Z Nation “Die Zombie Die…Again” Post Mortem with Michael Welch [Exclusive]
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
After watching the preview of â€œDie Zombie Dieâ€¦Again,â€ I was really worried about Michael Welchâ€™s Mack. But as he said himself when I talked to him, â€œI donâ€™t think a TV show would reveal a major story point like the death of one of the main characters in the teaser.â€ He makes a great point, but I think I’ll worry about him and everyone else from the group until they make it to California — and probably even beyond that.
In this episode we find out he and Addy have been in contact with Citizen Z about reconnecting with the group. They haven’t intersected yet, but it seems like it’ll only be a matter of time. We finally learn what Addy’s “flashes” are all about, after she relieves the same series events over and over againÂ — as Mack. I love the backstory that’s revealed about this couple though. We learn that they met the first night of the outbreak and they’ve been together ever since. Addy doesn’t seem to think they have a lot in common. In fact, if the apocalypse wasn’t happening, it doesn’t seem like Addy thinks she and Mack would be together at all.
They survive together, kill together and they have sex together. But what’s also clear despite everything, is that they care for each other as well. I can’t imagine planning any kind of future where every day is a struggle just to survive and who knows what the future will bring. But, I like that these two are headed there together.
I talked exclusively to Michael Welch before I saw the episode. He talks about Addy, what this reveal might mean for their relationship and what to expect going forward.
TV GOODNESS: What have Mack andÂ Addy have been up to since they got separated from the group?
Michael Welch: “Basically after the death of Garnett, I think it really reinforced in Mackâ€™s mind that this mission is not worth it. Itâ€™s too dangerous and itâ€™s not gonna work and if we keep going like this weâ€™ll all just gonna die. I think thatâ€™s what Mack was afraid of from the beginning. Once Garnett went it really solidified that in his mind. He obviously manipulated the situation, separated from the group and then, of course, Addy wasnâ€™t having it, but when they tried to go back they got stopped by the zunami.
Theyâ€™ve been on their own. So in the beginning of this episode, I feel like Mack and Addy have been on the run the whole time and havenâ€™t had a chance to really breathe — I mean, really for most of the apocalypse.Â Where we pick up, itâ€™s getting to that point where itâ€™s become a bit of a snipe-y relationship. AÂ lot of the trust is gone and finally when they have a chance to sit down and talk and reflect on their relationship, Addy realizes, â€˜What is our foundation, here?â€™ As she puts it, weâ€™re â€˜trauma bonded.â€™ This isnâ€™t a real relationship.
As far as Mack is concerned, this is the most real relationship. We depend on each other, we live for each other. Mackâ€™s whole purpose in life is to protect Addy, so as far as heâ€™s concerned this is more real than any relationship pre-apocalypse could ever be.”
TV GOODNESS: In â€œWelcome to the FU-Bar,â€ Mack told Addy heâ€™ll always go back for her. It does seem like your character is completely in this relationship.
Michael:Â “Yeah. 100%. In the beginning of this series I think every actor has to ask themselves, â€˜Why did my character survive this long in the apocalypse?â€™ There has to be something in there that really separates us from everybody else, even just beyond the genetic predisposition to be able to survive.
ForÂ Mack, itâ€™s really that this apocalypse in a lot of ways reveals who he was all along. Before this he was probably [a] super selfish guy and an athlete, things came easily to him and he didnâ€™t really have a sense of direction in his life. Then when this thing came out it really forced him to hone his focus and become who he was all along.
What makes him a cool character is that I think this is how a lot of people hope and wish they would react if they found themselves in a situation like this. For Mack, thatâ€™s just who he is. Itâ€™s all wrapped up in Addy. Thatâ€™s it. He doesnâ€™t know what it means to survive in this world without her.”
TV GOODNESS: In thisÂ episode,Â we get some backstory on you and Addy.
Michael: “Tonight is the big reveal as to the real foundations of our relationship and how this all begins. Tonight itâ€™s revealed what these little flashbacks have been all about for Addy. Basically as people will see it turns out that when this thing broke out she had to kill her own mother and did it in a way that was really, really brutal and really awful because nobody knew how to kill zombies the first day. It was so traumatic for her that she ended up blocking it out.
She wasnâ€™t able to process that that happened and then, of course, that had been manifesting itself throughout the season of Addy being distant from Mack. Maybe these flashbacks had something to do with him, like she doesnâ€™t fully trust him at this point. Then when itâ€™s finally revealed what happens to her, Addy goes through a total transformation and basically becomes a whole new person. We get into that more in the later episodes. Weâ€™ve been filming this essentially the whole season for what happens tonight and itâ€™s done in a very, very creative and interesting way.”
TV GOODNESS: In the preview for the episode, we see you get attacked and bitten.
Michael: “Itâ€™s a part of this series of dreams that Mack canâ€™t really get out of. Itâ€™s like this dÃ©jÃ vu keeps happening. Itâ€™s similar to that movie Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise. Mack keeps waking up in the same situation over and over again and is unable to solve this puzzle.
As it turns out, that was actually Addyâ€™s dream all along and it was her way of psychologically trying to put the pieces together and unlock this puzzle thatâ€™s been creating all this tension inside of her and their relationship for the past several months as this point. It was fun. A major part of the episode is this dynamic between Mack and this zombie and you donâ€™t know what- the zombie obviously represents something very strong for Mack throughout the episode. It was definitely fun as an actor to play that. Iâ€™ve never really done anything like that before, had that kind of challenge.
