The Walking Dead’s Melissa McBride On Carol’s Struggles and Negan’s Wrath

Gene Page/AMC
Gene Page/AMC

For years The Walking Dead has been one of TV’s most polarizing shows. Close to 15 million of its obsessed fans watch the show every week. While some may find it hard to believe a show about surviving during a zombie apocalypse can be that addicting, count us here at The TV Junkies among the obsessed eagerly awaiting Sunday’s Season 7 premiere at 9 p.m. on AMC.

In last season’s finale we were finally introduced to the dreaded Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan). We all knew it was coming, it had been alluded to all season, but I don’t think anyone expected a scene like what we got in that finale. Almost every one of TWD‘s beloved survivors were on their knees in front of Negan, completely at his weakness, and it was nothing like we’ve ever seen before. Going into a long hiatus not knowing who he had killed was pure torture for TWD fans everywhere.

The Walking Dead is notorious for its ability to keep secrets, so good in fact that days before the premiere there’s still been no leeks as to who Negan killed. We still have no idea. To tide us over while we wait for the Season 7 premiere, The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with actress Melissa McBride. She gave us some insight into her character, Carol, and a glimpse into what we might be in for this season. However, in good ol’ TWD fashion, she kept her lips tightly sealed when it came to spoilers, but did have some interesting thoughts on Carol, her relationship with Daryl (Norman Reedus), and why she thinks the Saviors finally pushed her over the edge.

The TV Junkies: This has definitely been a difficult hiatus since that crazy finale back in April. I know I wasn’t the only one yelling at my TV when the screen went dark. Do you have the same reaction when you’re reading the scripts?

Melissa McBride: I think when I was reading it I wasn’t thinking ‘oh darn I’m going to have to wait to find out who dies.’ It was more of an ‘oh God no! Wow, I can’t believe it!’ But yeah, I can imagine that the hiatus is hard [for the fans] but I will say that they put you out of your misery very quickly into that first episode. But now I’m thinking how can I say that there’s a whole new misery right into that first episode. I don’t know that we’re really putting anyone out of their misery; we’re just giving them a new one.

TTVJ: After all these seasons of watching friends and family lose their lives in this crazy zombie apocalypse, why do you think that Carol has lasted as long as she has?

MM: I think it is definitely because of the people that she has surrounded herself with. The family there and I believe that she has this will to continue on in the face of all the grief and loss and sorrow. I think that that was the reason that she kept going. For those losses, for those people that sacrificed themselves, she’s doing it for them.

Gene Page/AMC
Gene Page/AMC

TTVJ: Daryl and Carol have one of the most amazing friendships on TV right now and we don’t often see platonic relationships between a man and a woman. What do you think brought them together and made them so close and why do you think that their relationship has remained so strong for such a long time?

MM: I think that in the beginning they both came from a similar background, or a similar place in their lives where they were sort of under the palm of another and suffered the abuse from within the family. I think that they felt that and saw that in one another, and I think that they held each other up and care very much for each other in that common bond. And now they have that type of relationship where there’s just a knowing of each other. They allow each other to be their own lead, they don’t try to step in and tell each other what to do, and they understand each other so well that they can just be together and support each other without even exchanging words.

TTVJ: We’ve watched Carol go through some big changes and transform into one of the most badass characters on the show. We’ve seen her save the entire group on several occasions, but when she and Maggie were captured by Negan’s people something changed. It’s like it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Why was that event was so significant for her? Why, after everything that she’s been through did that have such a strong affect on her?

MM: I think that it comes from how Carol was feeling about herself. And I think you’re right, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She has been carrying so much by herself and then coming into that situation with the Saviors and Paola especially who was almost a mirror image of her. She saw the lines between the two of them were so grey and she started to see how close she was to becoming savage. I think seeing that and combined with everything else she’s being carrying all this time, it just pushed her over the edge.

TTVJ: When we last saw Carol she was pretty close to death, but was saved at the last second by Morgan. Assuming she survives, what can we expect to see in her reaction to being saved? She had pretty much accepted her fate in death.

MM: Yeah I think in a way that she was kind of hoping for it, but we did see in the preview that she has been patched up and is possibly on the mend. To what extent? We will just have to find out.

Gene Page/AMC
Gene Page/AMC

TTVJ: Why do you think she and Morgan have kind of drifted together at this point in the story?

MM: I’m not really sure. He has sought her out, he just won’t let her go, but I’m not sure I know the reason behind it. Is it because he sees something of himself in her? I don’t know. I know that when they were together during the wolf attack and she killed that wolf and he told her ‘we don’t have to do this.’ That was just a slap in her face. She knows that was the only option. Of course she didn’t want to do it but there was no choice. To survive, to save the others, they had to do it.

TTVJ: How is the death that was alluded to in last season’s finale going to affect the people of Alexandria as we head in to this new season?

MM: Well, it changes everything.

TTVJ: And how is it going to affect Carol?

MM: I don’t think that Carol even knows does she?

TTVJ: She’s going to find out eventually, isn’t she?

MM: Well, you’re going to have to watch.

TTVJ: What can we expect to see going forward this season?

MM: Honestly, this is really hard to answer because I can’t say anything specific. But we are going to see some new characters, some new factions of survivors. We get to meet a lot of new people and it really is becoming an interesting place. I’m looking forward to the viewers getting to see the kingdom now and seeing their reactions to it and this hellacious Negan character. I’ve never seen anything like him. To see that group of survivors on their knees like we did, we’ve never seen them so vulnerable, and that in itself is a huge shift.


Are you looking forward the the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead? Who do you think Negan killed? What do you predict will change now that this person is dead and Negan is taking over?

Season 7 of The Walking Dead premiers on Sunday October 23 at 9pm EST on AMC.

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