We'll be mourning Hershel and even the Governor (c'mon, there was never a dull moment with that guy) forever, and now that Rick Grimes and the rest of the prison community are scattered across Georgia after Sunday's violent "Too Far Gone" midseason finale, the wait to continue observing their post-zombie apocalypse journey in Feb. seems painfully long.
But there are certainly plenty of unanswered "TWD" questions to obsess over in the meantime, so read on, and share your thoughts and theories in the comments.
1. How will Tyreese react to Rick's decision to kick Carol out of their community?
Tyreese isn't simply still angry about Karen and David's deaths — he's even angrier. After he found that creepy rabbit dissection in "Too Far Gone" and pointed it out to Rick and Daryl, he became convinced that the dissector is the same person who set his girlfriend ablaze. We don't think Carol is the perp of the creepy rabbit surgery, but it's a safe bet Tyreese is going to freak out when he learns what Carol is confirmed to have done, and that Rick, and now Daryl, knew and waited even a second to tell him.
2. Will Carol return?
Yes. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple told the Hollywood Reporter, "She's going to appear sooner or later, but I can't say much. It could be a bit, could be a long bit, but she will return at some point. We might have flying cars at that point, but she will return." Odds that she'll return this season? We're betting she will. The more interesting thing, of course, is what kind of person she'll be when she reappears. Will she be bitter about her banishment from the prison? Will she have joined another group of survivors? And will there be a Carol vs. Tyreese showdown after he learns she's the one who killed Karen?
3. The virus, or whatever it was that was making the prison crew sick ... has it been definitively dealt with?
The prison community seems to have handled the outbreak of illness successfully, thanks to Hershel's care and elderberry tea and the meds Daryl and company gathered on their road trip. But now that the prison group is wondering the Georgia countryside after the Governor's attack on their home, might they not run into others who are dealing with the virus — without Hershel, the tea, or the medicine handy?
4. Who were those voices on the car radio?
When Daryl, Tyreese, Michonne, and Bob were on their medicine run in "Isolation," they heard a voice on the radio in the car. The words "survive" and "alive" were spoken, but little else before Daryl looked up and saw the car was about to plunge into a swarm of walkers. Who did that voice belong to? Could it be one of the new people who have been confirmed as joining the cast at some point during Season 4? Michael Cudlitz ("Southland"), Josh McDermitt ("Retired at 35"), and Christian Serratos ("Twilight") are coming on board as comic book characters Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita, respectively, while THR.com reports "Greek" alum Andrew J. West will play Gareth, a character who may be an amalgamation of several characters in the comics. (Playing switcheroo with characters and details from the Governor novels has been a big part of the writers' Season 4 plots.) Could one of them be the voice on the radio? And, could they be involved with the mystery of the beheaded family the Governor and Martinez (RIP) stumbled upon in the woods before the Governor made Martinez zombie chow?
5. Who was feeding the rats to the zombies to lure them to the prison fences?
Was it the Governor? Was it Lizzie? Was it Bob? Is there perhaps some new party who wanted to drive the residents out and take over the prison for himself? (See No. 4 for a list of possible suspects.) Gimple told us the mystery will definitely be solved but offered few other details. We have thoughts, though…
6. What about Bob?
He has the worst case of survivor's guilt ever, having shared that the reason he drinks is to blot out the painful memories of being the only one to make it out alive from the previous groups he's been a part of post-turn. But there's a whole other level of disturbance happening with Bob. What was in that box he was staring at so intently when Sasha came in to thank him in "Too Far Gone"? Does it have anything to do with the rats or the butchered bunny? In addition to survivor's guilt, Bob also felt very guilty that Zach was killed trying to save him in "30 Days Without an Accident," so it would seem odd that someone who cares that much about one person would do something — like luring zombies to the fences — that would jeopardize a whole community. But, like we said ... there's a lot more to Bob than we've been privy to. Yet.
7. Will we finally get more scoop on Michonne's backstory and why she cried when she held Judith?
That scene from "Infected," when our heroine tried desperately to avoid holding Judith, and then cried and held her tightly when she did have Lil' Asskicker in her arms (along with her fondness for Carl, and the fact that she avoided staying at the prison with the new Woodbury transplants, i.e., lots of kids and families), begs some revelation of Michonne backstory. Fans of the comics know what the deal is, and whether or not the show's writers will stick close to that remains to be seen. The point is, whatever the story is, we want to see it, because isn't Michonne on everyone's favorite characters list?
8. Speaking of Judith … can she really be, you know?
That was a brutal, shocking scene from the midseason finale, when an already battered Rick and Carl found Judith's empty, but bloody, carrier. The death of the incredibly endearing Meghan earlier in the episode had been crushing enough, but had Lil Asskicker really become another kiddie victim? For two reasons, we're saying no. One, and most rationally, Judith was not among the deaths listed in Sunday's "In Memoriam" segment of "Talking Dead." And two, it's simply too painful to think about Rick and Carl having to deal with that loss. We're betting Lizzie, Mika, or one of the other members of the prison group grabbed Judith out of the carrier and got her onto that bus that fled in the middle of the Governor showdown.
"The Walking Dead" Season 4 resumes on Feb. 9, 2014 on AMC.