7:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead' Star on Shocking Outcome: "Nobody Is Promised Tomorrow"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from episode 503, "Four Walls and a Roof," of AMC's The Walking Dead and the comics series it is based on.]
AMC's The Walking Dead may have just driven a wedge between Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her brother, Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman).
During Sunday's hour, Sasha learns that her boyfriend, Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), was kidnapped by Gareth's group of Hunters and not only had his leg amputated but was served up as dinner. However, the shock doesn't end there as she learns that Bob was first bitten by a walker at the food bank and is a dead man walking.
Furious, Sasha sides with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in hunting down and killing the Termites, putting her in direct conflict with her peaceful brother, who could not kill one of Gareth's goons who may have helped kidnap Bob.
While Rick and Sasha lead the brutal bloodbath that ultimately ends with Gareth's (Andrew J. West) death, Tyreese struggles to watch humanity slip a bit further away from him before stepping in for Sasha to prevent Bob from reanimating after his death.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Martin-Green to discuss the brutal episode and what's next for Sasha and Tyreese.
Did you see the writing on the wall for Bob, considering how happy they were?
No, I don't think I did! (Laughs.)
What was your response to learning of Bob's death?
I was devastated. I really liked what they built with the two of them, and I love Lawrence. We worked well together, and it was very sad to get the news. I found out before the script, which gave me time to prepare and mourn. The fact that we all have an expiration date is part of the story — it's the nature of the beast — and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we've gotten to a place where we just accept that this is the story we're telling and this is the nature of it. Nobody is promised tomorrow. Rather than let it make us paranoid, we all use it not just for our characters but to live more in the moment.
Lawrence isn't doing press. What can you tell us about how he responded to being killed off? Was he surprised?
Lawrence is a seasoned actor who has been doing this for a long time. He knows his stuff. He took it like a professional. All of us were happy with the environment on set because he has such a good energy. The last few days we were shooting with Lawrence on set, he brought that energy. … It was a good experience, albeit a sad one, and that's because of him.
What was filming Bob's death scene like? This is your first time losing a loved one onscreen?
Everyone was bummed to see him go. We're always so bummed to see people go. It was extremely sad, and it always is. We're a family, and it's hard to say goodbye. We were still able to have a good time with each other, especially since it was the last time. Speaking from Sasha's perspective, it was gut-wrenching and misery for her. That day was really emotionally taxing, and by the end, we both were a little numb from the roller coaster of it.
To use one of Bob and Sasha's inside jokes, what is the good that will come out of his death for her?
I don't think there's any good to come from Bob's death for her because of the situation that it puts her in. Sasha was so resistant to a genuine connection with another person, and it's something she's been struggling with for a long time. Bob came along and saved her from that life of exclusivity and of saying, "This is about me. I'm going to survive and be a team player, but ultimately I'm just going to be focused on me." He saved her in that way. He came along and pulled her out of that and showed her that there's more to life than just survival. While Tyreese is a positive influence in that way, he didn't reach her quite like Bob. So to start to open up to that and share that with Bob and start to hope again — maybe even there's delight and light in life — and then for it to suddenly be ripped away, that's the worst thing for her, especially at this moment.
Especially the way that Bob went out: a zombie bite and having his leg amputated and eaten.
Exactly. The brutality of it and the grossness of it — the perversity of it, really— makes it that much more horrible.
Sasha and Tyreese had a major disagreement about seeking revenge on Gareth. Where do they go from here?
That is a massive difference. You're starting to see the disparity between the two of them. Tyreese is going through something very complex right now from what happened with Lizzie and Mika. It's as if their trajectories are going in the opposite direction. He's really grasping for humanity and refuses to let go of it and has been pushed further to it. On the other hand, Sasha has been pushed further and further to repression and brutality. It's going to be interesting to see how they continue to interact with one another because they do seem to be going in the opposite direction.
How is what happened to Bob going to impact Tyreese? He couldn't kill one of the cannibals who wound up hunting Bob.
It's going to add to the mix of feelings that he's having right now. He is very troubled right now, and it would seem that it's going to get worse. Tyreese, who put Bob down, took a brief pause from where he had been living for a moment. He refused to kill, and he was living in that place for a while because he needed to be more adamant about holding on to humanity. He realized in the moment that Sasha needed him and that is humanity. It's the true essence of it — helping those you love and stepping in where they fall. On one hand, it could really trouble him and come back to haunt him; but on the other hand, it could satisfy him, in a way, knowing what he did for her. We'll see how that plays out.
What was the "Death Dinner" with Lawrence and Andrew J. West like?
It was sad but fulfilling. There were lots of tears, beautiful words, reminiscing and laughter. It's hard because we have a lovely time with each other.
What can you say about how we'll see Sasha recover from Bob's death?
We'll see! It's quite a pickle. Nothing is ever simple. We're walking contradictions, and Sasha is no exception.