INTERVIEW: The Walking Dead's Katelyn Nacon hints at Enid's survival
On AMC's wildly popular The Walking Dead, 16-year-old Katelyn Nacon often courts controversy as the enigmatic loner, Enid. Is she a spy? Is she running interference for the Wolves? With this week's mid-season finale, Nacon hints, we may get some answers about Enid.
At this point, fans aren't exactly sure how to take Enid — which speaks to Nacon's ability to truly tap into her character's fractured psyche. She is a teenage girl who lost her family to walkers. She roamed alone for months before happening upon Alexandria, a microcosm in which she feels largely alien.
So she wanders. She flees. She bails. And because she is so flighty, Enid has earned a reputation for being suspicious. Fans have theorized her connection to nearly every nefarious group in the TWD world, including the unsavory characters who just hijacked Daryl's bow and motorcycle — a group who may or may not be the sinister "Negan's Saviors" from the comic series.
Nacon hesitates slightly before responding to the latter accusation.
After a moment, though, she does respond to the question of whether Enid knows the perpetrators, saying, "Umm, I don't think she did. She's not exactly one of the most friendly girls, so I don't see her befriending those people. She'd rather be by herself than be around people."
In fact, Nacon says the explanation for Enid's roaming is as much about Enid's "walls" as it is about the walls of Alexandria.
"It's kind of both, you know? She was getting closer to the people in Alexandria and that's not working out for her, because one of her main defense mechanisms is to not let anyone," explains Nacon. "She knows that if she does and then loses that person, it would affect her more than anything. Also, I think she kind of knew that Alexandria wasn't going to last, so when the Wolves came in, it came down to, 'Yeah, these walls aren't actually safe, and I need to get out of here.'"
But even more so, Enid's aversion has much to do with something Glenn pointed out in last week's episode: In this world, you have to live and keeping fighting the good fight for those who no longer can.
"I don't think she wants to live a life conformed inside of a little wall or anything like that, because the only reason she's really living right now is because her parents don't get to. And it's almost like she's living a life for them — but she doesn't want to live just a horrible life, where she's trapped all the time," says Nacon.
Perhaps this is why Nacon's portrayal of Enid comes across as somehow the most honest at times. Here is a young girl, facing a post-apocalyptic existence and learning to adapt. She has a sort-of boyfriend in Ron and a sort-of crush in Carl. It gives you a sense that everything changes but, in some strange ways, everything stays the same too.
Otherwise what would the point of it all be? Still, for all the strength and resolve she's shown so far, Enid has started to be less impervious to the reality of the world in which she now.
It was evident in the final scenes of last week's episode (as Walkers swarmed Alexandria), but it has also been evident in her recent interactions with Ron and Carl. "She definitely just doesn't want to get close to anyone," reiterates Nacon. "She knows that if she does that, it's more likely whatever happened to her parents will happen all over again. And she knows that she wouldn't be able to handle that. That's the state she's at right now, so chasing boys isn't one of her priorities."
Of course, we have yet to learn much about Enid's priorities other than to "just survive somehow." That may soon change, teases Nacon, who suggests there's more to come about Enid this season.
So does that mean she'll make it through the mid-season finale? Rumor has it there will be more than one major character casualty. Obviously, Nacon couldn't confirm or deny that claim, but she did have this to say about what the mid-season finale has in store for Enid.
"She's a really clever girl, but the situation she was put in at the end of last episode — seeing the walls surrounded by Walkers — you can tell it kind of affected her, because that's never happened before," Nacon says.
What does that mean for this turtle-eating badass, exactly? "I think we may see a different side of her, because she's never gone through this. So it may have a different effect on her than what everything else seems to have."
Hmm, intriguing indeed. Enid is typically very flinty, seemingly unaffected emotionally by anything. Perhaps she's headed for a breakdown. Or maybe being near Glenn, who never gives up, will inspire the normally stoic teen to stand her ground and fight to the death.
While that remains to be seen, one thing does seem certain — Enid's future will not include chowing down on bugs the same way she devoured that ill-fated terrapin.
"I don't do bugs. I'm anti-bug. Even if it's really, really tiny. Like, miniscule. I hate squishing them with a tissue paper. Blech! It makes me feel weird," says the girl who routinely stakes zombies through the skull. "If they had me eat a real bug? Oh my god... I would need, like, a bug-eater stunt double."