Last night's episode of The Walking Dead was a big one for several characters. Rick and Jessie. Carl and Ron. Oh, and Aaron and Maggie. Spoilers follow for The Walking Dead episode 605.
The pair, both seeking redemption, journeyed through the sewers of the Alexandria area, in search of Glenn. Maggie, of course, looking for her missing husband, and Aaron trying to make-up for the Wolves finding their home, which he blames himself for.
ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with Ross Marquand, the man responsible for bringing Aaron from the comic book pages to the TV screen, about last night's "Now" episode for some insider perspective.
CB: I like to offer the fans of the show the opportunity to get their questions in and start off with one, so this time, the honorary question goes to ComicBook Rob.
RM: If we should be so lucky to be on that long - it's amazing that we just heard the news that season seven got picked it... As I was talking to our costume designer today, we were remarking about how massive and devoted this fanbase is and it started out as this really relatively small zombie show with only six episodes in that first season. It was not a guarantee that it was gonna go two seasons. There was no certainty whatsoever, so the fact that it has become this massive show is not only mind blowing but it's actually very humbling. I think all of us are very aware that the fans have made this show what it is. If the producers, if the writers think that that storyline involves Aaron, I would absolutely stay on for 10 or 15 years. I would love that. It's one of my favorite shows, too. It's a dream come true to me. Every time I go to set, I realize, I'm working on one of my favorite shows. So, absolutely. Most definitely.
In the "Now," episode, Aaron goes out in front of everybody and takes the blame. How much did that take out of Aaron and why does him blame himself so much? These people probably would've found Alexandria eventually anyway!
Myself, as an actor, I very much want to give Aaron a hug, too, and say, "It's not your fault!" and just kind of have a little Good Will Hunting moment... You know, truthfully, I don't think it's his fault. There's not Google Maps anymore. It's not like they can extrapolate certain details of geographically topography by certain pictures alone. You really have to know where that location was. I think it was, truthfully, just enough to pique the Wolves interest and they must've somehow put two and two together. Maybe they passed by the walls of Alexandria and thought, "Who knows what that is," but then they saw the pictures and thought, "There might be people inside," and they might've scoped it out. I didn't get into too much of the hows and the whys of the Wolves actually finding the community, but I do know this: it really was incumbent upon Aaron to feel guilty for that and to take that blame.
Even though he doesn't want that responsibility and the blame of taking it on, I think the big mantra is a good portion of how the Wolves made it back is indirectly/directly related to what he's done. It was like the biggest accident on the planet. He was almost gonna get his neck bit and then Daryl comes and swings that knife down and kills the walker and so I dropped the backpack just because I'm in the middle of almost being killed. But truthfully, that was just very much an accident. I think he's the type of guy who even from the beginning, he holds the weight of the world on his shoulders. He feels like he's responsible for the people in the community. He feels like he's responsible for Rick's group. He wantsto prove to them that he is still a good guy and can still make amends for this terrible things that he feels responsible for.
Another big moment in the episode was Maggie dropping the pregnancy bomb. There's a lot of questions there! Are you guys going to tell anybody? If Glenn is dead, could Aaron try to be a father figure?
The backstory that Lauren [Cohan] and I delved into because we haven't seen much of Maggie and Aaron except for that very first episode that I'm in in 5x10 where he comes out of the woods and puts his hands up... I think the backstory that we created was even though we haven't seen them on screen together all that much aside from that first meeting and then of course the barn, we decided that because Maggie saw a goodness in Aaron from the beginning, the two of them just bonded and they probably hung out a fair amount within the walls when they get back.
I think that the two of them are actually pretty tight now. I believe that's the reason why she feels comfortable telling him this piece of news. This is a big piece of news, she's really kept from the others and no one else knows about it, at least in Aaron's mind and I think she tells him this not only because he's about to open that gate and risk their lives and her unborn child's life because I think the reality of her pregnancy is catching up to her in that moment. Shes' realizing, "It's not just about me and Glenn anymore. It's about this baby and I have to do everything I can to protect this baby. I think leaving the gates of Alexandria right now is not the best thing for us."
