'Walking Dead' Dissection: Robert Kirkman Talks Rick's Sanity, Converging Communities

The Walking Dead Michonne 305 - h 2012
Gene page/AMC

The Walking Dead Michonne 305 - h 2012

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's "Hounded" episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.]

Rick's downward spiral following Lori's death continued, Michonne paid the price for leaving Woodbury, while Merle crossed paths with a couple of the prison's new residents and Carol's fate was revealed during Sunday's heart-racing episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.

Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) mysterious phone calls continued as they were revealed to be voices from the group's past -- ending with Lori on the other end of the line! -- as Hershel realized that their damaged leader wasn't quite playing with a full deck. In the meantime, Michonne went head to head with Merle as she fought to maintain her freedom from the beautiful community with a dark secret that is Woodbury.

After Merle (Michael Rooker) realized he wasn't going to be able to fulfill the Governor's marching orders to bring Michonne's (Danai Gurira) head back for his fish tank collection, he about faced to return to the gated community -- bringing new prisoners Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) along with him.

Injured from her bloody faceoff with Merle and eyeing Glenn and Maggie's encounter with the one-handed menace, Michonne picks up the supplies the duo recovered and figures out where the prison is, giving the group a potential boost in the looming battle that's likely to come with the Governor as the survivors are on the verge of learning of the Governor's idyllic community.

Speaking of the Governor (David Morrissey), his flirtation with Andrea (Laurie Holden) goes full steam ahead as she continues to look the other way from all of the red flags in Woodbury and embrace her inner dark side.

The Hollywood Reporter turned to executive producer Robert Kirkman, who created the comic on which the series is based, to answer our burning questions from the episode.

PHOTOS: 'The Walking Dead's' Most Shocking Deaths

How is Michonne going to help the group? Do they now stand a chance against the Governor? 
Robert Kirkman: That's definitely the case. She's a strong individual and will add a lot to that group if they can only trust her. We've seen thus far this season that Rick has not been very welcoming to new people. We don't really know how that interaction is going to go as they let her in the prison. 

How might Michonne and Rick get along? He sees upon her arrival that she's already learned how to navigate this world. 
I don't think Rick is going to get along with anyone very well at all moving forward for a while. He's not in a good headspace, he's going a little crazy, he's talking to dead people on telephones and he wasn't very trusting to begin with. I would not expect any hand holding or skipping to be taking place between the two of them anytime soon.

How soon will Michonne realize just who she's with? Some of these names -- Rick, Daryl, etc. -- have to ring a bell after eight months on the road with Andrea.
That's true -- there's a lot of overlap and maneuvering between these two groups; there's a lot of interaction and she's encountered Merle and Andrea and it's definitely something that's going to be at the forefront.

Which group could go on the offensive first now that the Governor has Glenn and Maggie?
To a certain extent, Woodbury has already gone on offensive with Merle taking Maggie and Glenn so anything the people at the prison would do would be a reaction to that. There's definitely a huge confrontation on the horizon and it's only a matter of time before these two groups are facing each other head to head.

PHOTOS: The 'Dead' and the Red: 'The Walking Dead' Cast in Character and on the Red Carpet

Is that something we could expect to see in the first half of the season? There's two more episodes to go …
I know there's the midseason finale looming on the horizon and you've got to do something big for that (laughs).

Another nice tribute this week to those the group has lost, having Amy, Jim, Jacqui and Lori be the ones "calling" Rick. Is this the last we'll see of the phone calls?
That remains to be seen. It's certainly the kind of thing where if I thought I could pick up a phone and hear my dead wife's voice, I would possibly go back to that once or twice but we'll have to see.

Hershel's privy to the calls -- is he aware that Rick isn't necessarily sane at that moment? Did he hear a dial tone? 
That's something that will come up at some point. Hershel is a smart man and he knows that Rick is their best chance at being a leader, at keeping this group together. If they were to lose Rick at this point, it would be complete chaos. While he does recognize that there is something going on, and that Rick isn't quite right, he's going to protect that secret and protect Rick to a certain extent. 

Andrea really does have the worst taste in men.
(Laughs) It's all justifiable! I can't argue with you, she's certainly gone after the wrong guys a couple of times. Losing Dale and her interactions with Dale have sent her in a tailspin and now she's enchanted and I can completely understand how after living in the woods for so long and struggling and then coming to this place and experiencing Woodbury and interacting with the Governor how you could be smitten. It certainly seems to be going both ways as the Governor sees a lot in Andrea. It possibly may not end up being the best decision ever but we'll have to see.

STORY: 'Walking Dead' Dissection: Robert Kirkman Talks Rick and the Governor's Haunting Secrets

How long until she realizes who she's really in bed with?
There's a lot of crazy and explosive stuff on the horizon and whether or not Andrea is witness to that, we'll have to see. It's not going to go too long without her noticing the heads in the fish tank or some of the other things that are on the undercurrent here.

How did she not notice Penny in the Governor's apartment?
There's a separation to that area in his apartment and Penny is locked away in that little hideaway closet, so he is able to keep the sound down and keep those two areas of his living space extremely separate. I don't imagine it would be too terribly positive [when she does find out]. (Laughs) I don't think you'll see any unison hair brushing anytime soon.

How will Maggie and Glenn fare in Woodbury? Might we see them separated at some point? 
They're being taken there as prisoners and we saw how the Governor dealt with the National Guardsmen and the pilot they had in their custody. It could be two more heads for his fish tanks or something else. What they do with them once they get back to Woodbury is a mystery for now but I don't think it's going to be a pleasant visit for either of them. They're definitely not going to get out of this unscathed. Every character has grown to think of those people as their family; they would do anything to protect their family and that's going to put them in some pretty uncomfortable situations moving forward.

Knowing Daryl is still alive, how will Merle use Maggie and Glenn to reunite with his brother?
That's going to be his main motive. We've already shown that he wants to reconnect with brother and he knows that he's out there. This is just one more breadcrumb leading him on that trail. We're definitely heading to a reunion of some kind eventually. Obviously that's something that we're building toward. When we get to that remains to be seen but that's going to be something that's going to be on Merle's mind as he interacts with Glenn and Maggie.

Carol's alive! How will Daryl respond to finding her? With Michonne's arrival, it's two big signs of hope after two brutal losses.
This is a win and this is definitely something that they needed. Now that she's back in the mix, it's going to be time for rejoicing but again this happens at a time when Maggie and Glenn have been taken and Michonne is being brought into the mix and things are getting that much more dangerous and that much more interesting. You can only celebrate so much.

How do you think Glenn and Maggie will fare in Woodbury? How do you think Michonne will get along with Rick and his community? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.