Well, that was a bit of a bumpy ride…
The Walking Dead returned on a high in October 2016 – riding a wave of hype as after a wait of over six months, much teasing and countless theories, Negan’s victim(s) was / were revealed.
Sgt. Abraham Ford was the subject of last season’s divisive cliffhanger – taking a blow from Lucille “like a champ” – but Glenn Rhee later followed him into the afterlife…
From there on, the show’s endured a ratings dip in the US and a mixed reception from fans and critics. But we’ve been promised that the next eight episodes will be “very different” in pace and tone.
The Walking Dead season 7 episodes: The story so far…
You can read our thoughts and feelings on the brutal and controversial premiere, ‘The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be’ right here.
Or if you just want to cut straight to the grisly demise of two fan favourite characters, here’s our opinion piece on whether the show made the right call in offing Glenn and Abe.
Episode two, ‘The Well’, was rather more sedate – introducing us to super-chill King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and his idyllic Kingdom. Check out our verdict here.
Episode three, ‘The Cell’ was anything but ‘Easy Street’ for poor Daryl (Norman Reedus)- and if you’ve got that damn song stuck in your head too, here’s info on who made it and where to find it…
Then there was the extended fourth episode, ‘Service’ – in which the Saviours ransacked Alexandria and Negan slid his dick down Rick’s throat (no – not literally).
But there may be a glimmer of hope: was Daryl signalling Rick… by blinking? Fans think so – but series boss Scott Gimple ain’t saying.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) returned in the rather sleepy episode five, ‘Go Getters’ – taking charge of the Hilltop community away from the spineless Gregory (Xander Berkeley).
Episode six, ‘Swear’, finally reunited us with the long-absent Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Heath (Corey Hawkins) – but did little to boost viewers’ flagging interest in the hit and miss-season.
Thankfully, episode seven, ‘Sing Me a Song’ was a big improvement, with Carl (Chandler Riggs) facing off with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in a tense encounter at the Sanctuary.
The half-season ended on another dramatic high with ‘Hearts Still Beating’ – as Negan’s second unwelcome visit to Alexandria culminated in two more deaths.
It was enough to shae Rick out of his stupor and convince him to fight back against the Saviours. Cue: all-out war!
It’s been a tough old run for Rick – but the first trailer for season seven, part two offers a glimmer of hope as he invites Ezekiel (Khary Payton) to join him and the other survivors in the coming war.
We can expect more action and a lot less pained soul-searching, too, with Andrew Lincoln having acknowledged the mixed reception to the season so far and promising that “the back eight [episodes] are the exact opposite of the front eight.”
New ally Ezekiel – the charismatic leader of a community known as The Kingdom and keeper of a pet tiger named Shiva – will continue to be a major force.
In the comic books, Ezekiel pursues a romance with Michonne (Danai Gurira) – though given that the TV show has paired her off with Rick, it’s doubtful the TV show will go down the same path.
In fact, it appears to be substituting Carol for Michonne in this plot – so expect Melissa McBride’s weary warrior to get some lovin’ later this season.
The Walking Dead season 7 cast: Who’s coming back?
In July, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and three other cast members – Austin Amelio (Dwight), Tom Payne (Jesus) and Xander Berkeley (Gregory) – were promoted to series regular status.
This means that The Walking Dead now has a larger regular cast than at any previous point in its history – with 18 actors signed up to regular contracts.
The full list is as follows:
– Andrew Lincoln (Rick)
– Norman Reedus (Daryl)
– Lauren Cohan (Maggie)
– Chandler Riggs (Carl)
– Danai Gurira (Michonne)
– Melissa McBride (Carol)
– Lennie James (Morgan)
– Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha)
– Alanna Masterson (Tara)
– Christian Serratos (Rosita)
– Josh McDermitt (Eugene)
– Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel)
– Ross Marquand (Aaron)
– Austin Nichols (Spencer)
– Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan)
– Tom Payne (Jesus)
– Austin Amelio (Dwight)
– Xander Berkeley (Gregory)