Walking Dead Preview: 'Barnageddon' Aftermath Will Intensify the Fight for Leadership

AMC’s The Walking Dead resumes Season 2 this Sunday at 9/8c, with the big question being: What will be the fallout of the massacre of walkers – young Sophia and some of Hershel’s kin and friends included – that led into the winter break? TVLine invited executive producer Gale Anne Hurd to preview the “barnageddon” aftermath, address one knock against the sophomore run’s start and weigh in on a Governor casting rumor. (Reminder: AMC is marathoning Season 1 tonight at 8/7c, and Season 2’s first seven episodes on Sunday starting at 1:30 pm.)

TVLINE | For starters, I wanted to give you a chance to address one criticism of the first half of the season, which was that some felt it was a bit static, a little talky. What do you want to say to that crowd, and what do you want to promise for the next run?
Well, I think if you read Robert Kirkman’s comic book, one of the great things about it is how well-defined the characters are, and how many panels are devoted to interaction among the characters. So I think it’s in the tradition of our underlying source material that we have spent so much time getting to know the characters, which was something we were unable to do the first season with only six episodes.

TVLINE | So there in the writers’ room, is there any kind of unwritten quota for walker interactions?
No. There’s no quota.

TVLINE | One thing I realized watching the first episode back is that the human interactions with strangers can be just as fraught with tension. When Michael Raymond James (Terriers) shows up as a survivor from Philly, and starts playing “20 questions” with Rick, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Right. Another of the themes of the comic book is that you can predict what a zombie’s going to do, you know what they’re after. They’re not that complex, but people are. And that’s why, I think, the storytelling can be really rich with the love triangle between Rick and Shane and Lori, as well as the outsiders that they encounter. Are they to be trusted or could they be even more dangerous than the zombies?

TVLINE | If the first half of the season was about the gang gaining their bearings, getting an overview of how others out there are surviving, what would you say the theme for the second half of the season is?
It’s much more “pedal to the metal.” Everything’s coming to a head with the infighting within the group, the competition for the leadership role, and how everyone is going to recover from what we like to call “barnaggedon.”

TVLINE | “Barnageddon” – I like that. When you talk about people fighting for the leadership role, who do you consider to be in that mix besides Rick and Shane?
Well, Dale still has his own point of view, as does Hershel. They may be seeking different types of leadership roles, but Hershel and Dale have a very humanistic perspective. And we see that Hershel’s perspective has been challenged by the revelation that the zombies in the barn are not going to return to be productive members of human society.

TVLINE | What kind of place is Carol going to be in, with Sophia truly gone? I mean, what’s keeping this lady from just cutting her losses and “checking out”?
I think that Carol is actually very strong. She survived an abusive husband, and now she is in the position of deciding whether she has the strength within to survive the loss of her daughter, who was an innocent. Carol will have others in the community of survivors to lean upon, and then she’ll have to redefine herself no longer as Sophia’s mother.

TVLINE | Outside of Carol, who is most bitter about the whole Sophia thing? Could it be Daryl?
Obviously Daryl. He had a real connection to being a child from a dysfunctional family, how lonely that can be, how difficult. And he put a lot of himself into finding Sophia. He’s not someone who has been an easy member of the group. He’s an essential member, but he has difficulty relating to other people. He felt that he’d come so close when he found Sophia’s doll that it had justified everything that he went through — being thrown off the horse and getting an arrow through the side.

TVLINE | You must have to walk a fine line with him — between anti-hero and anti-superhero.
Yeah, but you know what? The great thing is that with Melissa McBride playing Carol and Norman Reedus playing Daryl, there are so many layers to their performance. They never play just the one note.

TVLINE | With Rick and Andrea, there was talk about forming an alliance, maybe splitting off from everyone. Is that germ of an idea still out there, or have they put a pin in it?
I think as the tensions continue to escalate, there’s either Team Rick or Team Shane, in essence, and we’ve seen initially Andrea come out as Team Shane. But we’ll see if there’s anything that Dale of any of the others can say that might change her mind.

TVLINE | Speaking of Dale, I feel like he’s gotten to be a bit sad of an individual.
To me, it’s less sadness than grievous concern about the potential loss of humanity that he’s seen. Rick has always has a moral compass that aligned with Dale’s — and Dale fears that he might be losing that.

TVLINE | Yeah, Rick’s kind of preoccupied now with dealing with the moment, while Dale has still got his eye on the bigger picture.
Exactly. What is the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? I think he’s looking at it and saying, “We may be on this path to hell, and we have good intentions along the way, but you still have to realize that you’re going to hell with each one of those decisions you make.”

TVLINE | Turning to less-thinky matters: Any new walker tricks you’re going to be showing us? Any big “wow” moments on par with the well guy who split in half?
Of course! Are you kidding? We haven’t lost our ingenuity. And Greg Nicotero and KNB EFX team have a lot more up their sleeve. There’s something in most every episode that I think you’ll enjoy.

TVLINE | There’s talk that when it comes time to introducing the Governor character from the comic books, the casting will be either Tom Savini (Machete) and John Hawkes (Deadwood). Are they necessarily on your short list?
I would not go with that rumor.

