Robert Kirkman, producer of The Walking Dead and writer of the comic book series it’s based on, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the most recent episode, ‘Killer Within,’ and the big changes that it brought to the series.
While the death of T-Dog was sad, and appropriately heroic; it’s the death of Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies), wife of main character Rick Grimes, that’s sure to have the longest ripples.
Kirkman said that her death was important, not for the sake of her own character, but for what it would do to others. As he told Entertainment Weekly, “Yeah. I mean, I always knew from the beginning of writing the comic that Rick would eventually lose his wife. That was something that I think was important to the development of his relationship with Carl. I also liked the idea of adding more danger to Rick’s life by saying, “Oh, by the way, you’re now responsible for this baby.” I thought that that would be something which would make his life that much more difficult and make his life that much more interesting to watch unfold.”
Lori’s death in the comic occurred slightly later than it did in the TV series. In the original, she successfully gave birth to her child; but was later murdered in an attack on the prison by the Governor (whom we’ve met in the series, but has yet to make an aggressive move against the survivors).
The TV series also added the twist of having Carl be the one to put his mother down; granted she was dead already, but shooting your mother in the face has to weigh on a boy; especially since she used her last words to tell him not to let the world change him. Though we didn’t see him shoot on-screen, Kirkman made it clear that that’s what happened, “Yeah. I think the bad version of this show would definitely have a half-alive, half-zombie Lori living in the prison doing all sorts of nefarious things in the background. But, no, that poor child did shoot his mother and, yeah, we’re going to be dealing with that.”
On the death of T-Dog, and the disappearance of Carol, Robert Kirkman said that the motive was to depict the harsh realities of living through a zombie apocalypse; and that the specific situation was born of a desire to give T-Dog a fitting end. “Well, again, we’re just trying to portray this world realistically. I think T-Dog really stepped up this season and was extremely heroic and we really wanted him to go out with a hero’s death. The fact that he knew that he was dead but still tried to do whatever he could to hopefully save Carol – although it is pretty ambiguous as to what exactly happened to her. But, yeah, we wanted to show someone really just making a sacrifice and doing whatever he could to protect someone.
I’m not going to get into any religious debates. But God is not very kind in the world of the Walking Dead.”