We could fill blood-splattered notebooks with spoiler-heavy questions about where The Walking Dead is headed when it continues Season 5 next month, but I admit that I’d already written Beth’s influences off, assuming she’d get some passing mentions and then fade into whatever nothingness that passed Walking Dead characters go to. However, it sounds like she will have a huge effect on at least one of the midseason premiere’s devastating sequences. And no, it doesn’t involve her turning into a zombie…I think.

So what’s going to happen? According to TVLine, the group’s already horrible situation takes a turn for the worse.
Proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished, Rick’s attempt to honor Beth doesn’t just go badly, it goes catastrophically badly.

That stress on “catastrophically” was theirs, not ours, which must mean more misfortune than normal is coming. Rick isn’t what anyone would call the most personal or emotionally astute member of this survivor clan, so I can’t imagine that him honoring Beth would be some glamorous affair. No 21-gun salute for this poor girl.

When the finale came to a close, it was with the group (particularly Maggie) mourning Beth’s death at the hands of now-dead Dawn the Hospital Cop. We don’t actually see what they do with her body, so it’s safe to assume that they’ll give her a proper burial. And it’s also safe to assume that this burial will happen in a non-closed in area where walkers can make haste of destroying everything. That’s just kind of their thing.

After four-and-a-half seasons, we’re clearly used to seeing hordes of zombies fucking up formerly peaceful situations, so the envelope would have to be pushed that much further for this to reach catastrophic levels. I seriously doubt they would kill off another main character in the middle of mourning one – although Tyler James Williams (Noah in the show) just landed another job, so his time on the show might be limited moving forward.

So this perhaps suggests Beth’s corpse is at the center of this. It’s a reach to think that she might turn into a walker, as I’m not even sure if Emily Kinney filmed any other episodes after the finale. (And it’s that much harder to get surprises like that on a show that’s held under a billion microscopes.) But it’s entirely possible – and somehow more disturbing – that her body might fall into walker hands and get ravaged before everyone’s eyes. That would be the ultimate addition of insult to injury. And certainly one that would live on in these characters’ fractured minds.

Here’s a recently released shot of Rick from the midseason premiere. Does he look like the kind of guy who is about to let zombies eat up his dead friend?

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The Walking Dead will return to AMC for the midseason premiere on Sunday, February 8, at 9 p.m. ET. You might as well start humming “Taps” now.

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