One of the best parts about The Walking Dead has always been the camaraderie present among Rick Grimes and his ragtag group of zombie apocalypse survivors. While the ranks of that group have changed over the course of The Walking Dead's 6.5 seasons, that feeling of friendship and mutual caring about its members has never really wavered, despite some more recent additions having initially met the group under less than ideal circumstances.
Unfortunately, that sense of unity was largely absent from the first half of Walking Dead season 7, with Rick's group fractured up into multiple segments. Carol and Morgan have taken up residence at the Kingdom. Maggie and Sasha have been at the Hilltop since shortly after Glenn's gruesome demise. Daryl was taken captive by Negan after daring to defy his rule. Of course, even those still ostensibly together in Alexandria have also been fractured, with many differences of opinion on whether or not it was possible to live under Negan's tyrannical leadership.
As the second half of The Walking Dead season 7 draws ever closer, Rick is set to try and unite the forces of Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom, with the hopes of overthrowing Negan from power and removing themselves from under the boot of the merciless Saviors. During a recent interview with EW, actor Norman Reedus was asked about negative fan reaction to all the separation of group members in season 7 so far, and responded by offering an assurance that the group will soon be "all back together" once again:
"You know, this show always feels like the show to me when that group is working in unison, and that first half was very hard for us to film. It was just rough. We were all separated, and we just kind of missed each other. We missed having the feeling that we had when we started this thing. I mean, I know the show evolves and all of that stuff, but man, that first half was rough, so I’m excited that we’re all back together. I know everybody’s excited."
While it will be definitely be nice to have Rick, Daryl and company all reunited for the next part of season 7, one can't forget that what they're all about to go up against is hardly going to be a walk in the park. Negan has them outgunned and arguably outmatched, even with all three benevolent societies joining forces against him. It's going to take some unconventional tactics, and the best team coordination they've ever managed in order to have any hopes of triumph.
It'll also be interesting to see if their long time apart hurts the formerly strong group dynamic among the heroes, especially for Daryl himself, who has endured so much torture at the hands of Negan. Daryl was arguably the best combatant among Rick's survivors at one time, but one wonders whether or not his faith in his own abilities might have been permanently shaken by all of Negan's mind games. It's one thing to project an air of badassery to one's enemies, it's another entirely to actually believe it yourself.
The Walking Dead season 7 midseason premiere is Sunday, February 12 on AMC.