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The Walking Dead: Carl Looks Back In Mid Season Premiere Image

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The Walking DeadWe’re still weeks away from the return of AMC’s The Walking Dead—the hit zombie drama won’t return until the week after the Super Bowl—but we’re seeing more and more reminders the closer we get. First, the network released a synopsis for the next episode, “Don’t Look Back,” then we got an ominous trailer, and now the first photo from the mid-season premiere.

Moving into the second half of season four, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), the adolescent son of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the leader of a group of zombie apocalypse survivors, has been front and center in almost everything we’ve seen. This new picture is no exception. Having become a grim, cold-hearted killer and burgeoning sociopath, Carl is usually mindful of his surroundings. In this instance, however, he looks distracted by something behind him, and is about to walk into a pair of shuffling corpses.

If Carl does in fact wander into these zombies and get bitten (Nick has his fingers crossed for that scenario), he has only himself to blame. After all, the episode is called “Don’t Look Back,” and it was even on that poster. He should heed that warning, and keep looking towards the front, but in his immediate life, as well as a larger, more metaphorical sense, like don’t dwell on the past. That’s the point the producers are trying to across.

The second half of season four promises to be an interesting ride for fans and characters alike. It has the potential to be some of the best episodes of the entire series. I’m skeptical about that, and I’ll have to see it with my own eyes, but it could happen, maybe.

The mid-season finale, “Too Far Gone,” saw the prison stronghold the survivors had been living in destroyed by the Governor (David Morrissey) and overrun with walkers. Hershel (Scott Wilson) is dead, the group has split apart, and everyone who made it out is forced to return to a life on the road. The situation is indeed dire.

Such grim circumstances give the writers ample opportunity to really dig into the fragile mental state of the gang. They’re beat up, bloody, and damn near broken, but just how close to giving up they are remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see how they respond to this new found adversity, facing new hazards, searching for supplies, and generally trying not to be eaten alive or murdered. Can they come back from everything that has happened? Do they even want to at this point?

We know that a handful of new characters will be introduced in the coming episodes. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt), familiar faces from Robert Kirkman’s comics, are joining the party. There’s also a mysterious new character who is reportedly a mash-up of characters from the source material, as well as another addition, set to appear near the end of the season, that could be one of the cannibalistic group known as The Hunters. If nothing else, the final eight episodes of season four promise to be full of change and danger.

The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, February 9 on AMC.

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