The Walking Dead season 11 has delivered some big moments that have helped set up what’s coming in the final episodes. As the community of Alexandria struggles to find enough food to eat, another group out searching for food has come into the crosshairs of the Reapers while another is meeting a new community that might — or might not — be friendly.
Winter is Coming talked with TWD stars Nadia Hilker (Magna) and Angel Theory (Kelly) about the events of the season 11 episode “Hunted.”
The Walking Dead stars talk “emotional” and “impactful” scene
Sarabeth Pollock: “‘Hunted’ features a beautiful scene between four women who probably wouldn’t have known each other in the world before the apocalypse, and seeing them work together to catch the horses is so beautiful. It’s actually one of my favorite moments of the entire series because it’s so powerful.”
Nadia Hilker: “I love hearing that, it makes me so happy. Angel and I were just talking about how we grew up with horses. I love horses. I know you shouldn’t say it but I think animals are sometimes better than humans and being around horses all the time makes me happy. Being around them all the time was definitely distracting for Angel and I because we just wanted to keep petting them instead of doing our jobs as actresses.
“But it was very emotional. When the horse walked up to Carol, I had tears in my eyes. And as you said, it was these four very different women who would never come together in the real world. It was very special.
“When I read the script I was very proud and grateful that I was part of that, and I loved every bit of it. It was already such a powerful moment, but then you’re adding an animal, a wild creature that’s connecting with humans. It was very magical.”
Angel Theory: “I love the fact that we had all women in the scene and it was very impactful, you know, the emotions we were able to get across. And as you mentioned, we probably wouldn’t have been around each other if the apocalypse didn’t happen, however, we understand that everyone has gone through their own mental and spiritual battle.
“And the fact that we were able to come together and be there for each other and help uplift one another, I felt like that was a really beautiful message that was put into the script. And then there was working with Nadia and Melissa [McBride] and Christian [Serratos]. I don’t know if you remember but there was one beautifully shot scene when we’re all standing with each other watching the horse. That scene just screamed freedom, it screamed communities, it screamed empowerment, like everything is going to be ok.”
NH: “Yeah, it’s like it’s all ok, everything is good. It felt like The Walking Dead, for a split second, felt like a good world.”
SP: “I think it’s interesting to watch this episode while reflecting about how far your characters have come. Magna and Kelly have both come so far since their arrival in season 9. Could you talk about where your characters are right now?”
NH: “Magna no longer has to fight that war of “see me” or needing to be seen, or needing to be understood by Yumiko. And that took a big burden off her shoulders. But at the same time, the stakes and the world that Magna is living in now is very different from season 9 where she was hot headed and stubborn because she no longer has the safety net of her people.
“And for now, Magna’s world is only about caring for Kelly and making sure she’s fine. She definitely has a hard time navigating that. I think she’s a little overwhelmed because she needs to do the right thing. And she doesn’t know how to handle the situation.
“She obviously feels a lot of guilt. She’s devastated from losing Connie, and she’s juggling it all. She’s overwhelmed and struggling but trying to do the right thing. Kelly’s well being and health and mental health is everything that gets Magna out of bed every morning and what she cares about the most. She’s in a very different place than when we met her in season 9.”
AT: “For Kelly, I would say that from the beginning she’s always been the most emotionally attached person in the group. She just wants what’s best for everyone. She doesn’t like conflict and doesn’t like when two people are not talking or are upset with each other. She wants to be the mediator, the group therapist, to make sure everyone is okay and good.
“I think she’s also content with being the bad-ass sister. She’s the little sister, but at the same time you can depend on her. She’s not the kid who’s a dead weight. She’s the kid that’s there with everyone and fighting and not really being a kid. She’s part of the group and doing her job. And as we see over time, she’s continuously put in positions where she has to face some of these emotional aspects of her life. Like when Luke was missing in the woods and she couldn’t let it go, and now the situation with Connie and the cave and almost losing Magna. It was like she was losing everything all at once.
“Kelly didn’t have a chance to have the life experiences that the other adults had, so for her it was a lot of loss [very quickly]. When she finally got Magna back they had a stronger bond. Magna’s just saying ‘Hey, Connie’s probably not alive’ and she’s coming from a point of view of trying to make her understand so Kelly isn’t hurt later. All of the hope is more damaging to Kelly, but Kelly’s not going to let it go. It’s her sister and she’s going to have faith and hope.
“I think that’s another reason why Kelly has started to have more of a strong connection with Carol. Carol is keeping that hope alive, which we see in episode 1103, when Magna goes to her and says she’s feeding the mess. Magna is trying to protect her family and Carol is making it harder for her.
“In reality, though, Kelly’s not going to give up until she sees it [Connie is dead], until she proves it. The one thing I realize about Kelly the most is that she’s not the kind of person to give up easily.”
SP: “The Reapers are the big villain right now, but they haven’t reached Alexandria yet. Right now the biggest problem in Alexandria is a lack of food. Could you talk about where your characters are in terms of how they see the Reapers?”
NH: “I think it’s like yeah, we’ve heard of them, but we’re on a mission right now. So I think for now it’s just that we have the problems right now, and then we face the next problem.“
AT: “I remember when we did the COVID episode, I believe, with Maggie and her new people. Kelly asked about the Reapers and was like, ‘what else, come on!’ We always have something happening, man. We get stuck in the wilderness and I’m with Elijah, Daryl and Maggie, and then there’s this suicide bomber out of nowhere. And I think that’s the first time Kelly’s realizing like ‘oh, this is another threat.’ We did the Whisperer War and we had to go through a lot and we lost a lot. Alexandria struggled because of it. The food rations, the walls, everything was affected.
“Now we have this other problem that’s following Maggie and her people. And I think the scariest part about the Reapers is that you don’t really know what they’re capable of until you see them head on, until you deal with them head on. It’s just like the Whisperers and Alpha. At first everybody thought they were crazy people with walker masks on and they’re trying to kill us. And then you realize, ‘oh no, this is serious.’ We’ve got Alpha and Beta.
“But now with the Reapers there’s a whole other layer. What are we dealing with? What’s their weakness? Why are they coming after us? How can we protect the children of the community, and each other, especially if we don’t ever really see them. They’re so calculated. So it just adds some tension and mystery and overall thrill and horror of this show where we’ve got another [threat] and we have to deal with it face on.”
The final season of The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.