While most TV series headed to their midseason break will be back right after the holidays, fans will have to wait until February 8 for more of AMC's The Walking Dead, the top-rated show on TV.
Of course, before they said farewell for the holiday season last weekend, the folks who bring you The Walking Dead did release a trailer teasing elements of "Season 5B."
Here's what we could take away from the trailer.
It opens on the larger group and then zooms into a smaller group -- just Rick, Judith, Daryl and Carol. It's unlikely these are different scenes, though; both take place while walking along a stretch of road during the day, and so it seems most likely the group wouldn't have split up.
Cut to a shot of Tyreese entering a building -- with Noah in tow, confirming that he has, indeed, joined the group.
"We're 100 miles away"
The first audible dialogue in the trailer is from Michonne, who says the group is 100 miles away...from somewhere.
In order to contextualize this comment, we need to acknowledge that in the preview scene from next season showed on Talking Dead, we see the group burying someone who, from Noah's powerful emotional response juxtaposed with the scene, most have assumed to be Beth.
That suggests that by the time they get back on the road (showrunners said during Talking Dead that they "have to deal" with being stuck in the middle of overrun Atlanta, so it's likely at least part of the midseason premiere will deal with that), not much time has passed. No matter how much you love somebody, carrying a corpse around with you for too long is not likely to happen, especially when you're trying to evade walkers.
So...what are they 100 miles away from? It's certainly not Washington, D.C. If they had remained at Terminus, where maps had shown it was Macon, GA, but it hadn't been acknowledged in-series, you might be able to pretend that you were fairly close to the nation's capital. That's not what they've done, though; they made it clear that Grady Memorial is in Atlanta.
Similarly, the Alexandria Safe-Zone is likely about 10 miles from Washington, D.C. (Google Maps says my old address in Alexandria is less than that, but I just used "Washington, D.C." and not a street address), meaning that while almost everyone expects Alexandria will come into play soon, it's still about 620 miles from Atlanta, where the group will start the episode.
Granted, they could exit the city and bury Beth in a montage, and then jump forward to when they're closer to Washington.
But here's our bet: it's someone other than Beth they're burying.
...What? Like who, you might ask. After all, if Noah's freaking out...!
Well, Noah was headed "home," after all. To "Richmond, Virgnia -- where they have walls" to keep the walkers out.
Richmond is 108 miles from Washington, D.C. And 104 miles from Alexandria. If this was, say, one of Noah's pre-apocalypse loved ones, his reaction could make even more sense than if it was Beth.
"What if it's someplace that we can be safe?" comes the second half of that comment from Michonne, followed by the image above.
Could that be the gates to Richmond, opening to reveal that the whole city is now overrun by the undead? It certainly seems likely. Those "walls" look more makeshift than anything you'd get from a real, fortified building or area constructed during the time before the fall of industry.
In fact, let's look back again at that photo of Noah and Tyreese above. Tyreese is clearly leading; the building is wide open and there's blood splattered on and around the walls...but it's not in terrible shape, and the area around it seems fairly residential. Noah is hanging back, but not looking scared -- more nonplussed, or maybe sad. Could this be the home he was trying to make his way to?
In rapid succession, we then see a number of clues as to what the next human threat might be: Daryl appears to be tracking something in the woods, followed immediately by the group rushing up to three fairly clean-looking trucks.
Rick and Glenn are in the foreground, pointing guns into the front windows of an old blue pickup, but there are two other trucks in the background and for a split second, you can see that Daryl and either Carol or Sasha are checking those out, as well.
Is the group being watched, or followed? If so, is it a guaranteed threat or could it be Aaron from the Alexandria Safe-Zone? In the comics, he walked up on the group, surprising Abraham and Rick, but meant no harm.
At this point, you can also see that Carl, Tyreese, Judith and Maggie aren't with the group. Seeing what they perceive as a threat, could this part of the group have left them in a safe spot? If so, where? And why not bring Noah, since he's fairly new to the group and likely wouldn't be as trusted? Has something happened to him?
There's a quick cut to Maggie, sobbing by the side of the road. At this point, they've got a car or truck -- or at least she's standing close enough to one for that to be the angle from which the camera is coming.
Michonne, at this point, is speculating that wherever they're 100 miles from could give them a larger purpose and more security than just making it day by day.
Cut to a walker with a gnarly face, coming straight at the camera in what looks to be a teenager's bedroom. The bedroom is pretty well-kept. Again, if we're to assume that the group heads to Richmond next, this could be Noah's, and this walker could be someone he knows -- possibly whoever he's mourning later, since this close to the camera likely means this close to an important character. And that means dead walker.
Here's Rick, Michonne and Tyreese running inside of the gated area. They're clearly coming from outside, but this time they're not being met with walkers. Did they "clear" this city like they had the prison? And if so, what's got them running so urgently?
Maybe whatever it was Daryl was tracking, and whatever it was that they found in the trucks? But this is a different group from the group with the trucks.
As Rick tells Michonne "We'll be okay," we get a cut to what appears to be a walker's silhouette on the other side of a grimy, open car window. Is that the vehicle near where Maggie was sitting crying? The open door would make sense.
Then there's Michonne and Noah. They're inside a house (maybe the same one where the walker just was a couple of shots ago?), and this time, he does look scared. There's a general "walker snarl" sound effect over a montage of quick cuts here, but I have to assume that there's at least one walker in that scene by the way Michonne has the sword and Noah looks terrified.
Rick, Daryl, Maggie, Abraham and a fifth person seen only in shadow (probably Glenn) strain against a door where there are apparently a great number of walkers outside. Hard to say where this is, although it looks like a very rough area. Could it be a shed or barn? It could, I suppose, be the corner of the gated area, but that seems unlikely since the door(s?) we've seen in the trailer don't appear to be particularly near one.
There's a quick shot of Rick and Glenn being attacked by a walker on the road, and while it might be a little close to Rick's bare arm for comfort, two things tell you he'll be fine: One, he's carrying the machete with the red handle. So he's golden. Two, he's been spotted in officially-sanctioned videos from the set, clean shaven. Since Carl was in those scenes, it seems very, very unlikely to be a flashback becuase Carl is so much older than he was back when Rick didn't yet have a beard.
"...Becuase this is how we survive," Rick finishes, over a montage of shots showcasing the cast. We get Maggie and Sasha pointing guns at something, Daryl walking, Father Gabriel closing a Bible and looking solemnly down (this seems to be from a funeral service), Glenn looking sad and thoughtful, Rick and Michonne in a car being overrun by walkers (maybe that's what was going on: they were running from those walkers, not toward anything inside the gates) and Rick talking.
Just before that final shot of Rick, though, we get an image of Noah looking truly agonized. There was a lot of speculation that this could be from Beth's funeral, but behind him you can see the gate that surrounds wherever most of the trailer takes place.
That could lend yet more credence to the idea that he's headed home, only to find it overrun and ruined, and his loved ones dead. It seems this is a pretty likely scenario...100 miles from Alexandria.