Everyone on AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead needs to be careful, as damn near anyone can be killed off at damn near any time. You’ll be walking along, thinking what a lovely day it is, and out of nowhere, you’re walker food. Should have checked behind that tree. New people are especially at risk, and many of them are lucky to even get a name—season three at the prison was a free for all when it came to killing off glorified extras. That said, when the fifth season returns for its second half next month, there are going to be some new faces. Maybe they’ll stick around for a while, like Tara, maybe they’ll last half an episode. However it works out, we now know that the cast has added a new member in the person of Ross Marquand.
Marquand is going to be most recognizable to fans of another popular AMC drama, Mad Men, which I’ve never watched, but I’m told features him playing a version of Paul Newman. That must mean he’s pretty good at impressions. He also lends his voice to Phineas and Ferb, so you may recognize him from there. Right now there’s no word on what character he’ll play in the undead adventure, but there are theories floating around.
It should go without saying that we going to pay a visit to Spoilertown now, or at least the neighboring suburb of Potential Spoilerville. You’ve been warned.
After the traumatic death in the midseason finale, we know that the core group is once again on the road with no place to call home. As the narrative loosely follows that of the comics, the next stop on their tour is the Alexandria Save Zone, a walled community where the action in Robert Kirkman’s comics is still partially set. We’ve seen evidence that indicates this, as well as had hints in the show, so many suspect we’ll get there before the season is out.
Kirkman has said that season 5 will introduce a prominent gay character from the comics—he also said definitively that Daryl is not gay at one point. That combined with the possibility of Alexandria have led some to conclude that Marquand plays Aaron. First appearing in issue #67, Aaron is a part of the community who goes out looking for other survivors, observing them, determining if they’ll be a good fit, and trying to convince them to move in. He’s essentially a recruiter.
Like I said, this is one possibility, but it seems quite plausible in the cold light of day, and I for one am totally on board. The group has been looking for a place to lay their head, but between Hershel’s farm, Woodbury, the prison, and Terminus, they haven’t had the best of luck. Not everyone they encounter is going to be a group of murderous cannibals, or whatever, and the narrative tactic of moving, settling, being forced to move again, is something they’ve obviously already done, and it’s getting repetitive. Having a stable place to call home will benefit the show.
Alexandria, or whatever incarnation it takes, provides a chance to set roots and actually start building something, which they keep talking about but rarely have the chance to do. Such a settlement also provides a different set of narrative possibilities. If you’re current on the comics, you know what some of these are, and it also allows them to stay together. It’s a shift that I think the series desperately needs. As much as the show has grown under showrunner Scott Gimple, it’s time for something different in this regard.
As usual, everyone is keeping a tight lid on the direction of the remaining season 5 episodes of The Walking Dead, as well as Marquand’s role. However it shakes out, we’re only a few weeks away from the Sunday, February 8 return, so we don’t have too long to wait.