What the heck is Terminus?
The actual definition for the word is the end of a railroad route or, more simply, a final point in space or time.
And if there’s one show that makes its viewers paranoid that every moment of good will quickly be clouded with something very bad, it’s The Walking Dead.
Will there be a finality of sorts on Sunday’s The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 16, “A?” Will our gang landing in Terminus be a good thing in any way?
Michael Cudlitz - who joined the series recently as Sgt. Abraham Ford - told me not to assume everything is going to go poorly for our group of survivors... but then again, he did warn that you should "trust no one."
Let’s find out what else he had to say about what’s coming next...
TV Fanatic: I don’t think I speak for only myself when I say that viewers are on pins and needles as to what’s coming next on the show.
Michael Cudlitz: I think Scott [Gimple, Exec Producer] has done such a great job this year getting all those, I call them secondary characters because we didn’t know a lot about them before and now we know a lot about everybody and I think that primes the audience. The more you know about these characters the more you care about them so when they are put in peril or have their successes you get to celebrate those things with them and you get to suffer with them when things don’t go well. I think it’s a perfect way to not only set up the end of this season but whatever they launch into next year.
TVF: I was thinking the first time we saw Abraham, it was easy to make an assumption that this is a bad guy but he hasn’t really proven himself to be that. For people like me who don’t know the comic books well, he seems like a good guy who has a mission.
MC: Well, you think about what people do and why they do the things they do. Right now, you can argue that they’re in their wartime personality. When anyone has to fight they become a certain type of person, [Abraham], specifically, was actually in the service and his level of fighting in wartime is different from someone else but you become the person that you have to be in that situation.
It’s awesome to see people when they’re advocating for someone, a loved one, who may be in a hospital or something, you see these people rise and turn into completely different people than they operate in their day to day life when something that is of value is at stake. I think this whole world that we’re in now has turned everyone into their Alpha self, whatever level of Alpha that is. But when that fighting is gone and you have those moments to breathe, there’s a whole level that comes back of ‘who are these people, really?’
I keep saying we have to save the world but it has to be worth saving and the only reason it’s worth saving is because people are in it and people need each other. I would say that’s a theme for all the characters. Everyone is really working towards a goal that is outside themselves, which is kind of how you go through life. And then we come across these selfish douche bags and see how that works out. [laughs]
TVF: Talk about Abraham’s relationship to Eugene, who can come across as a raving loon at times but he also may be this beacon of hope. Is that what he is to Abraham?
MC: Absolutely. He’s the key and he has to be right now. In this episode, he is the only one who has more information than anyone else. He sort of fits Abraham’s profile of what Abraham needs to survive as a soldier. Orders from the top with no more instruction from the top or information from the top with no explanation.
TVF: Should we as viewers trust in Eugene that he is a beacon of hope?
MC: I think that’s the beauty of it and I think that’s exactly where you should be. Trust no one, that’s what I say, no matter how nice or whatever. I don’t f**king trust Rick! Trust no one.
TVF: It was nice to see how Abraham reacted to Glenn in the last episode when he saw the signs from Maggie on their way to Terminus. He really was supporting Glenn emotionally and that showed us more about who this guy is.
MC: Yeah, I think he supported Glenn emotionally the entire time because he knew what he was going through, that loss, that yearning, that wanting to make things right. It’s a universal theme with a lot of the characters. How do fix what’s broken? How do we mend what’s broken as good as possible so we can get to the next day.
TVF: In the next episode, will we see someone get in the way of Abraham’s mission and how he reacts to that?
MC: That’s what we’ll have to see. That’s the journey. [laughs]
TVF: I’d be a little afraid, that’s for sure.
MC: I would not want to be that person.
TVF: What can you tease about Terminus? From the little we saw it seems like a utopia of some kind which, of course, makes me think it isn’t.
MC: Everyone has been saying that! All I would say is I would remind everyone…obviously we’re all going to go on the journey together and we want to experience it at home but not everything is bad. There’s a lot of stuff, especially looking at the comic book, there are a couple places they land that are safe. No one should lose sight of that because you might be missing something else.
TVF: How’s the journey been for you? Last time we talked you hadn’t been on much but now that we’ve seen more of you, what are you hearing?
MC: Very rarely do people hunt you down to tell you that you suck. I’ve had it happen but there are so many people, especially with so many fans of the show…my social media, there are suddenly more people who are following me on Twitter and on my Facebook. It’s all been really, really positive. I’m not going to go hunt down crappy reviews or people saying shitty things about me and I’ve seen a lot of it that just comes my way and it’s overwhelmingly positive. It’s a very enthusiastic group of fans.
There are fans of the comics and there are fans of the TV show. There’s no making either group happy all the time but I think there’s a nice line that you can skate down the middle and keep mostly everybody happy and then delve into either side to give a thrill for either side. They all support the characters, they just hope for different things. I feel very fortunate or lucky or whatever you want to say about it, that they seem to have welcomed me with open arms. I have to tell ya, I love the interaction with these fans because they are so enthusiastic about the characters and the show
TVF: Has the experience changed you as an actor?
MC: No, I think it’s just a new, fun thing. I haven’t had this much fun doing a show and promoting a show ever because the cool thing about being on this show and coming in the way I did is that I’m not fighting for the life of the show. I can enjoy a network that is extremely behind the show. They back it and support it. You call someone and they pick up the phone. Nobody is trying to avoid you because they don’t know if you’re calling to talk business or talk about whether the show is cancelled. It’s very positive energy, very enthusiastic energy. Everyone what’s to know what can we do to make things better for you, the fans, for us? It all comes hand in hand. It’s been great.
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.