'Walking Dead': Robert Kirkman talks 'Hounded'
[WARNING!!! THIS POST CONTAINS ‘WALKING DEAD’ SPOILERS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK]
Love was in the air during tonight’s episode of the Walking Dead — and that’s not a sentence you get to write too often. But Andrea and the Governor’s taking of their relationship to the next level wasn’t the only big news as Merle and his goons made the mistake of trying to take down Michonne and we found out just who has been calling Rick.
Below, Walking Dead TV show executive producer — and Walking Dead comic writer — Robert Kirkman ruminates on blood, beer, basketball, and bada–ery.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, the Governor and Andrea consummated their romance this episode. I appreciate the Governor is bats—t crazy but I genuinely found it hard to begrudge those two at least one moment of happiness.
I agree with that. I’m definitely seeing stuff on the Internet where people are saying, “Oh my gosh, how is Andrea caught under his spell?” When I think about it I could easily be caught under David Morrissey’s spell. You know, the viewer is aware of all these things that are going on behind the scenes. But, at face value, this guy is very kind, very hospitable, and super handsome, and he’s in this fantastic town. If I was running around in the woods hacking up zombies for a year I can’t definitely say I wouldn’t sleep with him.
The plot line which finds Rick talking to Lori on the phone after her death is directly lifted from the comic book. Why did you decide to adapt that so faithfully?
That moment is a pretty popular thing from the comic. That’s something that a lot of people talk about. And because we had the death of Lori in the show, it came up pretty quickly in the writers’ room that that was a bit we definitely wanted to adapt. I think it says a lot about Rick, it makes him sympathetic. He’s at a breaking point and his mind needs that to a certain extent. We thought it would be a good thing for the character
Why did the Governor send out Merle and his gang to hunt down Michonne?
The Governor has been a leader in Woodbury for such a long time. He’s maintained the status quo and I think the way he’s done that is by not really letting any loose ends dangle out there. Getting rid of the National Guard platoon — that was a situation where there was a group of people that could question his leadership or show an alternative to the people of Woodbury. And the idea that Michonne would be out there knowing about Woodbury and would be able to tell someone about it and possibly bring other people there is something that he just couldn’t allow happen.
This was the episode which revealed Michonne to be a true bada–. It’s one thing to be slicing and dicing zombies but it’s another to be killing people who are still alive.
[Laughs] Yeah. She was definitely in a kill-or-be-killed situation. It was clearly justified. But she is a strong character. She’s someone who is not going to lie down, not going to allow herself to be taken, not going to allow herself to be killed. She’s willing to go those extra lengths and do what needs to be done.
I enjoyed the scene where she’s covered in gore and the ghouls leave her alone and you can see her thinking, “Huh, this is easier than dragging a pair of jawless zombies around.”
I disagree. I think a couple of jawless zombies can carry a lot more supplies than a bunch of gore smeared on your shirt.
That is a good point. I’m assuming we’ll be hearing more about this mysterious “Red zone”?
Moving on! I also enjoyed the exchange between Merle and the doomed Neil in which the former said, “I want you to succeed! I really do!” It’s like there’s some small part of him that’s a supportive middle manager-type.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think he’s kind of a leader in his own head. He’s got this little group that the Governor has given him and he wants to be in a position of authority also. Yeah, I like to think that Merle had a past which involved a lot of middle management!
The moment when Merle told Neil that he was going to get him a beer I thought, “That guy’s time on this planet can now probably be measured in minutes.”
[Laughs] How astute of you! I think next time Glen Mazzara has to do a death call to one of the actors that we’re going to be killing, he should open the call with, “I’m gonna buy you a beer!”
Next: “I wouldn’t drink zombie blood in high volumes.”
This is a real Comic Book Guy question — but do I gather that if someone swallows a tiny bit of zombie blood they won’t turn into one of the undead? There was a lot of it being sprayed around this episode.
Yeah, people to a certain extent think of zombie blood as being like the blood from Alien. You know, in the Alien movies it’s like, “Oh god, if it touches you, you explode!” or whatever. Whatever it is that turns these people into zombies is in them already. So the idea of getting zombie blood on your face, which happens all the time, and it turning you into a zombie is something that’s just not the case.
Now, that doesn’t make the zombie bite any less lethal. You know, breaking the skin, having that kind of contact with the toxicity that zombie mouths would have, would be something that causes an infection that definitely would lead to your death and then the thing that’s already in you would turn you into a zombie. So there is a science to this, to a certain extent.
Although, to be clear, you are not technically a scientist.
No. No, no, no. But I know about everything that scientists know, I’m pretty certain! But anyway, zombie blood is not quite as deadly as a lot of people think. I wouldn’t drink it in high volumes, though.
Carol is alive! And that’s good news, particularly as I believe it means you owe me $20.
I’ll send you some cash.
The “biter-gram” was a fantastic touch. Who’s idea was that?
You know what? I think it was Scott Gimple, the writer of the episode.
It was strangely, bleakly funny to me when, after Daryl told this long, woeful story about his mother, Carl one-upped him by pointing out that he’d just had to kill his own.
Yeah. It’s like Daryl’s trying to relate to him to a certain extent but then it’s like, “Oh wait, never mind!” We had a lot of fun with that moment.
Does Daryl have any nice childhood memories, do you think?
[Laughs] I’m sure he skipped some stones over a pond at one point. But the Dixon brothers have had a pretty hard time of it and I think that that’s led to a lot of their personality difficulties and…I guess I’m just going to say, “No. No, he hasn’t.”
What’s next? All kinds of awesome. This whole season has been about the group at the prison and the group at Woodbury. When are they going to meet? When are they going to interact? And I think that now that you’ve got Glenn and Maggie in Merle’s hands and then you’ve got Michonne in the prison, things are going to start ramping up and we’re going to start seeing these two groups clash. So look out for that kind of awesome.
You’ve made the prison look like most miserable place on the planet while Woodbury has a lovely, small town vibe to it. Given the choice I might well be thinking, “’F’ this prison, I’m moving to Woodbury.”
Well, the undercurrent in the prison is that these are good people and things are okay, despite it looking like crap.
“Things are okay.” Really?
Well, you know, to a certain extent, maybe. I look at it a little differently to other people, I’ll admit that.
That place doesn’t seem okay to me. At. All.
They’ve got, you know, baby formula now. They’re hanging out with a baby — that’s a lot of fun. They’ve got guard towers that you can play in. There is a basketball court. There’s no basketball court at Woodbury!
Is it possible the Woodbury-prison confrontation may take the form of a basketball game?
I’ll never tell!