'The Walking Dead': Writer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight's episode and teases next week's 'shocking' finale

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Image Credit: Bob Mahoney/AMC

In tonight’s episode of the Walking Dead Steven Yeun’s self-confessed blabbermouth Glenn revealed all to Jeffrey DeMunn’s Dale (“There’s walkers in the barn and Lori’s pregnant!”) and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) finally told Rick (Andrew Lincoln) about her affair with Shane (Jon Bernthal) after informing Dale that the baby is her husband’s (that’s her story, anyway, and she’d probably be wise to stick with it).

Elsewhere, Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) got horizontal — or as horizontal as people can get in the driving seat of a car — and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn almost became walker chow while getting Lori’s “abortion pills.”

Below, Walking Dead writer and executive producer Robert Kirkman — who also pens the long-running Walking Dead comic — talks about “Secrets” and teases next week’s midseason finale.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you decide the time had come for Lori to ‘fess up to Rick about sleeping with Shane?
ROBERT KIRKMAN: It was something we wanted to wrap up to a certain extent. It’s a disservice to Rick’s character to make him look like he’s completely clueless. But this isn’t really a resolution per se. It makes things a little bit more tense, moving into this next episode. Seeing Rick interact with Shane will have an extra level of tension because now the audience has one up on Shane as opposed to one up on Rick. It’s going to be fun waiting for the other shoe to drop, when Rick may or may not confront Shane with this information.

Rick took the news pretty well.
Well, it’s interesting. This season is all about whether or not Rick feels like he can be the leader and whether or not he is capable of being the leader. He’s had this leadership role thrust upon him and I think this is the first clear indication that he’s the guy. For him to have this information and to sit on it for the good of the group, that is a real, clear indication that he is capable of being a good leader.

Earlier in the episode, Lori told Dale that Rick is the father. Can we assume this is not necessarily the case?
I would say that is a matter of wishful thinking on her part. She was with those two men very close to each other. There was not a large span of time between her time with Shane and then Rick’s return and her time with Rick. It’s definitely up in the air and it’s not like there’s a lot of paternity tests floating around out there.

The show deals with a lot of hot button topics: Religion, racism, guns, and now abortion. Obviously this is ground you’ve covered in the comic for a long time but do you feel a greater sense of responsibility approaching these subjects on a TV show that is being watched by millions of people every week?
I suppose so. At the same time, we’re not really ever trying to preach [about] certain hot button topics one way or the other. If anything, I would say that this show advocates for gun ownership, just because they do seem to come in handy [in the post-apocalypse]. As far as the abortion stuff goes, it’s really just a matter of being realistic. These are the kinds of issues that people deal with in real life and in this situation I think that that is the kind of thought process that Lori Grimes would be going through. If there’s ever been an argument for abortion I think the thought of bringing a child into a world infested with zombies is definitely something that at least warrants a discussion. Because it is a horrific world that they’ve been living in and they have been watching people die left and right. After everything that Carl has been going through and losing Sophia — I mean this has been very definitively been proven to be a world that is not fit for children. So that is an issue that’s going to come up.

But you must be aware that, if Lori does proceed with the pregnancy, there will be people who claim that is a pro-life plot line.
Sure. That’s the risk that you take with this kind of stuff. But I think that avoiding that in order to avoid any kind of controversy is weak storytelling. There’s always going to be a controversy of some kind no matter what you do. People have opinions, and that’s what makes them great. You can’t write a story trying to avoid anything like that because the most mundane thing can [turn into] overblown Internet hysteria. You’ve just got to do what you do.

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Image Credit: Bob Mahoney/AMC

Moving on, it has to be said that Shane and Andrea are kind of a hot pair.
Yeah, yeah.

They’re the Brangelina of the post-apocalypse. They’re Shandrea!
[Laughs] All I can say is “Yes.”

I literally just came up with “Shandrea” just then.
We’ve been saying that in the writer’s room for weeks.

That’s bulls—. If you use that in the show, I’m going to sue.
You’re right! I was only kidding.

To readers of the Walking Dead comic, like myself, it now seems as if Shane is part of two love triangles.
To a certain extent, yeah. The relationship between Dale and Andrea hasn’t really quite blossomed just yet, like it did in the comic book series. But there are certainly hints there that that may be something on the horizon. So, yeah, if you’ve got a relationship, Shane would like to screw it up!

He only needs to get it on with either Maggie or Glenn and he’s got a full set!
[Laughs] Now you’re spoiling our upcoming Glenn-Shane storyline.

Can you tease next week’s midseason finale?
There’s a lot of big stuff out there that we will be wrapping up to a certain extent. In the writer’s room we were fully aware that we were coming up on this hiatus, so we definitely wrote to it. I think people are going to be a little shocked.

What did you think of the latest episode of The Walking Dead?

Read more:
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