The Walking Dead generally uses each half-season to tell a single story. They’re obviously not entirely standalone installments, and there are larger things that play out over more time, but each section definitely has its own distinct arc. Showrunner Scott Gimple has talked about this strategy quite a bit, and it’s served them well, as every time the show comes back from an extended break, like the current midseason hiatus, you start anew in many ways, keeping things fresh. This latest instance is no exception, and when the zombie drama returns for the rest of season 5 this weekend, expect some big changes.
There may be some spoilers beyond this point if you’re not caught up, then again, if you’re not current, why do you want to know what happens next?
Talking to Entertainment Weekly, star Andrew Lincoln shed a little bit of light on what to expect over the next few episodes. He doesn’t reveal much in the way of concrete detail, but tonally and content wise, things are looking grim four your favorite band of zombie apocalypse survivors.
He says, “Be prepared—I think Episodes 9 and 10 are two of my favorite. They’re brutal, they’re incredibly emotional and I think there’ll be a lot of surprises along the way.”
If you watched the midseason finale, “Coda,” you know the group lost a key member, and they’re going to have to deal with that sudden shock. You can see the impact is has on them in the first two minutes of the next episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On.” They look frayed, broken, desperate, like they’re coming apart at the seams and not sure how to move forward.
After Beth’s (Emily Kinney) untimely death, the group finds themselves in a kind of limbo. Every time they think they have someplace to settle and stay, a place to build a life, they’re forced to move on, and once again they’re pushed out onto the road. They don’t even have a goal anymore now that Eugene (Josh McDermitt) came clean about the situation, or lack thereof, in Washington. As they’ve done so many times before, they’re starting over from scratch, and you have to wonder how many more new beginnings of this sort they have left in them.
As for what lies ahead, Lincoln says:
This back eight is my favorite back eight we’ve done since we started the show, for many reasons, mainly because it’s almost like a reset, what happens. We get to reimagine and sort of dial back some of the characters. And we meet so many new people. It’s just a wild sort of rabbit hole that we all go down, and I think the storytelling is phenomenal.
Lincoln mentioning meeting “many” new people again makes you wonder if that means they’re going to wind up in Alexandria before too long. In the comics, which the series roughly follows plot wise, Alexandria is a walled community they come to at around this time in the narrative, and is still a place many of them call home.
They’ve also hinted at it a number of times recently. It provides them the chance to lay down the roots they’ve been talking about for five seasons, gives them a place to grow and defend, and the characters certainly evolve and change. As good as The Walking Dead has become under Gimple and company, it would be nice to see the group do something besides move from place to place forever.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC this Sunday, February 8.