'Walking Dead' exec producer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight's show and the long-awaited return of Morgan

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I don’t think it’s an insult to the show’s main plotline to say that it was nice to have a break from Woodbury and the prison.
Yeah. I think this episode was really good in that it gave us a little bit more Rick and Carl interaction, which is important, and also delves pretty deep into Michonne’s personality. It showed us another side of that character. So now we’re viewing her in possibly a different light moving into the coming conflict. But, yeah, it was a good breather episode, an episode which takes you away from all the tension of what’s going on for a minute.

I thought the opening sequence in which they just drove by the guy and ignored his shouts told us so much about the psychological road that Rick and Carl have traveled.
It’s interesting to see that these characters have grown that cold. They can’t even consider interacting with a stranger because it would be too dangerous. It’s kind of a reflection of how the situation with the Governor has affected them.

In your mind, how far is the prison from Rick’s home? Or is that something that we don’t want to concern ourselves with too much?
Well…details! I don’t know. Um, you know, less than a day’s drive. I imagine that King County is aways north of Atlanta and the prison is aways south of Atlanta. So, you’re looking at maybe a maximum four, five hour drive.

Presumably the presence of Atlanta between King County and the prison explains why Rick didn’t know of the latter’s existence despite being a cop.
Exactly!

How the hell did Michonne get that photograph?
Michonne is awesome.

Fair enough. Using rats in cages as zombie-bait was a nice touch. Is that something which is in the comics.
No. You know, that’s another one of those things where somebody puts it in the show and I’m like, “Ah, I should have thought of that over the course of 100 issues of a comic and I never did. I suck.” I’m really excited about the show and I’m proud of the show — but at the end of the day it just makes me feel inferior.

Another nice touch was to be found at the start of the show where we saw a message for someone called Erin on a roadside sign and then one of the zombies was wearing an “Erin” bracelet.
Again, we always refer to Scott Gimple as our details guy. He’s the guy that puts those little touches in and is very careful to be mindful of those details and gave the viewer something really cool to notice, to latch onto, that adds an extra level to the story.

What’s next?
Well, we’re going to have Rick and Michonne and Carl in a somewhat closer position now that they’ve bonded over this trip. They’re going to get back into the prison and start preparing for the coming conflict with the Governor. So we get right back into that. And we’ve only got a few episodes left to our finale. So there’s going to be some pretty explosive things happening pretty quickly.

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