Melissa McBride, who plays Carol on AMC's hit zombiepocalypse show "The Walking Dead", spoke recently about the decision her character had to make in a heartbreaking episode that aired on Sunday.
It's far from the first gut-wrenching tale the show has brought us; it's not even the first horrific thing Carol's been through. But what made this episode different was that the survivors weren't fighting the enemy, but rather amongst themselves.
WARNING: If you haven't seen the episode yet, don't read any further. Seriously. Spoilers live here.
After young Lizzie killed her own sister in order to prove that she could come back from the dead and not be like the other "walkers", Carol made the decision to shoot her in order to protect the others in the group, especially baby Judith. Lizzie, who was like a daughter to Carol, took a bullet to the head for the good of the group, but the decision wasn't made lightly, and of course the entire storyline reminds us that Carol has already lost one daughter.
"He (showrunner Scott Gimple) said that Carol would be required to do something very difficult and I was thinking, oh dear, maybe there’s a scuffle between her and Tyreese. I had no idea. And then when I did read the episode and was going along and seeing how messed up Lizzie was…to answer your question, it was just devastating and heartbreaking. Period," McBride said.
While many fans thought the show had gone too far, McBride says she thinks it was a story that needed to be told, and that the tale was pulled from Robert Kirkman's original material in a good way.
"It’s an element that had not been examined yet really from the perspective of our group — just the mental fragility and mindset and different perspectives of children. This is something that really needs to be explored in this world. And Carol’s arc has dealt so much with children that this group was the best one for this story to be told. It just had to be told," she said.
One of the hardest things about the episode, McBride says, was filming that scene and keeping herself a little detached from it, emotionally.
"It just was the most horrifying thing to even play that out -- physically play that out, me playing her, playing the character. It was so uncomfortable, so horrifying. I couldn't wait for that scene to be over. I can detach quite a bit from what's going on when I'm shooting some stuff with Carol. I can detach from what's going on. I was really happy to detach from that a bit more and less conscious of playing this scene out. I think it was just very honest. Melissa was a little bit more out of the way than usual because I was uncomfortable to be there. Let's just give it all over to Carol there for a minute," she said.
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