At the end of The Walking Dead season 7 midseason premiere, Rick and his traveling companions were introduced to a brand new group of well-armed survivors of the zombie apocalypse. The survivors came out of nowhere and took the series' main characters by surprise, easily overwhelming them by their sheer numbers and the fact that a lot of them were packing the one of two things the Alexandrians recently lost a huge store of: weapons. The characters' arrival was unanticipated to say the least, but Rick may have gone the extra mile in terms of bringing the unexpected to the show when his reaction to them was to crack a smile.
Many online have taken to calling them the Junkyard Community. A heretofore-unknown collection of survivors, their name comes from an obvious source: the junkyard they call home. Not much is known about the mysterious group, as they were only introduced during the waning moments of 'Rock in the Road', meaning it will be episode 10 of season 7 before viewers have a chance to get to know these new players and hopefully get to the bottom of why Rick seemed so tickled by their arrival.
Next week's episode is titled 'New Best Friend', which carries a certain connotation to it, considering Rick's requests to build an alliance between Alexandria, Hilltop, and The Kingdom were rebuffed by both Gregory and King Ezekiel. Desperate for greater numbers and weapons to engage Negan and his Saviors, Rick may have just stumbled upon a veritable goldmine provided the Junkyard Community is in fact in the market for some new best friends. That may be in doubt after watching a sneak peek of next week's episode, which shows Rick and Co. entering the Junkyard, and coming face-to-face with its many citizens.
The junkyard itself appears to be well fortified and presumably obscured enough that no one has come across it or its people before now. There's a hint of retro engineering in the arrival of a group as large as this that hasn't had any interaction with the core group of survivors until now, but there's reason enough to look past that for now since they may prove to be exactly what the show needs, as long as it needs a set that looks ripped from one of the Mad Max movies (just check out that spiked walker from the season 7 trailer a little while ago).
Still, since so little is known about the Junkyard Community that makes for an intriguing introduction when next week rolls around. It's a good bet that the mysterious boots seen stalking around the midseason finale will be owned by someone in the junkyard, which could mean this encounter has been in the making for awhile. If that's the case, then perhaps the new community won't need to be brought up to speed on the goings-on of Negan and his crew. Provided they're friendly, the Junkyard Community may yet prove to be the reason Rick continues to turn that frown upside down.
The Walking Dead season 7 continues next Sunday with 'New Best Friend' @9pm on AMC.