Editor’s Note: This article is full of life-ruining spoilers for The Walking Dead. Read at your own risk.
After two pretty depressing episodes of the second half of season 5 and the introduction of Ross Marquand’s character, Aaron, we have a pretty good idea where The Walking Dead is headed. The only question now is: will the group make it to the Alexandria Safe-Zone in one piece?
We now know that the first mini-arc of season 5 was ripped straight of the comics. The Hunters (aka the Terminans) were front and center this season, and things played out pretty much as they did in “Fear the Hunters.”
The rest of the season up to this point has borrowed bits and pieces from “Life Among Them” (#67-72), as far as the Abraham and Eugene portions are concerned. A lot of that arc deals with the aftermath of Eugene’s big revelation that he isn’t a scientist and that there is no cure. The group must figure out what to do next. Where do they go? Obviously, Washington is no longer a necessary destination.
There’s a chance to do a bit of condensing in the second half of season 5. While the latter half of season 4 and the first half of season 5 were all about the group roaming the wilderness like stray dogs searching for a home, we’ll likely see a change in the status quo when the show returns next year.
The immediate source of storylines in 2015 will likely be “Life Among Them,” although we’ll probably get a bit of “Too Far Gone” (#73-78), “No Way Out” (#79-84), and “We Find Ourselves” (#85-90). If Gimple and friends really want to get us riled up for season 6, we may even get a glimpse of “A Larger World” (#91-96) in which the next big bad is introduced…
That’s us assuming that storytelling will start to really speed up at the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Of course, there’s definitely enough story in just these few arcs to make the show last those 12 seasons the producers are hoping for. Not everything will make it in, some other things will be tweaked for time, and yet other storylines will be wholly original to the show.
For now, let’s focus on the rest of “Life Among Them” and some moments in the other arcs that we think might make it in there. They all take place in the early days of the Alexandria Safe-Zone (Kirkman’s book will get issue #135 in December). Without getting too bogged down in specifics, here’s how the story goes:
A lot goes on in these arcs, although the main gist of it is that the group attempts to settle into a larger society of survivors, trying to assume normal lives among the chaos.
We first have to talk about Morgan, who was teased during the season 5 premiere. In the comics, he joined the group in “What We Become” (#61-66) when Rick, Carl, and Abraham went back to Rick’s hometown to scavenge for remaining supplies. Rick and Carl’s savenging mission back home was shown in episode 3×12 “Clear,” which played out a little differently. The episode ends with Morgan, who is not mentally fit after the death of both his wife and son, choosing not to rejoin the group.
So the fact that we see Morgan so early on this season is a very good indication that Gimple is ready to pick up Morgan’s storyline once more. Morgan’s return also allows for some more character development on Michonne’s part. Throughout their time together, these two characters grow closer and even strike up a sexual relationship (of sorts).
Our guess is that Morgan will come into play in the midseason finale, and that he’ll join the group on the road ahead. His fate become clear a bit later on in the story…
How does the group end up in the Alexandria Safe-Zone? What the hell is the Alexandria Safe-Zone?
a) Rick and Abraham are trying to figure out what the hell to do next after Eugene is exposed. Right when tempers are set to blow, the group encounters a survivor named Aaron, who informs them that he’s a recruiter for a safe haven called the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Of course, Rick has tons of trust issues at this point, so he ties Aaron up and interrogates him. Eventually, the group trusts Aaron enough to follow him to the safe zone.
b) Located in Alexandria, Virginia and about 6 miles from Washington D.C., the Safe-Zone is made up of a few infection-free blocks surrounded by a tall wall on all sides. It is also the current setting of the comics, making it the longest lasting shelter for the group — almost three years and counting. Also, calling this place a “Safe-Zone” is pretty laughable…
Lots of people die in the Alexandria Safe-Zone. We won’t get too into it since a lot of the casualties are new characters introduced in the comics that might not necessarily be introduced on the show. We don’t need a larger cast than we already do.
But Douglas Monroe, the leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, does bear mentioning. Douglas founded the zone along with his friend, Alexander Davidson, who was later banished beyond the wall for manipulating women into sexual favors. Douglas became the full-time leader and things were peaceful for the most part. Unfortunately, trouble always follows Rick’s group, and things slowly begin to unravel.
After the Safe-Zone is attacked by a group of D.C. scavengers, Rick (who was originally made constable of the zone) becomes the new leader after Douglas steps down. So Rick’s the leader again, and that’s when shit really hits the fan. All of this takes place largely in “Too Far Gone.”
The firefight between the scavengers and the Safe-Zone alerts a huge zombie horde of the group’s location, and “No Way Out” deals with the consequences. This might be fodder for season 6. Ditto the events of “We Find Ourselves.”
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a SERIOUSLY glossed over summary of the story. Use it for scale and general narrative, but not for the more intimate character arcs. It would take a MUCH bigger, probably unreadable article to summarize all that. But we’ll get to those bits and pieces when the time comes.
What you really need to know is that these characters are headed for new pastures, that the status quo changes, and that the storylines will probably begin to focus on rebuilding society. There have already been mentions of the “New World” in The Walking Dead. Abraham’s note to Rick at the end of 5×03 “Four Walls and a Roof” is lovely foreshadowing…The new world’s gonna need Rick Grimes.
For more on The Walking Dead, visit our coverage hub!
A version of this article ran in Nov. 2014.
John Saavedra would like you to survive the zombie apocalypse with him on Twitter. Stay tuned for his Walking Dead reviews and live tweets on Sunday nights!