After this week's tragic showdown between the Saviors and the Alexandrians, fans of "The Walking Dead" are dreading the arrival of Negan and this season's finale -- but one of the show's stars warns that the second-to-last episode could be just as deadly.
On Sunday, poor Denise [Merritt Wever] got an arrow through the head after Dwight [Austin Amelio] shot her with Daryl's [Norman Reedus] stolen crossbow. A stand-off ensued, Eugene [Josh McDermitt] created a diversion by biting Dwight in the crotch and the Saviors retreated. While it was a minor victory, we all know something really bad is on the horizon, as the series is set to introduce one of the comics' most brutal villains in the flesh before the season ends.
Though there's been so much talk about what will happen in the finale, McDermitt tells toofab next week's episode should make fans very nervous as well.
"We still have episode 15 [before the finale], so they should be worried about that too," he warns. "The penultimate episode should scare you too. That's what this show does, you shouldn't only worry about the finales and premieres. People have been asking me a lot about the finale and the show in general and I feel like this last 8 episodes that we've done in this springtime airing, we all feel it's some of the best episodes this show has done. I was a fan of the show before I started working on it, but being able to get these scripts early and see where the show is going, I was so excited. These back 8 are seriously the most amazing the show has done.
As for what's to come, he only teases, "You can't prepare for this." When asked for three words to describe the finale, he was just as evasive, telling us, "Ponytail," "Clammy" and "the letter M." What does it all mean?!?
"I think we're all nervous in a good way anytime anybody comes on the show," he says. "That means they're gonna rock the boat a little bit. We don't bring characters on that will just be there. Anytime you meet someone, there's always something else going on underneath. We need new characters to keep driving the story forward."
Speaking of new characters, we were finally introduced to the version of half-burned Dwight fans know from the comics. And Josh realllly got to know him well, getting up close and personal with his Johnson.
"We really take a bite out of this episode," jokes Josh. "Another iconic moment from the comics. Austin Amelio was very gracious to let me bite his junk. It was definitely something I'd been looking forward to since I started on the show. There was a minute where I was thinking, this storyline could go to Daryl. I could see Daryl biting. I feel like with Eugene, you wouldn't expect him to do it in the moment and that's what makes it so beautiful."
And while Amelio's character is the one who definitely feels the pain on screen, it was McDermitt who almost lost a few teeth during filming.
"We do a lot of private, closed door run throughs with me and my face in Austin's crotch," the actor says with a laugh. "We get with our stunt coordinator and run through a lot of the stuff. Austin had to wear a rig with a cup to protect himself. I got a big mouth. We ran a rope and plastic tubing out of his pants, I could actually bite onto that so I didn't have to bite onto him. The first take, he didn't know that I wasn't on the rope yet, and he jolted back and knocked me right in the teeth with his cup. I thought I lost a couple teeth there for a second!"
Thankfully, he didn't. But it's the one scenario the crew never saw coming.
'You're gonna get hurt in so many ways on 'The Walking Dead, our stunt coordinator's great, we plan for everything," says McDermitt. "But never once were they like, 'Oh and Austin may jolt his hips forward early and knock you in the teeth."
Check out the video up top to see what else McDermitt had to add about Dwight's intro and Denise's demise ... plus, watch the second clip to find out why the Tennessee Waterfall Eugene's been sporting was traded in for a ponytail this week!