It's been interesting watching people involved with The Walking Dead appearing to distance themselves from the first half of Season 7 during the promotional cycle for the second half.

First there was Andrew Lincoln saying that he didn't really recognize the show in the unremittingly joyless first half. Then there was executive producer Gale Anne Hurd saying that they'd toned down the violence after negative response to the truly traumatic premiere (a claim which was denied by misery maestros Scott Gimple and Greg Nicotero).

And now the most outspoken of all Walking Dead cast members, Norman Reedus, is saying that he hated filming the first half.

Norman Reedus, <em>The Walking Dead</em>Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Reedus admits that he missed his friends while filming the first half, in which his character Daryl was entirely separate from the rest of the group while being held captive by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Dwight (Austin Amelio). He's relieved that the group's back together and ready to fight, because that's the show the actors like doing.

"I was in a hole by myself, naked. It just did not feel right to me," Reedus says. "I'd talk to Gimple, and I'd be like, 'Man, this sucks. I hate this.' And he'd be like, 'You're supposed to.' I'm like, 'Oh, there you go.' You know what I mean? He was right. It was supposed to suck, and it did suck -- for me, anyway. But you know, it just makes coming back together that much more special."

When asked about the complaints about the season's bleak tone, Reedus said "I mean, I was saying that about the first half. I think part of that chatter you're talking about came from me."

It sounds like the actors are happier now than they were then, and we're all going to benefit from it.

The Walking Dead returns Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9/8c on AMC.