Unless you have been bobbing around in a lake or dragging your rotting carcass across the ground then there is no excuse not to have seen the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, but just to be safe, Warning: Spoilers ahead!
If you managed to hold on to your guts during Episode 8 of The Walking Dead's seventh season and get past a clean shaven Negan, then "Hearts Still Beating" was a great big family reunions. A few goodbyes, even more hellos, and a face-lift for Lucille as well as Rosita meant that we were back to the days of old for AMC's zombie apocalypse. While we have to wait until February 2017 to find out what happens next, the festive break might do us good to recoup our senses and plan our own attack on Jeffrey Dean Morgan's sickly Negan.
Everyone will be asking "what now?" Obviously we have the comic books to go off, but given that Scott Gimple likes to mix things up a bit, and some of the characters aren't around in the source material, here is what could/should happen to our intrepid survivors next.
Well for one, he should probably keep that eye patch back on, but the young Grimes son finds himself in an interesting situation. Given Carl's attack on the Saviors, any normal man would have had him shot down, but for whatever reason, Negan has taken a shine to him. Not that Carl is indestructible (no one is), however, he is in Negan's goodbooks. If anyone were going to take Negan down from the inside, it would be Carl. The other worry is the dynamic between Rick and his son. Rick looked unimpressed when Negan revealed that Carl had murdered his men, so a stern word from daddy could drive a bigger wedge between the pair.
A pre-imprisonment Daryl pitched himself as one to watch — even Negan admitted that Daryl's temperament scared him. After weeks of singing "Easy Street" and eating dog food, it might look like Daryl is at rock bottom, but expect him to come fighting back. A remorseless Dixon had no problems in offing poor Fat Joe, and all bets are off on what the crossbow fanatic could do next. Negan is likely to be really p*ssed that his pet project has escaped his fortress and is back with Rick, so he'll be unlikely to give him up so easily. The other issue is what Daryl will do with Dwight. If we follow the comics and Dwight defects to Rick's group, Daryl will undoubtedly have a hatchet to bury with Dwight, it could just be in his skull.
Spencer wasn't the only one who showed he had guts in the midseason finale. It may have taken three seasons, but Eugene finally grew a backbone, owning up to being the clever bullet crafter. What Negan's intentions are with the walking mullet remains to be seen, but Eugene probably won't be in for a pleasant time. However, he could be flavor of the month, with Negan treating Eugene to a life of luxury while he creates ammunition of the Saviors. More than likely Josh McDermitt won't be returning to Alexandria anytime soon, but there is still plenty for his character to do.
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This fiery lady has certainly come out of her (bullet) shell this season, and arguably the death of Abraham did Christian Serratos's character a world of good. Sure, the Saviors can hit Olivia off a porch and Rosita can't hit the man 10ft in front of her, but she certainly has a score to settle with Negan. After blundering that assassination attempt on the Saviors leader, don't expect Rosita to get a second chance. With Eugene carted off the land of concrete and hot irons, could Rosita take over his role in the factory? If she has been paying attention, the Safe Zone inhabitants could take over bullet production on a mass scale, after all, Negan doesn't (yet) know where their operation is set up.
Another character freed from the shackles of man is Lauren Cohan's Maggie. Now that she is over her pregnancy scare, she and bun-in-the-oven are sitting pretty at The Hilltop. "Hearts Still Beating" closed with a newly banded together group of survivors convening at The Hilltop, presumably to plan the downfall of Negan. Absent from the meeting was Xander Berkeley's treacherous Gregory, who is sure to be unimpressed with the influx of unwanted faces to his little community, or that Maggie is already taking over. The comics see Gregory try and double cross the group AND poison Maggie, so this will likely still happen. No matter what though, Maggie's leadership skills are only sending her one way: to be Queen of the Hilltop with little Glenn Jr. in tow.
Releaser of prisoners, conditioner of hair, Tom Payne's Jesus has fan-favorite status written all over him as one of the show's most interesting developments. So far he has stuck to pilfering soda and vanishing from trucks, but given that Jesus has recently come out of the closet, will he finally get the screen time/recognition that he deserves? The mid-season finale saw the (brief) return of Aaron's boyfriend Eric, but it is likely to be a short stay if the show plays out as it should. Eric should meet his maker, so expect a growing bond between a widowed Aaron and Jesus. Aaron is also getting a lot more screen time recently, so it either means he is about to become a major part, or they are queuing up to kill him off — sadly, this could be the same for Jesus.
Michonne's episode at rifle school was easily forgotten and she has picked her swords back up, but could the katana-wielding woman go back to bullets? With the comic books relying on Andrea as the resident sharp shooter (and her being long dead), there is a slot open to protect the Safe Zone. We have already seen Sasha is handy with a rifle, but she looks pretty settled at The Hilltop with Enid and Maggie. If Michonne is going to become the badass sniper we all hope, there could be a Mr. Miyagi montage of Sasha training her up. Elsewhere, it is about time that Michonne returned to her motherly ways around Carl. The budding mother-son relationship upped the "awwww" factor of the macabre show, so it is about time he started braiding her hair again.
While Carol tries to maintain her spinster lifestyle of being left alone, we know that old habits die hard. Given the monstrous cloud of trouble that is heading everyone's way, Carol won't be able to sit in her little house and eat fruit all day for much longer. Remember the way in which she saved the group with her one-woman assault on Terminus? We are praying that there is an equally f*cked up repeat performance on the Saviors where Carol saves the day. She is certainly one of the most formidable characters out there, I mean, she had no trouble blasting the skull out of a child, or taking on stick-wielding Morgan. Aside from a looming return to her bloodthirsty ways, let's keep shipping that Cazekiel romance and hope that she hooks up with the King of The Kingdom.
Negan's life may be taunting children, melting faces, and banging his wives, but Negan's world is about to come tumbling down. The best/worst part is that he has no idea what is coming. The cock Savior seems unaware that the various communities are banding against him. While Negan may seem uber-prepared, he clearly underestimates the resolves of Rick's group. Whether or not the "All Out War" chapter of the comics will be resolved in the final half of the season is unknown, however, Rick spending some time down in Morgan's cell foreshadows Negan's upcoming incarceration in a specially built prison. Don't get too comfy, Jeffrey, that's what you get for burning everyone's mattresses.
Heeeee's back! The gritty Grimes we all got to know is hobbling back over the horizon. It has been a relatively slow season for Rick, and we have thankfully been focusing on the other characters, but let's not forget that Andrew Lincoln rules the show as the big bad boss. Old Rick is still under there somewhere and it has taken eight episodes to bring him back to the surface. Rick now seems to be in that "f*ck it" mentality where he knows lives will be lost, but that it has to be done for the greater good. The closing moments of "Hearts Still Beating" represent a return to form, so expect Rick to go after Negan with everything he has got.
The midseason finale was undoubtedly an improvement on what has been an otherwise mixed-bag of a season. With more stories than you can throw a rotting corpse as, extended episodes popping up willy nilly, and characters you just don't care about; at least the uneven storylines came together for the finale. Clearly the second half of Season 7 sets Rick up as the leader of all leaders by uniting the various communities against Negan, so expect the death toll to soar. We are heading into a new chapter of the comics, so hold on to your heads and your baseball bats, it is sure to be a "bloody" good time.
Check out the promo for Season 7 Part 2, and don't forget our poll below!