Despite being such a huge success since it first premiered on Halloween 2010, The Walking Dead has never managed to capture the cultural zeitgeist quite the way it did with its sixth season finale, “Last Day on Earth,” which, of course, ended on the giant cliffhanger of having an unknown member of the cast die.
It should come as no surprise, then, that fans have been clamoring for every last piece of information on the upcoming seventh season that they can get their hands on, from character posters to teaser trailers. Now, some three weeks before the new batch of episodes hits the airwaves, we’re getting the biggest clue yet.
AMC has released the official synopsis of season seven (hat tip Heroic Hollywood), and it’s a doozy:
Up until this point, our characters have lived through conflicts… Disease, hunger, scores of the undead, tragedy, betrayal, and unthinkable loss. Through this, they’ve become formidable. Powerful. Unstoppable.
To start season seven, that power is taken away. They had found safety and stability. They had created a home. They thought the world was theirs. They thought they knew the world. They were wrong.
The first half of season seven sees our group fractured, broken, bereaved, and picking up the pieces while living under the thumb of oppression. Negan will have successfully brought the survivors under his control, brutally convincing them to live under his rules with a deadly and horrific example of what happens if they don’t.
Other characters are unaware of what’s happened, but have become separated from the group either by incident or choice – they will learn that they can’t escape this new turn of their world, either. This half-season is about these characters starting over.
The overall theme of the season is beginning again. The world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s bigger and it’s even more dangerous.
The sixth season acted as something of a transition to The Walking Dead, showing our main cast of characters’ constant fight for sheer survival giving way to a (seemingly) permanent safe haven, replete with an expanded world view that goes from the street-by-street struggle of staying alive to a political and economic web of various colonies that are attempting to keep the basics of civilization going. In this regard, it’s only natural that the subsequent season would follow up on the ramifications of this newer, bigger perspective.
The problem the show – and, obviously, the comic book material that it’s based off of – continually struggles with is the constant pushing of the reset button; just as the characters get settled in in one particular sanctuary or another, just as they start to take stock of all the horrible moral decisions they’ve had to make over the course of their fight for survival, something (whether a horde of walkers or a rival group of settlers) destroys their new home, and the process begins all over anew. In this way, the seventh season promises to be less of a grand apotheosis and more of the same old, same old.
Then again, as we inexorably get closer to the end of the series – whenever that may be – we do encounter story development and character growth, even if we can’t see it until looking back in retrospect. Should Walking Dead opt to depict the rebuilding of society and the conquering of the zombie disease, then this patchwork of settlements, including Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) outsize influence over most of them, may perhaps be the single most important development yet depicted – making, in turn, “Last Day on Earth’s” cliffhanger more than just a cheap marketing stunt, as most viewers have alleged over these long, dry summer months.
The Walking Dead returns for season seven on Sunday, October 23 at 9:00 pm on AMC.
Source: AMC (via Heroic Hollywood)