By Clark Collis
March 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
Gene Page/AMC
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Tonight’s episode of AMC‘s zombie saga the Walking Dead was a great one for fans who love Andrea — and arguably an even better one for those who don’t. Beware of SPOILERS.

Laurie Holden‘s character certainly got a lot of screen time, but most of it was spent being hunted by David Morrissey’s deranged Governor before a climactic reveal that found her awaiting a fate worse than death. Or death. Or, at the very least, some highly unpleasant root canal work.

Below, Walking Dead TV show executive producer — and Walking Dead comic writer — Robert Kirkman ruminates on the Governor’s pursuit of Andrea, why David Morrissey always gets his way, and, of course, Troll 2.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I found the end of this show to be possibly the most chilling moment in the series so far.

ROBERT KIRKMAN: It’s a little disturbing. I’m sorry about that.

It wasn’t a complaint. But I am genuinely haunted by the thought that, when Andrea saw the Governor laying out those weapons of torture at the start of the show, she had no concept that she might be the one who ends up sitting in the chair.

It’s definitely ramping things up for the end of our season. We are seeing a new darkness emerging in the Governor. He’s moving things to an extra level, which is going to be detrimental to all. So… here we go!

You pulled off a real bait-and-switch, though. Certainly those familiar with the comic book might have assumed, particularly given the way the opening scene segued into the scene of the Governor with the chains, that all roads were leading to Michonne being tortured. Of course, that could still happen — but you really played with fans’ expectations.

Yeah. And I will say those events in the comics, which involve those chains, are among the darkest moments of the comic series. Even as the guy that wrote them, seeing those chains on the show and seeing the Governor in that room is extremely disturbing. So I think there is an extra level of creepiness and darkness to that scene if you are aware of the events in the comic-book series. A fun aspect of working on the show is changing up expectations — being able to tell the story on television, where the television audience can watch it and enjoy it, but also being able to add those different layers and move against comic-book readers’ expectations.

The lengthy sequence in which the Governor stalked Andrea through the building had a different tone to anything we’ve previously seen on the show.

It’s a little bit suspenseful. We do like to add different kinds of horror elements to the show and keep things new and different. We thought it was a good time to do something like that.

I actually jumped in my chair when the Governor finally grabbed Andrea — although I thought there was a good chance it was all going to end with Rick shooting her in the head.

[Laughs] Anything can happen on this show!

But it was heartbreaking moment, even before you knew of her end-of-show fate.

We really wanted it to be, “If she’d only gotten 10 more steps, then everything would have been fine!” It was a heartbreaking, “If only…” moment.

It’s amazing that David Morrissey can still come across as so charming, given what we’ve seen his character do — not just to characters on the show but to the viewer as well. Even this week, when he was talking to Tyreese and his crew, I was thinking, “You know, he does have a good side.”

[Laughs] “He’s gonna do something bad — but, man, I like that guy!” He’s like that on set too. He’s like, “I’d like to change this line.” And you’re like, “No!” And then he’s like, “I’d really like to change this line.” And you’re like, “Alright, what you got in mind?”

Speaking of Tyreese’s group, this show we got our first proper look at its stresses and dynamics.

We’re starting to get to know those people a little bit better; and see what was going on behind the scenes with them when they were out on their own; and seeing a little bit of a rift forming between Allen and Tyreese. And I think there’s probably more where that came from.

Next: “I would expect a lot of Troll 2 references in Walking Dead season 4.”

At the risk of sounding like Comic Book Guy, why have the folks in Woodbury gone to such tremendous efforts to build this zombie-capturing, pit-and-pole contraption when they have walkers literally walking up to their town’s walls on what appears to be an hourly basis? Couldn’t they just grab them instead?

I think you’re miscounting the sheer number of zombies they need for their gladiatorial fights, and the various trucks full of zombies that they’re going to drive into the prison, and things like that. They’ve got a large supply-and-demand issue when it comes to zombies. The ones that are coming up to the wall just wouldn’t be enough.

Good answer, sir! The shots of the burned zombies represented another graphic high, or low, for the show, depending on your sensibilities.

Depending on whether you’re a parent or not.

Yes.

That’s definitely going to go on the KNB sizzle reel. Greg Nicotero and his guys continue to impress. Once again, there’s images in this show which even I find disturbing to look at, like the Governor getting stabbed in the eye and this thing — they never fail to impress.

The point was made that maybe Martinez wouldn’t be any better, or any less dangerous, a leader than the Governor. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that things would definitely be better with Martinez in charge. In fact, I’m going to start a Martinez-for Governor write-in campaign.

I think you’d get a lot of signatures. I don’t think Martinez has a room with a torture chair in it.

That was a dentist’s chair, right? And, if so, what happens to the Woodbury inhabitant who has a medical problem with their teeth?

I think there’s a dentist in Woodbury in somewhere that’s looking for his chair. He’s like, “Why would someone need that? I’ve got important work to do!”

I think it’s fair to say that Milton has not really taken the opportunity offered by the zombie apocalypse to make himself over style-wise.

[Laughs] You’re saying his wardrobe is a little dated?

Not so much dated — but if it was me, in an apocalyptic scenario, I’d definitely be going for the full Tina Turner-in-Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, not wandering around in a sweater.

He definitely sticks out like a sore thumb in this world. But I have to say there is a method to that madness. If that’s the kind of clothes that you are accustomed to wearing, I think there is a certain benefit to maintaining that status quo and continuing to go through those rituals of putting those clothes on and dressing like that, as an attempt to convince yourself that there is still civilization, and this is still a world you can live in: “I shouldn’t necessarily be breaking out the shoulder pads and the spiked football helmets just yet. I can still wear a button-up shirt and look nice even though there are zombies trying to eat me.”

Is the Governor a secret Snake Plissken fan? I appreciate the eye patch is hardly a style-choice but with the long coat he is beginning to look an awful lot like Kurt Russell in the Escape From… movies.

We’ve been watching a lot of Escape From L.A. in the writers room, that’s all I can say.

I do have a soft spot for that film.

If you’re looking for a good basketball scene in a post-apocalyptic action movie you can’t really find a better one than the one in Escape From L.A.

We’re going way off topic here, but this is what really ticks me off: Russell and John Carpenter have talked about making a third Snake Plissken movie called Escape From Earth and now there’s some animated movie called Escape From Planet Earth, so that can never happen!

I’ve seen Escape From Planet Earth.

Really?

I have children. So I have to see all of those movies. Escape From Planet Earth was pretty good. But it definitely could have used some more Snake Plissken.

Name something which couldn’t use some more Snake Plissken.

[Laughs] I can’t — I can’t even name Escape From New York or Escape from L.A. because even those movies could have used more Snake Plissken.

Indeed they could. This week you announced that a couple of new writers would be joining the show, including Curtis Gwinn, who has worked on Death Valley and Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SVU  but who I once interviewed because of his love for the film Troll 2.

Well, that is news to me. I can’t wait to bring that up in the writers room.

You should definitely check out Troll 2 — there’s also an excellent  documentary about its making and cult following called Best Worst Movie, in which Curtis appears.

That guy is multitalented. I would expect a lot of Troll 2 references in Walking Dead season 4.

Read more:

‘Walking Dead’ recap: Road Runner and Coyote

‘Walking Dead’ exec producer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight’s show, ‘Arrow on the Doorpost’

The ‘Troll’ trilogy: Is this really the ‘Best Worst’ movie franchise of all time?

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AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.
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