20th Mar2018

‘The Walking Dead 8×12: The Key’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

wlking-dead-812

After the initial victories in this season of The Walking Dead for Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group, it comes as no surprise that Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) would be looking for revenge. One thing we know though is the best laid plans never go as designed.

Negan gathers his troops to attack the Hilltop, but an attack by Rick puts them head-to-head and gives Simon (Steven Ogg) an opening he needs with the saviours. Back at the Hilltop Maggie (Lauren Cohan) gets some surprise visitors and some wise words from Michonne (Danai Gurira).

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead is interesting because it doesn’t go as expected. We see the Saviours collect blood and guts of the dead on their weapons ready for battle, but they never get used. The real battle is between Rick and Negan, which shows just how similar the characters are.

Once again, we are shown that Rick is similar in his vicious ways as Negan is, if anything Negan comes across as more human. The fact he realises that Simon betrayed him in the Scavengers attack will be something that is resolved in the future; though not just yet.

With Rick, his need for vengeance against Negan makes him act without though. Not only does he hold off warning his people that the Saviours are on their way, but he leaves a trail of destruction for the dead to follow. This leads to his battle with Negan even more dangerous. The fact that he takes possession of Lucille does offer some excitement though, showing just how connected to the weapon the character is.

Back at the Hilltop we get to see three new characters, with two of them instantly becoming favourites of mine. While Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) and her bodyguards Hilda (Kim Ormiston) and Midge (Misty Ormiston) may not be regulars just yet, their offering of information provides a prompt that the future is important to the survival of the human race.

The coming of these three characters also shows that the Hilltop are showing many comparisons to the Saviours. Ready to steal from the newcomers and leave them weakened, what makes them any different than their enemies? The fact that Michonne is able to talk Maggie around does show that they still have a sense of humanity, though it is starting to struggle against the need to survive.

Looking at these new characters, Hilda and Midge are destined to be cult favourites as often happens with these bit part style bodyguards. They steal the scenes they are in, and I can’t help but like their oddball nature. Hopefully we’ll see more of them in the end.

This week we saw how group dynamics are shaping the future of not only the Saviours but also the Hilltop. While the Hilltop does still offer home (we’ll get that from Nancy, Michonne and Jesus (Tom Payne)) Simon wants the Saviours to become more bloodthirsty. His apparent need for Negan to disappear and for him to enact a scorched-earth policy before moving on, shows that the Saviours have problems.

It will be interesting to see how the next week’s episode plays out, especially after what happens in the conclusion of this week’s episode. No doubt things will be getting a little nastier, but there is still a glimmer of hope. The only thing to ruin that hope of course is Rick and the others around him who are more Negan at this point than Negan himself.

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead is another move in a positive direction for the show. With new characters teasing more humanity out in the wilds, and a focus on building story, the show may now have the content that the fans want. Not only does it feature warfare, but it has gone back to the storytelling that is important to the future of The Walking Dead.

***** 5/5

The Walking Dead airs in the UK on Fox TV, Mondays at 9pm.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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