The Walking Dead showrunner on that shocking ending
SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s “Warning Signs” episode of The Walking Dead.
Stuff is getting real dark real fast on The Walking Dead. That was the big takeaway from Sunday’s “Warning Signs” episode. It turns out Cyndie and the Oceansiders were actually the ones murdering Saviors as revenge for previous crimes. Not only that, but upon discovering this — and that the Oceansiders had been inspired by Maggie executing Gregory — Maggie and Daryl let them finish the job. And when the episode ended, Maggie and Daryl were off to Alexandria to finish off Negan.
That wasn’t all. We got some disturbing intel on Anne (formerly Jadis), learning she was part of some sort of human trafficking ring, which culminated with her knocking out current lover Gabriel to deliver him to the helicopter. And Rick watched the majority of Saviors walk off the job of building the bridge. So, all in all, it seems like rebuilding society may not be as simple as it seems. We spoke to showrunner Angela Kang to get the inside scoop on all that and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, you got me Angela. I was sure it was the Whisperers that were off killing these Saviors that were disappearing, but it turns out the Oceansiders are revealed as the ones doing the executing, and Cyndie says to Maggie that they started doing this because Maggie inspired them by hanging Gregory. So then I’m like, well, this is going be the wake-up call for Maggie to be like, “Oh, this horrible. This as all gone too far. I have to stop this.” But no! Instead, she and Daryl let them finish the job, and then she says that Cyndie now inspired her to go finish off Negan. So it appears you have set Maggie and Daryl heading down what seems to be a very dark path.
We really thought of this like a chain of dominoes. Somebody has tipped the first domino, and everything starts to fall from there, except you don’t even realize it in the moment that that’s what’s happened. If you go back and look at episode 1, there’s the scene between Cyndie and Daryl in the museum where she’s thinking about her brother in this really odd moment where they’re looking at a canoe. It’s this innocent thing, and hopefully it plays in the moment almost like it’s more about Daryl and his grief over the people he’s lost over time, because we know him more. But she is still carrying this, and it’s still fresh for her, the pain that she has over her brother.
And then she’s there at the hanging. She sees it happen. Oceanside, if you think about it, Rick’s group came in and took all their guns. They basically said, “Here’s what’s happening, and you’re doing it.” So, Oceanside, they’re gonna fall in line in some ways, even though they are a very strong society of their own. They just figured here are the rules of the new world and we’re gonna play ball, lest anything happen to us. And when Maggie goes her own way and does something which is not what Rick wants, that is a signal to her. Oceanside came in, in the finale last year, ready to avenge their loved ones after saying, “No, we don’t want to get involved.” They were out for blood. And they helped some people at Hilltop, but by the time they got to the battlefield, it was over at that point.
So this bloodlust has been building up?
It’s just something they’ve been carrying. And being a very communal group, they just helped each other. And there are these other little clues we put in there like Cyndie has this odd wound on her hand, but she really didn’t cut it peeling potatoes. That happened when she took somebody down. And she’s there in the tent when she realizes that Justin was sent away. They’re just watching and waiting and using the opportunities to do it. And what I think is the typical Walking Dead story is that Maggie has mercy and her humanity shines through, and Maggie is a human person. But in this instance, we liken it to, what if a Nazi ran away and started a new life, and then you have the chance to kill that Nazi that killed your family? Does anything count after that? Should it? Everybody’s gonna have a different answer to that.
And so, in this moment, Maggie, who’s been thinking so much about what happened to her husband, she does make a somewhat unexpected choice, but that pain is so fresh for her. Those are just all things that we wanted to explore, and see where Maggie’s at, and how she has changed as a result of all these actions. She is still Maggie, but Maggie is also trying to grapple with what’s right and wrong this season as well. And she laid it out that the reason she spared Earl and not Gregory is that one person felt redeemable to her, the other didn’t. And so, she’s sort of making that same value judgment here as well.
Were you hoping that fans were going to think this was the Whisperers that were doing all this?
You know what’s funny? I didn’t even think about the Whisperers as a misdirect. We were thinking about like, okay, we can misdirect Jadis, and we can misdirect Daryl. We were thinking about all numbers of things. We realized the Whisperers misdirect kind of late in the game. And we’re like, “You know what? But this is good to.” It should be a question: Who did this? Because hopefully we’ve done our job right and you can go back and find the things that point to this, but it shouldn’t be so obvious that you know from the jump what exactly happened.
So what is an A, what is a B, and what can you tell us about Anne knocking out Gabriel to presumably deliver him to these mystery folks with the helicopter?
So, here’s what I’ll say about an A and a B. She originally thought Gabriel was a B. The A and B has something to do with the thing that she was involved in which was human trading, and it was a way to differentiate between classes of people. She thought that Gabriel was a B. She knew that Rick and Negan were A’s but she now thinks that Gabriel is also an A. So I’ll just say that, because I think anything more, I might get in trouble.
So, A, is a leader, and B is a follower, maybe? Am I close?
Maybe. I will say that is a very good maybe.
The natural question then after she knocks him out: Was her affection for Gabriel that we saw last week all a ruse, or was that actually genuine?
I’ll say that the affection for Gabriel was genuine. She is a complicated person, and I think the way we’ve really thought about her story this season is like, if you almost imagine somebody who was like a criminal that decided to go straight, but then it’s like the mob calls you back. And she feels like she can’t integrate. She tried, but doesn’t know if it worked that well. And so, she’s here trying to decide what is the balance between what are you willing to do for somebody that you genuinely have affection for, but who also sort of mistrusts you in the moment, versus something that is for her own self interests?
Obviously, the other big move of this episode is with all the Saviors walking off and abandoning this project, or at least a vast majority of them it looks like. What does that mean for the bridge, and what does that mean for the coalition as a whole?
This is a such a crushing moment for Rick, because they have a little bit of a ticking clock on this project. They’re worried that once the waters rise, it’s gonna make it really difficult, if not impossible, to work on that bridge. And if the bridge crumbles even more, it might get to the point where they can never fix it. And I think, for Rick, he’s really seeing this bridge as a symbol of the communities working together, of the communities staying connected in terms of being able to travel back and forth, being able to trade back and forth. It’s like a major route that gets blocked up, and we’ve already seen that it’s like the other routes that you have to take around this bridge are more treacherous. So, it’s a huge loss, and it’s a big part of the story going forward.
Okay, what can you say about what’s coming up next?
I’ll say that we saw Maggie and Daryl resolve something at the end of episode 3, and that story plays out. Daryl pledged to help her in this, and that’s gonna put him into some conflict with some of our other characters. And we’ll see Maggie make her way to Alexandria, and how that story plays out. Later in this season, we obviously will get to the story of the Whisperers. And for people who don’t know the comic that don’t want to totally spoil what that is, the information is out there for people who want to find it. But that is another mystery and an interesting problem that they run into, as well as there will be great new characters that turn the story in interesting ways.
For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.