"The Walking Dead" came back from hiatus in serious style last week, catching us up with three survivors of the Governor's attack on their home. It was a weird, wild fifty minutes in which Michonne dreamed a demented dream, Rick took a 24-hour nap, and Carl tussled with zombies for his god-given right to sit on somebody's roof and eat seven pounds of chocolate pudding.
But exciting as it was to be back in the land of the dead, we were left last Sunday with more questions than answers about just what happened as the prison walls crumbled and the walkers rushed in. So with that in mind, here are our hopes, dreams, and predictions for what's in store in tonight's episode.
1. We'll get to catch up with the rest of the cast... but that cast won't be quite as big as it was. Enjoyable as it was to watch Carl scuffling with walkers and eating pudding while Rick slept off the death of his dreams, this week's episode is bound to address the whereabouts of everyone else who made their escape from the prison's wreckage: Daryl, Beth, Maggie, Glenn, Sasha, Tyreese, Bob, plus all the various erstwhile Woodburians who'd assimilated into the community and escaped on the bus with Glenn.
There's just one problem: with the survivors scattered all over the place, this is way too many people for the show to keep track of. In other words: if those nameless Woodburians on the bus end up wearing the proverbial red shirts tonight, nobody should be surprised.
2. We'll get the final word on little Judith's fate. That blood-covered baby carrier, conspicuously absent of baby, was the elephant in the room all throughout last week's episode. MTV's own Josh Wigler pointed out last week that nobody's dead in a horror show until you see a body... But on the other hand, a dead baby on-screen would be pretty grotesque, even for "The Walking Dead." And with Judith's whereabouts still a mystery, it's not impossible that Li'l Ass-Kicker might live to kick ass once more... Is it? No, shhhh, don't tell us. Just let us cling to this small shred of hope.
3. Carol will make a comeback. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but with former prison peeps running willy-nilly through the landscape, it seems inevitable: someone will run into Carol, who's been missing from the show ever since Rick exiled her from the prison after she confessed to killing Karen and David. Our guess: the someone who bumps into her will be Tyreese, and it's going to be really awkward.
4. The mystery of the Walker Feeder will finally be solved. And hey, while we're wildly theorizing: remember how, in the last episode before the mid-season break, evidence was beginning to mount that one of the prison community members was a secret, mouse-disemboweling lunatic? We think it's Lizzie, that creepy girl who believes that the walkers are "just different;" and we think that Tyreese, who escaped with her and the rest of the kids, is about to find out that he's on the run with a teeny tween sociopath.
5. We'll have to wait at least another week for more of Michonne's fascinating backstory. Last week's episode included one of the most amazing scenes ever to appear on "The Walking Dead," as Michonne descended into a jigsaw puzzle nightmare made from the fractured bits of her past. It was an absolutely choice piece of television: surreal, audacious, and intimately revealing of one of the show's most enigmatic characters. In other words, it's the kind of moment that the show's producers love to let their audience chew on for a good long time, so don't be expecting any more shots of Michonne in the fabulous midriff-baring sarong anytime soon.
6. The problem of Carl's missing shoe will be resolved magically and without discussion. This is more of a plea than a prediction. As in: please, let Carl find a new pair of shoes quietly, off-screen, and without any more angsty squealing about how he can totally kill All The Walkers if Rick would just give him a chance. We love you, "Walking Dead," but this season's quota of independence-asserting teen rebellion has been more than met, thankyouverymuch.
"The Walking Dead" airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.