The Walking Dead was never a show one would attempt to describe as being light-hearted, but this latest season has been its darkest yet by far. Fans of the source material had been waiting anxiously for the debut of the villainous Negan, but even they had to have been taken aback by just how gruesome and disturbing things got when Jeffrey Dean Morgan finally made good on his sinister promise of retribution, via a barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat he’d christened Lucille.
The deaths of Abraham and Glenn (particularly the latter) left so many viewers shell-shocked that they swore they were going to stop watching The Walking Dead altogether, and this coupled with the amount of complains the showrunners received might well have prompted them to plan a less intense final batch of season 7 episodes.
During a recent interview with EW, Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) promised fans that levity is coming in the second half of the season, which kicks off this February:
There’s a lot more levity, if you can believe that, than you’ve ever seen before in Mr. Grimes. There’s sort of a freedom in him, a feeling that comes from losing everything, and also the thrill of the fight. It’s the thrill of the fight again. He’s back in. All I’m saying is that the band is back together.
There are several episodes that I loved being involved in and it certainly feels very much more like a show that I knew and recognized in the back eight. I loved the episodes that I was in. It’s The Magnificent Seven in the back half. Rather, the magnificent eight episodes. Wait till [episode] 16. I promise you, there is one beat in 16, I dropped my script and started punching the air and did a little jig.
We did get a little glimpse of a lighter side to the show in the closing scenes of the midseason finale, when Daryl returned and the group decided to fight back against Negan and The Saviors. Lincoln’s comments seem to suggest that the inevitable battle will go well, but we’re pretty sure that at least a couple more tragedies are almost guaranteed. This is The Walking Dead, after all.