Gene Page/AMC

Carl and Rick struggle following their many losses; Michonne reflects on her past

February 27, 2015 at 05:18 PM EST

Congratulations! You survived the hiatus. I know at times it felt as if you were living through a Zombiepocalypse without new episodes — but that’s what marathons and scouring EW’s extensive Walking Dead coverage are for!

The back half of season 4 starts where it left off — in ruins. The smoke clears and yet the Prison stronghold is destroyed. Walkers slowly, unceasingly stumble towards the chaos. The real, zombie-ridden world destroys any and all remnants of the promises of prosperity at the Prison. Even Michonne’s majestic horse serves as a feast for Walkers like a deer’s corpse for vultures on the side of a road.

The Governor is still dead — definitely shot in the head, definitely stabbed in the chest. Then again, I thought this guy was definitely dead, too, so you never know.

The first live character we see is Michonne walking towards the Prison. With silent, focused resolve that only Michonne and Daryl do so well, she picks up two new Walker shields to restart her life as a lone survivor. However, before she can return to solitude, a figure from her former present rears his ugly head. (Sorry.)

In a pure moment of the writers gleefully sticking it to us where it hurts, Michonne “takes care of” Hershel’s zombified head. Crouching above the remnant of her dead friend, she takes a brief moment to mourn his loss. More than that, she mourns the loss of community, friendship, and even happiness. She let herself be happy…and look what happened.

The audience finally gets some deeper insight into Michonne’s past and why she is emotionally guarded. But more on that later. The bulk of the midseason premiere belongs to everyone’s favorite Zombiepocalypse youngster, Carl Grimes, and his pa, Rick.

NEXT PAGE: ‘CAH-H’RULL’ in charge

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AMC’s zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.
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