The Walking Dead’s Season Nine finale paid homage to the comic books when a somber Lydia (Cassady McClincy) nearly committed suicide by walker, something the counterpart of Carol (Melissa McBride) pulled off in Robert Kirkman’s comic books.
After learning mother Alpha (Samantha Morton) murdered ten victims, including boyfriend Henry (Matt Lintz), Lydia contemplated death by zombie when dangling her arm just inches from the gnawing teeth of a walker embedded within a frozen lake.
But Lydia relented, unlike a similarly depressed and heartbroken Carol of the comics, who shockingly walked towards a chained walker and let it sink its teeth into her neck, killing her almost immediately in front of the horrified Atlanta group.
“I just loved seeing all of the frozen zombies, and I love it when Lydia comes upon that frozen walker in the lake. The interesting thing that comic book fans may or may not pick up on, is we’re actually doing an homage to Carol’s death in the comic book,” showrunner Angela Kang told EW.
“She basically commits suicide by zombie, and we have Carol from the show — who’s well outlasted Carol from comic books — she’s watching this moment play out between Lydia and the zombie. And I just think that the production design of that scene, the way that Greg [Nicotero] directed it, the way the zombie looks, all of that was very evocative. And then of course, Cassady who plays Lydia, and Melissa, they’re so wonderful and emotional. There’s so much rawness that they bring to their performance that I think it ended up being this really special scene that I really love.”
McBride is again a grieving mother mourning the loss of her adopted son — a loss that proved so devastating it forced a rift between Carol and husband Ezekiel (Khary Payton), causing a separation that, for now, could prove only temporary.
“We came at it from a perspective of Carol has had these chapters in her life. In a lot of ways, when Sophia (Madison Lintz) died, that catapulted her into another chapter of her life,” Kang told EW when explaining the surprise break up.
“She had to question this abusive relationship she had, her feelings of inadequacy, her feelings of weakness. And she eventually became the badass, you can’t mess with me Carol that we know and love. But that all came at a cost. Having to kill and kill and kill and kill, it really took a toll on her.”
Carol got to “live out the fairytale chapter of her life,” Kang added, but much like couples in real life who suffer the loss of a child, “the grief can be overwhelming.”
“It can reveal cracks in a relationship that maybe were there all along, or can create new cracks. So we wanted to play the emotional truth of that and the fact that, for Carol, part of that fairytale of being at the Kingdom, it was a package deal,” Kang said.
“It was Ezekiel. It was Henry. It was the place. It was all the people. And so when all of that falls apart, what she refers to as the thing that is always the thing that she kind of wants to revert to, which is, I just want to run away from it — it becomes a big part of her story going forward.”
The Walking Dead returns with its tenth season this fall on AMC.
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