The first half of the sixth season of The Walking Dead was eight episodes long and covered roughly two to three days in real time, from the time Rick discovered the zombie horde and the moment half of that zombie horde broke through the fences in Alexandria. There’s every expectation that — no matter who lives or survives — the zombie horde is almost certainly going to do some major damage to Alexandria, but don’t expect Rick and company to abandon the community. Recall the architectural plans for the village that both Deanna and later Michonne wistfully inspected — those will almost certainly come back into play. “Dolor hic tibi proderit olim,” Deanna wrote on those plans, which translated means, “Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.”
So, will we spend the second half of the season watching the survivors pick up the pieces of Alexandria and rebuild, one brick at a time? Will it be Extreme Makeover: The Walking Dead Edition?
No, don’t count on it. Andrew Lincoln explains how the series plans to deal with that issue head on to EW:
A lot of these concerns and questions get answered relatively quickly in the first two or three episodes of this back eight. There is a time jump, I will say, at some point. And you will see why we stay in Alexandria.
Without giving anything away, comic readers will probably also understand the need for the time jump after the events of the first one or two episodes. Maybe they’ll also use some of the time gained in the time jump to fix up this cool car lying around Alexandria.
We also know “many people will die” in the midseason finale because Robert Kirkman was not shy about revealing the upcoming purge of characters. It makes sense to do a time jump there, too, because a show that’s already dealt with issues of grief all series long doesn’t want to spend too long dwelling on it after major losses, because grieving generally does not make for great television (except in the case of Six Feet Under and The Leftovers). Let’s just hope that Daryl Dixon is not among the dead, as some evidence seems to suggest.
What will we see on the other half of that time jump? A different kind of leader in Rick Grimes, so says Lincoln:
I think you’ll see there’s a marked change in Rick as a result of what happens in episode 9. It’s one of those watershed moments that happens. And as a result he learns something vital about being a leader. And yet again, he changes. And he develops a new way of leading. And that could be said for the back 8, in that it turns very dark.
“Turns very dark,” huh? It really doesn’t seem like any season goes by without it “turning very dark.”
The very dark The Walking Dead returns on Sunday. Here’s an early look at the midseason premiere.