The Walking Dead season 6: Andrew Lincoln talks about episode 9's shocking moment

'When we read that scene we laughed. We just went, “this is an impossible scene, thank you!​"'

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After an arguably anticlimactic midseason finale, The Walking Dead upped the body count when it returned last night *spoilers ahead*.

A bloodbath claimed the lives of Jessie, Sam and Ron and left Carl with a bullet in the eye - not the easiest thing to come back from.

Here’s what Rick actor Andrew Lincoln had to say to Variety about these moments (full interview here):

How Carl’s maiming will affect their relationship:

"Certainly if we’re going to echo the comics, which I hope we do, I think it marks a very interesting turning point in Rick and Carl’s relationship. If he makes it, which we hope he does, in the comic books he’s disfigured, and you know, he’s a teenage boy. He’s a boy and with one eye, he’s an uncompromising presence, and certainly it’s hard enough parenting an adolescent — so I hear — in the millennium, let alone a zombie apocalypse. It’s not going to be without its problems. I also dig, particularly, the relationship — which is almost a triangle — between Negan, Rick and Carl. I think that’s a really interesting psychological battleground; the father figure and a parent that cares desperately about and would give his life for his son, sometimes can be smothering and not value the son enough or not listen to the son as a true leader in his own right. Whereas someone else may offer that, which is very interesting. All of this ground is the stuff I’ve been waiting for, certainly in that relationship. I think it’s really interesting; it’s touching upon the same moral ambiguity of “The Grove” and episodes like that. I think we’re getting into muddy, deep and dark waters, and as an actor, for my taste, it really excites me, I’m really interested in that area. In short, I think it gets very complicated, very quickly."

Read more: Midseason return spoiler-free review

The loss of Jesse

"When I read that scene, when all of us did — Sam getting bitten, Jessie getting bitten, me having to chop her arm off and then Ron shooting at me and then shooting my son and then Ron being stabbed by Michonne — we all read it and laughed. We just went, “this is an impossible scene, thank you! How are we supposed to do this?” And I think, like most times on the show when we have to put ourselves through emotional marathons, you look around and everyone just goes in and commits. We’re very fortunate that all of those actors are just brilliant.

"It is horrendous. Jessie was one of the first people in Alexandria to touch Rick, to open him up to a viable community and make him empathize with them and their plight. But she also allowed him to open up a part of his heart that he’d kept shut down for a long, long time, and to trust and to dare to even feel that way for another human being after the loss of Lori. So to have to go through this trauma and witness this in such shocking fashion is appalling, but it’s almost like it gets overridden — everything just gets worse and then worse and then worse, so much so that he has to hand what he thinks is his dying son over to someone who he doesn’t know, and he’s powerless. And I think that’s why he just processes it all and channels it all into this impotent rage and just has to get this energy out.

Read more: Why The Walking Dead is better than Game of Thrones

"But the wonderful thing is, even all of that trauma gets overridden by the fact that everybody stands shoulder to shoulder and fights alongside each other, and they become brothers in arms, and it is like the last stand, and everybody’s reunited and it is our “Magnificent Seven.” And I think that’s the genius of the writing — you kind of go “no! What?! No!” I would love to see a bar watching that episode. I don’t want to see the episode, I just want to see how people watch the episode with lots of people because it’s ridiculous, what happens, but it makes me so happy that it is impossibly huge and epic and all those things but then it finishes in such a tender, small, emotional way with a father and a son. But when I watched Greg Nicotero shooting it, it was so moving, because you have the new family outside, waiting in vigil, and then the camera goes inside and you’ve got the inner circle, the originals, the family, and then Michonne at the door, and then the inner-inner circle of the father and son, and I loved the fact that everybody stood together in this crisis, willing this boy to pull through. I find it moving talking about it, because … I don’t know because I won’t ever watch it, but I hope they didn’t use the snot takes in the bedside scene, because there were quite a lot. Even the camera guys were going 'wipe your nose.'"