2017: The year hope returns to The Walking Dead

Ezekiel and Carol. The Walking Dead. AMC.
Ezekiel and Carol. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

The Walking Dead returns in February to finish season 7 and in October for season 8 and its 100th episode. 2017 brings back hope to The Walking Dead.

The year 2016 has been a tough one for the characters on The Walking Dead and for fans of the show. For some Negan and the dip into brokenness, heartache and the loss of hope was too much.

The year started with the walls of Alexandria coming down and the group trying to come together as one people not us and them. But just as that happened and they rebuilt the walls and tried to figure out how to grow food and find supplies and more people, they discovered that they were now a new us and there were more thems out there.

They met Jesus and the people of Hilltop and learned about the name Negan and his group called the Saviors. Trying to preserve Alexandria and feed themselves, they entered into agreements that turned out to be more complicated than they imagined.

The debts from the apocalypse had to start being paid. Carol’s debts were high. Morgan had paid back many of his debts when he was with Eastman, but now the apocalypse wanted more from him. Would he be willing to go into more debt or would that take him back to drowning in debt like he was in Clear?

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Then they actually met this Negan, the ultimate debt collector. He collected invisible debts. He took away everything. Not just half of everything. He took it all. He took their hope. He took their spirit. He took their fight. He took 2 of their friends. He took away their ability to work together. He took their dignity. He took their ability to sacrifice. Negan is unpredictable. You can’t even sacrifice yourself for the group because he will punish someone else instead.

Grief is heavy. Grief takes time. Grief is unpredictable. The stages are all valid and important. All of our characters experienced different stages in those first few days at conflicting times. But they were all helpful for the processing of the grief of the deaths of their friends and the death of their lives as they knew them.

Next: Top 20 moments of 2016

As Deanna taught them, one day this pain will be useful to you. In 2017, the group will meet Ezekiel, the embodiment of hope. Their pain will help them work together and do whatever is necessary to regain some of the things that Negan took from them. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. It can’t bring back Abraham and Glenn, but it can bring back some of the things they brought to the group: peace, dignity, humanity, fight, spirit, sacrifice and hope.