This Sunday's new episode of "The Walking Dead" promises to be violent, pivotal, shocking, and as the man at the center of most "Walking Dead" dramas confirms, "heartbreaking." We'll let viewers decide what that might mean for the fates of some of our favorite zombie apocalypse survivors.
But when Andrew Lincoln, the actor who plays leader Rick Grimes, tells you an episode is heartbreaking -- this coming after episodes in which he's already lost his best friend and wife (both killed by his son, oh by the way) -- you tend to think some major losses may be afoot.
Lincoln, who is nominated as best actor on television for June's Saturn Awards, talked to Yahoo! TV from his home in England this week, and he previews that the final two episodes of Season 3 will not disappoint viewers. Though, again, they may break our hearts.
You told Rolling Stone recently that 27 people die in the Season 3 finale. Are people taking that number too seriously?
(Laughing) Did that go out in print?
It did. And some people are taking that as an exact number.
I so have to be careful in what I say. It's safe to say that we finish in the style [viewers] have become accustomed to. I don't think people will be disappointed. We're coming up on Episode 15 this week?
Yes, 15, "This Sorrowful Life," the penultimate episode of the season, airs on March 24.
It's an extraordinary episode because the essential two storylines, I think, are magnificent, and the acting … yeah, it's a really cool episode on many levels. It's quite an emotional, heroic, brilliant episode. Largely because of a couple of the actors in it that are doing some magnificent work. Then, the season finale … it all goes off. It's big, is what I will say. It's befitting everything that's happened this season, is what I would say.
Watch a sneak peek clip of "The Sorrowful Life":
When we last really saw Rick, he met with the Governor and knows this guy is crazy. He knows some of the twisted things he's done, that he enjoys toying with people. But it still feels like he may not fully understand just how evil the Governor is. That he doesn't understand this is a guy who takes great pleasure in meticulously designing a torture chamber …
I don't think he's aware of the extent of the atrocities that this guy is planning. I don't think he can. I don't think he's met anyone quite like him yet. I don't think he is fully aware, absolutely. He knows that he's a very dangerous man. He knows that, from what he's gathered … he's getting remnants. But the thing about Rick is, until he meets a man, he's one of these people who has to make a judgment call on the person himself.
The Governor is incredibly manipulative. He's a true psychopath or sociopath. He's very manipulative, very charming. He's bright. He's determined. He's self obsessed. He's all of those things. … I don't think Rick's unaware of that. But the thing I loved about [that meeting] is the fact that he gives an option. He gives an option that could be a truth. The difficulty is, do you trust a man that you don't trust? Do you trust a man that has already killed and tortured members of your party, enough to bargain with him? That's the real call behind all of that, behind all of these decisions.
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Given all that, why is Rick even entertaining this deal the Governor has offered, to hand over Michonne in exchange for calling off another attack on the prison? Does Rick just not trust his judgment because he's just bounced back from a breakdown? Or is he just afraid not to take a chance that the Governor will keep his word and then everyone's safe?
He's exactly that. It's another impossible decision to make. He's savvy enough, he's smart enough, to realize that this could be the bargaining tool that enables two civilizations to stop careening towards conflict. But at the same time, at what cost to the group? He's still not the man he was. I don't think he can ever return to that man. There's a pragmatism that's in him. But there's a brutality that's in him that is willing to consider every option. To defend, to certainly serve his boy. It's all about the boy, now. It's all about the kid.
It also felt like, in that meeting with the Governor, there was the slightest bit of bonding, or at least of acknowledgement by both of them, to each other, that being a leader is tough. Obviously, the Governor has taken the responsibility and the pressure in a different direction …
Yeah, you're absolutely right. We wanted to play that. We wanted to realize this is the only time these two men have ever had this opportunity to share the common bond of leadership and to really be frank, to be open. That's the disarming thing … you have these two incredibly dynamic, dangerous men with the lives of lots of people at stake, and yet they're able to almost have this very intimate conversation. There was a kind of recognition of what they've done and who they are and what this world has pushed them to become.
That's what I always loved about the comic book, is that you start in one place, and then you root for these people. But you realize, holy crap! They're doing terrible things, morally ambiguous things. Yet you still side with them. You get it. That harkens back to why people like the show so much, because they've put themselves in that position. They ask those impossible questions.
NEXT: What motivates Rick to push forward?