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The survivors on The Walking Dead were in a bit of a predicament when things ended in the season 6 midseason finale — their town infiltrated by zombies, and a jittery youngster threatening to crack. Well, it seems you can expect things to get worse before they get better when the show picks back up on Feb. 14. That’s according to star Andrew Lincoln, who warns that, “it’s going to scare some people.” Here’s what else he had to say about what’s coming up on the AMC drama.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you describe the arc or tone of what we’re going to see in the back half of season 6?
ANDREW LINCOLN: We do realize very quickly in the returning episode that it’s almost like the end of a chapter. Something happens. Rick learns a lot about himself in this episode. What I will say is that the pace quickens a lot in the back eight. It jumps up a gear, maybe two gears, and we move very, very quickly. A lot of things happen in quick succession that propel us towards a very thrilling finale.
I will say that five of my favorite episodes in a long time — and very different episodes — are in this back eight. I loved shooting this back eight, from the moment we started with episode 9, which felt like a season premiere. The scale of it is astonishing. And [director] Greg Nicotero and our brilliant crew put their bodies and everything on the line to get it shot. It was all night. It’s absolute mayhem. I think it’s going to scare some people.
What is this zombie siege going to ultimately do for the survivors? Will this still be a town divided or will those who survive band together?
That question is very quickly answered in the returning episode. [Showrunner Scott M. Gimple] and the writers have done a very smart thing in that they’ve thrown a lot of propositions and questions and challenges to Rick and the family and the community, and you will quickly realize they are answered in a very shocking, brilliant, terrifying, epic way. All I will say is this is our Magnificent Seven, this episode.
Robert Kirkman told EW that the plan is not to leave Alexandria like they left the prison when that got overrun—that whomever survives this zombie siege is still going to try to make this place work. Why is Alexandria worth saving?
Because it is a functioning community and it was functioning perfectly well until we showed up, which is generally the way. It’s secure. We have the capability of growing things. And we don’t have any other options. There is that. But also, there are substantial houses that work. We have solar panels and electricity and there are certain things that are the beginnings of a civilization, so it would be strange for us to look for somewhere else because I’m not sure if there would be anything as contained and secure and environmentally sound.
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We’re used to you all leaving in a rush when a place gets overrun like the farm or the prison, but this is unlike those two places.
I think it is. When we arrived there we felt that instantly. Also, Deanna, for all of her flaws, she was an incredibly savvy leader and had great ambitions for the place. The mere fact that they were able to build the fortifications and the solar panels and all of the infrastructure is an astonishing achievement — and with nothing, no soldiers or anything. Rick’s strength is seeing that we can fortify this place. A lot of these concerns and questions get answered relatively quickly in the first two or three episodes of this back eight. There is a time jump, I will say, at some point. And you will see why we stay in Alexandria.
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We know that Jesus and Gregory from the comics will be showing up, which means the Hilltop community will be making an appearance as well. What is Rick’s take going to be on this expanding world and other pockets of people?
I think you’ll see there’s a marked change in Rick as a result of what happens in episode 9. It’s one of those watershed moments that happens. And as a result he learns something vital about being a leader. And yet again, he changes. And he develops a new way of leading. And that could be said for the back 8, in that it turns very dark.
I’m more excited than I’ve been for a long, long time. We’ve been spending so much time looking inward and looking inside the walls, certainly in the Alexandria chapter. Now, we’re looking to the horizon. In one direction you see good, and in the other direction, you see very, very bad. But the world is suddenly growing. And as a result, the show grows again. And as a result, the family and Rick as a leader has to develop and adapt to this new world order.