[Spoilers ahead] – The long-awaited mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead airs Sunday on AMC. After is the first of the back eight episodes of season four and it picks up right where the series left off in December with the ruins of the prison behind the remaining group. They took down the Governor, but they paid a big price for it. Rick urged Carl, “Don’t look back,” and that is when the characters scattered in different directions, forced to find out what life outside of the prison is like.
Not only did the group just lose Hershel, but they lost their home. The group stumbled upon the prison in season three, after leaving the farm in season two. Once they cleared the prison, they found a sense of security within the confines of the cell walls and the double-gated fence that kept the walkers out, for the most part.
Now the Walking Dead characters are split up in smaller groups. Questions linger as to who ended up with who? Is the baby alive somehow? How are Hershel’s daughters dealing with the grief over losing their father? Will Glenn recover from his illness and be able to survive against the zombies? Those answers will come, and many more.
Do not expect to see updates on all of the characters just yet though. The first episode will focus mainly on Rick and Carl as they seek safety after the prison has been destroyed. They lost a dear friend and Rick was beaten within inches of his life. The plot continues to explore their relationship, how Carl moves toward a deeper sense of independence and how they deal with the apocalypse when they have only each other to rely on.
The other character the mid-season premiere will focus on is Michonne. The fierce fighter was a loner using mutilated zombies and a single sword to protect herself until she stumbled upon Andrea. They became friends out of necessity. They parted ways in Woodbury after disagreeing over the Governor and his motives. That is when Michonne met the rest of the group at the prison. She did not exactly receive a warm welcome when she showed up at the gate carrying baby formula.
However, over time she did win them over and become one of the group, despite losing Andrea. She had fleeting bonding moments with Rick, Carl and Daryl. Going forward, she has lost the security of the group though and is out on her own once again. As part of a commitment to deeper character development on The Walking Dead this season, viewers will learn more about her background now.
Life outside of the prison will be challenging. As some characters form stronger bonds, others are broken. The remainder of the season is darker than what viewers are used to seeing on the series. New challenges will present themselves and new characters will be presented. Threats will be present, as they always have. Of course, they still have to fight off the ever-present zombies. There have been hints of the Governor returning on this season’s Walking Dead too, which will more than likely be in the form of flashbacks, but could also mean seeing him as a zombie.
Editorial by Tracy Rose