Now, we’re talking! After months of dry, boring episodes from The Walking Dead, things are starting to pick up. Rick and company have gone from being sad, little puppy dogs, back to the bad ass warriors we all know and love. While this weeks episode lacked in the action department, it gave us a few moments where we at least THOUGHT there would be some really cool action scenes. That may not sound like much, but for those of you who stuck around for the first half of the season, the hope of action is better than no hope at all.
The Walking Dead continues its build up to the impending battle of Negan vs Rick. “New Best Friends”, saw hope being given to the survivors in the form of a very strange new group of people. As always….
SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD
At the end of the previous episode, the audience is left with the scene of Rick and the gang being surrounded by a mysterious new group of people. Being ambushed by the living usually does not end well, however, Rick was smiling like an idiot this time. After a week of speculation by the internet, we still aren’t given a straight answer. More on that later.
The episode opened with yet another exchange between the Saviors and the Kingdom where guns were drawn. To his credit, Richard at least made an attempt at civility by not making eye contact with the Savior with whom he had previously squared off against. Once again, the Savior decided to mess with Richard by saying that he wanted his gun and that Richard should not be allowed to carry guns at all. Boom, guns out for Harambe! Naturally, Ezekiel (#notmyking) folded like a paper cup and ordered Richard to give up his pistol. Richard did, but mouthed off some more. So the Savior went to pistol whip him, but Jedi Master Morgan hit the gun out of his hand and immediately dropped his staff as a show of surrender. The Savior took Morgan’s staff, even though he practically begged them not to. There was a sense of dark satisfaction seeing Morgan lose his staff as a result of his continued half assed pacifism. He fights, but he does not kill? Who does he think he is? Batman? If Batman were on the show, he would totally break his no killing rule.
There are times during this show where it can be said that Norman Reedus only gets paid to walk around and sweat. The spoken lines of Daryl Dixon are few and far between, yet this episode illustrated how his lack of talking can add weight to the things he says. Daryl confronts Morgan about the Kingdom’s deal with the Saviors. Daryl mentions that if Carol was there and knew about Glenn and Abraham’s deaths, she would be leading a group to take out the Saviors already. The way this line is written, it’s almost as if Daryl knows that Carol is around, or at least suspects that Morgan knows more about her whereabouts than he has been letting on. That little touch adds to Daryl’s character and makes it seem as even though he talks plainly and is far from the scholarly type, he does have a higher degree of intelligence and perceptiveness that can easily be overlooked.
One of the definite highlights of the show was seeing Daryl get a crossbow. Even though his original crossbow is still in the vile clutches of Dwight, it was still satisfying to see Darryl reclaiming his signature zombie killing tool. Speaking of Daryl, it was almost laughable when Richard decided to try and recruit him for his whackadoo plan to get Ezekiel to fight the Saviors. The plan itself was pretty ridiculous. Richard and Daryl would attack a passing patrol of Saviors and then leave a trail that led back to the weapons stash that Richard had been building up. From there, the Saviors would follow another trail back to the cabin where Carol was staying. Saviors would then kill Carol, which would drive Ezekiel into a vengeful rage and wage war against the Saviors. Really glad Richard is not in charge of making any sort of battle plans. Seriously, a monkey with some crayons could come up with a better plan. Richard’s thinking also begs the question of does Ezekiel have feelings for Carol? At this point, it seems as though the King could be looking for a Queen, but who knows? It would be a little far fetched to base such a high stakes plan on something that MAY be true.
Richard and Daryl fought about the dumb plan Richard had to star a war between the Kingdom and the Saviors. Daryl would not have supported a plan that would endanger any of the survivors, but this felt different. This felt like a small insight into how Daryl feels for Carol. We already know that they are close and share a deeper connection than most of the other survivors, yet there has never been any romantic element to it. The old “Will they or won’t they?” question has no doubt been asked exhaustively and no one has a good answer. It would be safe to say that any romance between Daryl and Carol at this point would be a disaster. Carol has lost her will to fight, which in the zombie apocalypse, makes her effectively broken. Their meeting in the cabin is the first time that Daryl is really able to take a good look and see her state of mind. In a way, the diner at the cabin felt like a goodbye between the two. Daryl saw the agony in Carol as she asked if the Saviors had come and if everyone was alright. In a bold move, Daryl lied and told her that a deal was made with the Saviors and no one got hurt. Sorry, Glenn and Abraham.
So, Rick and the crew meet the new group of people, who shall be referred to as the Junkyardigans. What a bunch of weirdos! They all have a very strange speech pattern. It’s as if they have forgotten how to talk and are re-learning. They all hang out in this giant junkyard and wear black. Pretty sure they listen to My Chemical Romance too. The leader of the Junkyardigans goes by the name of Jadis. Jadis informs Rick that his group’s lives now belong to the Junkyardigans and they need to buy them back. Rick asks the Junkyardigans to join them in the fight against the Saviors, to which Jadis declines. The Junkyardigans start to rush the survivors, but then Gabriel, of all people takes the second in command as a hostage and tells Jadis that Rick can do anything and get the Junkyardigans anything they want. At the time, it seemed like a ridiculous thing to say, but when you think about it, Rick CAN actually do anything. So, naturally, Jadis decides to test Rick to see if he is worthy. This involves a battle with the armored zombie that has been shown in various teasers and trailers for he season.
Weaponless, Rick has to fight this zombie who has swords and spikes sticking out all over it’s body. This makes it difficult to fight hand to hand. Thankfully, it’s a junkyard so there are a couple of implements at Rick’s disposal. Long story short, Rickk wins and strikes a deal with the Junkyardigans: Rick gets them a lot of guns and they will fight against the Saviors. Oh, and the spiked zombie’s name was Winslow.
Overall, episode 10 was not as exciting as it could have been, but it definitely hit a lot of right notes to move the story along. Daryl and Carol had a fairly emotional reunion where Carol learned that Daryl hugs are the best hugs (just ask Rick!). After fighting one of the coolest zombies to ever appear on the show, Rick makes a deal with a bunch of weirdos, who agree to fight Negan if Rick goes on a fetch quest for them. As usual, things moved pretty slowly, but at least things are moving in the right direction.