The Walking Dead returns to AMC in just a few short weeks, picking up from the desperate place where the mid-season 4 finale left things. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) have been separated from their fellow survivors after The Governor’s brutal siege of their prison compound and it doesn’t seem like anybody is going to be starting off in a good place (literally and figuratively) – even by Walking Dead standards.

Indeed, previous mid-season 4 promos and behind-the-scenes featurettes have sold us on the somber and dark tone of this next segment in the zombpocalypse saga – and between those lines, there are shadings of episodes that will use the segmented characters for more isolated (and hopefully deeper) character explorations and development arcs. Though the latest teaser promo is more tease than promo, it nonetheless implies some interesting ways in which our survivors could be evolving.

Rick and Carl seemed to have traded the father/son power dynamic; badass loner characters like Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) now seem desperate and lost without their surrogate family; Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) is trying to be the new Rick; while the formerly meek Beth (Emily Kinney) seems to have finally evolved into a badass (psycho?) loner like Daryl or Michonne.

It’s always good for a show about The Walking Dead‘s age to knock characters into new paradigms, and it seems that’s where we’re headed. By the time fan-favorite survivor Abraham arrives, he could be meeting a VERY different group.

SEE ALSO: What’s Next in Walking Dead Season 4

The Walking Dead returns on February 9th, 2014 at 9pm on AMC.

Source: AMC