It's been a very sad Season 7 of "The Walking Dead," from Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) reign of terror to the group being separated into a number of different places all year. Finally though, with the midseason finale, things are finally starting to look up.

After Negan came to Alexandria and killed two people -- we're going to miss you, Olivia (Ann Mahoney) and Spencer (Austin Nichols) -- Rick (Andrew Lincoln) finally decided he'd has enough and it was time to fight back against the Saviors. That's when we got the moment we'd been waiting for as Rick took the Alexandria crew to Hilltop to reunite with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) -- with the added bonus of Daryl (Norman Reedus), who'd escaped from the Sanctuary.

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The last time these people were all together was the Season 7 premiere, when everyone was at their lowest as Negan introduced Lucille to Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). Seeing them together now, empowered, is a huge moment for "The Walking Dead." It's also a big personal moment for Rick and his gun, as the two finally found their way back to each other.

This was the sort of episode we honestly don't get a lot of in "The Walking Dead." It ended on a note of hope, which the show has been utterly bereft of in sometime. And thank goodness it's happening now. A bit of positive energy is exactly what fans need as they head into this break.

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Now the group is reunited -- well, almost reunited -- and ready to plot out Negan's downfall. They just need to get Carol (Melissa McBride) and Morgan (Lennie James) on board with the plan -- and in turn, the Kingdom. Three communities banding together could present a serious threat to Negan and the Saviors.

And there's more help out there, if they're willing to find it: Don't forget that Tara (Alanna Masterson) had her encounter with Oceanside and its community of fierce female warriors. They've got the fire power the group is going to need to truly carry out their plans. Perhaps it's time for Tara to come clean about Oceanside and enlists them in the war.

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Whatever the case, it's nice to feel a little bit of hope about what's to come on "The Walking Dead." It's not a feeling fans get to experience all that often.

"The Walking Dead" returns Sunday, Feb. 12, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.

Posted by:Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is equal parts nerd, crazy person and coffee. He watches too much TV, knows more about pro wrestling than you do and remembers every single show from the TGIF lineup. You may have seen him as a pro-shark protester in "Sharknado 3." His eventual memoir will be called "You're Wrong, Here's Why..." TV words to live by: "I'm a firm believer that sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing."