*Spoilers follow if you aren’t caught up on Season 6 of The Walking Dead.*
We’re less than a week away from the midseason premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead. I’d advise you to try to contain your excitement, but in the same breath I’ll tell you that “No Way Out” may be the show’s best episode to date. Directed by Greg Nicotero, it picks up directly after the final moments of the midseason finale, which saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) once again draped in Walker guts as he attempts to lead his extended family through the ravenous horde that has descended upon Alexandria.
In an interview with EW, Lincoln talked about the past, present, and future of his experience on the phenomenally successful show. He delved into Rick’s past, going about as far back as you can in terms of the show, to share his favorite memory on the series so far. Then the conversation turned to the events of the midseason premiere and beyond. Again, potential spoilers follow.
See what Lincoln had to say about his favorite experiences on The Walking Dead so far, followed by more on the midseason premiere:
That’s enough looking back; let’s instead look forward to “No Way Out”, the Season 6 midseason premiere. Lincoln gets right into it with a veiled description of what happens in the upcoming ninth episode of the show’s current season:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you describe the arc or tone of what we’re going to see in the back half of season 6?
ANDREW LINCOLN: We do realize very quickly in the returning episode that it’s almost like the end of a chapter. Something happens. Rick learns a lot about himself in this episode. What I will say is that the pace quickens a lot in the back eight. It jumps up a gear, maybe two gears, and we move very, very quickly. A lot of things happen in quick succession that propel us towards a very thrilling finale.
I will say that five of my favorite episodes in a long time — and very different episodes — are in this back eight. I loved shooting this back eight, from the moment we started with episode 9, which felt like a season premiere. The scale of it is astonishing. And [director] Greg Nicotero and our brilliant crew put their bodies and everything on the line to get it shot. It was all night. It’s absolute mayhem. I think it’s going to scare some people.
Lincoln said it better than I ever could, and to say any more would be giving things away so take the man at his word. As for where things go from here on out, Lincoln talked about the rest of Season 6, which diverges a bit from the oft-repeated general plot of “find a suitable place to live, ruin it, move on” seen in past seasons:
Robert Kirkman told EW that the plan is not to leave Alexandria like they left the prison when that got overrun—that whomever survives this zombie siege is still going to try to make this place work. Why is Alexandria worth saving?
Because it is a functioning community and it was functioning perfectly well until we showed up, which is generally the way. It’s secure. We have the capability of growing things. And we don’t have any other options. There is that. But also, there are substantial houses that work. We have solar panels and electricity and there are certain things that are the beginnings of a civilization, so it would be strange for us to look for somewhere else because I’m not sure if there would be anything as contained and secure and environmentally sound. […] Rick’s strength is seeing that we can fortify this place. A lot of these concerns and questions get answered relatively quickly in the first two or three episodes of this back eight. There is a time jump, I will say, at some point. And you will see why we stay in Alexandria.
Not only does this plan to stick it out and make Alexandria a suitable place to live make sense in the world of the show (and follows the comics), it makes a lot of sense from a production standpoint. Rather than starting from scratch each season, the cast and crew can now enjoy a central location, freeing up some budget space for additional settings and bigger effects.
The next bit is somewhat more *spoilery* than earlier since it concerns characters that haven’t shown up yet, so proceed at your own risk.
We know that Jesus and Gregory from the comics will be showing up, which means the Hilltop community will be making an appearance as well. What is Rick’s take going to be on this expanding world and other pockets of people?
I think you’ll see there’s a marked change in Rick as a result of what happens in episode 9. It’s one of those watershed moments that happens. And as a result he learns something vital about being a leader. And yet again, he changes. And he develops a new way of leading. And that could be said for the back 8, in that it turns very dark.
I’m more excited than I’ve been for a long, long time. We’ve been spending so much time looking inward and looking inside the walls, certainly in the Alexandria chapter. Now, we’re looking to the horizon. In one direction you see good, and in the other direction, you see very, very bad. But the world is suddenly growing. And as a result, the show grows again. And as a result, the family and Rick as a leader has to develop and adapt to this new world order.
Be sure to tune in to AMC on Sunday, February 14th at 9pm for the return of The Walking Dead.