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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Image Comics’ The Walking Dead.]
Rick and Lori are so not in a good place when Season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Oct. 14.
Rick (Andrew Lincon) put an abrupt end to the awkward love triangle between himself, wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) in the penultimate episode of Season 2, greatly impacting his marriage and the group. The beleaguered ex-sheriff paid the price when Rick revealed to his pregnant spouse that he (well, Carl technically) ended her former lover’s life — and that everyone was already infected.
“The bomb that went off between Rick and Lori in the final episode of the second season was not, ‘Oh my God, you told me to kill Shane, oh my God, you killed Shane’ — the bomb that went off was I wanted to kill Shane,” Callies told reporters at The Walking Dead‘s 100th issue party in San Diego.
With Shane continuing his pursuit of Lori — and convinced that she was pregnant with his baby — Lori planted a dangerous seed in Rick’s mind when she suggested that his former best friend could pose a bigger threat to them than he’d imagined.
Callies told anxious Walking Dead fans this month at Comic-Con that she thinks Lori “did everything she could to handle Shane; she didn’t tell Rick to kill him, she told him to watch his back and she was right — and the right man ended up winning that fight.”
With the group out of the quiet safety of the farm and headed to the prison and Woodbury, where they’ll encounter characters including the feared Governor (David Morrissey), Lori is now concerned that Rick is turning into someone unrecognizable.
“Lori’s fear is that in killing Shane, Rick became Shane and that he’s turned into a man who’s not a humane, compassionate person but somebody who is now somewhat cold and bloodthirsty,” Callies says.
Rick’s shift became evident in the closing moments of the Season 2 finale when Lincoln’s leader says the words that gave birth to the so-called “Ricktatorship”: “This isn’t a democracy anymore,” with the character coming off of the hardest period he’s had yet.
“He’s sick and tired of people dragging their heels and talking,” Lincoln told reporters. “It’s at that point that he’s gone through the worst 48 hours since the killing of Shane; he’s had to kill his best friend for this group of people and he’s furious and he’s conflicted.”
As the group heads for the apparent safety that could be found with taking up residence behind bars at a prison, Rick and Lori will have to face the crumbling nature of their marriage, including Lori’s disgust at her husband’s brutal act of violence as well as her own role in Shane’s death.
“Part of that horror you saw in that last episode was revulsion in [Lori’s] part in [killing Shane],” showrunner Glen Mazzara says. “I think she blames herself. I don’t know if she did intend to put Rick in motion but she did. They have to deal with that. She’s pregnant, they don’t know whose child that is … they can’t get divorced. How do you repair that marriage in front of everybody?”
In the Robert Kirkman comics on which the series is based, Lori gives birth to a baby girl not long before the prison faces an intense attack at the hands of the Governor, with both mother and daughter’s attempts to escape the onslaught ending in tragedy.
It’s a part of the story that greatly shapes who Rick becomes that Callies feels is necessary to incorporate into the AMC zombie drama.
“[Former Walking Dead showrunner] Frank Darabont and I actually — before he was tragically and unfairly removed from the show — we used to argue about it,” Callies says. “I argued that it was necessary to kill Lori and I feel very strongly that for all of the other deviations we may have from the comic book, killing Lori does something to Rick that is vital for the story and can’t be done any other way.”
“I’ve said from the beginning, not only am I OK with Lori dying but I think she has to,” says Callies, who notes that it’s part of the nature of the beast with being on a show like The Walking Dead. “I’ve played this character with an eye toward an end.”
For his part, Lincoln noted that it’s at this point in the story that his comic book counterpart is at his best. “[Rick] is a man that begins in one place as a sheriff, he couldn’t be more of an embodiment of law and order and he just gets thrown into this leadership role,” he says, making decisions that are both wrong and great. “You’re still rooting for this guy though actually he hasn’t made some of the greatest decisions because he’s driven by a moral center.”
“We’re coming into an area of the show that’s about marrying two very brilliant comic book characters and making them fit into this raw, grungy, emotional world and making the two worlds meet and the combustibility of these two worlds,” he adds.
While the series granted an eleventh-hour reprieve for Hershel (Scott Wilson) — Mazzara and company decided his death would have played as “gratuitous” — Kirkman says he has toyed with killing Rick before in the bloody comics.
“There was a moment very early on in the book — in the sixth issue — I almost killed Rick instead of Shane because I was thinking it might be neat to make Shane the main character and have the book be about him being in charge and how Carl deals with the fact that his father is dead and his mother is shacking up with this guy,” Kirkman says, noting that the notion of killing the series lead has never come up on the show.
Do you think Lori needs to die on The Walking Dead? Would you be sad to see her go? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Season 3 of The Walking Dead begins Oct. 14 on AMC. Keep checking back to THR‘s The Live Feed for more updates from The Walking Dead cast.
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