Warning: spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead Season 7, called "Swear."
A long-absent character made her grand return to The Walking Dead in Sunday's episode as Tara turned up for the first time since Season 6. She was sent on a scavenging mission with Heath in Season 6 to accommodate actress Alanna Masterson's pregnancy, and her maternity leave evidently ended just in time for her to film a Tara-centric episode for Season 7. As it turns out, "Swear" was an exceptionally difficult episode to film due to extreme heat. Masterson explained that she even reached out to showrunner Scott Gimple about filming the big bridge scene, saying this:
I called Scott and said, 'You're joking right?' I had just had a baby. It was actually one of the hottest days. It was the hardest episode that some of the crew have ever shot because it was -- the temperature was -- I can't even remember how hot. It was like 105 degrees outside and there was no cover. The whole bridge, there was not a single tree to hide behind, so people were just melting and just dropping like flies.
I can think of plenty of things I wouldn't want to do right after having a baby, and I'd say that filming a boiling hot episode filled with zombie apocalypse stunts would rank pretty high on the list. Alanna Masterson revealed just how hard the heat was to deal with during an appearance on Talking Dead, and it indicates she didn't have to act all that hard to sell Tara's pain and exhaustion on the bridge. If anything, she might have been having a harder time on set than Tara would have in the actual zombie apocalypse. At least Tara wasn't recently pregnant.
Alanna Masterson went on to reveal that she wasn't the only person on set who had an especially hard time with the episode, sharing this:
Victor, who does our special effects, at one point turned just ghost white. I thought, 'This doesn't look good, this is going to be bad; I was just watching as he almost teetered over. So, it was definitely really hard.
All in all, Corey Hawkins may have been lucky that Heath disappeared from the action for "Swear." Sure, it meant that his character may have come to an untimely end on The Walking Dead, but at least he didn't have to spend hours on a bridge in 100+ degree heat in full zombie apocalypse costume. Besides, he has 24: Legacy to look forward to. Tara's scenes in Oceanside must have felt wonderful to Alanna Masterson. Even if she did spend most of her time either handcuffed or scarfing down some kind of stew, at least she was able to do it indoors and without running away from Walkers.
"Swear" was a unique episode as it took the plot away from Negan and Alexandria to introduce a brand new settlement in the world of The Walking Dead, and I know I enjoyed a break from the terror that dominated the first five episodes. Hopefully for Alanna Masterson's sake, however, she won't have to film anything like "Swear" again for a while.
Tune in to AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET to see what's next for Tara and the other survivors on The Walking Dead.