Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Daryl Dixon Watches the House Burn in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”

The Walking Dead Season 5 won't be mirroring Season 4, showrunner Scott Gimple said, although he added that "there may be some slightly familiar structural turns." Like some bottle episodes — focusing on just a couple of characters at a time — as in the second half of Season 4?

TWD has a huge cast right now, and even though 12 of them were together at the end of Season 4 (gettin' warm and snug in that Terminus train car?), there were also three on the road (Carol, Tyreese, and baby Judith), one heaven knows where (Beth, where the eff are you?!), plus newbies who are apparently sticking around (Andrew J. West, aka Gareth, was made a series regular and Seth Gilliam, aka maybe Father Gabriel Stokes, was also made a regular).

That's a crapload of people to follow, and filming spoilers suggest we won't be following them all at once.


At the end of June, there were a few filming spoilers about a group that seemed to include Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos). There was mention shortly after that of a church bus crash.

The most recent on-set spoilers have taken place in a city (taped in Atlanta, whether Atlanta is representing itself or not), with Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) filming together, and possibly involved in a scary van stunt.
 

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Maggie Greene Nervously Approaches the Bus on The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 10: “Inmates”

Meanwhile, Steven Yeun was in New York earlier this week to promote his new movie on Live With Kelly and Michael, Christian just shared photos at Disney World, including a new henna tattoo on her hands, and Emily Kinney (Beth Greene) has been performing in NYC. It's hard to know what that heck to make of the Beth storyline, but fans on Spoil the Dead took note of Christian's new (temporary) hand tattoo and many other actors not being seen in character for the past few days and considered it more evidence of bottle episodes in Season 5. Maybe Rosita just won’t be needed this week (or for even longer?).

It’s possible the most recent footage with Daryl and Carol is for a bottle episode that just focuses on their two-person adventures. Or it could be footage they piece together with whatever Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) are doing (hopefully they are still together), or a check-in with Glenn's group — like in Season 4, Episode 10, “Inmates,” which cut between different groups.

We don't have any idea yet how they'll edit the eps together. But it's pretty clear the characters are not in one big unit on the road to D.C. together — which isn't that shocking since they've been splitting into mini groups since Season 1. Someone goes on a supply run, some people stay behind, other people do whatever. (Someone has to sing to the baby.) Scott Gimple did say we’d see “a whole lot of Rick Grimes” in Season 5 — as opposed to benching him for a lot of Season 4 — but Scott added that there will still “be some times where you don’t see Rick Grimes."

 

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Carol Peletier and Tyreese Carry Water to the House in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 14: “The Grove”

One of our hopes for S5 was to keep the band together, but the band is quite big and we're braced to lose a few people along the way. (Beth may just be very well hidden, but why haven't we heard anything recently about Bob? He was mentioned back when Seth Gilliam was seen dressed as a priest, but shouldn't he be with Sasha's group? And where are Tyreese and Judith while Carol is with Daryl? Is Judith with her dad? Is Tyreese there too? Why wasn't Ty mentioned with his sister Sasha when she was seen filming in late June?)

The latest intriguing spoiler is a hint of what's to come — a possible location for the site of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Maybe the group splits into various missions in the first half, then come together at the Safe-Zone at some point in the second half?

Everything ends in a question mark, but that’s what keeps us busy as TWD films. We get little kernels of information and try to decipher what they might mean, until it all makes sense in the fall.

Do you like the bottle episodes — like Daryl and Beth's "Still," Carol's group in "The Grove" — or do you prefer seeing the entire group in one episode, whether they are in the same place or they cut back and forth between mini groups?

The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.