The Walking Dead Postmortem: Sonequa Martin-Green on the Group's Lowest Point and a Surprise Visitor
Spoiler Alert: Stop reading if you have not yet watched Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead!
The unyielding zombie apocalypse is taking its toll on the survivors of The Walking Dead. Sunday's episode was a bleak reminder of the pain and suffering these individuals are forced to endure while fighting for their lives. The episode, titled "Them," centered on the overwhelming grief consuming Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) after losing both Beth (Emily Kinney) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) over a period of three weeks. We spoke with Martin-Green about her character's mindset, the group's overall strength and what happens next after a new outsider has made presence known.
Has this group reached its breaking point?
Martin-Green: I definitely think it's the lowest they've been and the closest to death that they've ever been. It's been three days since they've had water. At the beginning of the episode, you see Maggie licking her tears and Daryl eating a worm. It's gotten as bad as it's ever been and if they don't do something soon, they won't survive.
So far, Season 5 has been particularly tough for Sasha. First she loses her boyfriend, Bob, now her brother, Tyreese.
Martin-Green: Oh goodness! When we start this episode, she's very much numb. Once she lost Tyreese, a part of her decided that checking out is better than being checked in. In the midst of his death, she's also dealing with her own impending death. They're all dying.
How would you describe how Sasha chooses to process her pain?
Martin-Green: Sasha has decided to deal with things through violence. That's her defense mechanism and her method of grieving. She didn't realize how much she depended on Tyreese, so after seeing him dead, there are a lot of questions on her mind. Can I take care of myself alone? Can I brave this world without him? They've been together since the very beginning. They were each other's security blankets. They were each other's reminders that at the end of the day, there is still hope. Frankly, she's scared at what this world is without him. So the way she combats that fear is through violence. It's an overcompensation because, in telling herself that she can still survive, she amps up and fights harder than she ever has fought before.
But her anger and violence begin to threaten the group's safety when she starts attacking the walkers on the bridge. Is she becoming too dangerous?
Martin-Green: She's getting there, she's definitely getting to be a liability. But in her mind, she's taken all of her anger, frustration and pain and she's decided to put it onto these walkers because they are the cause of everything. So to take it easy on them—which is the original plan on the bridge—is something she can't fathom right now. She has to take it out on them because that's the only thing that makes her feel better and makes her feel like she can keep going in this world. Shooting the dogs is another moment of violent hostility. She is ready to kill whatever she can, it's the only thing that makes sense to her. She's in a very irrational place.
Sasha ultimately finds comfort in Maggie at the end of the episode. Why is that bond so important for both of them?
Martin-Green: Sasha believes Maggie is the only one that can understand her right now. Sasha, as closed off as she is, recognizes deep down that Maggie can offer in this moment something that no one else can because they've both just recently lost siblings. So she decides to open up and share that with Maggie. They recognize the connection that they have right now.
Sasha and Maggie are also the first to encounter Aaron (Ross Marquand). What are we supposed to make of this guy?
Martin-Green: He's an immediate threat that needs to be taken care of. He seems trustworthy, but Sasha doesn't trust anyone. But he did come up from behind and could have easily killed them, so that's something Sasha thinks about. We have him at gunpoint, we've taken control of the situation, so we have all the options in the world at this point. We could kill him, knock him out or shoot him in the leg. So curiosity can exist right now because we have the power. Why does he want to speak to our leader? What does he bring? This guy is interesting.
After Terminus and Grady Memorial Hospital, is it possible for this group to ever trust an outsider no matter how friendly he or she seems?
Martin-Green: Oh man, there's the rub. That's the constant question: Can we trust people at this point? We've been burned over and over again as a group and then we've been burned individually, so how can we go forward and accept anybody new? That's a theme that's going to continue.