Thanks to tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, I learned a few things. One, Orange Crush is the beverage of choice in the zombie apocalypse. Two, I’m probably going to be saying “Dammit, Jesus” a lot over the next couple of weeks. Three, eyepatches are pretty cool.
All joking aside, tonight’s The Walking Dead was a decent installment, but talk about your filler episodes! I knew after last week’s intense midseason premiere it would be hard for the show to keep the momentum going, but I thought they could’ve done more to push the plot along with this episode. Oh, well. At least “The Next World” introduced one of several long-awaited characters from The Walking Dead comics. (spoilers ahead!)
Things are slowly going back to normal in Alexandria. The walls are being rebuilt, the citizens are going back to their daily routines, and all is (kinda) right with the world. But Alexandria needs supplies… badly. So Rick and Daryl venture outside the walls on a supply run, thus setting the story into motion.
At the heart of it, this episode served as a chance for Rick and Daryl to further develop their fraternal bond. While it was fun watching Rick blast his cheesy music and snap his fingers to Daryl’s annoyance, I had to ask, “Is this necessary?” We’re on the sixth season. We know for a fact that Daryl and Rick are practically brothers at this point, so why did we need their little “bro” road trip (bro-ad trip™) to solidify the notion? If this had happened a couple of seasons ago, maybe right after Shane died, I’d understand the point. Otherwise, it felt unnecessary. They could’ve swapped out either of the two characters for anyone else and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
This episode mostly acted as a way to introduce a much-anticipated character from the comics: Jesus. During their journey, Rick and Daryl encounter a lone wanderer who appears to be somewhat friendly and introduces himself as Paul (or as his friends call him, Jesus). He then promptly steals their truck full of food and supplies. Soon enough, Rick and Daryl catch up to Jesus and steal the truck back. Then, Jesus tries to steal it back AGAIN, but this ultimately leads to the truck accidentally rolling into a lake.
I know Jesus is going to become a major part of the show, but I couldn’t help but wonder WHY Rick or Daryl didn’t shoot him, or at least abandon him during this episode. Jesus literally caused nothing but trouble for the duo. He offered no benefit. Really, the only reason he survives is because Rick tells Daryl that he didn’t pull a gun on them. They make the brilliant decision to take him back to Alexandria and keep him under close surveillance. As we find out within the last minute of the episode, it doesn’t work out too well.
The other end of the episode revolves around two parties from Alexandria: Carl and Enid, and Michonne and Spencer. Carl and Enid have their standard bonding session while on a journey through the woods, which unfortunately slows down the entire episode. I’m a little curious as to why there was barely any discussion this week about Carl’s eye. You’d think SOMEONE would bring it up. Either way, I like how Carl is so nonchalant about it. The kid is missing an eye and he doesn’t give a damn. He just goes on his usual routine like nothing out of the ordinary happened. The kid’s grown a pair over these past few seasons.
Michonne follows Spencer after she spots him wandering off into the woods with a shovel on his back. By the climax of the episode, we discover that he’s been searching for his mother’s reanimated corpse so that he could properly put her to rest. What a coincidence that they happen to find the Deanna walker in a matter of hours. I honestly had no idea she had been zombified. I thought Deanna was completely eaten by that horde of walkers after she was bit two episodes ago. I guess she lived to die another day (cue rimshot).
Carl and Michonne have a heart-to-heart conversation where they discuss Deanna’s walker. Apparently, Carl spotted the walker early on (we see this encounter, but we weren’t sure it was Deanna at the time), and he let her go so that Spencer could handle it his own way. Carl admits that he would’ve wanted the same thing if he was in Spencer’s shoes, and it’s at this moment he reveals to Michonne that he considers her to be family. It’s a touching moment of the episode that really tugs at your heartstrings.
But that’s not all. It seems Rick considers Michonne to be close too… a little too close. Yep. Michonne and Rick are officially a thing – and by “thing”, I mean they banged. If you’ve read my earlier reviews of other shows such as Arrow and The Flash, then you know my stance on this. Basically, I’m fine with characters being in relationships, but only if they’re done right and if they don’t dominate the rest of the show. I’ve seen shows ruined because of forced romances taking over (*cough* Arrow *cough*), and I really don’t want to see it happen to The Walking Dead. I like Rick and Michonne, but why can’t they just have a platonic relationship?
The episode concludes with Jesus somehow having escaped his bondage and showing up in Rick and Michonne’s bedroom post-coitus. It’s weird enough that he was able to get out of his bindings and find Rick in all of Alexandria, but why the hell is he just showing up in his bedroom? The dude is a creep.
“The Next World” was a fun episode, but a bit of a letdown compared to last week. At least it was still a great ride, and now that Jesus is in the picture, it looks like we’re in for a whole new conflict that is bound to shake up the show in the future.
Final Grade: B
+ Great performances from Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, and Andrew Lincoln.
+ Jesus makes for an interesting character, even if he’s a pesky, creepy douche (for now).
+ Overall, this was a fun little “bro” episode for Rick and Daryl.
– The moments with Carl and Enid in the woods felt slow.
– There wasn’t much to the episode as far as plot progression; this was pretty much just an introduction for Jesus.
– Do we need a relationship between Rick and Michonne? Please don’t let this slow down the show.
– Dammit, Jesus.
Did you enjoy the latest episode of The Walking Dead? What are your thoughts on Jesus? Should he be trusted? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!