November 21, 2011 6:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Walking Dead' Dissection: Robert Kirkman on Rick, Lori, Shane and Andrea's 'Secrets'
[WARNING: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead.]
Sunday's "Secrets" episode of The Walking Dead lived up to its title, when Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) revealed to husband Rick (Andrew Lincoln) that she not only had an affair with his best friend Shane (Jon Bernthal) but also was pregnant.
In addition, Andrea continued her evolution into the sharpshooter featured in the Robert Kirkman comic book series that the AMC drama is based on -- and took it a step further when she slept with Shane after an exciting encounter with a pack of walkers.
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The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Kirkman to discuss Sunday's big "Secrets" episode and what's ahead for Sunday's "powder keg" of a midseason finale. "We've got Rick now aware of the affair, we've got a barn full of zombies living two feet away from our group, our group living on a farm where they've been told they're not welcome to stay there for any amount of time," he says. "It's definitely going to be a pretty exciting episode."
The Hollywood Reporter: Rick now knows about Shane and Lori. Lori and Rick tell Shane as much?
Robert Kirkman: It's a big revelation that Rick now knows about the affair. Whether or not he's going to be confronting Shane immediately or whether that's going to continue to be bubbling below the surface, we'll find out.
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THR: Rick also learns of Lori's pregnancy and seems surprised by the news. Is it safe to say that Lori's pregnancy isn't what Jenner whispered to Rick before the CDC exploded?
Kirkman: If it was, I would imagine that Rick would have brought that up and wouldn't have seemed surprised. I can say it's pretty safe to say that that's not what he said. I guess we're ruling that possibility out as much as I hate to. That is pretty much not what Jenner whispered.
THR: During that same conversation with Lori, Rick says "he can't live like this" when the two are discussing potentially raising a baby amid a zombie apocalypse where a loud cry could put in danger. Could we see the pair branch off from the group and venture out on their own?
Kirkman: Yes. Anything can happen, that's really the appeal of this show. You're living without the safety net of civilization so all bets are off. We've seen that in Shane's behavior and a lot of things with Daryl (Norman Reedus). The fact that this is a group that is living together and surviving together to a certain extent, you can be lulled into thinking that that is the status quo of the show. Moving forward, we're going to be doing things that will be reminding the audience that this is definitely a television show where anything goes and not to take anything for granted. These characters could do anything at any time. Rick and Lori splitting off for the betterment of their children and safety of their family is definitely a possibility.
THR: The Shane and Andrea (Laurie Holden) pairing is a total game-changer. How will that change the group dynamic?
Kirkman: These two characters have been on the outside of the group in their own way since the very beginning of this season. It was a lot of fun to watch these two characters go about their day completely unaware that they're on a collision course into each other, which finally happened in this episode. I really enjoyed seeing Laurie Holden come into her own and use her guns, which is something from the comic book series that we haven't seen yet.
THR: Is this going to be a one-time fling or will Shane and Andrea be a pairing that evolves?
Kirkman: They're definitely in close quarters and they seem to have some kind of affection for each other. We could definitely see this blossom into a relationship but let's not discount Shane's emotional connection to Lori and the situation with that baby. There's a lot of wrenches that could be thrown into a lot of the story lines that are currently going on and this is one of them.
THR: At what point will Andrea learn of Shane's history with Lori?
Kirkman: There's a definite possibily that she already knows, based on her overhearing the conversation between Shane and Lori in the premiere when they were outside the church. She hasn't necessarily revealed that she has that information but I would think that she's already aware of it and we'll probably see that popping up in the next episode or so.
THR: How will Andrea and Shane's dirty deed affect her relationship with Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn)?
Kirkman: A lot of people are looking at that like it's a romantic relationship because that's what eventually happens in the comic book series. It could also be looked at like a father-daughter relationship to a certain extent and it hasn't quite really blossomed into anything that will become a romance. It's definitely going to throw a wrench into what ever it is they have between each other just because of Dale continually butting heads with Shane. I think that is going to come to a head in the second part of the season that starts next year.
THR: Will Dale keep his confrontation with Shane and the threats made against him to himself or will he take the red flags to Rick?
Kirkman: Dale is the wise old sage of the group, so I think he knows exactly what needs to be done in the situation. Whether he's going to be overt about it and go directly to Rick or whether he's going to be a little smarter about it and bide his time and try to figure out what the best move for the group is remains to be seen. He has a plan and there's definitely going to be something that comes from that.
THR: Dale and Glenn (Steven Yeun) have figured everything out about the barn. Will Rick's impending confrontation with Hershel lead to what pushes the group out of the farm?
Kirkman:That confrontation is going to happen sooner rather than later. Whether or not it's going to lead to them having to leave the farm … fans who are chomping at the bit to find out what's going to happen when this comes to a head aren't going to be waiting very much longer.
THR: At this point, does finding Sophia (Madison Lintz) really matter? Is this still important to the group?
Kirkman: It's definitely still important to Carol (Melissa McBride). We've followed this story line to the point where everyone in the audience has had ample time to look at all angles to this. At some point, you were probably agreeing with Rick and now you've gotten to the point where you're kind of agreeing with Shane. Everyone in the group has at least considered the fact that this girl is more than likely not out there. The fact that they haven't given up really just tells you more about their character. It should be somewhat shocking that Daryl has thrown himself into this search for Sophia as much as he has. These characters are good people; they're trying to be good people and anytime a child is lost someone is going to be searching for that child until they find them. You don’t ever really give up and go, "Oh, I guess we'll never find out what happened." It's definitely not something they're going to be giving up on. There will be a resolution to that story line coming up at some point.
THR: Speaking of Daryl, is there a chance we'll see Merle again in a way other than a hallucination?
Kirkman: There's definitely a chance. We still don't know what happened to him after he cut his hand off, we don't know where he went, we don't know if he survived and if he survived, for how long. We don't know anything about him. We would never leave something like that hanging indefinitely. That's going to be something coming up at some point in the show.
AMC will marathon all of The Walking Dead's Season 2 episodes starting Sunday at 2:30 p.m. leading up to the midseason finale at 9 p.m.