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The Walking Dead Showrunner Talks Last Night’s Bloody Midseason Finale

Did you see last night’s The Walking Dead? Man, it was crazy how Rick decided to abandon the prison to pursue his dreams of becoming a professional opera singer. And Michonne and Daryl are actually twins? And Carl’s their (time traveling, of course) father? Didn’t see that coming.

I kid, I kid. But some intense stuff did go down in last night’s midseason finale, and showrunner Scott Gimple sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about it. Be ye warned: Major spoilers are under the jump.

The short version is that the Governor and his pet tank attack the prison. Hershel ends up dying, as does the Governor himself, killed by Michonne. Full disclosure: I actually stopped watching The Walking Dead after season three. It seems a bit weird to me that they dragged the Big Bad’s storyline out through another half season, when one of the biggest flaws of season three (in my view) is the way it stretched out a whole lot of nothin’. If you think the repetition was a bit much, Gimple has a response for you:

This season has been criticized for telling the same story as season three. Why not start the season with this conflict and avoid what’s been labeled as a repetitive story?

I hadn’t heard the repetitive charge so much. We wanted to fulfill those two Governor stories, plus this last episode was very much about a man struggling with who he was going to be and finally being defined as who he was going to be by his actions. Rick was someone who was trying desperately to become another person as well, and when he extends that offer to the Governor — which takes everything for him to do — to essentially join him at the prison, that was the end of that story. Both those storylines featured all the characters fulfilling their stories and that took eight episodes.

Gimple also spoke about the show’s similarities to and differences from the comics. While the famous tank scene was always going to be in the show, for example…

The tank was something amazing from the comic that I wanted to see and knew others wanted to see. It meant a lot when I read it in the comic. That goes back to the first time we talked about — taking this iconic moment from the comic and using it in the framework of the story we’re telling.”

…comic readers might not know what to expect as season four ambles on:

If you know the comic, there are a lot of differences from the comic that we do and a lot of differences that we have to do. There’s going to be a lot of familiar stuff, brand-new stuff and remixed stuff. There are some things where you will totally know them and hopefully be expecting them, and then there will be stuff that’s brand-new that you have no idea if it’s coming but it will circle around to moments from the comic. It’s very much like these eight. Comic fans once again will absolutely see a lot of iconic moments.

As for those “iconic moments,” Gimple didn’t get into specifics, but he did confirm that Carol, banished from the prison by Rick, will “appear sooner or later… [it] could be a long bit, but she will return at some point.” We’ll find out who was feeding rats at the prison, but we won’t be seeing more of the mysterious cabin that comic readers will recognize as part of Abraham’s backstory. “That’s part of the Governor’s story,” says Gimple, “and that story is over.”

And then there’s baby Judith, who at of the end of the episode may or may not be dead (but she’s totally not, c’mon). Gimple played coy as to exactly what happened with the missing baby, but it definitely sounds like things aren’t over for her:

”There are a lot of walkers around there… It did not look good, and I don’t want to say one way or another but what you see tells a story.”

Zombie baby?

What’d you think of the episode? Are there people out there majorly disappointed by season three who like season four better so far? Should I give the show another shot?

(via: The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • Jim

    The Governor really was killed by Lilly. Michonne just started the party.

  • Fisty

    This season has been great, I have no complaints at all. I actually like that they continued season 3 in the way they did and I felt it flowed well up to the great ending.

    The episode last night was my favorite in the shows history. I love how shows these days have no qualms killing major characters to progress a greater storyline. No one is safe.

  • Brittany K

    I think this season has been much better than the last, although last night felt like I was watching a rerun, and I think it would’ve been much better to have gotten all that out of the way sooner rather than waiting half a season. That being said it was a great episode, regardless of the Governor trying to take the prison being a bit old hat now.

    And maybe this makes me a bad person but I really don’t care at all if the baby is dead. I literally never even remembered she existed until we either saw her or Carl or Rick mentioned her, and maybe now Beth will get to show us some of that character growth she’s appeared to have had.

