[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s “The Calm Before” episode of The Walking Dead.]

Man, the Hilltop just cannot catch a break. First, Maggie took off. Then Jesus was cut down by a Whisperer. And on Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, the latest leader of the community was taken out, and in epic, terrible fashion.

Tara Chambler was one of 10 people who was killed by the Whisperers and then had their zombified heads put on pikes to mark a new border that the coalition of communities was instructed not to cross. It was a horrifying end for Tara, who first showed up back in season 4 as a fun and free-spirited soul that was part of the attacking party on the prison, but then became an ally to the survivors and eventually assumed the leadership position at the Hilltop.

We connected with Alanna Masterson over email to get her thoughts on Tara’s journey, as well as her final destination. (Also make sure to read our interviews with Katelyn Nacon, who plays Enid, and showrunner Angela Kang.)

Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So how did you find out about Tara’s demise?
ALANNA MASTERSON: I got a phone call from [showrunner Angela Kang] about two weeks before I shot the episode.

What was your reaction when you found out?
I was caught off guard for sure, but also excited for what the future holds. Tara has been extremely fun to bring to life.

It’s never shown on screen, but how do you think Tara got caught and kidnapped, because she was a very capable fighter?
She was probably taking a power nap.

Tara really emerged as a leader after the time jump, and as a much more serious character as well. What was it like getting to play her at this very different stage in her evolution?
It was really fun to explore that side of Tara. I wish we had gotten to explore that more, but I’m excited to see where the story goes from here.

What was your last day on set like? What kind of stories can you share about your final day knowing this was the end?
The last day on set was really nice. It was freezing cold and we were all huddled around talking and laughing. The crew is my family, and I’m going to miss them terribly. But we got to get a few last-minute jokes in before I said goodbye.

Do you have a favorite scene or episode that you did in your time playing Tara?
My favorite scenes are still with Glenn. [Steven Yeun and I] had such a good time filming together. We just shot a short film called Naysayer, so it was exciting to work together again.

What will you miss most about playing this character and working on this show?
I’ll miss the cast and crew the most. They’ve become my home away from home, and I will forever cherish the bonds we formed. This show is impossible to make, and day after day we did it. I did it for 6 years, and I will miss the heat, the hours, and the challenges.

Also make sure to read our interviews with Katelyn Nacon, who plays Enid, and showrunner Angela Kang. And for more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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The Walking Dead

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

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