It’s going to be a long few months. AMC announced the midseason return date for The Walking Dead, which once again is in February.

The horror-action drama will return Sunday, Feb. 9.

On Sunday’s winter finale post-show The Talking Dead, star Andrew Lincoln teased the back-eight episodes as “the boldest, bravest and most exciting this show has ever attempted.”

“Very intense,” agreed executive producer-writer Robert Kirkman.

The rest of Kirkman’s comment, beware, contains major spoilers for tonight’s episode.

“Not only have these people lost Hershel, they lost the prison, but they also lost each other,” Kirkman says. “They’re out on their own, they’re in different groups. There’s going to be a lot going on with these different people as they try to survive in the next half of the season.”

That’s good news for fans who have been frustrated with the pacing of season 4, though perhaps Sunday’s episode proved to some doubters that the show can still crank up the intensity. Here’s our four reasons why The Walking Dead‘s fourth season has been an improvement upon on the past couple seasons. Notice that with tonight’s winter finale, my three gripes in that post linked above were seemingly wiped out: No more being stuck at the prison, with little action, and too much time with minor characters.