Carl and Rick enjoying quality time together.
Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead ends the mid-season hiatus. After ten weeks of waiting, fans finally get to see what happens next after the exhilarating mid-season finale. I’ll save comments and spoilers until after the break, but suffice it to say: things are going to be massively different moving forward. We got to see the sort of action usually reserved for a season finale here at the midway point, and I suspect that things are about to get a lot more interesting. I have three videos to share with you and a promotional photo, along with my thoughts on where we’re going next.
Spoiler Alert: The following sneak peek reviews the promotional material released by AMC for The Walking Dead episode 409, and will examine possible events in the upcoming episode while discussing past events. Read on only if you’re caught up in the series!
Before we get to the videos, feast your eyes on this photo AMC has released of Michonne:
Yes, it looks as though our favorite resident samurai is going to use her tried and true methods for walking safely through zombie-land. It also means that, in conjunction with the photo I’ve used at the top of the article, we’ll likely be focusing primarily on her, Rick, and Carl in the opening episode of the second half of the season.
Now, onto the videos. We’ll begin with the official Sneak Peek unveiled by AMC during The Talking Dead back on December 1st.
An intense vid with a total focus on Carl. Our little badass is really growing up – try taking a look back to Season One, and see just how much he’s changed. He’s moving a couple of walkers away from the house where, I’m assuming, he has holed up with his badly injured father. Rick wasn’t in any condition to take care of himself after his fight with the Governor, and Carl steps up and takes charge. But is it just me, or do you find yourself cringing when you see him walking backwards? I was just waiting for him to trip, and for the two walkers to be on top of him. I guess that at the time the zombie apocalypse began, he was still too young to watch horror movies. Guess the next step will be to watch him going into a dark basement by himself, or somesuch. This clip, while not revealing of a whole hell of a lot, does show that Carl is growing into a potential leadership role. He’s more balanced now than he was back in Season 3, partly due to his increasing maturity, and partly due to Rick’s attempts to temper the direction he was growing. He’s still a borderline psychopath (and who wouldn’t be, in a world like this), but he’s a borderline psychopath with control.
The second video is the short 30 second Promo released by AMC last month. Apologies in advance: the copy I’ve linked to plays the Promo twice, but it does give you a chance to catch some of the scenes you might miss in a single viewing.
Edit: The video has been pulled due to copyright infringement; most of what it contains is in the third link down below, and I will leave the synopsis up as well.
As is typical, the shorter Promo holds a lot more information than the Sneak Peek, despite being only a third as long. We start with a couple of views of the prison, burning and over-run by walkers. Then, in a series of quick cuts, we get to see scenes of most of the survivors: Carl walking through a tree-lined lane; Beth walking away from a burning building (is that Hershel’s farm?); Tyreese looking lost in the woods; Glen in a bit of ghoulish underlighting, catching a flash of what just might be Daryl; Rick, checking out his newly arranged face in the mirror; Michonne walking through the woods looking cautiously about her; Maggie, doing a Charlie’s Angels hair flip, but without the glamour; Bob Stookey and Sasha walking together on what looks to be a road or highway; a figure coming through the front door of a house, gun drawn – could be Rick, but it’s hard to tell; Tyreese unleashing some hammer love on a walker; Daryl holding a flashlight with someone behind him, focusing the beam on a suicide zombie still strung up in a noose; Carl raising his gun; the two walkers Carl leads away in the Sneak Peek, turning to look behind them; a close-up of a walker with a raked face; another grabbing someone’s leg and trying to take a bite; Michonne in battle with walkers; Tyreese doing the same; the survivors who escaped the prison in the school bus jumping out the rear emergency exit; and Carl shaking Rick, shouting “Wake up” over and over again. Good building crescendo of music timed well with the action, and a sense of real tension as well. I suspect that this Promo, positioned more as a Promo for the entire second half of the season, does not necessarily reflect what exactly we will be seeing later tonight; rather, I think it shows us events that will unfold over the next couple of weeks. I may be wrong, but after the frenetic build-up to the mid-season finale, it would make sense to pull things back a little, and reflect the survivors’ need to regroup in the pacing of the show. If they keep ramping up every episode, pretty soon the audience will experience adrenaline fatigue. What can we discern by these little micro-snippets of information? Rick’s on death’s door with Carl looking after him; Tyreese and Michonne are out there kicking ass with their weapons of choice; Daryl, Glen, and Maggie are all surviving; and Beth may have returned home, only to find it uninhabitable. Disappointments: no Carol in the Promo – but then again, if (when) they bring her back, they’ll make the reveal a surprise, just like the did in Episode 405 when they showed the Governor watching the prison.
Now for the final video, which is an extended promotional ad that combines most of what we see in the Promo, plus parts of the Sneak Peek, and adds in good dash of people looking moody and forlorn; it’s subtitled “We’re Survivors”:
I’ll indicate the origin of each scene if we’ve already had it in either the Promo or the Sneak Peek, and indicate if it’s longer (extended).
