Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead claimed quite a few survivors from both sides of the All Out War spectrum. ComicBook.com caught up with the toughest loss among them.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x13, Do Not Send Us Astray, follow.
Jason Douglas joined The Walking Dead as Tobin in its fifth season. Playing a character native to Alexandria, Douglas never expected to last as long as he did with the AMC zombie drama, but when he outlived his comic book counterpart, it was for a great cause. Not only would Tobin form a relationship with Carol Pelettier, as fake as it may have been to her, but he also became one of the Saviors' greatest weapons in Sunday night's episode.
ComicBook.com: What was is like for you to find out Tobin's time was up? Was this the plan all along?
Jason Douglas: Up until the moment I found out, I had no clue that it was imminent, but I've always been expecting it. From the time I started on in season five, I've felt pretty sure that this character was being introduced sort of for the purpose of having his face eaten off in a few episodes.
Obviously in the comic book, there's a very clear ending to Tobin, and it happens when the walkers invade Alexandria the first time when the walls give in. Really once we got past that moment in the comic book, I felt like, "Wow, it's open ended at this point." I'm here at the whim of Scott [Gimple] and the writers, and so I'm just gonna keep showing up to work every day and hope that I can continue to turn in good enough performances that they want to keep me around.
That continued to be the case up through the beginnings of season eight. We certainly came in on season eight, I didn't have any... Again, I've always said, "It could happen at any time." So I wasn't under any illusion that my character would make it through the end of the season, but I just didn't have any knowledge of it.
I felt surprised a bit. When that phone call came, and it was a phone call from Scott... I'm in Texas, which is where I live. I'm actually waiting on a tow truck because one of our cars had a flat. So I'm waiting on the tow truck to arrive when the phone rings, and it's Scott.
I went and took that call, and we had actually a nice, very lovely conversation. He had a lot of things to say about my work on the show and about how hard it is to do these things, and I totally understood. From a literary standpoint, I completely understand, frankly, that it was probably time to decide what we're gonna do with Tobin, and I think the way they chose to send Tobin off... well, as an actor, I'm grateful for the opportunity to do it in that way.
CB: I love the scene in the middle of the night where you do become reanimated and you're a walker, because I feel like that's the first time the show has really been scary through this classic horror type of style. I thought that was great.
CB: What was the makeup process like for you because you didn't, you're a fresh walker, so it couldn't have been too intense, but what was that like?
JD: Well, it's interesting. There's a kind of a standard makeup trailer that all the actors go to, but there's a different makeup trailer that's the effects makeup trailer, with different personnel and different gear. That's where you got if you're gonna get made up as a walker or some other kind of elaborate thing.
That's where I spent most of my time for this episode when I was playing walker Tobin. It is a pretty elaborate process. There's several layers of makeup and coloration that's done on your skin in order to give you that living dead look.
Then there's this whole other thing with these heavy contacts that you wear that really kind of brings it all together. It was great getting to do it. I think that the background guys that do walker stuff all the time, they get trained to do it. For those of us who are part of the show that turn, we just kind of have to improvise. So that's kind of interesting.
You also realize, "Oh it really is the end." Like, "This is it." Like, "This is like the coolest, greatest thing." There are hardcore fans of the show who would pay good money to be able to sit here and be made up as a walker and to actually get to shoot, so it's such an incredible privilege to be a walker on the Walking Dead. It really was like icing on the cake.
If we had done those terrific scenes with Tobin, with Melissa, and then he just dies, and then they bury him, it would have been fine. But the fact that he gets reanimated, gets to have this whole Night of the Living Dead experience, this classic horror movie thing. That really made this entire episode memorable for me.
CB: What was the last scene that you filmed?
JD: I feel like the last thing on the schedule was that scene with the scene upstairs with Melissa. I feel like that's true. It's certainly possible that we had some other normal Tobin stuff after that, but I don't think so. I think we kind of roughly kept to the linear structure of that episode.
I do remember getting a lot of photos taken by Gene Page, our fantastic set photographer, and really just saying good bye. There was some background extras who I've known since season five who were kind of in tears because we'd gotten friendly, and it was like, "You're gone." You know, "You're actually leaving us."
So it was bitter sweet, but I really felt like it was an accomplishment.
CB: Now let me talk to you a little bit about one of the less devastating moments. You did get a cool moment with Melissa McBride where Tobin and Carol finally have their reunion, which, for the characters it's been a few weeks, for us it's been a couple of years. What do you would say Tobin's goal was with Carol this whole time and what were those scenes like between you and Melissa?
JD: I think he just wanted to reconnect with his friend, right? I don't know that he was trying to re-establish a connection with a lover. I think Tobin genuinely cared for Carol, and I think what that means is that it's not that he's not trying to sleep with her again. He genuinely is loving her in a way that allows her to be who she is, but who is concerned for her well being.
I think Tobin was hoping to inspire her to be optimistic about what the future can be. I think he has come full circle as a character. He is not only now a man who is willing and able to defend his people. But he's also somebody that I think would wholesale be on team Carl in terms of the optimistic outlook of the future.
It's two warring visions of what the future can be on the show. Either it's just a very bleak and doing whatever heinous things we have to do in order to survive, or it's how can we be civilized, how can we treat each other with humanity, and get back to some meaningful sense of what it means to be civilized.
So I think for Tobin, that's the world that he was hoping for. I think he was really trying to say to Carol, "Yes we're fighting, and as awful as it is that we have to point guns at each other, at other people and pull the trigger, but we're doing that so that we can live for a better day." I think that's the optimism that he has where it seems like with Carol, she's on a bit of a downer. It'll just be another day, and it'll be another fight. She sees it as more ... At least I think in the way that it plays out in the scene is that she seems less enthusiastic about what the future holds.
CB: Do you think maybe Tobin found a little bit of peace of mind in Carol saying that she was afraid that their connection could have become real to her?
JD: Yeah. I think that the way Tobin heard that, and I think fans can interpret it however they want, but I think the way... I feel like the way it played out and the way Tobin hears that is that she's saying, "Who I was to you then is not who I really am. But it's who I wish I could be. But it's too bad I can't be." Do you know what I mean?
I think what Tobin hears her say is that look, yes. A lot of that was phony, but I wish it could have been otherwise. That's why he sort of begrudgingly accepts that as a backhanded compliment. He's willing to take what he can get, but he's not broke up about it. I think he genuinely cares for where she is, and I think that's why his closing comments, Tobin's last words, are words of inspiration and encouragement to her. Because he wants to see her smile again.
CB: Where can we expect to see you again, do you have anything lines up yet?
JD: Well I continue to do the voice of the god of destruction Beerus on Dragon Ball Super on Cartoon Network every Saturday night. I'm excited about a film coming out directed by Ed Zwick that I did called Trial By Fire about a very important and infamous death penalty case in Texas. I've got a film called Dropa coming out. It's an independent sci-fi feature that should be out by the end of the year. And I will have some exciting things to talk about on possibly later this year, but I can't dish on them just yet because it's kind of early stages.0comments
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.