[Warning: SPOILERS for The Walking Dead show and comic]
The Walking Dead just aired its midseason finale, 'Hearts Still Beating' and it certainly left fans wondering where the show would be heading now that Rick Grimes is finally ready to fight back against Negan and his saviors. There's really only one natural course the show can take, and The Kingdom soldier Richard laid it out pretty clearly: team up and strike first. Mix this with Rick's growing realization that Negan must be stopped after the baseball bat-wielding baddie kills two more members of Alexandria (and kidnaps poor Eugene), and it's obvious that the path to war is coming sooner rather than later.
As if to emphasize this point, The Walking Dead leaves fans with a little pre-holiday gift: a sneak peek at the second half of season 7 in the form of a brand new promo.
The teaser, released by AMC, shows Rick's group finally connecting with The Kingdom and its eccentric but highly capable King Ezekiel. Rick makes the case that the two groups, along with Hilltop Colony, can "rise up" against their oppressor Negan. The tone of the clip seems to suggest a more upbeat and action-packed second half of a season that has so far piled on brutal torture and death aimed at Rick's group.
For comic fans especially, this has been an expected and much-needed development for The Walking Dead show, mirroring the comic's "All Out War" story arc, in which multiple communities under Negan's control rebel against the Saviors. 'Hearts Still Beating' pulled a lot from the comic that really sets up ''All Out War'' but it appears that it won't happen nearly as fast in the show as it does in the comic books. This is only natural, given the show still has eight more episodes worth of content to fill before season 7 ends.
Either way, The Walking Dead should really start to pick up the pace in the second half of season 7 as the war against Negan presumably picks up. There're clear signs from showrunner Scott Gimple that the show will continue to use comic storylines, especially by confirming Jeffrey Dean Morgan will return in season 8. For some fans, this may not do much to bolster their faith in the show. But the fact that "All Out War" seems poised to make its transition from page to screen could help bring back some viewers who have abandoned the show over the past couple months. Only time will tell if that ends up being the case, however.
The Walking Dead will air its midseason premiere February 12, 2017 at 9 pm on AMC.