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The Walking Dead: Greg Nicotero says Daryl is in bad shape

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Gene Page/AMC

In Negan’s mind, there was a method to the madness. He wanted to teach Rick a lesson, so he killed Abraham. And when Daryl then jumped out of line and hit him, well, then he killed Glenn to show everyone that actions have consequences.

Now the question becomes, how will the people Negan was trying to teach react to those lessons? We went to The Walking Dead director/executive producer Greg Nicotero to get some intel on what to expect going forward for Rick, Daryl, and Maggie.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Rick has totally been put in this submissive place with what went down in the premiere, ending with him almost having to cut off his own son’s arm. So what kind of Rick will we see now in response to that?

GREG NICOTERO: He’s destroyed. The entire point of the episode was to see the most uncomfortable thing you could ever see, which is our hero reduced to utter subservience and knowing that that’s the guy. Rick is the one who says, “They don’t know who they’re f—ing with,” or “I’m going to kill you.” Rick has always been the first one to stand up and say, “I’m going to win,” and that is beaten out of him by the death of two of his friends and the idea that he imagined every single person in that line-up being killed and Negan has guns behind each of their heads and says, “Okay, if you don’t do this they’re all going to die.”

It just broke him, and knowing that Rick is completely and utterly devastated and utterly lost moving forward to me is the most interesting part of where the series is going. We expect certain things from our heroes. We’re not accustomed to seeing our heroes completely under someone’s boot, so aside from how Rick is going to handle that, you know we are sort of spreading our world, spreading our wings a bit in terms of the Kingdom and the Sanctuary and Alexandria, so we have some exciting twists and turns coming in the next couple of episodes.

Will all the Alexandrians fall in line with that need to be submissive now?

I would think it’s safe to say that not everybody is on board with Rick’s subservience.

And then there is the Daryl wrinkle in all of this. He goes and pops Negan to protect Rosita, and we all know what happened as a result of that. I have to imagine that Daryl is going to blame himself for this.

Yeah, I don’t think there’s any way around that. There’s that shot in the episode of Daryl looking at him in utter and complete shock and anguish on his face, and we know who Daryl is. Daryl is the guy that would take a bullet for anybody. The reason he leapt out of that line was because Negan was bullying Rosita. The way he was standing in front of her screaming at her and shoving that bloody baseball bat in her face, he wasn’t going to take it. He wasn’t going to let Negan get away with it in front of anybody. I think he probably would have rather been the victim himself than have seen anyone else go.

So what does that mean in terms of where his psyche is going forward?

He’s in bad shape. He’s in really bad shape.

Clearly Negan’s goal was to make Rick submissive and subservient to his own will, but did that have the flipside effect with Maggie? Is this the final step in that process of her becoming a full leader in her own right?

I don’t know if it’s the final step, but she just watched her husband murdered in front of her. That’s clearly going to have a different effect on her than on anybody else in that regard. I think Maggie is falling into that, “Well of course I’m going to fight. That’s what we do. We always fight. You got to go back to Alexandria and you got to get ready because we’re going to fight,” and she’s just unaffected by what Negan did to Rick, but Rick is affected. That was directed at him.

For more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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