‘Walking Dead’s’ Greg Nicotero Talks Taking Steven Yeun to ‘Horrible, Dark Places’ in This Week’s Episode

“It was as real to him as it could possibly be,” Nicotero tells TheWrap

The walking dead glenn alive dead
Gene Page/AMC

(Spoiler alert: Do not keep reading if you have not watched this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead”)

Steven Yeun proved once again why Glenn is one of our favorite characters during this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.”

In an incredibly emotional scene, Glenn must kill two members of The Saviors in their sleep.He truly grapples with his emotions during these moments, as he and Heath (Corey Hawkins) previously discussed how neither of them has had to kill another human being.

“Steven’s so fantastic of a performer,” series co-executive producer Greg Nicotero, who also directed the episode, told TheWrap. “My job as the director is to create an environment where these guys can go to these horrible, dark places. And that’s about as dark as you can get.”

“Emotionally, I wanted Steven to feel every fiber of that moment and that anguish,” he continued. “So we created a prosthetic head that was flawless. And we attached it to a dummy body and our props guy, Adam, I laid his arm across the torso so when Steven entered he saw a real hand with a [wedding] ring on it. It took him to this other place. It was as real to him as it could possibly be.”

In this week’s episode, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) must prepare the people of Alexandria for a fight.

After agreeing to fight Negan and The Saviors in last week’s episode, Rick first asks the rest of Alexandria’s residents if they are willing to follow him into battle. Only Morgan (Lennie James) objects, as he maintains his belief that killing is wrong, despite all that has happened. In the end, everyone else agrees to fight.

“[Morgan] is being challenged, in his beliefs and his philosophy,” Nicotero said. “What I love about that scene is that Rick isn’t standing up and saying, ‘OK, this is what we’re doing.’  He’s not in charge. He’s putting it to the group.”

This episode proves to be an incredibly poignant one for Carol (Melissa McBride) as well, as she begins to feel the weight of all the people she has killed since the apocalypse began.

“It’s the most negative emotion we’ve seen out of Carol in a long time,” Nicotero said. “Deep down Carol desperately wants to believe what Morgan believes, but the facts haven’t lined up like that for her. She’s a hardened combat veteran but born out of necessity and reluctance.”

Later, we see Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) break things off with Rosita (Christian Serratos) as he has struggled with his feelings for Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) for some time now.

Rick’s plan is simple: The Saviors are expecting someone from Hilltop to return with Gregory’s (Xander Berkelely) head. They will use a walker head as a decoy, get into The Savior’s compound, seize their armory, and kill Negan.

The plan is troublesome, however, as it is the first time Rick and the group have struck out against other humans preemptively.

“They’re dedicated to preserving their way of life,” Nicotero said. “We’ve learned that The Saviors have kidnapped someone from Hilltop and sent someone in to kill Gregory. So we’ve gotten glimpses of the fact that these people aren’t screwing around. Rick’s made a decision…and it’s ‘We have to strike before we are struck.’”

Rick and the group arrive at the compound and quickly dispatch two guards outside. Once inside, they move from room to room killing Saviors in their sleep.

While Abraham and Sasha are clearing rooms, they are surprised by a Savior. He and Abraham struggle, but Sasha helps Abraham kill him. The Savior manages to trip an alarm before dying, alerting everyone to the group’s presence.

Carol and Maggie (Lauren Cohen) have been standing guard outside. Maggie hears the alarm and immediately prepares to fight, but Carol stops her.

Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Jesus (Tom Payne) head into the compound to help Rick, while Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) kills a Savior outside who was trying to escape.

A bloody firefight ensues. In the end, Rick and the group appear to clear all of the Saviors out. While they are collecting themselves outside, a Savior bursts out of the building riding a motorcyle previously owned by Daryl (Norman Reedus).

They take him down and point their guns at him, but a voice from a walkie talkie the man was carrying tells Rick and the others to drop their weapons. When Rick refuses, the voice tells him they have captured Maggie and Carol.