After losing three members of the Grimes gang on last week’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” this week dealt with the aftermath of Lori’s death (Sarah Wayne Callies), as plans needed to be enacted for the survival of the baby, the dead had to be put to rest — although not all the bodies were found to be buried, and someone had to take over leadership with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in the midst of a mental meltdown.
Over in Woodbury, Michonne (Danai Gurira) became more and more uneasy as her gut told her that Woodbury is not the pleasant community it appears to be on the surface, but she has trouble convincing Andrea (Laurie Holden) to leave with her. Still, leave Michonne did.
XfinityTV.com spoke to co-executive producer and special effects make-up supervisor Greg Nicotero, who directed the episode, and Danai Gurira, on a conference call the morning after to get the 411 on the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.” Here are five things you should know about last night’s episode — and one you didn’t see:
Is Carol really dead?: Glenn (Steven Yeun) had three graves dug — one each for Lori, T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Carol (Melissa McBride). But just as we know for a fact that Lori and T-Dog are dead — we saw Lori die and T-Dog’s body was found — Carol’s fate remains unclear as her body was never discovered. Still, it was a touching moment when Daryl (Norman Reedus) placed a Cherokee Rose on her grave at the end of the episode.
“One of the challenging things about Episode 4 was that she disappears,” says Nicotero. “They find her clothing. They have never found her. As far as everyone knows, Carol has suffered the same fate as everyone else, but that will be revealed shortly.”
Andrea and Michonne Come to a Parting of the Ways: Even as Andrea is enjoying the luxury of a simpler life in Woodbury, Michonne becomes very suspicious of the Governor (David Morrissey) and his methods — especially since he wouldn’t return her sword. As a result, she broke into his office, stole her sword back and used it to kill several Walkers that she discovered in a hidden pen. When the two have a confrontation and Michonne holds her sword to his throat, she knows she has no choice but to leave.
“It was pretty obvious from the beginning that she wasn’t happy at Woodbury,” says Guira. “Being in this place really worked against her instincts with these men having taken her weapon and having to live under someone else’s rules when she didn’t choose to give him that power. You can understand why Andrea wants to be there. There are comforts she hasn’t seen since the apocalypse. Michonne has learned to survive and to thrive by listening to her instincts and never doubting them. Her instincts get more and more concerned. It was about trying to make her friend understand that they needed to leave because this wasn’t a great place for them.”
Rick Has a Meltdown and Kills the Walker Who Ate Lori: When Rick goes in search of Lori’s body, he discovers a Walker with a distended belly, who appears to have eaten the majority of her corpse — and he goes ballistic, killing it. It looks as if he is going to slice it open to see if he can find his wife’s remains, which is a reference back to the episode where an autopsy was done on a Walker to see if it had eaten Sophia and, instead, they found the pieces of a woodchuck.
“When Rick kneels down and pulls the blade out, there is that moment when you think, ‘Oh, God. He is going to cut it open because he needs to see.’ It is like a horrible sick connection,” Nicotero says. “Rick needs to be connected. He walks into the room, he sees her clothes on the ground, he picks up the bullet that Carl shot her with. He keeps that and walks around the corner. It is the beginning of his descent into madness. He has never had a goodbye with her. He never had any resolution. Going into the depths of the prison is a really horrible way for him to have a final connection with her.”
The Governor and his Walker Daughter Penny: We have seen bits and pieces where it looks as if the Governor has tasked Milton (Dallas Roberts) to try to find a cure that would turn the zombies back into humans. But it was never clear until last night when we saw him brushing his daughter Penny’s hair — and she turned out to be a Walker — as to why he was so driven to do so.
“We’ve seen that the Governor has this sly, manipulative way of charming Andrea. He tries it on Michonne, but it doesn’t work because she is way too smart for that,” Nicotero says. “So to have the opportunity to see him in a different light by seeing him with his little girl and then leading into the fact that she is a Walker. The way that we shot it, she is actually eating a piece of flesh that we are supposed to assume is human flesh. You see the blood around her face and on her hands. I think it was a fascinating way of seeing a different facet about the Governor and what it is that is obsessing him and driving him to do what he does.”
Nicotero Reveals his Inside Joke: Nicotero has worked in the zombie world for a couple of decades now, so he is given a lot of creative freedom on “The Walking Dead” when it comes to the prosthetics, the makeup and the effects works. In this interview, he reveals his secret, but you are going to have to look close to catch it.
“Being a fan of the genre that I am, every once in a while, I will throw little in-jokes out,” he says. “One of the Walkers in the gladiator sequence was an homage to ‘Dawn of the Dead.’ When the lights come on, the second Walker you see is Fly Boy from ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ so we had the guy in the white shirt with the torn out throat in the brown corduroy flack.
“Even when you see Episode 3, one of the heads in the tanks in the Governor’s room I recreated Ben Gardner’s head from ‘Jaws’ — the head that pops out of the boat — so one of the heads in the tank is my little in joke to ‘Jaws.’ You will get them as you watch the show. It is those little fun things that geek me out.”
What You Didn’t See: As the director of the episode, Nicotero knows what ended up on the cutting room floor. One such scene happened with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl on their way to the daycare facility to get formula for the baby.
“The road is blocked by an overturned tree and Maggie starts to break down,” Nicotero says. “Daryl asks if Lori was bitten. He doesn’t know what happened. Maggie says, ‘No, she wasn’t, but I had to cut her open.’ She starts reacting and she looks over to Daryl and says, ‘Oh, my God. I am so sorry about Carol.’ The look on his face. Norman’s performance — it looked like he got punched in the stomach. He says, ‘That baby gave her so much hope.’ So, Carol’s death really pushes Daryl forward.”
What it pushes him to do remains to be seen when “The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9/8 ET/PT on AMC.