With every passing week since the end of December, a Sunday has gone by without brand new episode of The Walking Dead; this past Sunday is no different. Left on the edge of our seats after that midseason finale, it’s only natural to be anxious about the season’s continuation. So while you chew on your thoughts on the last episode we saw, I thought it would be a good idea to break down what could or should happen in the next half of the season.
That being said, beware of spoilers on the first three seasons and the first half of the fourth; there also will be some spoilers in regards to the comic books, but nothing too big because, as many of us know, the television show is a completely separate entity from the comic book and most of the plot projections have already been announced/confirmed by creator Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple.
It seems the Fall finale has left many questions to rummage through our brains. There is one question we all know the answer to, but refuse to accept: is baby Judith really dead? Sure the baby seat was covered in blood, but that doesn’t mean anything, there is no corpse— wrong. For one thing, this is television, which means it’s extremely indecent to see the mutilated corpse of a baby. Morals aside, Judith dies in the comics as well but in a different way. Contrary to the television series, Lori died during the Governor’s final prison attack from being shot in the back. She falls to the ground, holding baby Judith, inadvertently crushing what was left of the baby’s body after the gunshot.
To put this in the framework of story progression, Judith had to die in order to further develop the characters, and push the plot along (i.e. splitting the crew up and perhaps thrusting the characters in places they wouldn’t be if she had not died). Of course that hasn’t stopped Robert Kirkman from teasing us, noting that, “She could be dead. She could be maimed. She could be fine. We’ll just have to find out.” It’s a slim possibility, but since groups are more split up on the show than they were in the comics, Judith could have been snagged. Regardless, it’s very doubtful.
Kirkman has officially announced that in the next half of the season, new characters Rosita Espinosa, Sgt. Abraham Ford and Dr. Eugene Porter will become very crucial to the story. In fact, we could see them as early as the tenth episode of this season. According to Entertainment Weekly, he also suggests “their introduction will be somewhat similar to how they were introduced in the comic, which I think is a very cool thing. I’m always pushing for big changes between the comic and the show, but when there is a good, natural process to adapt things directly, we do that from time to time to keep people guessing… They’re going to be pushing things in new directions. So they will definitely be an X factor that changes the dynamic of the show quite a bit. There’s cool things ahead with them.”
I think it’s a bit obvious now that we have come to expect that subtleties are apt to change in the show versus the comics. Especially since in the comics, Rick and Carl meet them back at Herschel’s farm and given that in the television show the barn was burned down and now teeming with walkers I’m sure that will change.
There have been rumors that that a group of cannibals called “The Hunters” may appear this season, however as of now that rumor is unconfirmed as well as whether we will learn more about the Sanctuary from the radio message. On the flipside, a mysterious character named Gareth has been confirmed to guest star this season and potentially become a series regular by the next season. Little is known about Gareth aside the fact that he’s not in the comics, like Daryl and Merle Dixon. Naturally, AMC and the show’s producers are keeping very quite about this character.
For one thing, Carol couldn’t have completely disappeared so she is bound to come back. Comics aside, it will be very interesting to see how the television show continues her character because it can be done in so many different ways. For instance, she could stumble upon what’s left of the Governor’s crew, or maybe she joined another group that one of the now separated groups will discover, or perhaps she’ll disappear from one medium (such as the television show) and enter another (such as the announced spinoff series), kind of like Lilly Caul in the Telltale video game series in which she is (spoiler) banished from the group, ends up living Woodbury in the comics, and then contributing to Lori and Judith’s deaths.
(Fun Fact: in the television show, Lilly Chambler is a combination of Lilly Caul from the comics and April Chambler from Robert Kirkman’s comic-companion novel, Rise of the Governor.)
So if that’s the case, I believe Carol will become a leader in some fashion— maybe not a mentally sound leader, but with the experiences she has had surviving on her own, she’ll most certainly be tougher and willing to do anything to survive. Supposedly Melissa McBride and Chad L. Coleman (Carol and Tyreese) were seen together on set by several fans, but that’s not much of a confirmation. Then again, she could be dead. In the comics she is irrationally crazy, and begins to contemplate suicide in the prison after she felt her best friend, Lori, didn’t even trust her. She had wandered over to Alice, Dr. Stevens assistant in Woodbury, who was tending to a zombie for experimental purposes. Carol had a monologue of sorts as she talked directly to the zombie, telling it how nobody trusted her any more and she was alone in the world. When her “conversation” concludes, she allows the zombie to bite her and she dies. It is quite possible that she dies the same way, alone, but after Rick had banished her from the prison.
While Carol’s return has been speculated, current showrunner Scott Gimple has confirmed the return of another character: Morgan Jones, the man Rick met in the pilot episode and then again last season, only this time, he was without his son and starting to go a little insane. Now in the comics, Rick, Carl and Abraham (one of our new characters) meet Morgan when they go in search of weapons in Rick’s hometown. However the television show may not reintroduce him in this fashion simply because it seems a bit repetitive seeing how they last met Morgan during a similar supply run last season.
Of course I don’t think this means anything since the television show seems to like unnecessary repetition (a walker infiltration of the prison happened twice, the Governor attacked the prison twice, and now Robert Kirkman had noted that Rick is going to break down again, “This will be the low for a while and then we’ll find a new one later on, hopefully.”). That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick and Carl backtrack to the farm and then to their hometown to meet a mentally unstable Morgan again and bring him into the group as if they were going to see the Wizard of Oz in Washington D.C. as they do in the comics.
What I am most excited for is Carl’s character development for this season. If this show plans to be going as long as it wants to, Carl would eventually have to take Rick’s place, so he needs to develop into a leader. In the first couple seasons he was rather innocent, but as he hardened up, he began to act like a prick— like a kid who claims he knows everything when he is too young to know anything he is talking about. This season Carl appears less annoying and more mature. Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick, notes that, “[Carl] does something this season…. Man, episode 9 is his episode. It’s so cool.”
Conclusion and What To Look Forward To
According to Columbia Daily Tribune, director Tricia Brock says that Episode 10 will pair “some of the oddest couplings of groups you’ve seen… It’s a very intimate episode. We see how these very odd groups were thrown together and how they deal with that.” Furthering this excitement, Norman Reedus (who plays Daryl Dixon on the show) had recently revealed to Vulture about the season finale, “It’s a very ambitious episode; they went big with it.” Not quite sure what any of that means but it looks like this next half could prove to be way more interesting than the first half was and that’s definitely something to look forward to.
And then there is always what the spinoff series could entail. As expected though, AMC isn’t announcing too much with the spinoff. They know just how to tease us, giving us a little bit here and there. Like recently with the trailer for the next half of the season, which shows us nothing but at the same time gives us something to look forward to. What does everyone else think? Is this next half of the season going to be amazing? Or have you given up completely with the show? (NOTE: if you talk about the comics, make sure to include a spoiler warning.)