5 Things to Know About THE WALKING DEAD Season 4 Mid-Season Premiere

Scene from The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9
Credit: AMC/Gene Page

The fourth season of AMC's The Walking Dead returns with a mid-season premiere on February 9, 2013 - one week after Super Bowl Sunday. The episode, written by creator Robert Kirkman, sees the group of survivors split-up and dealing with the fallout of the Fall finale that aired in December 2013.

To catch you up, the Fall finale featured the downfall of the Prison the group was living in, at the hands of the treacherous and psychotic Governor. He decapitated Hershel and made sure the Prison wouldn't accommodate anyone, leading to multiple deaths on both sides and the entire group being split into smaller units, even down to a couple of solo acts.

We’ve seen the new episode, titled simply “After,” and there are a lot of significant things for fans to be excited for. Without any major spoilers, here are five things to look forward to in the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead.

It picks up seconds after the Fall Finale

If you re-watch the Fall Finale immediately before episode 409 (that means season 4, episode 9 in TV talk, not the 409th episode, FYI), which will undoubtedly be shown at that time on AMC, there will be a direct continuity and throughline from one to the next.

One of the big questions people had at the end of the episode was what happened to one specific character – we saw the bus full pull out, we saw Rick and Carl run off on their own, and someone else was left in the craziness – that question is answered before the opening credits.

Scene from The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9
Scene from The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9
Credit: AMC/Gene Page

The Teaser Sequence Has No Dialogue - and will Hurt Your Heart

That section before the opening credits is called the Teaser, and oh man, is it powerful. In an episode full of major emotional punches in the stomach, probably the second biggest comes in the first three minutes. There is no dialogue (only one living person around and all), but so much is said. It’s a beautiful sequence, and will make fans of one or two characters probably get a little soggy in the eyes.

Catch up with Rick & Carl, Michonne, and… that’s about it!

There are basically three characters in this episode, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. One of new show-runner Scott Gimple’s goals for this year has been “character first,” making sure that the character moments aren’t lost in the zombie action. The focus here is drawn just to these three characters, and the “star” of the show, Rick, is really relegated to a supporting role. That kind of reassignment and willingness to play around with who gets the spotlight makes the show more exciting. A mixture of intense solo moments and yes, zombie action, raises the tension. Of course, that’s little consolation to Glen and Maggie fans, but just temper your expectations now.

Michonne's Past Revealed (sort of)!

We get an actual peek into Michonne’s past in this episode. I will say absolutely nothing else about it, except that it will make you, quite simply, say “holy SH*T” at the end of the sequence. This is emotional gut-punch number two.

Scene from The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9
Scene from The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9
Credit: AMC/Gene Page

Carl's Emotional Arc

However, Michonne’s emotional arc has nothing on Carl’s. In a stunning performance by Chandler Riggs, fans will see him at his most childlike and most adult all at once. The monologues, the action moments, the emotional outbursts, and the quiet calm are all outstanding. It’s hard to pick a favorite moment, but there are emotional gut-punches galore here.

Come for the zombie killing, stay for Carl’s massive character growth.

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