Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead has not had very much to smile about in the last several years. The man awoke from of a coma to discover that the zombie apocalypse had occurred while he was unconscious. After that, he learned his wife and best friend had an affair, and eventually a child together. That same best friend tried to kill him. Many, many of Rick's friends have died. His wife died. His son lost an eye. And that was just the first six seasons.
On top of all the tragedy that Rick's already suffered, his encounters with Negan and the Saviors have been devastating. Starting with the brutal murders of Abraham and Glenn, it seemed as though Rick had lost his hope for the first time. Much of his team was separated and there didn't seem to be any way to fight Negan. Glenn's death, Carol's absence, and Daryl's abduction separated Rick and his son Carl from the last of the group of people they had started out with. But things seemed to be turning around at the halfway point. Despite losing even more people, Rick found his hope again.
And according to what showrunner Scott M. Gimple told EW, the second half of season 7 will shift dramatically. Gimple said of the midseason premiere:
“It propels us into a very different half season from the one before it. Before the end of that very first episode back, you will see Rick Grimes smile.”
It's hard to imagine what could make Rick Grimes smile at this point. Sure, he has a plan, but it depends on Hilltop and The Kingdom joining them, something their leaders are probably not eager to do. There were a few smiles when he found Maggie, Sasha, and Daryl at Hilltop. But now that it is time to get to work on the seemingly impossible task of taking The Saviors down, it would probably take something huge to make Rick Grimes smile.
Gimple spoke more about the midseason premiere:
“The midseason premiere is a movie unto itself. Angela Kang wrote it, Greg Nicotero directed it, the cast knocked it out of the park — pretty much literally, you’ll see — and the crew pulled it all together, and it was a hell of a lot to pull together.”
Gimple's movie comment certainly makes sense considering The Walking Dead midseason premiere will be another extended episode. The extended runtime and Gimple's comments certainly makes it seem like the midseason premiere will give the audience quite a lot to smile about.
The Walking Dead continues with ‘The Rock in the Road’ on February 12th, 2017.