With AMC's The Walking Dead returning tonight, there's a lot of cleaning up to do.
The prison is a lost cause, a number of characters are dead or at least seem to be and if set photos are any indication, Glenn Rhee somehow managed to stumble out of the bus before evacuation and find himself stranded at the prison, surrounded by walkers. The group is scattered to the four winds, and even if they could find one another again--there's no guarantee they can--there are factions within the group who are probably none to pleased with each other.
The family- or community-unit they established for the first half of the season, in short, is broken. And with the shattered piece and broken relationships comes a lot of questions that will need to be dealt with if they're ever to come back together--which, based on showrunners' comments, we can assume most of them do sooner or later.
But...yeah. The biggest thing that had fans talking after the midseason finale was the fate of baby Judith Grimes, who died in her mother's arms in the comic book source material but outlived her by a full season this time around, only to apparently be killed by walkers after a pair of irresponsible kids put her car carrier down in the middle of the prison melee.
But there are a lot of reasons to think maybe she didn't actually die (see the links above)...and we fully expect a shot of the baby to be the final "holy crap!" moment before one of the credits sequences coming up soon.
Daryl has been stripped of the role in the group that he's been allowing to consume much of his identity; it would be really nice for him to see his best friend/love interest sometime soon. But...where is Carol? We know she's coming back, but that's about it.
And of course, when she does show up, it's not as though everything will be hearts and flowers. Rick exiled her, Tyreese will eventually find out that she's the one who murdered his girlfriend and "for the good of the group" will likely win Daryl over in the long run, but in the short term, I can't imagine they'll be able to pick right up where they left off after she admits to him that Rick was right and she killed living people on the off chance they might make somebody sick.
Even money is she'll end up with Tyreese before she meets the rest of the group. In terms of dramatic tension, that's the thing that makes the most sense. How that will go should be interesting.
We've seen Glenn hanging out with Tara, the sister of The Governor's girlfriend and (briefly) the lover of the woman who stood next to Hershel, holding him at gunpoint while the Governor murdered him.
It's hard to imagine her lasting very long with the group.
First of all, she was part of The Governor's invasion party, which means there will be suspicions. It's difficult to imagine that Maggie and Beth would welcome her into the fold after watching her group murder their father.
And while necessity and a common enemy in the form of the walkers makes some strange bedfellows, it can't be long before Glenn learns that his post-apocalyptic father figure was murdered by this girl's friends.
"Glenn doesn’t actually know that Hershel is dead," actor Steven Yeun told Entertainment Weekly. "He’s probably the only one who doesn’t know. And for him, where he last left off with Hershel is…a lot of people have helped shaped Glenn into the person he is at this point and he’s taken bits and pieces from all of them, but none more than Hershel. And the last episode, where Glenn almost dies, the action that happens between Hershel and Glenn kind of solidifies that relationship and solidifies Hershel’s legacy as being passed on to Glenn. Just as easily as the symbolism of the watch was, just passing it onto him saying, 'You are now part of this family. I accept you,' it’s that same thing. Glenn really felt like things were over. He was in dire straights and kind of subjecting himself to the negative portions of that. He was saying, 'Hey, what’s the point of living? We’re going to get taken out by a glorified cold,' and Hershel is the one that keeps hope alive for him. Hershel is the one that instills in him to sacrifice himself for others, for the sake of life and love and for the sake of doing all that you could to help your fellow person. And I think that episode definitely drilled home all of that for Glenn. I think that now, even though Glenn doesn’t know, he’s taking it upon himself to keep that part of Hershel alive."
So she's either going to have to tell him that and live with the consequences, or keep it from him and find out just how mad a nice guy like Glenn can get when the truth finally comes out.
Even if the group can forgive Tara, will the viewers? Yes, she got skittish and ran away once the fight had actually started and Hershel was dead, but that whole group sat through Rick's "We're not too far gone" speech, then stood their ground and said "Yes, we are." What kind of future is there with a person like that? Even if she didn't pull the trigger, she's certainly leagues worse than Carol.
...and, of course, implicit in that question, when it's The Walking Dead, is how many people won't make it back? Will Beth and Maggie have unknowingly seen one another for the last time already?
Could the writers sufficiently slow the pace to the point where the group doesn't reassemble until the last episode or two of the season, while still doing enough character work to keep the episodes interesting? It seems like that could be the plan--and it might explain why explosions within the group (Tyreese vs. Carol/Daryl, Tara vs. the Greenes, etc.) seem to be inherent to what's going on right now.
Between the fall of the prison and the next major habitat--the Alexandria Safe Zone--the survivors in the comics were on the run for most of two years publication time.0comments
Now, obviously that's not two years in-story...but it should be at least one, considering that we're four years in at this point and have reached basically the four-year mark in the comics (tonight's episode is a loose adaptation of #49 and #50 in the monthly series). It's hard to picture them hurrying up the move to Alexandria, especially because too little time between The Governor and Negan, the big bad from about issue #75 onward, would feel like they were doing a modified version of the same story again.
The Hunters storyline is still out there to be told, and that more or less requires the group to be homeless in order to be effective. That seems like an effective season-ending cliffhanger story, actually, so maybe we just won't see another "home base" this year.