  • Mike Chen

    I’ve enjoyed this season’s mix of action and character. And while David “Jackson Lake” Morrissey is remarkable as the Governor, I was soooooooooo glad that his return ended now. I liked the look at his character and the idea of him being a mirror to Rick, but the last thing we needed was another war arc.

    This episode concluded the Governor, was very satisfying in terms of villain deaths (don’t mess with Daryl Dixon, stupid tank guy!), and forced the story out of the prison. As a mid-point and a turning point, I thought it was excellent.

    Daryl’s rebar-impaled zombie as a shield? AWESOME.

  • Anonymous

    As a comic reader, I was very disappointed with the first seasons, as many others. This last season has been so so. Has strong points, but weak ones too (the sickness arc was too long >.< ).
    But this last chapter has been pretty awesome, adaptation wise, very like the comic itself (although the comic was a little more… hardcore, but well, for a TV show, well handled xDD)

  • Manda Lewis

    The babies dead… I thought it was obvious. Did no one see Kirkmans’ face when it was brought upon the talking dead.

  • NRA

    Lilly? I thought it looked like Maggie finished the job.

  • Anonymous

    The logistics of it, though? I can imagine scenario where the girl/s killed them and then Carol dragged out and burned the bodies to cover up for them.

    I can;t quite see their motivation either… if we accept one of them is the rat-feeder it’s clear there’s strong strain of the messed up. But neither had a particularly personal reason to react to the threat of disease so strongly, did they? They weren’t random killings; Carol’s motivation seems clear whereas the girls’ is less so…

  • Anonymous

    An infant is never going to be a character that you engage and sympathise with – they’re in stories to affect actual characters.Obviously Judith’s violent ‘death’ is shocking from the basic human perspective of ‘babies shouldn’t be eaten by the undead’. But we’re not meant to react to the death as we did, say, Hershel’s (sob). It’s there to push buttons for Rick and Carl.

    And if – as I imagine – Judith’s really alive and in the custody of either an ex prison-resident of one of the attacking group, I can see her motivating plot and dramatic irony in the episodes to come…

    After all, you don’t need to care about Judith on a personal level to buy into her as a huge motivating factor. I guess the show could have done more to show how deeply the adults in question care about Judith, and that emotion influencing their thinking and decisions. But in the end if the show tells me ‘Rick is upset his baby has been eaten by nombies’, I’m prepared to accept it however little work they did in establishing the relationship.

    And I’m looking forward to the fallout from Beth as well.

  • Anonymous

    I think it;s far too early to say definitively. I would have bought it if we hadn’t been shown the contents of the carrier – just a pool of blood. Now I’m not expecting network TV to feature anything more graphic than that, but if TWD really wanted to be conclusive about the child’s demise, they could have not shown us the carriage at ALL – just Rick and Carl’s horrified reactions on looking in. I would have accepted that whatever they saw was conclusive. Since the show made a point of showing us something pretty ambiguous (blood that could have come from anywhere) I suspect Judith’s still alive and safe with someone.

    I kind of hope so too – not just for the obvious reason but beacuse I think a ‘throw tragedy at Rick and see if he can come back from it’ storyline has played out enough for now. I know on a show about a zombie apocalypse the recurring these is always going to be loss and horror, but for now I think we could do with another angle. An alive Judith could create more interesting stories than a dead one, so I’m hoping for that.

  • Brittany K

    I understand that it’s Rick and Carl’s attachment to Judith that we’re supposed to care about, but they failed to show us that that was even a thing that existed. In this season, I don’t actually remember seeing Rick or Carl with her even once. Not saying it didn’t happen, but that it was such an insignificant moment that I don’t even remember it. Other than Beth, we’re not shown that anyone cares for her, other than people occasionally mentioning her. I wouldn’t even count that scene with Michonne, as that was actually about things Michonne has lost rather than about Judith.

    So I understand what you’re saying, but the show has failed on the Judith front so hard that, in my opinion, they should leave it at her being eaten by walkers and move on to things they actually flesh out for us.