The Walking Dead Postmortem: Alexandra Breckenridge on Alexandria’s Sense of Normalcy

Rick and Jessie, Episode 12
Gene Page/AMC
Rick and Jessie, Episode 12

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading if you have not yet watched Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead!

Is Alexandria too good to be true? On this week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh) and dozens of other genial residents of the Virginia town threw a party for recent arrivals Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group. As the drinks were poured and the cookies were baked, the survivors struggled to come to terms with this new, yet familiar, lifestyle. We spoke to Alexandra Breckenridge, who plays Alexandria citizen Jessie, about joining the cast of the zombie drama, her character’s intimate relationship with Rick, and what’s ahead for the people in this seemingly safe town.

When most actors get cast on The Walking Dead, they must imagine being dirty and filming in the woods. Did you have that expectation as well?
[Laughs] Yeah, I did think that I was gonna be trudging through the mud and the heat in Atlanta. But I didn’t know what character I was playing until I got there because they keep everything very hush-hush. And to my surprise and delight, I didn’t spend any time in the mud! I was in this beautiful, clean Stepford Wives town and the weather had cooled off, so yeah, I was very happy.

Were you a fan of the comics?
No, I didn’t even know that the show was based on a comic book, actually. I hadn’t even looked at the comic book until about three episodes in. [Showrunner] Scott Gimple was tentative to have me look at them because my character doesn’t follow the comic to a T. I think he didn’t want to freak me out.

This week, we’re introduced to Alexandria as a place of normalcy with a big welcoming party for the group. But should we still have our doubts about this place?
The group that comes into Alexandria is very unsettled by the town because they’re not used to being able to trust other people, for very obvious reasons. The town is not dangerous. The only thing that is dangerous is that a few of the people who live here are a little naïve to what’s really happening in the world because they’ve been so safe for so long. But I don’t think Deanna is naïve, nor is her husband. I think they’re very aware and they’re trying to create that normalcy in their town because why not? You don’t want to live in fear of life forever.

Do you think Jessie is naïve?
No. Jessie is pretty smart and has a lot of strengths, but she’s also extremely caring and empathetic. She’s a mother, so she wants to take care of Rick, especially because when she first meets him, she has a connection to him. It’s not romantic, but she sees how broken he is.

But what about his little kiss on her cheek this week?
She’s not looking to start something romantic with anyone at all. But that moment in the kitchen is very confusing to her. She doesn’t know what it means. She’s a little scared, but she also feels like it was also maybe a sweet, friendly gesture. She’s definitely a little concerned about it, but not trying to show that she’s concerned about where his intentions lie.

Jessie’s husband seems like trouble. What’s up with him?
They have some marital problems. I don’t want to give too much away because we are still getting introduced to that dynamic and we’ll see more of that throughout the season. She wants to make her marriage work above all else, but there are definitely some tensions between them. They’ve been together for a very long time, since they were in college.

Will we learn more about Jessie’s back story and how her family came to Alexandria?
Not this season. We’ll see where that goes, though.

Does Jessie trust everyone in Rick’s group?
Yes, she wants to help everyone. She really wants them to fit in and she wants this to work because she sees this group as being very strong. She knows that that’s really needed in their town because there aren’t a lot of people like that there. But they’re also going through post-traumatic stress from the world that they’ve been living in, and she knows that that can be very dangerous. She will do as much as she can to help them fit in.

Can you tease Jessie’s storyline for the remainder of the season?
Well some situations become very tense and they escalate within the next few episodes. And those tense situations, having to do with her and her family, come to a head in the season finale.

Will you be facing off against walkers outside of the gates?
I hope that happens. I think she’s fully capable. She’s a tough cookie.