The Walking Dead returns for the second half of season 8. I’m ready for my Sunday nights to feel normal again, however I am not at all excited for how the show is going to change forever. I’ve hammered the point home, that losing Carl is likely an absolutely horrible decision, it is such a drastic change from the original source material, that yes is not always followed, but lays some great groundwork for the television show. I hated Carl early on the show, I think a lot of people did, I didn’t hate him as much when he was not listening and leaving the house,  and going off on his own, I thought he was crazy, maybe borderline stupid for it, but he turned that page one day and became a fantastic character.

So outside of the tears, heartache, and absolute frustration with this direction, what do I expect based on the story, adding in some thoughts from what has been said from the cast and show runners from the show?

The show is never going to be the same, neither will a lot of people. Rick is going to be rocked, changed, and lost, but as he somehow always does, he finds a way to come out of it in the end. With some of the excerpts we have picked up from some things that show runner Scott Gimple said, Carl wanted to show that you can make things happen without violence, and Rick by proxy is going to learn that fact that the way to put an end to Negan and the Saviors hold on things is not by killing Negan.

All of the members of Alexandria, now Hilltop, especially the older group is going to be hit hard by this because of all that they went through with Carl, adding into the fact that you can make a really big argument that Carl was willing to sacrifice himself, and came up with a plan that ultimately saved many lives in the late night attack from the Saviors. Speaking of Saviors, I’m not sure how it will, but I think Negan is going to have a tough time with this as well, he had a lot of respect for Carl. Not enough to change his ways, but I think it comes in at some point.

As the season goes on, the conflict with the Saviors will conclude. I think Negan and some members of the Saviors will stay on, not in power mind you. I think that we will have a fast forward before we hit season 9. I want to say that some sort of new conflict will be just popping up, or some sort of smaller lesser threat, sort of like the wolves were, before the next major dilemma or conflict arises.

The comic source material since has some stories and years on the show, but they are gaining group awfully quickly. One thing is for sure, with the loss of Carl, the assumed loss of Morgan, the absolute uncertainty of Ezekiel, the show needs to really work on building up another character to fill the void. Right now you have Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Carol, Maggie, you have some that are on the cusp but nobody else is at that level, on the other side you have Negan, with how story lines branch out, you had stand alone episodes with a group of people and it held it’s own because it had strong characters involved, but they could see ratings and interest drop if you have episodes with say Aaron and Jesus being your leads.

I think the first two, maybe three episodes back after the break will give us a great idea of the season, and show going forward.