(SPOILERS) The Walking Dead Q&A — Melissa McBride (Carol)

Melissa McBride, who plays Carol on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about Ezekiel's proposal and Carol's nod to Sophia in the new season. 

Q: The group is even bigger particular with the addition of the Saviors. How would you explain this new arrangement?

A: It is difficult for the Saviors because a lot of them held a very tight allegiance to Negan. There’s a rift within the Saviors. Rick is somebody who pulled their leader away. They were taken care of and now they don’t have guns or a way to protect themselves. They’re being asked to do a lot of work and there’s some resentment. It’s difficult to think that we can just be a happy family here. It’s very difficult right now. And now some of the Saviors are disappearing, so what’s going on?

Q: Carol initially rejects King Ezekiel’s marriage proposal. What shifts when she asks to try on the ring in Episode 2?  

A: She has cold feet. She hasn’t been in a relationship since Ed and that was horrifying and difficult. There’s always the fear of loss and getting too close and then losing everything, but he is someone she knows within this family. Having that kind of day [in Episode 2] and witnessing these huge rifts between the groups -- perhaps there’s a part of her that feels she wants to grab on more strongly. It’s a step. She says, “let me try the ring on.” It was a very nostalgic moment. She’s looking around and seeing Jerry and Nabila and little Henry. Maybe this could work. It’s a huge step to even have that ring on.

Q: Is there a maternal connection to Henry? Is Carol trying to build a family?

A: There’s absolutely a maternal instinct there. He’s growing up so fast. In that moment she has with Ezekiel at the tent where Henry is walking away, they feel like a unit. He’s growing up fast.  It’s also the things that he’s witnessing at the camp. I’m sure that concerns her as well.

Q: How important is it to Carol that Daryl gives his blessing over her new relationship?

A: She would want his blessing. He’s the closest person to her and the most important person to her. He’s been around her the longest and knows her the best. He knows her fears and her path and what she’s been through. If he had any reservations, she would trust him to let her know.

Q: What was it like filming the campfire scene? We’ve come a long way in the apocalypse to now sit around laughing with playing cards! Did that feel like a fresh start as well?

A: It was a little strange to film that scene, actually. After what we’ve come off of in the last season, to now feel all the pieces of the communities coming together and chilling out after a hard day’s work -- there is that thought of “if we can get around these rifts and figure out how to deal with the loose ends, maybe this can work.” It was surreal.

Q: Showrunner Angela Kang mentioned that part of Carol’s new wardrobe includes a nod to Sophia in the form of a necklace. Can you say more about it?

A: I had a meeting with the head of wardrobe, Elaine [Montalvo], who was giving everyone some creative license as far as things we might carry on our characters. I told her that I had kept Sophia’s little hair bauble this whole time and I thought it would be cool to have a necklace made out of it and have that close to her. There is a lot of healing I think she experienced last season with Henry and in that relationship. She’s really coming to terms and accepting it and keeping it out in the open.

Q: Now that gas and fuel are running out, the group has had to go back to their roots. What’s that been like for you as an actor?

A:  It was very exciting. We’ve never all been on horses. That was a very different experience. We have a lot more cast members and a lot of people on horses. Executing those shots was a lot different than anything we’ve experienced. When you’re getting back to your first mark, it takes a while to wrangle the horses.  It was fun to get back downtown in Atlanta and we got to shoot in the [Georgia State] Capitol building. The locations are different and the whole group is back together again, which was really refreshing. It felt like a new start. It feels like a whole new experience, in a way. We’re having a good time!

Read an interview with Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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