[SPOILERS for The Walking Dead episodes 6×10 and 6×11, “The Next World” and “Knots Untie”]
I’m SURE you missed me last week, so this week you get a treat: 2 (that’s TWO) reviews for the price of 1! Let’s start with 6×10…
In my review for 6×9 I mentioned Walking Dead’s tendency to build momentum and then squash it into pâté. This episode should have done that, but it didn’t. Its slower pace after the hectic season opener was a nice breather, and so much still happened to advance the characters, rather than the overall plot.
The episode opened with a lovely domestic scene in chez Grimes: Michonne has just gotten out of the shower and is looking for toothpaste. Carl is playing with a ball (“therapy,” he tells Rick) and Rick is playing with Judith.
They scatter: Rick to join Daryl on a run, Michonne to her guard post, and Carl to hang out with Enid.
Rick and Daryl’s plot plays out a little like a Butch and Sundance type of adventure. They find a truck full of food and supplies. They meet Jesus. Their truck falls into a lake. (waugh waugh)
Michonne follows Deanna’s son into the woods. He’s carrying a shovel, and Michonne demands to know what he’s doing. We find out later he’s searching for walker Deanna so he can put her down and give her a proper burial.
Carl and Enid run into Deanna first, and Carl leads her to Spencer and Michonne so Spencer can stab her. Michonne later confronts Carl for doing something so dangerous, and he tells her Deanna is Spencer’s family. Family should take care of family. He tells her he would do the same for her, and they share a lovely hug.
Michonne goes inside and Rick joins her. He lost the toothpaste, but he brings her mints instead. They laugh. And kiss. And it was WONDERFUL. Yes, okay, I ship Richonne, and the moment was so sweet and perfect and sorta fumbly.
The episode ends with Rick and Michonne in bed, and Jesus pops up in their bedroom saying they need to talk.
Okay, like I said, this episode was much slower than 6×9. It took place two months after the season opener; I wish they’d had a title card that said that, because I didn’t know until Danai said it on Talking Dead; and now they’re taking a few moments to breathe and rebuild. Honestly I loved this episode; my favorite in a WHILE, and only partially because of Richonne.
It was nice to see Deanna’s arc settled. I had wondered what happened to walker Deanna, and I’m glad they went back and resolved it. Enid is finally starting to settle into Alexandria and give up her Wolf-ish ways. I hope we get to see more of the character and where she goes.
Also Dr. Denise is totally adorable and I want to see more of her and Daryl interacting.
Overall grade: A
Now on to 6×11!
The episode opens with a scene between Abraham and Sasha. He apparently still has a thing for her, yet he goes home to Rosita. Honestly the whole Abraham plotline in this ep didn’t do a single thing for me, and I could’ve done without it. But at least he’s getting a bit of characterization.
Jesus spent his time before sneaking into Rick and Michonne’s bedroom scouting Alexandria, and he knows pretty much everything about the community. He tells the group he’s from a community of his own and he wants to try to open trade between the two. He thought Rick and Daryl were “trouble” at first, but now that he’s seen Alexandria he realizes they’re good people.
Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Abraham, Glenn, Maggie, and Jesus all leave for Jesus’ colony. Along the way they find some of Jesus’ people, including a doctor, and rescue them.
When they reach the community; Hilltop; they see it’s a sort of colonial Williamsburg type deal, with a blacksmith, animals, crops, and a giant manor house ruling over all. Hilltop’s leader, Gregory, is a smarmy jerk who orders the group to take showers before he’ll meet with them. Rick sends Maggie in, and Gregory hits on her, calls her by the wrong name, and generally acts like a sexist butthead.
A group of Hilltoppers return from a meeting with Negan’s people and report that one of their people is being held hostage and Negan killed some others. One of the guys stabs Gregory and Rick jumps him. A huge fight ensues. Rick ends up killing the guy, and Daryl breaks the other guy’s arm.
Gregory is okay, more or less, and asks to speak to Maggie again. She tells him they will take care of Negan and his people in exchange for half of what Hilltop has. Upfront. Gregory, aka smarmy jerk, is over a barrel and agrees, reluctantly.
Before the group leaves to go take care of Negan, Maggie and Glenn have a wonderful moment watching a sonogram of their unborn peanut baby. At the end of the episode they pass the picture around so everyone can look at it, and it’s a really sweet moment among the group.
I didn’t like this episode quite as much as last week, but it was still a good one. There was the general sense of dread that anyone who’s watched this show longer than a minute has when meeting new people, and then Gregory proves that even in the zombie apocalypse smarmy jerks will be smarmy jerks.
Maggie was awesome this episode. Rick told her, before her second meeting with Gregory, that Deanna was right about her. She showed that spine and leadership in the meeting, leveraging her advantage to get what the Alexandrians need to survive.
Abraham is apparently going through some sort of existential crisis, partially motivated by Glenn and Maggie’s impending bundle of joy. It seems he’s trying to choose between Rosita and Sasha, and honestly…I don’t know. It’s not that compelling. Rosita clearly loves him, and while there’s attraction between him and Sasha, it seems sort of random and sudden.
Carl showed a great moment of maturity/character growth early on. The group was about to leave for Hilltop, and when Rick told Carl to go pack his things he declined. “Someone has to stay and keep everyone here safe,” he said (or something close to it). Then he mentioned that the kid with one eye might not make the best impression.
Honestly they all might have made a better impression if they’d made Daryl take a shower first…
I’m worried about this whole posse riding off to take care of Negan and his guys like nbd. For you comics fans out there, you know Negan brutally kills Glenn. I don’t want anyone we love to die, of course, but Glenn?? With Maggie pregnant?? I will die.
Where is Carol? She’s been gone for two episodes now and I miss her. She was in the clip for next week they showed on Talking Dead and I’m excited.
Overall grade: B+
Images courtesy of AMC