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Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

burning questions

Seven Lingering Questions About The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead's fourth season has been a little more character-driven than last season, which leaned more on zombie-smashing action than on emotions. But this season we've had a lot of emotions! And some pretty solid episodes that still managed to cram in imaginative zombie slayings. Still, there are some glaring omissions, both in the show's overall mythology and in its week-to-week stories. Here's what we're still wondering, eight episodes in:

1. How many zombies are there?
What percent of the population is affected by the zombie infection? Because even if it's 99 percent, it seems like we should be seeing substantial drops in the number of zombies by now, based on one solid online theory projecting number of kills per survivor nationwide. Unless: Now that any dead person can be reanimated as a walker whether they were infected before their death or not, does that mean that even those who died pre-virus are now climbing out of their graves (providing they are not too decomposed to dig themselves out)? Is that why there are so many walkers?

2. Is this season building toward anything in particular?
In previous years, there seemed to be bigger goals: Get to the CDC, get off the farm, get to the prison. (Was it a little boring? Oh God, yes.) But this season doesn't seem to have a propulsive goal, any one purpose in particular. That's not a bad thing, per se — we're running out of interesting zombie problems the characters can encounter on the highway — but it has made this season feel sort of static. Can't we have character depth and narrative motion happening simultaneously? Perhaps we've been moving toward a face-off between the Governor and Rick's camp, but that was also the climax of last season. And it was only sort of interesting then.

3. What is Rick's camp doing about waste management?
We know the prison folk are having pig roasts and running weapons-oriented story time. But given the decay of all municipal infrastructure, what are they doing with their garbage? And what about human waste? There are a lot of people in that prison, including one in diapers.

4. Why the hell won't people team up?!
I know. This is the whole point of the show — that in inhumane circumstances, people lose part of their humanity. But from a sheer practical perspective, having more people living and working together is a survival advantage. The lack of "supplies" is a byproduct of too-small camps; you can't effectively loot a store by yourself, but with someone in the getaway car, someone on walker duty, and a few more people Supermarket Sweep–ing their way through a store, you'd have a fighting chance. Get with the program, people.

5. When is Carol going to come back?
Carol used to be the worst. But then she became the best! And then Rick kicked her out of the prison because Rick is terrible. Come back to us, Carol.

6. Are Glenn and Maggie going to get married?
Assuming Glenn eventually recuperates from the flu, that is. They've been engaged for a while, and while catering and wedding-dress shopping seem out of the question, maybe the survivors could use a little festivity. Even in the most torturous of conditions, people find ways to play music, to worship, to celebrate. It would be nice to see a moment of joy — however brief — for some of these people. Maybe Carl could officiate.

7. Are we ever going to learn Michonne's backstory?
It's a little late to delve all the way into it, but given how central Michonne is to the story, it would be nice to know something about her.

Photo: Gene Page/AMC