s the world that we’re living in. To have Beth taken right in front of him, after all of that. The way that Daryl shot that cop that accidently shot Beth—it wasn’t like he had to think about it. He just went straight into murder mode. It wasn’t any sort of fight with should he or shouldn’t he?—that was just a no brainer. I think Carol putting her hand on his shoulder was the only thing that stopped him from shooting everybody in front of him.
Is Rick is going to become a little more intractable, and could there be some tension there in terms of Rick trying to do the Ricktatorship again and how Daryl is going to react to that?
It’s different in the second half of the season. As far as the Rick/Daryl thing goes, I don’t think the tension is there. Rick definitely will go to some dark places, but I don’t know that Daryl will totally be involved in those, if that makes sense.
It seems like every time Daryl allows himself to get close to someone, something terrible happens. Is this going to make him revert a bit to the more standoffish Daryl we first met—the less trusting, nervous-to-get-close-to-people Daryl?
It will a bit, yeah. It definitely does. He goes to a dark, quiet place and he doesn’t want to play any reindeer games or whatnot.
How low is this group?
Everyone’s incredibly low after this. It’s one of the darkest times that we’ve ever had as a group. Everyone is on the verge or giving up. At some point what’s in the their head is, “What’s the point?” Certain characters have more to live for than others, but everyone is super low at this point. We’re in a dark phase—a dark depressed phase.
You guys are going to be doing some things that are going to feel a lot different than what you’ve done before. Can you talk about that a little bit?
It’s entirely different. The back half of this season is completely different than any section of any season. The settings are different, the conflict is different, different relationships. I have changed. People have morphed into different people in the second half. You’ll see characters that were so one way be a different way, be completely different. That comes from that breaking point that we were just speaking about.
Anything else Daryl-related that you can tease coming up?
There’s some really funny things. There’s some humor in Daryl in the back eight that just comes from him being him. He’s not really telling jokes, but it’s kind of funny. And then there are a couple of moments that are just the saddest. Then there’s a couple of ones that are super hero s—. There’s great stuff happening. There’s a sense of humor to Daryl that, I think, we see for the first time because he’ll say little one-liners that are kind of funny, but he’s screaming them in your face.
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