TVLINE | And as far as what Jenner whispered to Rick at the CDC, I was saying to a co-worker we can rule out that it was about Lori was pregnant, because Rick would have been like, “I know” when she told him. When are you planning that reveal?
You know what? I don’t think your wait is too long.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Sandy says:

    I can’t wait for Sunday.

  2. Mark says:

    “For starters, I wanted to give you a chance to address one criticism of the first half of the season, which was that some felt it was a bit static, a little talky.”
    I have to say, thats the understatement of the YEAR. Walking Dead had one of the biggest drops of quality from season 1 to season 2 of a show I think I’ve ever witnessed. It became excruciatingly boring and stagnant. What’s worse? The characters are all horrible, unlikable people. NOTHING happened in the first half of season 2 except whining and talking and stale, endless pretentious philosophising. The characters just blankly stare at each other and talk AT each other instead of to each other, giving speeches in a way that no real life person would.
    Endless, endless talking…ugh my head hurts just thinking about it. I don’t know what the writer of this article is smoking but this truly became one of the most boring unlikable dramas in recent memory.

    • Mike says:

      Totally disagree. Besides the biggest drop in quality from season 1 to season 2 is definitely an award reserved for HEROES. Lol

      • Mike says:

        Yes, that award goes to Heroes.
        That’s not to say that The Walking Dead wouldn’t be on the list of candidates. When talking about the first half of this season, my friends and I have come to call it “The Talking Dead” or “The Walking Dull.”
        It sucked.
        Here’s the summary for the first half of this season:
        They find a farm. The owner is keeping zombies in a barn. The characters from the first season shoot the zombies.
        That’s it.
        Oh, and notable deaths: Sophia (whose name you probably didn’t know until she was “lost”).

    • Mauricio says:

      I thought I was the only one thinking about this, but I agree this season is boring, I saw last night episode and I can’t believe that they put that on an episode, it was awful and boring, the last 5 minutes was the only thing that keep me awake, but I really hope this goes up or this show will end on the third season.

  3. jen f says:

    Mark, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but your opinion basically says you’re not a thinker. Sad for you, but I don’t feel sorry. Ugh tired of morons

    • Mike says:

      DO NOT pull that “you’re not a thinker” horse crap. This is NOT Breaking Bad. This show has NEVER had complex or deep characters. This show has never been able to develop characters anybody cares about. And if your idea of “deep thinking” is a show where the characters constantly debate religion while being pursued (off screen) by a zombie horde–then you need to reevaluate your opinion here.
      The Walking Dead fails on nearly every level when it comes to the characters not named Shane, Daryl, or Rick. Every character is a one-note bore. Even Rick, the protagonist, becomes intolerable at times.
      This is a show where the ‘good guys’ are utterly stupid. One guy is hiding guns in the woods, while another is walking a zombie back to his camp on a friggin’ leash.
      The show itself is not that smart. You have some old fart figure out that Shane killed the fat dude–going on no proof whatsoever. He just KNOWS.
      The women on the show are hysterical mental cases–seemingly with bipolar disorder. It’s completely embarrassing.
      I’ve never rooted more for the zombies.
      Lastly, let’s not pretend they don’t have a “zombie quota.” The first season had a TON of zombies everywhere. This season, you’re lucky to spot one in an episode (minus the premiere). Hell, they nixed the REAL premiere (w/ Sam Witwer) because it was too expensive… You know, right before they fired the dude who made the show good to begin with.
      Ugh. I can’t believe you think this show is for “deep thinkers.”

  4. Just Me says:

    I can’t wait! I LOVE the show! Wondering how it will start and who are the two men that walk into the bar?

  5. Winnie says:

    I watched the Walking Dead S1 just before S2 and read the comics up to the current issue between the end of S2.0 and S2.5. I see what she means about pacing and characterization being somewhat true to the comic, and since Kirkman (and writers who are fond of the source material, but need to make their own, equally good “mark”) is in the writers room, it makes sense. I respect that there are quite a few who have no desire to read the comic as well as those arguing there is a need to make sure things translate or are changed (within reason) for t.v. – the media involved can certainly make for different approaches.
    Obviously different viewers watch for different reasons and people have the right to express frustration with the pacing/content, but for the record, I enjoyed the show before I read the comic, but now I understand the premise and character development that much better. Thanks for asking these particular interview questions, Matt – I’ve been looking forward to the return of The Walking Dead for weeks, and I’ll do a shot in your honor every time we learn Hershel has yet another kid “pop-up.”

  6. patty says:

    I love this show. As long as they keep Daryl. I am good. They have set up the characters personalities, and now the action will begin. Read the comic. I like to be entertained and not have to think sometimes. But this show lives up to bot, for me.

  7. Joe shmoe says:

    You’re an idiot, the show needs to develop characters and tension. Every episode had a great balance of realism and excitement, the only episode I didn’t like was dessert rose and even that had it’s moments. This show can be a mindless blood n guts blast off, it’s more sophisticated than that. Get your stuff together, moron