(WARNING: Spoilers for The Walking Dead follow.)
After a long winter hiatus, The Walking Dead returned this Sunday with a spectacular episode to kick off the second half of Season 7. The first half of Season 7 was torturous for Rick's group but things appear to be turning around for the group in the second half.
Last Sunday's episode of #TheWalkingDead concluded with Rick and company being surrounded by a new group of survivors. The group approached Rick with guns at the ready and it doesn't look like the situation will resolve itself amicably, especially with their leader claiming she owns the lives of Rick and his crew. She offers to sell them back their lives — this doesn't bode well for relations between Rick's group and the new survivors colony, who may or may not be the rumored group known as the "Garbage Pail Kids."
However dire the situation may seem, executive producer Greg Nicotero revealed Rick's group is safe and the new survivors they've come into contact with will become part of Rick Grimes's new army.
The New Survivors Will Join Rick Grimes's War Against Negan And The Saviors
In an interview with Comicbook.com, Nicotero spoke about the new group introduced in last Sunday's mid-season premiere. Here's what Nicotero had to say about the new survivors:
"Of course the end of the episode, when they get surrounded, and Rick smiles. He's smiling because there's his army. However you cut it, he's gonna make sure that those people are on his side."
Nicotero's comments are quite revealing. While Nicotero does confirm this new group joining Rick Grimes's army, there's still the matter of Rick earning their trust and getting them to fight in a war waged against Negan. We can safely say Rick will persuade the new group of survivors to join him, but what will Rick have to do to convince them?
It's possible Rick will be forced into a gladiatorial fight with a walker to prove his worth. A sneak peek into next week's episode matches up the new group's home with a scene of Rick fighting an armored walker.
The scene depicting Rick fighting a walker appears to take place in a junkyard, the same junkyard Rick and company will be taken to in next week's episode.
How Will Rick Earn The Support Of The Newly Introduced Survivors?
While Rick is proving his worth to the newly introduced survivors, he's essentially earning their support in the war against Negan. More importantly, it'll be interesting to see how this new group will factor into The Walking Dead altogether.
The new survivors will probably stick around after Negan is taken down as a dictator. At that point, the new survivors might wind up taking advantage of the vacant compounds left by the Saviors, presumably after Negan and his Saviors are taken care of. Although, they may find Rick's home of Alexandria quite comfortable and want the community for themselves. The new group of survivors are definitely not the Whisperers, but they may use a similar tactic to gain ownership over Alexandria.
Will They Attempt To Take Over Alexandria?
In the comics, the Whisperers are a group of survivors that manipulate their way into Alexandria by presenting themselves as friends to Rick Grimes. After they earned Rick's trust, their leader (Alpha) reveals her intention to take over Alexandria by displaying a row of piked heads — all heads of Rick's friends.
The new group of survivors introduced on The Walking Dead could have similar motivations, that may be revealed when Rick lets his guard down. If so, the new group might wage their own war on Alexandria to take the community for themselves.
What do you think of this new group of survivors? Do you think they'll honestly help Rick and the Alexandrians? Or, will they ultimately betray Rick to take the community for themselves? Could this group be responsible for taking Father Gabriel captive?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 PM on AMC.
Check out a sneak peek at next week's episode below: