Monday, February 22, 2016

The Walking Dead, Season Six, Episode Ten: The Next World

After watching The Walking Dead, my mind is absolutely blown. HOLY SHIT!!!.  Okay, we will have to start at the very beginning, but I warn you, I'm full of major squee. Because of the events this episode I am going to put a major spoiler alert on this recap and review for the simple fact that if you are even remotely a fan, you should watch this yourself first.

It's been two months since the events of the last episode and the residents of Alexandria have settled into a new normalcy. Michonne, Carl and Rick have created their own little family talking about things like running out of toothpaste and playing classic rock.  Michonne has always lived in the house with Rick and Carl but it seems that a new level of intimacy has been created.  After getting dressed for the day, they head their separate ways.

Michonne heads to watch on the wall but leaves when she notices someone walking through the woods.  Michonne meets up with Spencer, who says that he likes to walk after his shift is over but doesn't really want to go into details.  Michonne tries to encourage Spencer to return home, but Alexandria no longer feels like that to him now that he is the last survivor of his family. In this moment, Spencer is a representative of the Alexandrians. Before Rick et al arrived, they had been sheltered behind the walls and now they finally know real loss and devastation.Spencer is now forced to finally really confront the fact that he is living in a zombie apocalypse and that means no one you love is ever safe.  Spencer is insistent that there's something that he has to do and Michonne decides to tag along with the hopes of figuring out what is going on after she notices that Spencer is walking around through woods with a shovel strapped to his back. At this point, I really didn't want to Michonne babysitting yet another white person, or slip into the role of wise Negro. We could all do without that especially given that The Walking Dead loves to put her in the mammy role far too often.

Rick decides to go on a run for supplies with Darryl.  Rick is clearly in the best of spirits whereas; Darryl seems grouchy, even for Darryl. They head out to find sorghum, a grain which Eugene feels just might be helpful with their food situation. Rick starts to puts on some music though Darryl begs him not to.  In many ways it seems that Rick and Darryl have switched roles since dealing with the big swarm of zombies.  Rick is optimistic and Darryl has become the pessimist, seeing bad in everything. They come across a factory and manage to find a truck full of supplies. It seems fortuitous, until Jesus crashes into Rick and the process steals the keys, unbeknownst to Rick and Darryl.  Rick is immediately interested in finding out more about Jesus to consider whether he belongs in Alexandria but Darryl simply wants Jesus to go. Jesus backs away from the two men claiming that he was running from walkers.  Rick starts to ask Jesus questions but Jesus quickly makes his exit.  Darryl and Rick prepare to leave when they hear what they think are gun shots but it turns out to be firecrackers being set off in a barrel. By the time they get back to the truck, Jesus is driving. And thus begins the buddy section of this episode.

I cannot say that I remember actively laughing so hard at an episode of The Walking Dead ever. Rick played good cop to Darryl's bad cop as the two chased down Jesus.  I loved that they both shot and killed a walker when Jesus accused them of not having bullets in their guns. In this moment, you can see how well these Rick and Darryl know each other. The Keystone Cops moment happens when Rick and Darryl realise that though they had tied Jesus up and left him on the side of the road, he has somehow managed to get on the roof of their truck.  Darryl decides that he is not going to take it anymore and hops out of the truck, even as Rick tries to stop him.  Darryl ends up chasing Jesus around the field, as Rick awkwardly maneuvers the truck. Rick is finally forced to get out when walkers get loose, leaving Darryl to try and capture Jesus.  Jesus manages to grab Darryl's gun and orders him to duck and then promptly kills the walker sneaking up on Darryl. Darryl is still angry and demands his gun back. The two men struggle and fall out of the truck.  Jesus hits his head and the truck sinks into the lake.  Darryl wants to leave Jesus behind because of the trouble he caused but Rick decides the right thing to do is to bring him back and have Denise check him out.

Carl spends a part of his day in the woods with Enid. Enid is not at all comfortable being in the woods but Carl tries to blow it off as kids stuff.  This is another case of role reversal. It used to be Enid who would take walks in the woods and Carl who would suggest that she shouldn't be outside of the walls.  Clearly, Enid didn't emerge unscathed from the events of two months ago. When a walker comes out of the woods to attack, Enid is adamant that they should kill it but Carl simply pushes it out of the way.  Enid is convinced that something is wrong with Carl and storms off.

When we next see Carl, he is leading the walker right into the path of Michonne and Spencer.  It's then that we learn that the walker in question is Deanna. On the night of the big zombie invasion, Spencer thought he saw his mother and since then, he has been walking through the woods trying to find her so that he could put her to rest.  Michonne grabs zombie Deanna from behind and Spencer puts zombie Deanna down.  Later, the two bury Deanna and Michonne makes it clear to Spencer that he is not alone and does in fact have family because otherwise she would not have spent the day traipsing through the woods with him.

Michonne returns home and confronts Carl about being in the woods.  Carl explains that he knew Deanna was there and that it had to be someone who loved her who took her out.  Michonne finally understands exactly what is Carl was doing. There's a clear parallel drawn between Carl and Lori and Spencer and Deanna.  When Carl tells Michonne that he would do the same for her, it's a statement about how much he has come to love Michonne.

Okay, big moment coming up. When Michonne enters the house, she finds Rick sprawled across the sofa after locking up Jesus.  Rick gives Michonne the barest of outlines regarding his day saying he just wants to shut his brain off for now and Michonne does the same.  Somehow throughout the ridiculous adventure he had with Darryl, Rick managed to remember to bring back gum for Michonne.  The two of them hold hands and then comes the moment we have all been waiting for, Rick and Michonne kiss. I will admit that I squealed.  I particularly liked listening to Michonne giggle and act a bit  coquettish, given that for the most part, all we have seen is the serious and angry part of her nature.  For this to happen, Michonne, unlike Rick, had to let down all of her guards.  It does make me wonder if Rick will finally stop treating her like a weapon?  Also, given what has happened to the women Rick has been paired with, what does this mean for Michonne?

Later, in bed together, the two jump and grab their weapons when Jesus wakes up Rick, saying that they need to talk. Yep, Mr.Crafty is at it again.  I think I am really going to like Jesus.

This episode was such a relief.  This season has been particularly dark and laser focused.  I expect The Walking Dead to be dark and gritty, what I don't expect are moments of lightness.  The Next World, is the episode that as a fan, I didn't know I needed.  It had me laughing, cheering and feeling great emotion all within the space of an hour.  It's a sign of just how good the writing on The Walking Dead can be and it gave us a chance to be shocked by something other than the death of one of the cast.  This is a  moment of normalcy which cannot possibly last and it makes it that much sweeter.