The Walking Dead returns Sunday: Can the group regroup in the wake of new losses?

Lori Acken
The Walking Dead: Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene and Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Quick catch-up, Walking Dead fans. When Season 5 reached its wrenching midseason finale in November, we’d lost Bob and Beth, the safety of the church and all hope for a cure in Washington, D.C., to assorted bad decision-making — and discovered we hadn’t lost Morgan (Lennie James) after all.

So what does that mean for the Grimes crew moving forward — especially poor Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who has watched every last member of her family die horribly?

The Walking Dead: Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene and Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
The Walking Dead: Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene and Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

“We’re going to see Maggie in a way that we’ve never seen her and, I think, fighting a dark side that she’s always resisted,” Cohan reveals.

In a December interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dead showrunner Scott Gimple agreed, but suggested that better (or at least different) days are ahead: “She’s destroyed, and this group is devastated, and the emotional place we start them in the next half of the season, they’re all in a very dark place and things only get darker for them — until things for them change in a huge way.”

This could be good news for Dead fans like me who pine for more of the interpersonal connection of earlier seasons amid all the guts and bloodletting. “The second half of the season is dark and it’s sad, but you’re looking at these things and exploring the humanity and the choices of why do you choose to live when it seems like you shouldn’t — inevitably it’s just that human spirit that keeps you going,” says co-executive producer Denise Huth.

An earlier teaser for the new episodes also suggested that the gang may finally be heading for the Alexandria Safe-Zone, for which fans of the graphic novels have been patiently waiting. “We’re 100 miles away,” a weary-looking Michonne (Danai Gurira) beseeches Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in the clip. “What if it’s someplace that we can be safe? It’s a chance. Instead of just being out here. Instead of just making it.” It’s also a chance for Morgan to reunite with Rick, having found the group’s map to D.C. in the remnants of Father Gabriel’s church.

“It feels like we’re moving into a new show,” Lincoln says. “It just feels like a new place, visually and also story-wise. It’s very hard not to be brutalized by this world — but there is a sense in Rick that he is going to pull people through.”

The Walking Dead Season 5 returns Sunday, Feb. 8 at 9/8CT on AMC.

Video/images: AMC  Photo credit: Gene Page

About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.