After leaving us hanging for a long two months, the sixth midseason premiere of The Walking Dead debuts on Sunday. There will be character deaths; there will be massive carnage, a few crowd-pleasing moments, and the best cold open in the series’ history. It needs to be a great episode, because after a strong start to the season, The Walking Dead limped into the midseason finale, stopping short of what seemed to be a huge moment in the series.
That moment finally arrives on Sunday. Here are the questions that The Walking Dead midseason premiere — and the rest of season six — needs to answer.
1. What will the Saviors do with Daryl, Sasha and Abraham?
When last we saw Daryl, Michonne, and Abraham, they’d been stopped by what we now know to be the Saviors, who are basically the henchmen for Negan, an as-yet-to-be-introduced character who will be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. In the sixth-season finale, the Saviors demanded that Daryl and Co. hand over all their possessions, because “they now belong to Negan.” Faced by a number of men on motorcycles wielding guns, how will Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham react? Will they be taken hostage? Will they hand over their possessions and go on their merry way, or will they resist and put up a fight?
2. How long before we meet Negan?
Maybe the biggest question of the season is when the most anticipated new character in the series — and possibly of all of 2016 — will finally be introduced? With his henchmen making an appearance in the midseason finale, Negan’s introduction can’t be too far behind. On the other hand, Negan’s introduction comes after that of Jesus/Paul Monroe in the comics, and Jesus hasn’t yet entered the series (although we do know that Tom Payne has been cast in the part), so we may not see Negan until the end of the season.
(Comics spoilers for the next entry.)
3. Whose head will ultimately be the recipient of Lucille’s whack?
The absolute worst-kept secret around The Walking Dead is that Negan is expected to kill someone with his baseball bat, Lucille, when he is introduced. Robert Kirkman even teased at one point that it would be Glenn. However, that particular comics storyline is expected to make a “hard left turn,” according to showrunner Scott Gimple, which suggests that someone else may be the recipient. Could it be Daryl?
(End comics spoilers.)
4. Is Sam going to get everyone killed?
In the midseason finale, Rick and his crew cover themselves in zombie goo in the hopes of imitating walkers and scurrying through the zombie horde unnoticed and unscathed. The problem? Sam — Jessie’s obnoxious, timid son — is the worst. Will he cry and ruin their cover as walkers? Will he get Rick and the others — or at least a portion of them — killed? Or will he manage to keep his yapper shut and walk safely through the zombie horde?
If anyone is going to die — and there is expected to be a massive purge in the first few episodes — this is the group of people most at risk.
5. Will Maggie survive and if so, will Glenn save her?
When last we saw Maggie, she was trapped up on a platform near the Alexandrian fence with a swarm of walkers below her. Will she escape? One way to fix the mess that the series made of Glenn’s fake-out death may be to kill the character closest to him to regain our trust. Moreover, Lauren Cohan recently sported a new haircut, which has some fans worried about the fate of her character. The character is also pregnant. With Judith already in tow, can The Walking Dead carry two babies? And if not, does it put Maggie in the most danger or Judith Grimes?
6. What will become of Alexandria?
We already know that a horde of hundreds of zombies has breached the fence and broken into Alexandria. The question is, how much damage do they do? According to Robert Kirkman, we should not expect Alexandria to completely fall. If it is badly damaged, the expected time jump in the series may be designed to give Rick and the Alexandrians some time to rebuild. The time jump may also explain Maggie’s shorter hair, above.
7. Where are Heath, Aaron, Scott and the other Alexandrian redshirts?
Only sporadically present during season six — and mostly in the early episodes — the characters of Heath, Aaron, and Scott (along with a number of familiar Alexander redshirts) had all but disappeared in the midseason finale. Where’d they go? Will we finally see them again in the midseason premiere? Or will one or more of them become Brother Chucks, characters who are introduced and then disappear without any explanation?
8. Will Morgan and Carol’s philosophical differences pick up where it left off?
In the midseason finale, the philosophical argument between Carol and Morgan came to a head. Carol believes that any threat to the lives of those around her should be killed, while Morgan believes that everyone should be given a shot to redeem themselves. In this case, Morgan was wrong and Carol was right, because the member of the Wolves that Morgan tried to rehabilitate kidnapped Denise, knocked out Carol and Morgan, and ran off. How will Carol and Morgan handle the situation? Will Denise die? Will Carol and Morgan finally put aside their differences and get a room already?
9. Will we see Deanna again?
When last we saw Deanna, she’d been bitten by a walker and she was near death. However, she’d decided to use her remaining time to take out a number of walkers. Will she somehow survive the army of walkers approaching her? Or will she turn into a zombie herself? A certain The Walking Dead promo image certainly suggests that we may see her again.
10. Will that thing happen to Carl?
Comic book readers know exactly what I’m talking about. We’ll find out for sure on Sunday, when The Walking Dead returns. In the meantime, here’s an early look, plus the first four minutes of the midseason premiere: