by Kat Rosenfield
Arm your weaponry, put on a fashionably stained poncho, and get ready to play with dead things, y'all: "The Walking Dead" returns from its mid-season break on Sunday night, with a promise to bring back the action, resolve the cliffhangers, and give slavering fans the answers to such vital questions as "Will Merle and Daryl survive the torch-and-pitchfork-wielding Woodburians?", and "Can the new group at the prison be trusted?", and "Will the Andrea-Governor romance reach all new levels of grossout horror as the wily blonde cleans her beloved's oozing eye-less socket with scavenged Q-tips?" (Please, please let the answer to that last question be "No".)
But with two more days 'til "The Suicide King" hits the air, let's catch up on where we left off...
Those who enjoy the literary source material of "The Walking Dead" got a major promised payoff when a new group of survivors stumbled over a knocked-over wall and into the prison — and fan favorite Tyreese made his long-awaited appearance. (Welcome, Tyreese! We hope you brought your hammer!) With the Governor's maniacal eye firmly fixed on the prison, a few new allies could make the difference between survival and decimation... if they can stop the awkward confrontations and start trusting each other.
Rick's rescue mission to Woodbury was a success, at least insofar as liberating the kidnapped Glenn and Maggie. But after the ensuing shootout with the Governor's goons, the group was still down two: Oscar took a bullet and hasn't been seen since, and Daryl disappeared in a cloud of gunsmoke... only to end up being one of two attendees at the worst family reunion ever, when he and big brother Merle found themselves face to face, heavily guarded, surrounded by a crowd of Woodburians screaming for blood. And while we know from a spoilery preview that Daryl, at least, survives long enough to speak with Rick again, watching the Dixon boys battle it out should be gritty and great.
The outcome is uncertain, but the drama is guaranteed: both of the show's fearless leaders are also showing signs of serious bugnuts lunacy. Rick has been coming increasingly unhinged since Lori's horrific death in childbirth, first spending a substantial portion of one episode talking to dead people on the telephone, and then hallucinating the appearance of his old buddy Shane during the battle at Woodbury. And the Governor, already a disturbingly pragmatic and murderous villain, has just lost an eye, a zombie daughter, and a floating collection of severed heads that took him, like, forever to put together. And when they finally meet — as we've been promised they will! — anything could happen.
Are you excited for the return of "Walking Dead" this week? Tell us what you're looking forward to in the comments section below!