As The Walking Dead’s Season 8 finale approaches Comix Asylum had the pleasure to speak with Melissa McBride about Carol, last night’s episode Do Not Send Us Astray, the perils of surviving All Out War and what fans can expect in the season finale.
SB: Do Not Send Us Astray is a great episode and has some tough moments for Carol. There’s a moment when she’s speaking with Tobin that’s quite poignant. Would you agree that the war has sapped her of any optimism?
MM: I think it’s certainly not helping because her optimism seems to have been waning for quite a while already. It means she’s going to have to kill again and it’s just such a conflict because it puts her in a place she was trying to get away from. If I’m around the people I love that means I have to fight for them but then how can I not? It’s just a very difficult position for them all to be in although you would think that when it’s all over that they would still have to contend with the world in the state that it’s in.
SB: Carol’s reunion with Tobin is a bittersweet one. It’s almost like her words to him come to fruition once he turns.
MM: I know, yes. Exactly. There are no guarantees if we’ll get another night, another morning or another day. This is exactly what she was saying. He was so kind and was trying to give her hope that whole time but it’s the end of the fight that we’re fighting for. That was very, very bittersweet and so difficult for her to have been the one to put him down in the end.
SB: That moment when you look in his eyes was pretty powerful.
MM: Yeah, I was just thinking about him and just how kind he was. We were just talking, he was so sweet with everything that I said to him and now here we are. I was thinking dear God how did this even happen because I knew he wasn’t bitten.
SB: I guess that’s the duality of your character because you have this homemaker who is an expert killer but hates the role that she has to assume.
MM: Exactly! Those are the two sides of Carol but everybody has what they are and what they have to do. There are very different things that they have to do in this virus-ridden world. I couldn’t help but think back to the first time when Tobin and Carol were sitting on the porch and he was there for her. She was struggling so hard with what she had done and how many people she’d killed. She just needed to hear it from him that she was strong because she cared. She was a mother to a lot of people and had to do hard things. It’s these same things that are sucking her soul. I’d hate to be Carol (laughs). I love her so much, my God. I’m just like, “Oh Carol, give her a break”.
SB: We love Carol too! The interesting thing you mentioned about her being a mother to everybody is that’s a role you play as a parent. But sometimes life gets in the way and forces you into other paths. Does her ability to assume any position to survive, whether it’s tearing her apart or not, allow her to connect with someone like Ezekiel who is obviously not what he appears to be but takes on that role to lead the Kingdom?
MM: I think both of them are putting on a similar face in order to survive and live with their own self to find another reason to be useful in the world. I also think that for Carol, in her pre-apocalyptic life, she was used to putting on many faces to survive another day and to be what she had to be for someone else.
SB: This season was billed as “All Out War” and while there has been a hail of bullets and explosions so far it seems like some of the greatest battles are the internal conflict faced by quite a few characters. Would you agree that trying to figure out how to survive is the greatest battle that most of the characters are facing?
MM: Yes and I think with Carl’s dying words and what he represented just amplifies that war within a war and that’s kind of what The Walking Dead has been about.
SB: It’s interesting to see the effect Carl’s passing has had on everyone. When you take someone like Negan, it’s as though Carl’s death pulls him back to his days as a teacher as opposed to what he is now. So even though Chandler isn’t on the show anymore, his character’s presence is permeating throughout every part of the narrative.
MM: Yes it is and I think it will be for a while. It is that whole challenge of why are we fighting so hard to survive if all we’re fighting for is to fight to survive? We he died, he died from a bite while doing something kind for someone. It just feels like there’s no way out and no matter how hard you fight you’re always wondering what tomorrow will bring.
SB: So he is the hope or the guiding light that most characters will be able to follow to find some peace.
MM: Yes. You just hold out thinking that this is all going to over. People are going to be fine and whatever is making them reanimate after they’ve died, you just want it all to stop. There has to be an answer and it can’t be all for naught. It can’t be all for just this.
SB: You’ve shared a lot of screen time with Lennie James over the past couple of seasons. Can you touch on Carol and Morgan’s adversarial relationship and how it may evolve as we head towards the finale?
MM: I’m going to miss working with Lennie for sure. I’m not looking forward to not working with him (laughs) although I am looking forward to Season 9. They know each other. They know the heartbreak, and the mind snapping when you want things to be a different way. Whenever you take a life, no matter what, it just takes a piece of you. She’s worried about him. She’s going through a similar thing, she knows where he’s been. His wires are crossed, he’s gone a little haywire and she’s worried about his stability.
SB: And even though Carol wasn’t facing the same type of cognitive stress that Morgan is currently facing he helped save her earlier on by bring her out of seclusion.
MM: Yes, yes he did. He did bring her back into the fold. The one thing he knows is that isolation isn’t a good place for people who aren’t feeling too optimistic (laughs).
SB: What can fans expect from the Season Finale in a few weeks?
MM: My “ah-ha” was the twist. There is a twist and it just made me want to jump into Season 9 immediately because I want to know what happens. Where does this go?