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(SPOILERS) The Walking Dead Q&A — Cassady McClincy (Lydia)

Cassady McClincy, who plays Lydia on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about bonding with Daryl (Norman Reedus), bonding with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and how her character decided to pick a side. 

Q: What changes have you noticed in Lydia since she joined the group?

A: Even though she is surrounded by people and bustling activity now, she feels more isolated than ever. Her loneliness has forced her to reflect on who she needs to be in order to fit in with this new community. So, she’s definitely more independent now.

Q: How has she been processing the loss of Henry – especially at the hands of Alpha (Samantha Morton)?

A: Lydia attempts to stay connected with Henry by learning how to wield the bo staff. Henry was sort of Lydia’s symbol for hope and all that can be good in the world, so when Alpha killed him, it was as if evil triumphed over good once again. Alpha always taught Lydia that “good” and “hope” cannot survive in the new world and Henry’s death sort of was a confirmation of that, so now Lydia is even more conflicted.

Why Alpha and the Whisperers Are So Dangerous:

Q: The “kill them with kindness” perspective isn’t working well for Lydia when certain members of the community actually want to kill her. What it’s like for her to be constantly surrounded by such overt hostility?

A: It definitely makes it harder for her to fit in and forget her old ways. She has also never dealt with such open hatred towards her because I don’t think the Whisperers would ever mess with her like that because she is Alpha’s daughter. Her mother was always manipulative and mind-screwing so this is a completely new beast for her.

Q: The jail cell seems to bring her comfort. Why?

A: When Lydia was put in the jail cell at Hilltop, that was the first time she was really completely isolated with her thoughts, giving her time to think and discover the truth about her mother and the type of person that she is. She sees it as a safe place where nobody can get in to hurt her. She decides to go back because she needs that alone time again to figure out what is right on her own, and what her path should be going forward.

Q: Do you think Lydia misses Alpha at all?

A: For sure! No matter what, Alpha is always going to be her mother and that bond can never be broken. I think she misses the security and safety that Alpha gave her and the twisted “loving” moments that she can’t forget. She also misses that feeling of “belonging” that being a Whisperer gave her, especially with so many Alexandrians giving her hate and treating her like an outcast.

Q: Lydia sees firsthand how the community responds when they’re afraid. How does it shift how she thinks of her new home?

A: When Lydia sees the way that the community acts when they are afraid, it only confirms her mother’s beliefs. She realizes that these people are far from perfect and maybe her mother was right when she said communities like this can’t survive.

Q: How would you describe the connection between Negan and Lydia?

A: Negan and Lydia share sort of an outsiders bond. Negan is the only one that Lydia feels can understand her problems and seems to have empathy for her situation. I think he also kind of reminds her of her father and that may be why she feels like she can trust him.

Q: There’s also a real bond forming with Lydia and Daryl. How did you go about forming that chemistry with Norman?

A: I’ve always admired Norman as an actor since the show first started. I remember bawling my eyes out during the scene when Daryl was forced to kill zombie Merle because of the pure vulnerability and heartbreak that Norman portrayed. I think the chemistry was palpable on the page since the moment our characters met because they have such similar backstories and feral, animalistic behaviors. From my first day working on the show, Norman has been incredibly accepting and open, and just a lot of fun to work with on and off camera! I appreciate how much he cares about the show and works so hard to make sure the storyline stays true and the dialogue makes sense in every scene, so it was very easy to form a bond and chemistry with him.

Q: Are Negan and Daryl like the angel and the devil on her shoulder? Who do you think has her best interest at heart?

A: Possibly? I would say that so far she has a bit of trust in both of them. Lydia’s sense of good and bad are already so screwed up because of her mother, so she is beginning to have feelings of mistrust more and more as events unfold and people turn on her. I think they both have her best interest at heart and they both offer her the best advice that they can, but based off everything we know right now, I’d say that Daryl is probably the most trustworthy ally for Lydia. But…keep watching though!

Q: Do you think she’s picked a “side”?

A: Yes, her own. After much thought and consideration, I feel like Lydia is finally gaining a sense of who she is and who she wants to be and she will do whatever it takes to do what is right.

Read a Q&A with Avi Nash (Siddiq) on the continued fallout among the survivors from Alpha’s attack.

Stream episodes of The Walking Dead Season 10 now on amc.com and the AMC apps.

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