Seems like every time a season ends on “The Walking Dead”, we have to recover from the latest shocking death of a beloved character we know we’re NOT supposed get TOO attached due since anyone could die at any minute…and yet we fall for it every time. Based on the images of Rick’s group standing in forests, guns a blazing and everyone sticking to a tight-knit; military group like formation, it’s safe to say that survival is as literal as a future plotline as you can get. Unlike previous seasons, the focus for The Walking Dead Season 5 seems to be less on fighting enemies, finding a safe home or with zombies in particular; the focus seems to be on staying together and staying alive.
No villains, no bunkering down in a safe place; just staying together as a whole group and making sure they don’t lose anyone else. The sneak peeks give us insight into the group’s primary goals: first is burying their lost comrade, then dealing with the grief and loss (now they have a preacher for those official and oh-so-depressing death/life passages grim shows are known for). Speaking of newcomer Gabrielle, we see he’s also joined the group alongside Noah from Beth’s Hell-hole hospital at last season’s finale. I find it morbidly amusing that the group loses 2 members; only to gain 2 new ones by the season’s end. Gabrielle had more than sufficient screen time for us to get to know what kind of a mean he really is, but Noah is still green and after what happened to Beth; I imagine his emotional breakdowns will be just as powerful as the rest of the group’s.
Despite how oxymoronic it is to have survival as a seasonal theme in a show about living through the zombie apocalypse, it makes sense considering the whole “cure the virus” plotline turned out to be a big bust (looks like Dwayne is up and moving to based on the previews). There’s no perceived big bad and after the likes of the Terminus group and Dawn, perhaps it won’t be until much later in the season till we get a new villain to menace the group. Certain rumors circle about “The Whisperers” from the comic coming in; they’re a sick bunch of freaks that wear human flesh as masks and hunt people for food and “clothing materials.” Manic Morgan mentioned Rick looking like he was wearing “a dead man’s face” and with signs of him slowly catching up to Rick and the others; maybe his ranting about people wearing dead people’s faces is tied to his decision to finally leave crazy town and rejoin his friend.
So far those are all my expectations and predictions so far. I expect this season will be more “house hopping” and character focused, dealing with the loss of old friends and arrival of new ones both have enough emotional stuffing that could pack this entire season from start to finish. Who knows what surprises are in store for us and what kind of tear filled horror awaits our favorite bunch of struggling survivors? No matter what living or undead demons they will have to endure, the seasons have gotten darker, bigger and better each time so I can only imagine what gruesome greatness AMC has in store for us this year.