It was interesting. Shooting it, it was after our first day of filming. We did this episode in like 5 days. We did it really, really fast. Because there were so few characters, it was manageable, we could make it happen. But I remember after that first day, I think we did fourteen pages of stuff, which is a lot, and at the end of the day, I was like, â€˜Man. I literally just went through the full spectrum of the human experience today. I was happy. I was sad. I was nervous. I was relieved. I was worried.â€™ At one point I was doing a vaudevillian comedy physical routine. Everything you can imagine, I experienced it all in one day through this character.”
TV GOODNESS: This is such a Mack and Addy-centric episode. Is there anything else we should talk about?
Michael: “The development of Mack and Addy has been really strong throughout the season and people have been responding to it well. BasedÂ on the dynamic and the chemistry between Anastasia [Baranova] and myself, I think we worked really well together on the show.
They ended up changing some story points throughout the season, particularly here at the end, based on all these factors. What I can say is that I think a lot of people have been â€“ at least on my Twitter feed â€“ saying, â€˜When are we gonna see more of you guys?â€™ I donâ€™t know where itâ€™s gonna go in season 2, but at the end of season 1 it definitely picks of steam as far as the development of this relationship and where it goes.”
TV GOODNESS: Iâ€™m glad to hear that. Itâ€™s nice to see a somewhat normal relationship amidst the apocalypse.
Michael: “Itâ€™s an important element. Part of what a show like this is trying to do is explore what it means to be human, really. When you strip us away of all of our social constructs and comforts in a civilized society and then you really get down to the core of who we are, love is a big part of that. I think thatâ€™s an important element in a show like this. You canâ€™t lose all of the humanity, otherwise people just wonâ€™t care.”
TV GOODNESS: Agreed. When Garnett was killed, I really felt that. I was surprised and upset, but with a show like this I think itâ€™s so important to see when people die. Coming into the series, did you know who would be killed off first or was it a surprise?
Michael: “We knew right from the start that Harold [Perrineau] and Tom [Everett Scott] were gonna go. I mean, obviously Harold, just because of the first episode and we read it. Tom let us know right off the bat that he was six episodes and out, so we knew that going in.
I think that is an important element to a show like this. Itâ€™s unfortunate, because personally I love Tom. I thought he was great on the show and a great leader. It was an interesting dynamic because he was a reluctant leader. Harold was so strong and so willing to be in that position and Tom was forced into that position. I thought it was so cool.
When we kill people on the show, itâ€™s hopefully for a very good reason. The idea behind Tomâ€™s death was to give the audience a sense of our world, that at any second, as soon as you get comfortable and start to open up to people and allow yourself to be vulnerable, it can be stripped away from you.
Itâ€™s an interesting thing that you have to balance in your own mind, living in a world like that. Am I willing to get close to people at this point? Because they can always be stripped away from you. You can take that as a metaphor for life in regular society. Itâ€™s unfortunate, but I think itâ€™s a necessary part of our show.”
TV GOODNESS: Are you allowed to tell me if you and Addy reunite with the group this season or is that something that will be revealed later?
Michael: “I will say this is not our last episode. We do continue to be in the show, but I donâ€™t want to reveal exactly how that plays out.”
TV GOODNESS: Great. I think that’s it. Iâ€™m enjoying you and the show. Any final thoughts?
Michael: “I can just tell you, I think the show is getting stronger and stronger every week. Every episode I watch I go, â€˜Thatâ€™s our best episode.â€™ So, I think that trend continues and hopefully weâ€™ll finish really strong and I canâ€™t wait to get back out there for season 2 if theyâ€™ll have me.”
TV GOODNESS: I hope they do. Actually, I have a fun question we can end on: what has been your favorite zombie death?
Michael:Â “Oh, man.”
TV GOODNESS: Thereâ€™s been some good ones.
Michael: “Thereâ€™s been some great ones. Weâ€™ve had such creative zombie deaths. Iâ€™ll go through some of the hallmarks here and then maybeÂ pick a favorite. I mean, zombie baby was so shocking to people in so many ways. Itâ€™s reallyÂ disturbing. You just donâ€™t see stuff like that, anything involving a baby. Iâ€™m on Game of Thrones, episode 4 of the last season and there was a baby involved. Whenever thereâ€™s a baby involved in anything like that itâ€™s so disturbing. So, that was pretty cool. I loved zombie baby.
I loved the zombie that got caught in the tire of the truck that prompted Doc to say, â€˜That explains the pull to the left.â€™ [Laughs.] That was very creative and fun.
A good one for me that was just fun was that boss zombie that was in episode 4 [“Full Metal Zombie”], where weâ€™re trying to get hold of that helicopter and then Doc gets caught in the air shaft. There was that really big zombie, who was actually a linebacker in the NFL for years.”
TV GOODNESS: Right! He would not go down.
Michael: “He would not go down. He was actually zombie babyâ€™s father, his father in real life. When we met the guy we were like, â€˜Man, can we bring you back to be a zombie? You’re awesome.â€™ So that whole thing of him picking me up by the throat and twisting me around, I just thought that was so cool. Iâ€™ve always known that trick of how to do that and Iâ€™ve never had an opportunity to do it on film, so that was a lot of fun.
I guess those are the big 3 for me. The best one, really- the zombie in the tire is gonna be hard to top. That was just so gross and creepy.”
Edited for space and content.
Z Nation airs Fridays at 10/9c on Syfy.
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