9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Walking Dead' Boss: 'We're on a Big Killing Spree'
[WARNING: This story contains spoilers from this season of AMC's The Walking Dead and the comic series the show is based on.]
The Walking Dead heads into Sunday's Season 2 finale with the death toll mounting and showrunner Glen Mazzara promising even more losses for the group to come.
In the past two episodes Rick's group has lost two pivotal members in moral compass Dale and wildcard Shane, who were attacked by a walker and murdered, respectively.
"If you count up all the deaths, we're on a big killing spree here," Mazzara said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. "There's more bloodshed coming. These characters have felt that they are safe on this farm and they've been wrong. I guarantee there will be bloodshed."
While it's anyone's guess who will fall and how, THR takes a look at the 13 surviving members of the group to see who could be next to join Sophia, Dale and Shane as the group faces an incoming herd of zombies that promises to make for a bloody season finale.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln): No doubt the fearless leader will survive. After 94 issues of the comic, he's still chugging along -- only he may be missing a body part. Mazzara says the deaths on the AMC zombie series thus far have helped develop Rick the most. "[Shane's death] is a statement about our main character, that he's evolving as a person and as a leader and what he's willing to do," he says, noting that Rick killing his best friend was a lot messier than killing two outsiders who posed a threat to the group in the midseason return. Our vote: Totally safe.
Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies): While viewer backlash against Rick's wife is mounting -- "Can you watch Carl?" is almost becoming her catchphrase -- Mazzara told reporters that "noting is over the line" for the writers, especially if the character's death is earned and it propels the story forward. When quizzed by reporters about the growing tide of viewers anxious to see her death, the showrunner noted that "no character is safe" and writers have "examined at different times killing every character." However, if the series could skip a major comic arc in Dale and Andrea's romance, it wouldn't be far-fetched to see the grating queen bee exit in a big shocker despite her comic death at the hands of The Governor. Our vote: Whack her!
Andrea (Laurie Holden): "If she makes it out of Episode 13, it will be interesting to see what she does," Mazzara says of the character, who this season -- after a romp with Shane -- has transformed from the cowering woman she once was. Following Dale's death, the group will need someone fighting to hold on to humanity, and with Andrea having taken up Dale's position -- and her continued presence in the comic -- the series still desperately needs her. Our vote: Survivor.
Daryl (Norman Reedus): Sans Shane, the group will need a No. 2. "If he survives the finale, I would certainly lean on that character heavily," Mazzara says of Daryl's Season 3 potential. "He's a viable leader and a viable No. 2. ... Daryl is the character, in a sense, that's preadapted to the world and most qualified to survive." Our vote: Just as safe as Rick.
Carol (Melissa McBride): Hasn't she been through enough? The prolonged search for Sophia ended with Carol's daughter revealed to have been turned into a walker and under the group's nose in Hershel's barn the whole time. Plus you know you want to see her hook up with Daryl. On the flip side, promos for the epic zombie invasion in the finale have her literally pinned up against a wall. Our vote: No Carol, no Daryl. Keep her.
Carl (Chandler Riggs): "If he survives, Carl will grow up in a world where the pre-apocalyptic world will be a distant memory," Mazzara says. The lone kid on the show is put through the ringer in the comics and creator Robert Kirkman loves writing for him. Plus we already know he's an excellent shot, having put a bullet in zombie Shane with chilling ease. "We do want to see Carl grow into that badass [in the comics]," Mazzara told reporters. Our vote: Has to survive.
T-Dog (Robert "IronE" Singleton): If you blink, you may very well miss him in most episodes but Mazzara says his seeming lack of story line is intentional. "In our minds, he's very smart in that he keeps his mouth shut and doesn't draw anyone's attention … his agenda has been to survive," the showrunner told THR. "There was an intention here of why this guy was quiet; in our mind, he is playing everything close to the vest. There's a method to our madness." As a reward for patient viewers, Mazzara teases some "horrific" stuff from T-Dog and "some reason to love" the character. Our vote: "Horrific" doesn't sound safe to us.
Hershel (Scott Wilson): "This is my farm … I'll die here," Hershel says in a clip from Sunday's finale. He's lost his wife, had a suicidal daughter and has given Glenn his blessing in his romance with his eldest daughter, Maggie. While the character goes out at the Governor's hands in the graphic novels, it doesn't look very likely that Hershel will make it off his cherished farm. Our vote: Badass Hershel looks awesome but that shotgun can't have much ammo in it.
Glenn (Steven Yeun): The former pizza delivery guy the group's go-to person for anything and everything (remember the well and the bloated zombie?). His ability to navigate through dangerous situations is a good one to have when the immediate future looks like this. Our vote: He's crafty enough to survive.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan): She's trapped in a car with the undead closing in around her and has been unwilling to leave Hershel, pulling Glenn closer into the family fold. If Hershel isn't leaving … could Maggie? Then again, why is she in the car in the first place? Our vote: Could go either way.
Beth (Emily Kinney): Hershel's youngest daughter has already come thisclose to suicide with a chunk of shattered mirror. After taking inspiration from Andrea to heart, she now appears to have found a reason to live. But what's her role with the group? Could she wind up playing third wheel to Glenn and Maggie? She already seems uninterested in a long-term future with Jimmy, her boyfriend at the time of the apocalypse. Plus what function does she serve with the group? Our vote: A goner.
Patricia (Jane McNeil): Otis' wife has been handy to have in medical emergencies and around the house but did she ever get that weapons training with the rest of the group? How equipped is she when it comes to fending for herself? Is she even willing to leave longtime friend Hershel's side? Our vote: A goner.
Jimmy (James Allen McCune):The scrappy farmhand seems to have become increasingly useful, learning to shoot and helping Rick and Hershel catch a walker early in the season. Other skills: Watching Carl and supporting Beth. He'd be a useful addition to the group were he to survive. Our vote: Keep him.
Who do you think will be zombie bait in the finale? Who would you like to see survive? The Walking Dead Season 2 finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Check back to THR's The Live Feed for our weekly Walking Dead Dissection with Robert Kirkman immediately following the episode.