Are they going to keep the pregnancy a secret?
Well, I think as time goes on she'll reveal it, potentially, to other characters, but for now, I think she's certainly keeping that news very much to herself. It's a risky thing to have a baby in the apocalypse as we've seen with Judith. Carl lost his mother at childbirth. Imagine all the things that we take for granted like baby formula and diapers and everything else - that just goes out the window with the apocalypse. It's a real challenge. It's a real struggle. I think it's so beautiful that you have this incredibly hopeful moment with these two people that are framed by death. We're just kind of framed in that gate with nothing but death around us and walkers just reaching through trying to grab us and there's these two people bonding over guilt and shame and ultimately, also optimism. They're seeing past their guilt and shame and there's a real chance to grow from this. Maybe not necessarily by fighting today but by fighting in the future to protect the future of our community.
He really wants her to name the baby Aaron, huh?
Yeah! I'm glad they kept that part in there. That was a fun part to shoot.
By the end of the episode, Aaron and Maggie were wiping the names off of the wall. Does that mean you believe they're still out there?
Yeah, I think so. I think, truthfully, they're the type of people who are optimists. They're very pragmatic but they're also the type of people that say, "Listen, let's not rule out hope until there's legitimate proof that someone is dead or something is over." They want to believe that these two people are very much still out there and they're not gonna just give up because the general theory is that they've past.
Is it going to be a while until the Glenn mystery is resolved?
I think the fans can rest assured, it's right around the corner. The showrunner and the writers are not planning on keeping the audience in suspense the entire season.
Yeah. It's intense, right? As a fan myself, I think Scott Gimple is telling the best story he can given the confines of 16-episodes. I think we would all love to have a full hour like they have on premiere cable and really tell these stories but we really have only 41 or 42 minutes to tell these stories every week and only 16-episodes. There's an economy of language and an economy of plot that needs to be there for it to work and he's the mad genius of the whole thing. He's carefully solving it all together and I think fans will be happy with this entire season.
One thing we haven't seen much of is Eric and Aaron together this season. Will we see more of that this season?
There are so many characters in this ensemble that it's really difficult to maintain the storylines for everything but I think you will definitely see more of Aaron and Eric as the season goes on. You'll see that Eric, who has been very supportive this entire time and hoping for the best for Aaron although he cannot fight because of his ankle issue, he still very much understands that Aaron has a desire to go out and fight and he supports him even though he would secretly love to have him stay back and be with him a little longer because he just came back from almost being killed with Daryl. They love each other and they miss each other a great deal. That's something that will certainly be explored later in the season.
Is the finale going to be bigger than the premiere?
I was just talking to Andy [Lincoln] about this the other day and I looked at him because I hadn't seen him since I read and I said, "What'd ya think?" We both literally just threw our hands up in the air and we were like, "This is the craziest thing ever, right?" I think it's probably the most rot, like emotionally rot, and dark episode I've ever read, regardless of this show or not. I've never seen or read an episode that is so dark and so compelling in my life and that's the God's honest truth. I told Andy, I don't normally get so effected by scripts that I have to put them down, but I had to stop reading this at three different times. I couldn't read it, it was messing me up. It was tough to read. It's phenomenal writing but it's just so emotionally dark and twisted that we had to put it down several times.
It's good, man. We start shooting next week and I cannot wait to see this thing put together and fully realized because it is... I literally put it up there with, like, Usual Suspects. I mean, it's that good. It's so, so well done. Now, I just feel like it's our job to make the script come to life and now it's just our job to kick ass and make it really pop. The script is so phenomenal that I think if everyone is just doing their jobs, it's gonna be one of the most talked about episodes, ever. I'm not trying to nerd out but it's really good.
Hey, if you're gonna nerd out, ComicBook.com is the place to do it.
Yeah, exactly right!