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“The Walking Dead” Returns

After criticism that the first half of season two of the zombie series The Walking Dead lacked pace, showrunner Glen Mazzara and creator Robert Kirkman have hinted about what’s to come in the rest of season two, and how the pacing has been accelerated!

The mid-season premiere will pick up seconds after the big reveal cliffhanger of “Pretty Much Dead Already,” where we discovered Sophia in the barn.

In an interview with Collider when asked if they regret focusing so much time searching for Sophia in the first seven episodes, Kirkman said: ” It’s a good thing to lull people into a false sense of security, when the characters are experiencing a false sense of security. I think their time spent on the farm made the Sophia reveal that much bigger of a payoff,” adding: ” In the next half of the episodes, we’re going to see that the farm isn’t that great a place. You have to build up what they have, before you can take it away. That’s really what makes the story more interesting.”

Mazzara added: “Yeah, I think we have a story that we’re telling over 13 episodes. That first half had a great payoff, and the second half accelerates the storytelling. I don’t know if we’d say that we regret any of the episodes that we did. I’m proud of those episodes.”

Was he surprised at the audience struggled with slow build of the story? Mazzara says: ” Well, I could make the case that that’s true for a certain segment of the audience. People have expectations about the show, and the show is a difficult show to write because, if we have a zombie attack every week, people say it’s the zombie-of-the-week. And, if we don’t have zombies, people say there are no zombies. So, it’s a challenging situation. I think that we’ve looked at making each episode as interesting and as compelling as possible.

“In the back part of the season. I think that things pick up. It just becomes more accelerated. The stakes are higher, it’s more action-packed and it’s more interesting. By the end of these six episodes, hopefully those fans will agree that this is a thrill ride because we really do feel there are huge pay-offs, coming up in each episode. You won’t have to wait for just the last episode. Maybe there weren’t pay-offs, along the way.”

Kirkman adds: “I think that building to that reveal of Sophia was a pay-off that we were working towards, and I think we did a good job of working towards it. I would also like to say that the Sophia reveal is really the beginning of an escalation that takes us all the way through to the end of our season.”

Reasoning: “We recognize this criticism, and it is valid, but we are working on a 13-piece puzzle that, as a whole, should be seen in a different light. We’re hoping that, when it’s all put together, people will see that it all came together in a good way.”

Kirkman and Mazzara also discussed how the second half will introduce a new human threat: “while the zombies are threatening and terrifying, and do represent a tremendous amount of danger for our characters, nothing compares to the danger that humans hold for each other,” Kirkamn said adding: “The capacity for humans to hurt each other is just infinite. As we explore this world, in a broader sense, and open things up outside the farm, in these episodes coming up, we’re going to see that there are some tremendous threats out there, and they’re human in nature, not zombie.”

Mazzara said: ” Once they break down how to fight zombies, zombies are a relatively known quantity. The human quantity is never known. So, that is a new element where, now that we have our characters established and our world established, we want to break it down, mess it up, make it complicated, and give our characters as many obstacles as we can. They become obstacles to each other.

Kirkman and Mazzara don’t believe that the peril of the group will get tiresome anytime soon: “No, not really because it feels plausible, I’ve done cop shows and it’s like, “Well, how many times can this guy’s kid be kidnapped?,” so I know what you’re saying. But, because the world is so threatening and Rick’s central quest is to keep everyone safe, it hits that heart of the show, right away. There might come a point where we can’t put certain people in danger again because otherwise they look klutzy, but we haven’t maxed that out yet, Mazzara said.

Kirkman added: “The comic book series has been running for nine years, at this point, so I don’t feel like I’ve run out of ways to put people in peril. If this were the real world, I think it would start to be a little bit unbelievable, at times. But, because this is a world after the fall of civilization and there are zombies around, I think it would be more unrealistic, if they weren’t in constant danger.

The second half of series two of The Walking Dead will return to AMC in the US on February 12, and resumes in the UK on the FX channel on February 17.