7:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead' Dissection: Robert Kirkman on Rick's Decision and Andrea's Future
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's "Arrow on the Doorpost" episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.]
After attacks on Woodbury and the prison, Rick and the Governor finally came face to face on Sunday's The Walking Dead.
During Sunday's hour, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) journeyed to Woodbury to follow Andrea's suggestion that a peace treaty between the two communities was feasible. Instead, what Rick found was a man hell-bent on revenge against the woman who killed his zombie daughter, Penny, and left him scarred with an eye patch for life.
The Governor's (David Morrissey) decision doesn't sit well with Andrea (Laurie Holden), who was dismissed -- along with her notion of peace -- almost instantly, leaving her questioning her future in "Philip's" circle.
After returning from Woodbury, Rick opts to tell his group that the Governor only wants a war -- protecting Michonne (Danai Gurira) from the fact that she's at the center of the Woodbury leader's vendetta.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with executive producer Robert Kirkman, on whose comics the AMC zombie drama is based, to get the scoop on what the busted peace talks mean for everyone as the series head into its final three episodes of the season.
The Hollywood Reporter: How will Andrea respond to being dismissed by the Governor and her plan for peace immediately discarded?
Robert Kirkman: She's really in a tough situation in that her relationship with the Governor -- from her perspective -- has completely deteriorated; she's starting to see the cracks forming. She does have a bit of an advantage in that they have this relationship as and that is allowing her to work against him and to try save the people of Woodbury.
THR: Andrea questions what she's doing in Woodbury and learns the Governor assaulted Maggie. Why doesn't she take Hershel up on his offer to rejoin the group?
Kirkman: It's a very difficult decision for her to make but she is invested in the idea of Woodbury. Despite everything that the Governor has done, she sees that this community has value and has good people. As much as she may want to save the lives of the people in the prison, it is equally important to her to not watch these poor people be marched into war for next to no reason. She's very invested in keeping those people safe. That's what's keeping her there.
THR: Andrea also doesn't tell Milton that the Governor completely dismissed her attempt at peace and only wants Rick's surrender. Why?
Kirkman: She doesn't know who to trust at this point. She likes Milton (Dallas Roberts) and could possibly see him as an ally -- but she's still struggling with what to do in the situation, and still figuring things out on her own. She's going to keep things pretty close to the vest at this point.
THR: After Daryl and Martinez as well as Hershel and Milton bond, how will that affect them when they come face to face in battle?
Kirkman: It was really cool seeing these characters in this situation, having conversations and relating to each other and getting along. That's going to make their confrontations coming up have a lot more punch and a lot more story behind them. You're going to be more invested in who these characters are knowing that if it wasn't for the Governor's mad mission and if it wasn't for these two opposing forces maybe these people would be friends and maybe they would be able to get along. That's a bit of the tragedy in all this.
THR: Martinez showed that he has some humanity left. How will we see him respond to the Governor's hit orders?
Kirkman: That's a question of his character. Is this a guy who can have these experiences with Daryl Dixon and then turn around and slaughter that guy? There are certainly people in the world of The Walking Dead that are capable of that. Whether or not Martinez is a character, who maintained a shred of his humanity or if he's turned to the dark side so to speak and will be able to do that, that's something we'll have to answer moving forward.
THR: Rick lies to the group that the Governor wants the prison. Will they learn that he only wants Michonne?
Kirkman:That's the question moving into this: Is Rick together enough? Is he going to be wise enough to see through this and see what's actually going on here? Or is he going to make a grave mistake? That's where we're moving things going forward. Everyone is putting their faith in Rick. He is given a somewhat impossible decision that he's going to have to make. Who knows what the consequences of either outcome is going to be? They're not going to be good.
THR: Does Rick really believe that the war will go away if he sacrifices Michonne?
Kirkman: It's certainly on his mind that that possibility is there, but it's like Andrea in Woodbury: Does she believe that it's as perfect as it appears or does she just want it to be as perfect as it appears? The proposition that the Governor will walk away and let them live in peace for the rest of lives is somewhat unrealistic. Is the thought of that enticing enough to sacrifice Michonne? That's really the question, moving forward.
THR: Maggie (Lauren Cohan) notes that Michonne has become part of the group's fold and accepted living under their terms. How might the group feel when and if they learn that she may be the only thing between them and peace?
Kirkman: They could turn on her or they could band together and decide to fight in her honor. That's really the question here: Has she had time to integrate herself into the group or is she still the outsider that is easily disposed of for the good of all? It'll be a pretty tough discussion, and it's a pretty big decision to be made.
THR: Could we expect Milton -- who knows the Governor is planning to kill Rick when he returns -- and Andrea to attempt to flee Woodbury to warn Rick?
Kirkman: It's all in the cards. I pride myself on the fact that when you sit down to read an issue of The Walking Dead, or sit down and watch an episode of the show, you really don't know what's going to happen. It's really cool that these characters can switch sides and can do things that are unexpected on the turn of a dime. You don't really know what direction the story is going to go from week to week. It's that surprising element that makes the show so popular. The next episode may have a little more of that in it.
THR: What will Rick and the Governor's next encounter look like?
Kirkman: With The Walking Dead, we never do the same thing twice. Their next confrontation is not going to be the second time seeing them sitting across the table talking to each other and having a conversation. It's going to be a lot different -- possibly a little more explosive, possibly a little more action packed.
THR: How graphic is the battle that's coming? In the comics, it's pretty brutal with Rick losing his hand just the tip of the iceberg.
Kirkman: We all have been pushing the envelope about what you can do on television. The story always dictates where we go and how dark things are. I wouldn't sell the television show short. We've done some pretty gruesome things in the comic book series -- things that you would think that you would never be able to see on television. I think we'll be surprising people from time to time. The upcoming episodes have some pretty amazing stuff in them.
What did you think of Rick and the Governor's first face-off? Do you think Rick will sacrifice Michonne or has she become an integral part of the group? Sound off in the comments below. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.