Things are slowing down once again on The Walking Dead. We had that epic midseason premiere, then last week’s great episode, and now this “still-good-but-a-bit-off” installment. “Knots Untie” felt like it could’ve been compressed into just a half-hour; too much of the episode was purely filler, but then again, that’s nothing new for The Walking Dead. The great thing about it is that we’re ramping up for what could be a mind-blowing season finale. (spoilers ahead!)
Jesus properly introduces himself to the heads of Alexandria. As it turns out, he’s really not such a bad guy. Okay, he’s a dick, but he ultimately has good intentions. He reveals that his job is to find other communities willing to trade with his own. Jesus hails from a neighboring area called the Hilltop Colony, and it looks like they want to set up a trade network with Alexandria.
Before the team can go to the Hilltop, we’re stuck watching some boring relationship drama unfold with Abraham, Sasha, and Rosita. See, Abraham is still knocking boots with Rosita, but he seems to have bonded with Sasha to the point that a romance might be brewing. I didn’t care for this part of the episode. Normally, I love Abraham because he’s usually got something funny to say, and Sasha has proven capable of some really powerful scenes as we saw last season, but this whole segment was crap. I don’t want to see a love triangle forming, especially with these three characters. I mean, it’s obvious Rosita is going to die, thus allowing Abraham and Sasha to get together. But this will be short-lived as soon as Sasha and/or Abraham die as well.
The Hilltop Colony proves to be a small, unique community. They don’t seem to have many bullets, and it looks like their main trade benefit would be medical supplies and food. Maggie attempts to negotiate with the leader of Hilltop, a shady old guy named Gregory, to strike a deal. Unfortunately, things go sour quickly as Gregory seemingly makes a move on Maggie (and proves how ignorant he is when he messes up her name several times in conversation). Luckily, Jesus is able to calm things between Rick’s group and Gregory before it escalates. I guess he lives up to his name, right?
Gregory is a grade-A creep, yet he’s the leader of Hilltop. Why is it that virtually every establishment’s leader seems to have a problem on this show? The Governor was a psychopath, Deanna was a wimp, Gregory is a creep, etc. I get that they like to add drama to enhance the show, but why can’t there be one time when the group goes to a community and things work out in regards to the leadership?
The episode picks up when a couple of Hilltoppers return from a trade mission and explain how one of their own was taken hostage by the infamous Negan. The brother of the taken man then stabs Gregory (apparently under Negan’s orders), and almost takes out Rick, until he gets a nice stab right in the jugular. Another of the Hilltopper scouts almost chokes out Abraham and ends up having his arm broken by Daryl. Right then and there, Rick’s group showed the community that they aren’t going to mess around and play nice. I love how Rick just goes “What?” after stabbing the man in the throat. What he did was so routine to him that he doesn’t get why other people are shocked.
Later on, Rick and co. have a discussion with Jesus about Negan, where they learn that he and his band of vicious survivors, dubbed ‘The Saviors’, have a certain deal struck up with the Hilltop Colony. Basically, they give Negan half their stuff and he won’t kill them. Rick ain’t having it. He tells the Hilltoppers that since they’ve dealt with their fair share of psychos in the past, they’re willing to eliminate Negan. Maggie seals the deal with Gregory by demanding that Alexandria gets half the supplies instead.
I’ll admit I got chills when I heard Rick declaring that they’ll kill Negan and the Saviors. It’s so bad-ass, but in a subtle way. I’m excited to see how things will work out (or won’t) for the team as they infiltrate Negan’s compound and attempt to kill him.
The episode ends with Rick and the team heading back to Alexandria to prepare for the mission, and along the way, there’s a tender moment where Glenn and Maggie share the first ultrasound photo of their baby with the other survivors. You see in everyone’s eyes how much the picture means to them. That baby (along with Judith) is part of a new generation being born into a post-apocalyptic world, and Rick’s group will do whatever they can to ensure that they’ll live in a better society.
Overall, this episode was only slightly above average. I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if it wasn’t so slow in the beginning and if we got to see more of the Hilltop Colony at work. I’m fascinated by this new community, and I can’t wait to learn more about it in future episodes. But for now, let’s see how Rick and the Alexandrians are going to settle the task at hand.
Final Grade: B –
+ I enjoyed watching the inner workings of the Hilltop Colony.
+ It was a sweet moment when we saw the first ultrasound of Glenn and Maggie’s baby being passed around among the group.
+ The last ten minutes were great; I loved Maggie and Rick’s negotiations for their group to take out Negan.
– Slow beginning.
– I didn’t care too much for the hinting at the awkward love triangle between Abraham, Rosita, and Sasha.
– Gregory is a creep.
– Rick is going to have to build a task force to take out Negan and the Saviors. Judging from the previews for next week, it looks like he’ll be bringing his own small army. But will they be leaving Alexandria completely undefended? You can’t bring ALL of the good fighters, Rick.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s The Walking Dead? Do you trust the Hilltop Colony, or does Gregory give off a weird vibe? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!