It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written a lengthy article like this, but I’m glad to be back and glad The Walking Dead is back! As always, this predictions piece will contain possible spoilers, and we will be considering some of the more prominent rumors surrounding the series. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!
AMC has recently released a lot of promotional material for the second half of this season, including a few trailers that reveal some key information, as well as the first full two minutes of episode 509.
Check out the trailers here, if you haven’t already:
And here is the first two minutes of the episode:
First and foremost, it looks like the focus is going to be on the survivors hitting the road again. It appears that they come across a new place where they can fortify, and Michonne is especially adamant about the group trying to start over again.
From the first two minutes, we see someone digging while Gabriel appears to be facilitating a funeral, as well as a few pictures of two boys. — More on that in a minute– Rick and Noah speak about the camp Noah was a part of in Virginia, and it appears that Rick sells the group on heading north to try and join them. This seems like the obvious direction for the show to head and would fit well with the narrative that the trailers outline, so I think you can pretty much take all this information to the bank. Mid-season trailers are usually much more reliable sources of the narrative than the trailers they release over the summer to build suspense for the upcoming season, so I’m comfortable with these assumptions.
It appears that on their travels the group finds this new settlement that Michonne pushes for and attempt to claim it only to come into conflict with a mass of walkers. It was heavily rumored during shooting that the group would come across “Shirewilt Estates,” which is a pretty clear play on the Wiltshire Estates that the group visits on the way to the prison in the comic, despite the fact that Andrea and Shane visited what Robert Kirkman stated was supposed to be Wiltshire in season 2. Unfortunately for the group in the comics, Wiltshire is overrun and they lose a member of the group to walkers. From the trailers, it appears that this will be the same case on the show. The biggest difference, however, is that the character who they lost at Wiltshire in the comic was never featured on the show.
This has led to speculation that either Tyreese and/or Noah may be killed off, as both have recently secured roles on other shows… usually a red flag for fans of The Walking Dead. In addition to this, some spectators claim to have seen Tyreese bloodied up and being carried by other characters, though that remains largely unconfirmed.
In a recent interview with IGN, Chad L. Coleman (Tyreese) spoke of episode 509 as “A beautifully destructive ballad,” so that’s interesting as well. In addition, Robert Kirkman stated the episode may be polarizing for a lot of fans.
It’s also been rumored that we may see some characters that we had never expected to see again on the show, which triggers some speculation. At first I was thinking maybe we’d see Morales from season one again, as he’s recently shown up to more conventions, but I’m not too sure about that. Then I thought maybe we’d get to see Tara’s sister, Lily, but I have a hard time believing she could escape a pack of walkers closing in on her. That pretty much just leaves flashbacks and hallucinations to work with. I don’t think Rick or Michonne are speaking to their dead significant others anymore, so I’d say the safe bet is flashbacks.
To play it safe, I’d say we may get a distressed Maggie reflecting on time with Beth, or Noah looking back on his time at the hospital, but there is one possibility that is significantly more interesting… In the comics, before the group arrives at Wilshire, the housing development is settled by another group. This group leaves a sign warning Rick and co. about the walkers, but the warning goes unheeded as snow is covering the sign. The previous group of settlers is revealed to be Governor’s group in the companion novel “The Rise of the Governor.”
I’d be down to see
Phillip Brian again for a bit. Maybe see him when he’s not all crazy and land-grabby (politicians, am I right?!). Either way, it’s certainly something to think about.
If you pair all this information with the shots of the group trying to hold the doors of a barn or stable shut during a thunderstorm(which looks friggin’ awesome), I get the sneaking suspicion that all we’ve seen so far is going to unwind over the course of only one episode.
From there, I think we’ll see the group heading toward DC and time moving pretty quickly… which brings me back to that portrait of the two boys playing. What if that funeral in the beginning isn’t Beth’s? What if it’s for Tyreese or Noah? The boys in the photo look like they could be a younger Noah, so what if the group has to head to Virginia without Noah? How would they ever explain the situation? The two boys are, I’m assuming, brothers. Is it possible that Noah could the brother of Heath from the comic book? — For the unacquainted, Heath is a pretty pivotal character from the Alexandria Safe Zone who works as a “runner” for the group. He is also fairly skeptical of Rick and his group when they arrive. What better reason would he have to be skeptical than the story about his brother?
