Prepare for an extra 28 minutes of post-apocalyptic zombie action this December, as The Walking Dead's forthcoming midseason finale is set to be an extra-long episode. After premiering last month, The Walking Dead season 8 has been an intense affair as the "All Out War" arc pitting the alliance of Alexandria, The Hilltop and The Kingdom against Negan's Saviors began in earnest.
Whilst plenty of significant events have taken place in the three episodes aired thus far, The Walking Dead has built a reputation for explosive premiere, midseason finale and season finale episodes. For instance, last term's midseason bow saw Daryl finally escape from the Saviors, Negan brutally murder Spencer, Eugene get captured and war finally decided upon. If that wasn't enough, the episode ended with the tease of a mysterious figure watching over Alexandria.
Whatever drama The Walking Dead has in store for its latest midseason finale, it'll play out over a runtime of 88 minutes (with commercials) as opposed to the standard 60 (via ComicBook). Removing the multiple ad breaks, that roughly equates to just over an hour's worth of material. The episode will be the eighth installment of season 8 and will air on December 10th. Companion show Talking Dead will air straight after the episode in a later slot than usual.
This certainly isn't the first occasion a midseason finale of The Walking Dead has been granted an elongated runtime but it was far from guaranteed that season 8 would continue that tradition. After all, this season's premiere episode ran at the standard length, whereas opening episodes in the past have also been given additional minutes. Furthermore, The Walking Dead's viewership figures have been low for recent offerings, albeit by the show's own very high standards, so it perhaps would've been understandable if AMC stuck to the bog-standard episode length on this occasion.
Naturally, this news would seem to indicate that director Greg Nicotero and his cohorts have something special planned to keep fans talking over the Winter break. Although it's too early in the season to hazard a guess at what that might be, it would be sensible to anticipate that some characters won't be making it to the end credits alive. Cast member interviews leading up to the season 8 premiere promised plenty of deaths in "All Out War" but only one (reasonably) significant character has bit the dust thus far. Perhaps the true cost of war for Rick's alliance will be saved for this extra-long episode.
The Walking Dead continues with "Some Guy" October 12th on AMC.