*Major spoilers ahead
Rick and Daryl find Jesus
After all the crazy stuff that happened in last week episode ‘No way out’, this weeks episode titled ‘ The new world takes’ dials everything back a little. Revealing one of the series most light-hearted episode ever (or at least as light-hearted as hunting down your dead loved ones in the woods can get), since season 2 on the farm, where stuff probably happened on said farm (honestly I don’t remember much of season 2…does anybody?). This episode ultimately serves to introduce one of the comics most popular charter, known as ‘Jesus’ (yes you read that right). So as usual I’m gonna shit out some of my opinions good and bad, on how this weeks mellow but important episode was handled.
1. Welcome back to Alexandria, the year is xxxx
So last week left us with a lot to process: Carl lost at least one eye, a bunch of nameless Alexandrian citizens died and Daryl exploded stuff. This episode of the Walking Dead makes a wise decision to have a time skip; it isn’t abundantly clear to us how long its been, but it’s been just enough time for Alexandria to come back to a sense of normality (so anywhere from a few weeks or a month or so). The time skip feels very appropriately used, because by this point in the Walking Dead I think we are done with the whole “I’m sad and not grieving well” episodes (at least for a while); you know, the ones in which we watch characters lash out at each other and make all round poor decisions. So opting to skip that whole process and not start the episode with a Rick and the gang rushing around to find Carl medicine, or a new glass eye or some shit was quite a relief (something which would of reeked of season 2’s ‘lets get Carl medicine because some guy mistook him for a deer and shot him’ episodes…oh I guess I do remember some of season 2 after all).
The writers also took advantage of this time gap fast track some character development; Michonne, Carl, Rick (and I guess Judith), basically look like a small modern nuclear family (pretty progressive, apocalypse and all). Other characters such as Denise and Tara have romantic relationships alluded to, but for the most part much of the major cast take a back seat this week. After all, this is a Daryl and Rick (and Jesus) episode and Goddammit there is only so much testosterone (and Jesus) to go around.
2. BFFs: Rick and Daryl’s
wacky macho adventures
It’s been a while since Rick and Daryl spent some quality time together, it was definitely a move to deliver some fan service, with Rick and Daryl being two of the most popular characters (right behind Father Gabriel obvs). There’s not much these two characters can’t handle by themselves, so the purpose of throwing these two onto a supply run mission was to place emphasis on how bad-ass Jesus was in comparison; Rick and Daryl struggled to hold there own against him. Still hopefully we’ll see more episodes that focus on the dynamic duo, preferably when shit hits the fan.
3. That dastardly hobo Jesus
Paul Rovia (a slight change in surnames from ‘Monroe’ in the comics) or as he prefers to be called, ‘Jesus’ (for obvious reasons), is a very huge and important character form the comics who has now finally made his appearance in the TV series. If you don’t know much about Paul ‘Jesus’ Rovia then I’ll leave the nature of his character ambiguous and say no more beyond his actions in this episode (the TV series is always subject to change from the source material anyway); just know that he marks a new page in the Walking Dead’s world.
Unsurprisingly they pretty much nailed Paul ‘Jesus’ Rovia’ look, from his scraggly beard all the way to the woolly hat and trench coat combo. Throw in some stellar acting by Tom Payne, and I think we have one of the Walking Dead’s most accurate character representations ever.
So Jesus bumps (literally) into Rick and Daryl shortly after the former finds a nice haul of goodies in the back of a still operational van. The first you probably noticed (I know I did) was how besides looking suspect as fuck, he wasn’t shooting (or at least aggressively pointing a gun) at Rick or Daryl; something that if actually attempted, is a sure fire way to be killed by Rick or Daryl. Instead Jesus comes with a prophetic warning of incoming Walkers, introduces himself (yes as Jesus) and then flees before Rick can ask too many questions. In a twist no one could of foreseen about his second coming, Jesus lied, utilizing a clever distraction to swipe the van keys from Rick and flee (for real this time) with the goods, that’s right, your boy Jesus is a dirty thief.
The majority of this episode turns into a giant game of Cat and mouse between team Rick and team Jesus, something that ended up adding a lot of unexpected humor to the episode. You never get the sense that Jesus is dangerous, rather just sort of a nuisance; they catch him, he runs, they catch him again and tie him up, he escapes and hitches a ride on the roof of the van. That being said it’s clear that he could certainly cause some damage if he wanted to; he was able to hold his own against Rick and Daryl pretty well, almost gaining the upper hand had he not simply been out numbered.
The Walking Dead did an excellent job this week of finding a balance for Jesus’s character; presenting him almost as a noble thief rogue type (with the determination of a fucking T-800 terminator), who just wants your spare stuff and not your life. The seal of “See I’m actually a nice guy” approval is pretty much stamped right after he saved Daryl’s life from a Walker (with Daryl’s own gun). Unfortunately this does not end well for Jesus as the supplies are lost to that heartless bitch called the ocean’s little sister (otherwise known as a lake) and Jesus is captured and taken back to ALexandria (after which he shortly escaped his binds…yet again).
4. Spencer’s Shovel Quest
Back home at Alexandria we are left with a second and marginally less fun adventure, as we follow Spencer Monroe, who is on a quest with to kill his undead mother Deanna (like I said, marginally less fun right?). Joining him on this adventure is the ever smiling Michonne who’s deeply concerned for Spencers safety. BUT WAIT A SECOND HERE…the last time we saw Deanna was in the episode start to finish; recently infected and screaming down a corridor full of approaching Walkers (in what made for one of the coolest last stands in the series so far).
So shouldn’t there be very little of her left to reanimate? Remember that time Lori got eaten? There was nothing left of that bitch but hair and that was just the handy work of one very hungry, very heroic walker (who will always remain in our hearts); man the walkers in this show sure can be picky eaters sometimes. Although, I suppose we aren’t supposed to question shit like this an enjoy the show, but this really bothered me. In fact to me it stuck out like a a big undead sore thumb; and just like the last time I wrote about the walking dead, I started to feel that walker biting chunks out of my suspension of disbelief again.
In the end Carl and Ened get thrown into the fray, they find the one walker they were looking for (Carl’s dead mum sense was tingling), Spenser kills his somehow still intact walker mum and everyone celebrates. Despite the weird plot hole, overall it was a fine plot B, that complimented the main story thread by not distracting us from it; with it’s real purpose to provide closure for the characters (and the audience) on the whole Deanna dying thing.
Somewhere in some kind of message board buried deep within the pages of the inter-webs, someone is furiously typing “called it”. Richonne is for real now, it’s a real word that now that has actual weight and meaning; Rick and Michonne are an item. I admit I never saw this coming, but in hindsight it makes a lot of sense; originally Andrea and Rick become a thing. However since she was a terribly written character who is also very dead now, Michonne sort of stepped into the role of Ricks confident. It’s a nice touch for the show, I do wish they had maybe laid a few breadcrumbs for us to follow in previous episodes (some will they, wont they TV trope shit), so it felt more like a build up than something out of the blue. Regardless, for the world of the Walking Dead TV show it makes sense. Rick needs a partner who wont just immediately combust into flames and die after he touches them.
6. The next world to come
So the foundations have ultimately been laid for the next stage of the Walking Dead, which may also be the biggest stage yet. Things are so similar to the comics yet so different that no one can really predict how this will all play out. One thing for sure is that Jesus has a huge part to play in all of this, though whether it will be as friend or foe, only time will tell (though things do not bode well so long as he keeps interrupting some Richonne sex).