SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD TV SHOW & COMIC BOOK BELOW!
This year’s Walking Dead mid-season finale should’ve been its third-season finale last year. It seems like new showrunner Scott Gimple basically wasted eight episodes of season four to bring us to the same point at the end of season three. While there was some character development along the way, The Walking Dead redeemed itself in the eyes of many frustrated fans with season four’s mid-season finale. However, there are still some big questions surrounding the fate of The Walking Dead‘s characters, namely the Grimes family.
At the end of the episode “Too Far Gone,” the group became separated, with everyone going off in different directions after the prison walls fell. Rick and his son Carl managed to find each other in the aftermath, but were unable to find baby Judith. Is baby Judith a new zombie baby, or is she still alive with her surrogate mother Beth? Gimple tells TV Guide:
It’s going to hit [Rick] in a way that we haven’t seen before. If it’s just the two of them, [Carl is] going to have to step up quite a bit because circumstances are wildly different and a lot will depend on him in terms of them just surviving. They don’t have an awesome, dual-layer fence and brick buildings to hide behind. They’re out in the world.
There is a narrative in the Walking Dead comic book that features Rick and Carl alone in the outside world. The father and son have to fend for themselves, while Lori and baby Judith are dead at the hands of the Governor. This is a rather boring storyline in the comic, so hopefully Gimple and team will be able to “juice up” the narrative for the small screen. We’ve seen Rick talk to himself through a telephone once already and I don’t think we need to see him go through that again. With Rick and Carl on their own, this could be a great opportunity for The Walking Dead to re-establish the zombie menace as a constant danger.
Meanwhile, now that the Governor has met his maker, the next big bad guy on The Walking Dead is Negan, the leader of The Saviors. He’s the complete opposite of Rick Grimes and is kind of like a mob boss in The Walking Dead universe. Negan wants to establish “The New World Order” across various other communities. According to Robert Kirkman, it’s unlikely that Negan will appear in season four, but he hints at the possibility of him becoming the central villain of season five. Kirkman tells Entertainment Weekly:
“Well, there was a lot of breathing room in the comics between them. Whether or not we have the same amount of breathing room, or if we do cut that down a little bit and bring him into the show a little early, remains to be seen. But I definitely do think there needs to be some kind of space from a Governor into a Negan. You have to have something of a break in there. So I wouldn’t expect him to be showing up — definitely not in season 4. I don’t know. I wouldn’t expect it too soon. But we are all very excited about the prospect of bringing that guy into the show. The plan is that we will see him eventually.
The Walking Dead returns in a few months, after its annual mid-season hiatus. It will be interesting to see where the characters will land when it returns with episode nine. It’s unlikely that a lot of time will have passed, but I do wonder if the show’s structure will focus on Rick and Carl in one episode, then the rest of the group in another, or if episodes would cut back and forth between the characters’ storylines.
Needless to say, it’s going to be a long winter before The Walking Dead returns again. February 9, 2014 can’t get here soon enough!