Q: Since Rick‘s group arrived, Alexandria has seen a number of disasters. Do you think that’s the new arrivals’ fault?
A: I think the world of the walkers is to blame for it. We’re not a trained army yet. We’re intellectual and we’re people who believe in culture and order. We’ve had a lucky trip where we were able to organize our society without any walkers in our midst. It was an unbelievable blessing, so we were blessed, but we weren’t stupid. It’s like taking new soldiers who have never fought a war. It’s Darwinism – it’s not the most intelligent or strongest who survive, but the most adaptable. Rick has got to get us to adapt, and I think he does.
Q: What did you initially make of Rick and Deanna’s relationship? How did that change towards the end?
A: Well, Deanna is “due process of law” and Rick is “swift justice.” He simply couldn’t afford due process of law when he comes across a murderer. Deanna allowed Pete to live and what did she get? Well, he killed her husband. Her last words, “Rick, do it” were a relinquishment of her due process of law. No trial by jury, no verdict, no incarceration – just swift justice. That’s the only way they were able to figure out how to survive. I don’t think Rick is a criminal at all. He’s terribly loyal.
Q: Deanna was completely shaken by her husband’s and child’s deaths. What was it that shook her out of her stupor?
A: It was the people who needed her as well as Maggie, her mentee and protégé. It was the greater good that drove Deanna. “What is the greatest good for the greatest amount of people?” is a question that is often asked by good leaders. That’s what pulls her towards heroism. She could no longer be a hollowed out shell of a leader. There’s definitely a shift in power in Season 6, though. She recognizes that Rick knows how to handle these things and she’s a novice at this.
Q: Do you believe she had any regrets?
A: I think she just desperately wanted to live, but unfortunately, death shows no favorites.
Q: What does it say about Deanna that she insisted on ending her own life, and used her final bullets on walkers?
A: She became a warrior because of the extreme circumstances that surrounded her and the terrible demands that are made of every human being who wants to live in this post-apocalyptic world. Her last moments were truly heroic. I’m very proud of her.
Q: What legacy is she leaving behind for the others? Can you talk about those final moments with Michonne?
A: Deanna invites Michonne to find out what she wants in this world and what cause she wants to dedicate herself to. She must find a cause greater than herself. She must find her purpose and pursue it heavily, so she can live not just a long, but a meaningful life. She also wants everyone to never give up on the possibility that civilization will one day dominate the Earth again.
Q: Do you feel the two crews have finally merged now?
A: I think those who can survive in Alexandria will become part of Rick’s crew and those who are decent in Rick’s crew will continue to learn from the Alexandrians – maybe not on the fields, but maybe inside the walls.
Q: If you were a member of Alexandria, what role would personally suit you best?
A: A professor of humanities to show the intellectual light at the end of this dark tunnel. That would be perfect for me. Unfortunately, I’d have to have guns on me to get to and from my school, but I would love to teach the young about what existed before this happened and what can exist in the future.
Q: Will you be watching to see what’s next for Alexandria?
A: Totally. I’m invested. The day after my big episode on The Walking Dead, I make my singing debut on a musical comedy called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I’m looking forward to that easing the pain!
Click here to read an interview with Lennie James (Morgan Jones).
The Walking Dead returns in 2016 on AMC.
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