What's Up With The Walking Dead: 'New Best Friends'

We left our survivors last week surrounded by a horde of unknown, well-armed, unknowns that’s weren’t looking too friendly. So of course this week we pick right up where we left off and get an immediate resolution! No, of course I’m kidding, this is The Walking Dead after all where no story can be satisfyingly wrapped up quickly and no answer comes easily. We actually start with the folks from the Kingdom during a pickup from the Saviors. Richard, the one member of the Kingdom who actually wants to fight is picked on yet again with one of the saviors stripping him of his gun. You can start to see the cracks in Ezekiel's conviction to stay out of the fight. Besides being just dicks in general the Saviors go out of their way to eek out every bit that people have and then punching them in their mouth as a thank you. In an attempt to stop the savior from pistol whipping Richard, Morgan strikes douche #1 and has his stick taken from him…something that will start to turn his non-violent tables as well. Most importantly Morgan’s new protégé, Benjamin, whom Ezekiel has a special connection to, gets in his own licks putting him on the radar. There are some threats made about things getting “visceral” and “batting 1000”, like I said last week Benjamin’s’ days are numbered, that fact is becoming increasingly apparent. I’m putting my money on that being the tipping point for the Kingdom. Benjamin is going to get killed and Ezekiel will bring his people to the fight.

Cut to Richard practicing with a bow and arrow…now that he’s gunless, and enter Daryl. Richard apparently knows Daryl to be a fighter and offers him a crossbow. An awesome moment no doubt. The only thing keeping that shot from being better then Rick’s reunion with his revolver is the fact that it’s not Daryl’s actual crossbow, which he still hasn’t gotten back from Dwight. Richard tells Daryl that they need to take the fight to the Saviors so the two of them head out on the road to take out a convoy. Richard begins to relay the plan when Daryl finds out it all hinges on a lady who lives alone on the outskirts taking the blame. After a tense moment Richard lets slip that it’s Carol and Dwight summarily kicks his ass and holds him down while the convoy passes. This leads to an awesome little monologue which may just comprise more lines then Daryl’s had in the last 4 seasons combined, wherein he details to Richard the different things that could happen to Carol that will all end with Daryl killing Richard, right down to she gets a cold or is hit by lightning. If you thought the Daryl and Rick reunion was a tearjerker I’m going to go ahead and say Carol and Daryl will bring the water works. As a side note, I rewatched the earlier seasons not long ago…remember when Carol said to Daryl “Wanna fool around?”…yeah it was just as awkward the second time. I don’t know if it’s brother/sister, mother/son, or will they/won’t they lover territory at this point, I just know that they love each other, the rest is just confusing.

It seems the showrunners have heard our complaints about only featuring one storyline an episode, we come back form commercial back at the junkyard where Rick and co. Were ambushed. The group of monochromatic misfits that have them seem to have prepared for the apocalypse by watching Mad Max, complete with their own thunderdome. Well…it’s not really a dome so much as a clearing in the junkyard but you get the idea. We’re introduced to the leader right away who, if I’m not mistaken, was one of the aliens from Galaxy Quest. Gabriel is brought out, apparently a hostage. The leader makes them an offer to buy back their lives which Rick sees as the perfect time to make his plea to get this new group to join the fight. Shockingly the answer is no, a no punctuated by a quick beat down that is only stopped when Gabriel takes one of their people at knifepoint threading to kill her if they don’t stop. So he’s not a traitor now? I would love to know what’s going on there, and who else was in the car with him when he left (apparently everyone noticed but me, I didn’t see it until the “Last week on” segment that there was a second rider in the car when Gabriel pulled away). Gabriel makes an impassioned speech about the dangers of the Saviors and all of the good s they have, if what the junkyard gang needs is stuff, then they have plenty. It seems to have swayed them, possibly, but that’s all in question as the leader takes Rick to the top of the trash heap revealing a gigantic labyrinth of junk. It’s a tense moment as the leader talks to Rick about how her group just takes what they need and doesn’t bother anyone and it seems for a second, just a second, that it’ll be that odd TWD moment when everything goes right…then she pushes Rick down the side of the trash heap right into the lair of that H.R. Geiger-esque spike zombie that we’ve all been waiting for since the very first season preview. It’s a true video game boss battle as Rick takes a spike through the hand and through the leg before getting some sideline advice from Michonne and he’s able to collapse a wall of the pit on top of that bad ass zombie, then of course he cuts off it’s head with a piece of broken mirror for good measure. It was somewhat satisfying but I was honestly hoping for a bit more of spike, so much buildup for not that much pay-off. After passing their challenge the leader, who finally reveals herself as Jadas, offers to help in the fight in return for a lot of guns and half of what they get after the saviors are defeated. If you liked that goofy Rick smile from the end of last week’s episode you get plenty more of it this time around as he limps around the corner a trash pile to meet his crew and let them know he struck a deal. I’m not sure I like happy Rick…brooding, moody Rick is more my flavor.

If you missed Ezekiel during the first half you’re getting plenty more in the second half of the season, Ezekiel and that beautiful bastard Jerry as they make a house call to check on an unwelcoming Carol and deliver her some cobbler. She summarily kicks them out and returns to read her book when one of them knocks on the door again. You know that reunion we talked about earlier? Well, be careful what you wish for, she opens the door to see a sad looking Daryl at the door. How can such a badass be such a puppy dog. After a tearful hug he looks at her and says “Why’d you go?” He immediately turns into an 8 year old boy looking at his absentee mother. Quick cut back to the junkyard where Gabriel explains himself and Rosita continues her “I’m a bitch with a death wish” routine that’s only getting more annoying as time goes by. You’d think her failed assassination attempt on Negan would have shut her up but it only seems to have intensified. For such a dower show you’d think Rick’s exuberant optimism would be a breath of fresh air but honestly it’s already bordering on annoying. This episode must have set a TWD record for scene jumps, we come back to commercial with Carol and Daryl catching up by a fire. I didn’t realize until now that Carol still didn’t know about Abraham and Glenn. Somehow Carol knew Negan’s MO so she asks Daryl if everyone was ok or did they kill anyone. Not wanting her to hurt anymore Daryl tells her that everyone is safe, not mentioning Glenn or Abraham, I have a feeling that’s going to come back and bite him in the ass. I really thought he’d stay there with her, but after a meal he heads back to the Kingdom and we find him, somewhat unsurprisingly bonding with Shiva. After a quick talk with Morgan Daryl decides to head back to hilltop and prepare for the coming fight.

A pretty damn good episode, if not full of action and gore it gave us quite a bit of story. Looks like next week is going to be a Negan-centric episode that promises to further the Dwight story arc. Fans of the comic books know the role he plays in the coming war and if the previews are any indication it seems like they are sticking to the source material on this one. Until next week deadites! Make sure to leave some comments and let us know what you think of these recaps or the PDC as a whole!