Yesterday, the back half of the final season of The Walking Dead
flagship series premiered on AMC+, with a linear premiere to follow next Sunday on AMC. One of the themes this season has been about trust and losing that trust, especially when it comes to Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Leah. According to Lynn Collins, who plays Leah, that could make her more dangerous. “When people ask about Leah,” said Collins to Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision during a recent roundtable, “and ‘is she a bad person; is she a good person?’ Well, in her mind, she's been betrayed by Daryl twice now. He left her, and now he lied to her, and he's choosing his people over her and her people. I know, for myself, when I have been betrayed, I feel like in some ways, I was never more dangerous, because a breaking of trust was so personally affronting to me…When it's broken, for me, personally, [it’s] very difficult to come back from.”
Difficult, but not impossible. “I believe in miracles,” added the actress, “and I believe that if you truly love someone, you're going to be able to get down into that nitty gritty and heal that wound…I think you can't really have a great relationship, be that an intimate, romantic, familial, or a working professional relationship, if there isn't that trust. So, can it be rebuilt? Yes. But I think that that's the ultimate yoga so to speak, the yoga of [the] relationship…everybody betrays everybody on some level at some point.”
The actress also touched on how much loss Leah has suffered, which has also been a theme with her character. “When we meet her in season ten, she's lost her family. She's lost a little boy that she was raising as her own, and then she ends up losing Darryl. We see her find her family again, and then she loses it all again. I think at this point, her faith is gone. So, I think she's so dangerous at this point, because it's all gone, and there's just nothing to lose.”
Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel, isn’t sure how the “issue of trust” plays with his character. “[A]side from maybe whether or not he trusts himself to do the right thing in any given circumstance,” the actor told SciFi Vision, “I think that's been kind of a struggle for him throughout his journey on the show, but I think he definitely has trust and faith in his people and his comrades more so perhaps than he may have in himself.”
Obviously faith is also a big part of Father Gabriel’s storyline, and the actor talked about how his character has continued to struggle with his faith throughout his journey. “I think that, for him, it's part of one of the building blocks and one of the foundations of his very essence, and I think that the writers have done a really interesting job with addressing his faith back and forth, and it's been fun to play.”
Michael James Shaw, who was also on the interview, talked to SciFi Vision a bit about gaining the trust of his character, Mercer. “I think, within the situation that he's in, trust is earned, and it's something that he himself had to dig within to find, for the Commonwealth to trust him. So, the stakes are very high. So, it's all based on actions.”
The Commonwealth has become very important to Mercer, according to Shaw. “For Mercer in a way the Commonwealth is like a manifestation of faith. It's faith in like, a new tomorrow, faith in human beings being able to live as they were and almost forgetting the outside threat that has befallen the world.”
As the series starts to draw to a close, the performers also looked back on how their lives have changed since working on the series. Gilliam told SciFi Vision that it’s enabled him to travel and meet a lot of people. “It’s afforded me the ability and the opportunity to see a good deal of the country and other parts of the world doing conventions and meetings and greetings and such. I've been to tons of cities now and have been to Australia and Japan and France and Holland and many cities throughout the United States that I would not have planned trips for myself or not been able to afford. I've been able to meet so many different people from different walks of life…So, I am very grateful to the show for that for expanding my horizons.”
For Collins, she just felt like there was a place she and her son were meant to be, and her prayers were answered, but it also grounded her. “This cast and crew is just so real and down to earth,” said Collins, “and just grounded me in so many ways. So, even though it's a super successful show, I actually rooted more than I've ever rooted in my life and was able to give my child experiences that a child could only dream of. So, for me, it's really just filled out my life…I mean, multiple prayers have been answered through this project.”
The actress added that she wished it could continue, but she can’t wait to bring her wisdom and experience from the show to her next project.
Shaw told SciFi Vision that the process has be an “absolute blessing” for him. “I count the blessings every day,” said Shaw, “coming out of 2020 and being discombobulated, to land here and find a home…I was out in LA and this quiet kind of piece in South Georgia, it's been wonderful and closer to my actual family as well. It's just been blessings on blessings, just kind of piling up, just counting them every day.”
For more, be sure to watch The Walking Dead
Sundays on AMC and AMC+.