Getting back to the transition from Atlanta to Virginia, I think the best “roadmap” we could use (pun intended) is the graphic novel. So far in the season, the group has only experienced the passage of a few days. It would only make sense to speed up the progression from here on out. Right now, in comparison to the comics, we’re in about the late 60s as far as issue numbers go, maybe issue 67-ish. I think by the end of the season we could end up at around issue 80-85.
In that time period, Rick and co. go from decimating the Hunters to joining The Alexandria Safe Zone and attempting to fit in there. While many citizens are skeptical with Rick drawing comparisons of a former failed leader, the ASZ leader, Douglas Monroe, welcomes them with open arms. The group is forced to surrender their weapons to an armory, however, and struggle to adjust. Carl clashes with kids his age, Rick and Michonne feel like outcasts at a party thrown by the citizens, Glenn and Maggie experience friction because Glenn reverts back to just being a runner/scout for the group, and Abraham struggles with simply being a construction worker and no longer a soldier. Gabriel even alerts Douglas that Rick and his group have done horrible things, though Douglas ultimately dismisses that.
All of this tension eventually erupts after a citizen of the community, Pete, threatens to kill Rick for intervening in his relationship. Rick, now the town constable, notices that Pete’s wife and son appear to be victims of abuse, so he forces Pete to vacate their home. Rick, always one step ahead, has stolen back the survivor’s weapons with Glenn, and is ready for anything. In the confrontation between Pete and Rick, Douglas Monroe’s wife, Regina, is killed by Pete after attempting to intervene. When this happens, Douglas gives Rick the okay to shoot Pete, which Rick obliges.
All of the commotion in the town catches the attention of a group outside of the walls, and the group comes knocking at the gate with all intentions of taking the place. The group leader, Derek, confronts Rick directly. Unfazed, Rick and his group dispatch Derek’s group fairly easily. The fallout from these events results in Douglas relinquishing leadership of the safe zone to Rick, as he see Rick as a more fit leader. Rick, though initially reluctant, accepts.
That, is where I think we’ll see the season end. This would put the storyline around the mid-eighties issue-wise, and allow the writers enough time to tinker with the story for the following season, which could lead into Negan and the Saviors being introduced in the season finale of season 6. We may even see the television program draw out the conflict with Derek’s group a bit more like they did with the Hunters. If that happens, I would expect that arc to be the first half of season six.
I also think the individual storylines are largely interchangeable between characters. For instance, I think we’ll see Daryl struggle with how the town sees him the most, like we did with Abraham in the comic. By old-world standards, Daryl is a nobody. By zombie apocalypse standards, Daryl is a hero. It’s going to be hard for such an emotionally complex guy to revert back to the role this very traditional community will want to place him in.
There are also a few moments that I thought may fit in here, but would feel either rushed or out of place as far as the show goes. First and foremost is Maggie’s attempted suicide which occurred in the comics after she found out her family was killed at the prison. I think we could see this now that she’s lost Beth, and it may make up for the fact she seemed to forget all about Beth during the whole Terminus/Hunters arc, but considering how the show has built the character and Beth’s suicide attempt in season two, I have a hard time seeing them work this in.
The Alexandria Safe Zone also introduces the new character Holly, who may be the character played by Alexandra Breckinridge, though at this point, that could be anyone. Holly is a very tough, very independent woman who ends up becoming romantically involved with Abraham, driving a rift between he and Rosita. I feel like that this may be something they can develop more next season though, because we’ve barely got to see any of their relationship at all in the show thus far.
I also think Breckenridge’s character could be Samantha, Pete’s wife, who later becomes involved with Rick (everyone is getting some in Virginia, eh?). Breckenridge is also rumored to have gone blonde for the show, so she may be an amalgamation of Samantha and comic Andrea… who also gets involved with Rick.
Ultimately, it’s really hard to make predictions outside of the first episode. We don’t really know who we’ll be introduced to or where the show plans to go without seeing any further information. I do believe we will see a member of the group get killed in tonight’s premier. I really hope it isn’t Tyreese or Noah because I’ve really grown to like them as the more humane members of such a brutal group, not to mention the criticism the show has gotten for killing off African-American characters, but it seems all too coincidental for their deaths to not be true at this point.
So, sound off and let me know what you think! As always, comment, like, share, go crazy!
See you soon for the review!