'The Walking Dead' is Scaring Us—But Not with Zombies

It's been just a few weeks since the return of The Walking Dead and already its characters have put the prison far behind them—metaphorically for some, but quite literally for others. The main group has been split into smaller factions, who are searching for other survivors and a new haven. Unfortunately for Rick and co., these times of danger and uncertainty tend to make for the show's best episodes, those that fill viewers with excitement and dread all at once. Right now, however, dread is the key word.

There are a lot of different directions the show could be heading in and while some would be great, others could be really, really terrible or just depressing. Here are some potential storylines that fans should fear more than a pack of walkers.

Daryl & Beth

The Walking Dead’s writers have basically tricked us into caring about Beth, one of the show’s most boring characters, by pairing her with Daryl, a fan favorite who is easily one of its best. It was a smart strategy, but if they take the relationship any further, will immediately backfire. Despite the teenaged Beth being very young for Daryl, the sneak peek at next week’s episode has the two in very close quarters.

Daryl may seem too nice for that, but it’s also the zombie apocalypse and there are only so many girls around for Georgia’s most eligible bachelor. Let’s hope their friendship blossoms into a nice, caring, platonic partnership, and not a creepy, fear-induced romance.

Wherever Lizzie's Story is Heading

There have been a ton of small clues about the innocent-seeming girl’s inner psychopath, and they have to be leading somewhere—but do we really want to know where? Lizzie had a crush on a walker, kills and dissects small animals for fun and says really messed up things with absolutely no emotion. All of this set up must be building towards a payoff and wherever it goes, it will likely be horrifying in a way we have yet to see on the series.

Lizzie Being Anywhere Near Judith

This is just one of the possible outcomes to the Lizzie-is-crazy subplot, but easily the most upsetting. In “Inmates” she nearly smothered Judith to death to get her to stop crying, and her face made it seem like she knew exactly what she was doing. If Carol hadn’t shown up Judith probably wouldn’t have made it to the next episode, and as long as she’s around Lizzie, she’s in danger.

What Terminus Could Be

Two of the groups from the prison are currently following railroad tracks to Terminus, a supposed sanctuary that sounds too good to be true and probably is. There’s no Terminus in The Walking Dead comics, but there are a few other things it could end up being, some better than others. Without spoiling any potential future story lines, be very weary of Terminus until you get to see it for yourself, and even then, keep your guard up. Remember, Woodbury seemed great at first too.

The Home Intruders

As many people pointed out after Sunday’s episode “Claimed,” when Rick hides next to the porch of the home taken by another group, the man who eats a can of beans right above him is played by Jeff Kober. Known for roles in Sons of Anarchy, China Beach and more, he seems a bit too recognizable to appear on the show for just a few moments. But if he does return, that means the rest of his crew will too, and considering one murdered another over a bed, and they joked about raping the woman who’s shirt was in the house (actually Michonne), these are bad guys.

Rick has a mixed record when it comes to dealing with living threats. We’ve seen him stand firm against them, like this week when he strangled a man in the bathroom so he wouldn’t be found, but also wait too long to take action, like any interaction he ever had with the Governor. If this dangerous group appears again, the tougher Rick needs to return or there will be a threat even greater than walkers.

Michonne's Past Resurfacing

The less serious Michonne who likes to goof around with Carl is a welcome departure from the gravely serious woman we first met, but her past resurfacing could risk that lightheartedness. It was great to finally learn more about Michonne’s pre-apocalypse life (in which she had a baby with Voodoo from Friday Night Lights ), but as those memories haunt her and Carl asks questions, she could retreat to her former, loner self. Then there’s also the appeal of learning even more about Michonne’s back story. There are still gaps in her past, but filling them risks her current state. Rick and Carl are moody enough, we need at least one positive person in the trio—and we also need to know more about her. It’s too hard to choose.

Eugene's Story

It had been a while since The Walking Dead has considered the scientific aspects of its world, until the newly introduced Abraham revealed that he is transporting scientist Eugene to Washington D.C., because he knows that caused the zombie outbreak and how to stop it. Or Abraham was transporting him, until Eugene accidentally shot their tank, sending them on a detour mission to reunite Glenn and Maggie. I honestly don’t know what’s scarier, Eugene telling the truth or lying.

If it’s true, the series’ entire premise is going to change. If it’s not, one very large soldier is going to be pretty angry with Eugene, as will anyone else they might rope into their cause. The comic does reveal the truth about Eugene and his claims, but the show has deviated from its source material before so both outcomes are possible. Right now it seems like a lie, after all, what kind of scientist has a mullet?

Images: AMC