Spoilers ahead. After the madness and gore of the mid-season premier, The Walking Dead picks it up a couple weeks later when things have quieted down a little bit: it’s safe to rebuild walls, take care of the baby, and begin thinking of getting some more food. I have a hard time watching The Walking Dead, admittedly, because when things are going badly for our ragtag team of zombie killers, I feel sad about it. And when things are going well for our protagonists, I don’t get comfortable because I know it’s coming.
Such was the case with the first major plot point: Rick and Daryl leave together to go scavenging. It was an entertaining vignette, full of snappy dialogue and interesting developments, but before we get to that why the hell did they leave as a pair. Seems to me with the impending threat of “Negan”, which Daryl knows about and has presumably told Rick about, deserve a little more precaution. Certainly a level of precaution above and beyond blasting music while revving the engine, as Daryl rightly objected to. Further, when your hauling what is perhaps the single greatest find left around due to the “law of averages”, you do not use it to tow a soda machine, especially when you’re being hunted.
This brings us to the next plot point: Jesus. Rick and Daryl have seen some terrible things, they’ve done some terrible things, and well, it’s gotten to them. I’d have to imagine that if The Walking Dead were real, which I seem intent on treating it like it is, that they’d have killed Jesus on the spot, no questions asked. Perhaps it shocked them, perhaps they’re still hesitant to kill strangers, and perhaps either of these possibilities will turn out for the best, but the fact remains that Rick and Daryl colossally messed up in letting Jesus do what he did. Having said that, he’s a terrifically interesting character and I look forward to the content of his talk with Rick in the nude.
Much of the other vignettes of the show were built around the theme of family: where Maggie tried to convince Enid to be a part of the gang, where Carl and Enid try have fun in the wilderness like the good old days, Spencer having to confront his undead family to join a new living one, and Michonne becomes closer to the Grimes than she’s ever been. While I found the pacing of these parts a little prolonged, I enjoyed just hanging out with the bunch without too much fear that all was going to go awry.
“The Next World” was a balanced episode which leaves me excited for the future: Jesus the scoundrel fascinates me in much the same way the lead of “Negan’s people” in last episode did, #Richonne feels totally right and I caution them against getting too happy because I want neither of them to die, and the worry of Negan hangs over all of this.