Andrew Lincoln tells fans exactly what they want to hear about the second half of The Walking Dead season seven in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: that it will be a complete turnaround in tone from the doomy, dreary, despairing first half of the season, with more action and – we kid you not – a more jolly Rick.
Team Rick spent the first half of season seven cowed by the evil Negan, divided and spirits crushed. But the midseason finale ended with a clear new mission statement for our heroes: they were ready to fight back.
“It’s probably the opposite of what you just witnessed,” says Lincoln of season seven part two. “Certainly from Rick’s point of view. You see a man in action again with some of the members of his closest family… There’s a lot more levity, if you can believe that, than you’ve ever seen before in Mr Grimes. There’s sort of a freedom in him, a feeling that comes from losing everything, and also the thrill of the fight. It’s the thrill of the fight again. He’s back in. All I’m saying is that the band is back together.”
He reckons he’s had a blast filming the new episodes and he thinks fans will like what they see: “There are several episodes that I loved being involved in and it certainly feels very much more like a show that I knew and recognised in the back eight. I loved the episodes that I was in. It’s The Magnificent Seven in the back half. Rather, the magnificent eight episodes. Wait till episode 16. I promise you, there is one beat in 16, I dropped my script and started punching the air and did a little jig.”
All of which sounds really promising, especially with internet pundits having spent the last few months droning on about the show’s falling ratings (falling from stratospheric to still-at-levels-others-shows-would-die-for it has to be said). To be honest, when we get to see the entire season, the incredibly depressing and slow-moving first half may make a lot more sense in terms of the structure of the series as a whole, but it was still a risky gambit that has clearly alienated some viewers. Let’s hope it’s a gamble that pays off with a more crowd-pleasing half-season to come.