Who lives? Who dies? Who makes it to Terminus? And what is this shocking Rick Grimes storyline we're hearing so much about? "The Walking Dead" Season 4 finale is just a couple of days away, and Yahoo TV talked to series star Andrew Lincoln, Rick Grimes himself, to get the scoop on just how frightened we should be for Rick and our favorite zombie apocalypse survivors (hint: very).
We talked to Greg Nicotero earlier this week, and we're worried about Rick in this Season 4 finale.
[Laughing] Yes, and you should be, be afraid. I've just spoken to someone who's seen it... they were freaking out a bit.
We know the Claimers — Joe and his friends, who are travelling with Daryl — are on Rick's trail, and it seems pretty likely they'll meet up in the finale. What can you say about that?
Just wait, just wait. We haven't got long to go [laughing]. They meet, yeah... they would be pretty bad trackers if they didn't meet, is all I'm saying. But you never know. I've got a feeling that... well, something's going to go down, definitely. I'll say that.
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This is what Robert Kirkman said about the finale: "This is Rick Grimes being pushed to his absolute limit. And if you think you've seen that before, you haven't. And the Rick Grimes that comes out of this is really going to shock people."
Yeah, that's very good. I think the story this season begins with a man suppressing his brutality for the sake of his son. I don't want to give too much away, but basically, you will see a side of Rick that you haven't seen before or in a place that he goes to that he's never been before. Like most things he's driven by, it's for the sake of his son.
All I will say is that when I read [the script], I called up Scott Gimple, and I said, "Scott, we've always been incredibly responsible with where we go and the darkness and the brutality of the world that we inhabit. Do you think we may be going a little bit far on this?" He said, "No, no, not at all," and when I did it, when I did the scene, like most things Scott Gimple says, he was right, and it made complete sense. It is a definite evolution.
What was your favorite Rick moment in the second half of the season?
I loved ["After"]. I just thought it was very well drawn... and obviously for the fact that I got to lie in a bed unconscious for quite a lot of the scenes [laughing]. But I would say that I think my favorite episode, just for what happens, is the one that you haven't seen yet. Just because, it's always really exciting to play... it's such a privilege to play this character, and certainly to play it for so long. You get to explore and then live with him in so many different ways. And when something happens that changes him irrevocably, it's an exciting moment. You start going, "Oh, I'm no longer this guy anymore, I'm this guy." That's what happens this Sunday.
Are you excited for fans to see it, and then to start filming Season 5 in a few weeks?
Oh, yeah. Everybody's going crazy. All the people that are still alive are texting each other [laughing]. It's an amazing time. Just because it so beautifully synchronizes... the finale and then suddenly the emails start coming in and everybody starts getting ready [for Season 5]. It's particularly exciting to start up Season 5, because of where we leave Season 4. It's a really thrilling place.
Did you feel Season 4 was a different show? And in a good way if so?
Oh, hugely. And I think it was good. I think different is always good. No, that's not true... that's a flat out lie. You can have different bad. But I think that changing the show up is essential. Just because we want to keep ahead of the audience, and we want to keep people on the balls of their feet and not know where we're going to go.
For that reason alone, I think the writers did a magnificent job this season. I loved the storytelling. I thought it was slow in parts, but for a reason. I think it was different and needed to be different. Maybe that's the ace we've got up our sleeve, the fact that we can just smash it all up and start it all over again.
Were you excited to learn some of the character backstories?
It's so good. It's so exciting to go, "Oh my God, the Michonne story." All the little things that they've added in, that you are being drip fed about pasts and relationships and who these people are and their secrets. There's nothing more satisfying as an actor, I think, than playing a secret, holding onto a secret for so long.
You mentioned Michonne... she, Rick, and Carl have formed a family unit, and not just because they're together in the second half of the season. They've been building to that. Is Michonne the person that Rick most trusts with Carl? And not just because she's the only other person with them right now, but in general?
The funny thing is that I think he sees a relationship that Carl doesn't have with anybody else. Carl is a teenager now. There are certain things that a boy can't say to his father... there's a lightness that [Carl and Michonne] bring out in each other that is so of the old world, that is so important to life. Otherwise, what's the point? I think that Rick identifies that as a hugely important part of their relationship. But also, she signifies a maternal presence, maybe a sisterly presence. She's a sort of go between. Also, you're right. She's great insurance. If I die, I trust that she's a warrior. She's a survivor. It is a kind of insurance policy, as well.
One of the best moments of the entire series so far was the end of "After," when Michonne finds Rick and Carl in the house, and Rick sees her at the door and tells Carl, "It's for you."
I know. I'm with you. I love it. It's rare that you get the chance to have that levity on our show. It's a lifeline for this guy. It's funny, I was signing something at a convention, and the person said, "Sign your favorite line from this season," and I just said, "It's for you." They asked what episode that was from, and I said, "You haven't seen it yet. Wait." That was Robert Kirkman. Robert Kirkman wrote that episode, and I thought he did a beautiful job.
"The Walking Dead" Season 4 finale airs Sunday, March 30 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
- Rick Grimes