11:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead's' Danai Gurira on Why Michonne Put Rick on "Time Out," "Scary" Finale
AMC's The Walking Dead is heading into Sunday's fifth-season finale with quite a bit of turmoil between its human survivors.
Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) unease at how "soft" everyone is within Alexandria finally came to a head, and Michonne (Danai Gurira) had to step in and knock out her friend, who had a gun pointed at Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) and seemed poised to overthrow her. That left Deanna pondering what to do with some of Alexandria's newest residents — many of whom had rapidly ascended to high-ranking positions within her community. Does she exile Rick? Does she believe liar Nicholas over Glenn?
Meanwhile, a new human threat seems to be lurking in the woods outside the compound and carving "W" into abandoned walkers and human sacrifices alike. And that's not counting the light in the distance that could be friend or foe.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Gurira to discuss how Michonne's actions will impact her relationship with Rick, how his outburst changes whether Alexandria residents will follow his lead if their community is threatened and more — including scoop on Sunday's season finale.
Why was it necessary for Michonne to hit Rick when he was pointing a gun at Deanna? Is she trying to protect him? Does she believe he's gone too far?
She believed he was a bit out of control, that he needed a serious time out before doing something that he would regret later. She really saw it as protecting him from himself and protecting their people from losing this place completely.
How will Michonne's actions impact her relationship with Rick? Will this drive a wedge between them or bring them closer?
This is a new place they've arrived at as friends. It's new territory. How they handle it, that we'll have to see!
How will Rick's confrontation with Pete and Deanna impact his — and the group's — stance at Alexandria? Will it put everyone at a greater risk, as they're now less likely to follow his instructions should there be an attack from either humans or walkers?
It may go without saying that it caused a tension and perhaps jeopardized our standing with Deanna. Witnessing that fight may have an effect on that. It's a question of how this can be resolved, and whether it will be resolved at all.
Michonne is also suffering from PTSD along with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). Can she adapt to this new world or will she, like Sasha, look to continue the fight?
Michonne is at a place where she is trying to reconcile her various facets and experiences so she can function in a stable, non-reactive way. Losing Noah (Tyler James Williams) affected her deeply because she feels she was meant to protect her people, and she got them here, and so, in her mind, she felt some responsibility for his his well being. Now she's trying to figure out how she can be settled here and still on guard for her people and also the people of this community. But Michonne is not at the same place as Sasha; she's moved past a lot of her rage and tactics of lashing out. But she can deeply identify with Sasha and has tried to help her through it and keep her from putting herself in harm's way.
What's the biggest threat on the series right now: Rick, Deanna or the looming threat of humans/walkers?
We'll have to see. That's a good set up for the finale. Who should we fear more?
What can you say about the walkers with the "W" carved into their heads? Could that be an upside-down "M" for Morgan? How scary might this group be compared with the people of Terminus and the Governor?
There are bad folks out there, that is certain. What and who they are, we shall see!
How would you describe the season finale? Gale Anne Hurd mentioned on Talking Dead that there "will be blood beyond that of the walkers."
That is true. It will definitely be a nail biter! It's a shocking episode.
How deadly is the season finale going to be for Rick's group? Can everyone survive?
It's going to be a scary one.
The Walking Dead's 90-minute season finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Share your finale theories in the comments section, below.