Season four of AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead is in the books and, especially the final eight episodes, the series is as good as it has ever been. It is still far from perfect, but in the hands of the latest showrunner, Scott M. Gimple, fans have more reason to be optimistic about the future—of the show, not the characters, those guys are totally screwed. With shows like Talking Dead, the series has always been all about interacting with its viewers, and Gimple stopped by Larry King Live to answer a slew of questions from Twitter followers.
Though he does address a variety of topics and queries, he, understandably, has to skip over some specific spoilers for the upcoming season five, which goes into production next month. But there are times when his omissions are just as telling as his answers.
For instance, he skips over the question of whether or not Daryl (Norman Reedus) will have to choose between the two women in his life, Beth (Emily Kinney) and Carol (Melissa McBride). Though Gimple avoids that situation, he says there will have to be a choice. This implies that Beth is in fact alive, a fact that we were unsure of after she gets abducted, and after “Still,” we definitely want her back—later in the Q & A session he explicitly says that she does return, so there’s no further need to speculate on that front. He also dishes on a topic many fans are eager to hear news about, Daryl’s love life, saying that the badass biker will finally get some of the sweet, sweet loving he so richly deserves.
A period of time usually passes between seasons of The Walking Dead, but given the cliffhanger nature of the season four finale, that’s going to be difficult to pull off. The series isn’t above using flashbacks, which is one way they could get away with this, but given the fact that Terminus leader Gareth (Andrew J. West) has been bumped up to a series regular, you get the impression that there are going to be some stories set at the sinister safe haven. Again, Gimple doesn’t say anything definite, but implies that the action will pick up shortly after we left the gang.
A comic book series can go on damn near forever—just look at Batman, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year—but television shows have a much more limited lifespan. Though he accepts that is a given, Gimple goes on to say that the show, in its current incarnation, could continue for ten, even twelve years. With the amount of death, it is entirely possible that the cast could completely roll over at some point, like a soap opera, or how Game of Thrones is probably going to wind up. What do you think, are you ready for a full decade of The Walking Dead?
Back to the epidemic of characters deaths, Gimple said that if he could bring one deceased member of the cast back from the dead it would be Scott Wilson’s Hershel—Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Beth would appreciate that move. While that’s not going to happen, he did say, unequivocally, that we will see another familiar face from the past: Morgan, played by Lenny James. Gimple says, “I am so determined to make that happen by hook and by crook that I can say definitively, ‘Yes’. But there’s time and tide that can get in the way.”
Last we saw Morgan, he wasn’t doing so hot. He figured prominently in “Clear,” an episode penned by Gimple himself, and has become a broken, shell of a man. We’d like to see him again, and while we hope that time has been more kind to him, this is The Walking Dead, and we know that’s not going to happen.
Gimple says that the show will continue to be what he calls a remix of material from the comics with new stuff thrown in for good measure. That strategy worked out well last season, but he did say one thing that concerns me, that season five will “be more action heavy.” The show is best when it is about the characters, with episodes like “Clear” and “Still,” where there is relatively little action, and it is weakest when that part of the show takes center stage.
The season four finale “A” is a prime example. The first half of the episode is quiet and tense, focusing on the characters, but it falls apart towards the end when it just becomes about running and trying to escape the folks at Terminus. When the show starts to focus on the action, whether like this or with something like a massive zombie attack, is when it becomes less interesting and rather generic. Let’s hope the writers are able to find a balance between action and story, something that, thus far, the show hasn’t been able to pull off.
Check out the entire interview below: