‘The Walking Dead’: Josh Hamilton Breaks Down Lance Hornsby’s Very Bloody Episode

Lance Hornsby, Josh Hamilton, The Walking Dead Season 11C
Spoiler Alert
Jace Downs/AMC

[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead, Season 11, Episode 20, “What’s Been Lost.”]

We’re one week closer to the November 20 series finale of The Walking Dead, and another Commonwealth baddie has officially bit the dust. This time, the power-hungry Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) didn’t make it through the end of the episode, getting taken down by his sometimes-ally Carol (Melissa McBride) who shoots him in the neck with an arrow as he attempts to gun down both Carol and Daryl (Norman Reedus) in a last-ditch-effort for survival.

To be fair, Carol and Daryl did break Lance out of the terrifying cell he was put in by the Commonwealth’s leader Pamela Milton (Laila Robins), and gave him the chance to simply walk away and start over elsewhere. But for Lance, walking away from the community he painstakingly built clearly wasn’t an option.

Below, Hamilton talks about the ins-and-outs of his final hour on TWD, including Lance’s origin story, his feelings for Pamela and Carol and something you might’ve missed in his last, blood-gurgling shot.

The first time we see Lance again in this episode, we see him in this extremely bloody, messy cell scene with walker Sebastian. How was it getting all bloodied up for this episode?

Josh Hamilton: It was very sticky. I was just so grateful to the effects team for doing such a beautifully rendered corpse of Lance’s friend Calhoun [previously played by Michael Tourek], who he has to chop up and feed to Sebastian. It took care of a lot of the acting for me. It was the opposite of having to work on a blue screen or something — it was all right there in gruesome detail. So, it didn’t take a great leap to imagine being stuck in that room with a good friend and having to chop him up. It’s pretty traumatic. I think it’s probably the worst experience Lance has had in his life.

Once he escapes, of course, Pamela comes in and she sees his coin is embedded in Sebastian’s remains. Was that definitely an intentional move on Lance’s part?

Oh, very much so. It was the last, final ‘f—k you’ to her.

Josh Hamilton, Lance Hornsby, The Walking Dead 11C

Jace Downs/AMC

Their relationship in the last two episodes was very interesting to see. Lance clearly had some very strong feelings for Pamela.

[Showrunner] Angela [Kang] and I had talked a lot about the backstory, but it’s not in the show, it was just for me to think about and play, and for Laila. We had this whole backstory that Lance’s father may have been the chauffeur for the Milton family, and so he’d grown up working for the Miltons and close to them, but tantalizingly far in their sort of ivory tower, but Lance had had a crush on [Pamela] from a very early age. She was a few years older, and I just had this image of him being like 12, 13, 14, kind of watching her in the Milton mansion and just wanting her approval and having this crush, but she’s so unattainable. So that gets to play out a bit in those last few episodes, which I’m grateful for.

And so the betrayal of her leaving him in there and having to feed Sebastian, I think it just hurt more than anybody else. That was a very painful thing for him, I think.

And then later, with Carol, he was trying to manipulate her with those questions – will you let the Commonwealth burn? What about the children? — but they’re also very valid points he’s making!

Exactly. As conniving [as he is], I do think that Lance really does believe in all the things he says about expanding the Commonwealth, the strength in numbers and getting the communities together. I do think it’s sincere. So yes, he is trying to manipulate her, but he also does believe in the validity of his goals. He’s not completely cynical about that. I think he actually really does believe it.

Do you think that he got through to Carol at all? Obviously, she didn’t want to uphold this vision of the Commonwealth with him, but does he shake her at all?

I think he thinks he did, or hopes that it’s working, and so when she gives him that ultimatum at the end and sets him off walking, I think it’s just such a — that betrayal coming on top of Pamela’s betrayal, that’s what sends him into that last ditch. I don’t even think he has time to think about it. I think it’s just instinctual, grabbing the gun. For someone who is always used to being in charge and having the upper hand in a situation, he saw this as his last chance. And it all just happened so fast. But that was preferable than him going off by himself into the wilderness.

It’s very fitting that it’s Carol that shoots him instead of Daryl, since Lance was always noting that she is constantly 10 steps ahead, even earlier in this episode.

Yeah, the things that Lance first appreciated and spotted in her and attracted him to her, are what ends up bringing him down.

Melissa McBride, The Walking Dead 11C Carol

Jace Downs/AMC

Carol is not unlike Pamela — do you think that there were any romantic feelings at least on Lance’s side towards Carol?

I do, yeah, I do. I was playing that, I don’t know what she was feeling. [Laughs] I think if Lance has a type it’s probably these very strong women.

From a production standpoint, how was it getting shot through the neck with an arrow and then gurgling out all this fake blood? What was that experience like?

It wasn’t that complicated because they basically cut from her shooting to me with the arrow already in my neck with this harness. The only thing was trying to keep [the arrow] pointed the right way and not slip off.

The tricky thing was, we had like 10 minutes to get this last shot with the camera over me. I had to have my mouth full of blood and then they had this pump with the blood coming up. And so just lying there, I was waiting for the camera to rise — I didn’t know when to spit the blood out of my mouth. I was just trying not to swallow it. We just got one take of that because we didn’t have enough time to get me bloody and then cleaned up. So, we did the take and it was like, ‘OK, that’s a wrap.’ Everybody had to rush off set and my dresser came over to me — and the dressers are so good about making sure everything looks right — and she comes over like, ‘I’m so sorry, look,’ and she shows me the picture of me lying on the ground there, and my zipper’s open. [Laughs]

I came to terms with it because it’s really just the ultimate insult to injury for someone like Lance who was always fastidious about his clothing and his look. The idea of him bleeding out in the woods with his fly open, it was just… how fitting?

The Walking Dead Season 11, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC