Warning: There are some potential spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead.”
AMC just released three new photos for the next episode of “The Walking Dead.” While we won’t return to Rick and the group until February 12, the network has also released a synopsis for the second half of the season.
I’m going to share the entire bit in full. I’m surprised by just how thorough and lengthy it is. Usually you’ll get a few sentences from a network on what’s to come, but not three paragraphs chock full of information.
The first half of Season 7 saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group broken by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), forced to fall under his will and brutally convinced to live under his rules. The second half of the season will focus on preparing for war and gathering the supplies and numbers to take Negan down once and for all.
Rick’s group will find out yet again that the world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s much bigger than anything they have seen so far. While they have a singular purpose — to defeat Negan — it won’t come easy. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable.
We’ll meet new survivors in incredible places. We’ll see Rick and the group tested in ways we’ve never seen before. We’ll see treachery from people we trust. Rick is confident as he will see his group and many others band together with the common goal of taking down Negan. But no amount of planning will prepare the group for all-out war with Negan and his army.
This is a little frustrating for fans who may want to see Negan and Rick have it out in the next eight episodes. It sounds like this is going to be a lot of planning and plotting for war with Rick rounding up recruits. Then, the group may get sidetracked at various points by the mysterious person who was keeping tabs on them in the finale, other possible “new survivors in incredible places,” and this “treachery” we’ll apparently see “from people we trust.”
I thought it was interesting for AMC to release this much information about the forthcoming episodes, because, although ratings for the series are good compared to any other cable show on TV, the AMC series has taken a ratings hit in season seven.
The show started out the season with 17 million viewers — the show’s second-highest ratings ever. By the mid-season finale, just over 10.5 million viewers were tuning in. It has seen its biggest dip in the ratings since season three, and the rating slide has not gone unnoticed by media which have reported on it extensively.
Perhaps, by being more transparent and releasing more information on exactly what viewers can expect, AMC hopes to draw some viewers back into the fold.
If you’re following along closely as a comics reader, you can probably guess where the next eight episodes are heading and where the finale may end. For fans complaining about a slow build, we may be in for more of the same as Rick builds up an army to go against Negan.
For those excited to see Negan taken down, I wouldn’t get ahead of yourselves just yet. I have a feeling much of the latter half of the season will focus on rallying people together. Then there’s that mysterious person to deal with as well.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the season finale ends with the group finally going to confront Negan. Then all of season eight may focus on the actual giant war between Rick and Negan, a story arc which is known as “All Out War” in the comics.
We’ll have to wait to see, but that’s how the pacing from the synopsis sounds to me and it’s how I have thought the season may play out for some time.
“The Walking Dead” returns to AMC February 12.
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