We get a little dialogue here, and quite a few more short scenes. The opening on the burning prison is extended, and then we go into flash mode again. Voiceover (sounds like Rick with marbles in his mouth): “I know…we’ll never get things back to the way they used to be”; Daryl, looking down his sight (and this is the face we saw a flash of right after Glen in the Promo, but here it’s a longer shot, and it’s definitely Daryl); Rick/mirror (Promo); walkers at the door (Promo extended); Maggie looking disshevelled and sad; Michonne sliding down a wall, looking exhausted; Daryl holding the end of his crossbow, using it as support, in an attitude almost like supplication or prayer; Rick coming up behind Carl – there’s another voiceover here, but it’s muffled and hidden by the increasingly loud dramatic violins; Daryl looking over his shoulder; Carl in a house, and then walking away from Rick; Bob and Sasha (Promo extended); Rick shuffling after Carl, who just keeps walking away – injured Rick shuffles just like a walker at this point; walkers walkin’; Beth runnin’; Daryl glowerin’; Rick bleedin’; Tyreese staring intently at something, hammer in hand; Beth crying on railway tracks, while Daryl looks on; Carl inside a house with gun drawn; Glen raising his lamp (Promo); forest Tyreese turning and fighting a walker (two scenes from the Promo meshed and extended); Carl leading two walkers down the road (from the Sneak Peek); Carl telling Rick in a slightly pissed-off tone, “I save you,” then looking sulky and walking away; Michonne looking sadly at a walker stuck on one of the spikes outside the prison; Beth walking across an open field toward a house – there’s an overturned golf cart, so it’s likely a clubhouse – while behind her walkers approach over an over-grown green complete with flag; Carl looking smug and backing away from the walkers (Sneak Peek extended); Maggie backing away from something, looking as though she is about to cry; Daryl smacking down a walker; Rick leading gun first into a kitchen; Maggie still looking sad; Beth looking strangely satisfied as she walks away from the burning building (Promo extended); Rick snarling in a bar (it has a Happy Hour note on the wall); Tyreese doing hammer time (Promo); Carl’s feet (Sneak Peek); Michonne in the forest (Promo); Carl and Rick, guns drawn, checking out a house; Daryl with his flashlight (Promo, without the hanging zombies); Carl looking around a veranda (Sneak Peek); Michonne drawing her katana and using it on a group of walkers; Daryl sighting down his crossbow again (this actually connects with the first scene at the beginning of this video, this showing a bit of self-repetition); Rick at the door (Promo); Daryl running, and then using his crossbow as a blunt weapon; Michonne slicing and dicing; Beth and Maggie (in full riot gear) running out of the prison gate; Beth hiding behind a tree, holding what appears to be a machete; Daryl raising his crossbow, shooting one walker, and throwing another against the wall; people escaping from the bus (Promo); Lizzie and Mika walking down railroad tracks; Daryl with his flashlight from a different angle; Tyreese and then Michonne continuing to put the beatdown on walkers – Michonne has a huge pile of bodies behind her, and begins to sob as the last two fall; Maggie and then Carl, both looking sad; shocked Tyreese (Promo); Beth, saying what sounds like “We gotta save you” – not sure who she’s talking to here; Rick and Carl looking surprised; what appears to be Maggie and Beth in a fight; Daryl holding up a snake; Carl shaking Rick (Promo); Lizzie looking down with a cold, almost analytical look on her face; a large group of walkers converging on something in the prison grounds; Maggie, still looking worried/sad (Promo); and then a quick montage of nearly everyone having a turn at fighting walkers, interspersed with a few key scenes that may have significance: Glen looking injured; Maggie looking sadly at her wedding ring; Mika holding a gun and looking scared; and it ends with one last voiceover: “I’m a survivor.” Pretty sure it’s Rick, but the audio quality isn’t top notch.
Tons of info, with the more interesting tidbits being Maggie’s apparent falling out with Beth, Glen looking injured and close to death, and the addition of Lizzie and Mika. What’s Lizzie looking at that has her so interested? She creeps me out, especially following her whole toe-dragging-in-the-blood episode a while back. I also suspect that she’s behind the rat vivisections Tyreese came across in the dark recesses of the prison. Who can say what darkness lies in the heart of man – or in this case, in the heart of Lizzie? Let’s just say I don’t know how safe Mika is with her, and I’m worried about what might have become of baby Judith. I wouldn’t trust Lizzie to babysit.
The second half of the season promises to bring lots of changes. The group will, inevitably, reform over the next week or two, and we know that several new characters will be joining the show soon, due to casting announcements. These characters are Abraham (a favorite of fans of the comics), Eugene, and Rosita. They’ll make for an interesting mix in the chemistry of the show. Now that the Governor story arc is done, it will be very interesting to see in which direction our survivors get taken next. I’ve finished reading the comics through Issue #120 (the most current one), so I do have some ideas; but things get changed so radically between the comics and the television show, that I’d rather not prognosticate in that direction. Let’s just say that if the show contains half the cool stuff the comics do, we’re in for a very interesting eight episodes leading up to hiatus. I hope tonight’s episode can live up to the high expectations fans of the show have!