With just four more episodes of season 3 of The Walking Dead to go, this would officially qualify as the homestretch. So what should we expect to see as we head toward the inevitable confrontation between Rick and The Governor? Is Rick sane again? Has Michonne proved her mettle? And should we assume that not everyone will make it out of the season alive? We spoke with exec producer Robert Kirkman, who offered up some cryptic clues and teases for what lies ahead. (Click through both pages to read the complete Q&A.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is Rick past his hallucinations now? Did that encounter with Morgan refocus him? Where’s his head at as we get closer to the big showdown?
ROBERT KIRKMAN: He has started to get a handle on it to a certain extent and a big thing that helped him with that was his interaction with Morgan in this last episode. He sees this fun house there, who he could eventually be if he keeps going down this path. I think that’s going to help rein him in a great deal and set him on the path to healing. Now, he could have a relapse, but I think right now he is getting a handle on what is going on within him.
EW: We last saw Andrea standing over the Governor with the knife and not being able to go through with killing him. How pivotal a role is she going to play going forward?
KIRKMAN: The rest of the season really is about what Andrea is doing and how she’s handling this situation. The scene where she stands over him in the bed is really the beginning of her plan and what she’s going to be doing and why she’s doing what she’s doing. The fact that she wasn’t able to kill the Governor is really going to play in to a lot of the upcoming story for the rest of the season. Andrea is in a really horrible position. She has relationships with people in Woodbury. She knows there are good people there. She knows that the Governor is instigating a war between those people and other people that she has a relationship with that she also knows to be good people. She’s kind of stuck in the middle and can’t help either group win because that would mean the destruction of other good people but she’s going to have to do something to try to make this situation resolve in a way that not too many people get hurt. So that’s really what she’s going to be trying to do moving forward.
EW: Tyreese and his group now seem firmly with the Governor. Is Tyrese, like Andrea, a swing character in this conflict?
KIRKMAN: Tyreese is a character coming into a very explosive situation with not a lot of information. He got a lot of misleading information from Rick and his group, using Rick’s behavior as an example of what that group is like. Certainly an inaccurate portrayal of those people, and having that information, he is being easily wooed by the Governor. We’ve always tried to maintain that Tyreese is this big-hearted character. He’s someone who — like Dale in the second season — still sees the humanity in the world and still sees the need to do what’s right as opposed to what will help us survive. And that’s something that will either be subverted by the Governor and used to his benefit, or something that may eventually turn Tyreese against the Governor.
EW: Let’s talk about the Dixons. Daryl started to seem to realize that maybe Merle was no good for him by going back to the prison, and then Carol told him straight up that Merle was no good for him. Where is the relationship between the brothers headed?
KIRKMAN: I think now the real question is, can Merle be affected by this group the same way that Daryl has been? That’s something that Daryl hopes will happen. He does see that being with these people and being a part of this group has helped make him a better person. He still loves his brother and sees the value in having his brother around, but he’s hoping Merle can come around the same way that he did and calm down a bit and be a little bit more of a reasonable person. That’s really going to be the main conflict for those two moving forward for the rest of the season.
EW: What about Daryl and Carol? They obviously have had something of a flirtation. Now that Daryl is back and Axel is out of the way, are we going to see some movement with those two romantically?
KIRKMAN: All I can say is that those two characters are extremely close and I would imagine that the more time they spend together that they would only get closer and closer. They definitely have a unique bond that is formed over their time together and whether or not that evolves into an intimate relationship remains to be seen, but they do certainly like each other.