Of all the events taking place in the latest episode of The Walking Dead (“New Best Friends”), let’s first talk about that “pokey walker” for a few moments:
Are we really expected to believe this new group of survivors (who are out and out weird) went out of their way to deck out a walker (named Winslow, probably a former member of Jadis’ clan) in a grandiose knife-happy helmet with accompanying blades and pike ends splaying out his torso every which way but Sunday simply to see if someone could defeat it in a contest of wills?
Because it takes a twisted mind to come up with a “reverse human pin cushion” (to put it mildly) just for that particular scenario. Really: What are the chances they happen on a someone for just that occasion? Let alone corralling a walker long enough to adorn it in all that mayhem? All that trouble to come up with the attire, fashion the head covering and dress the poor bugger simply to make a statement? In a word? Hokey. I’m sure you’re in agreement with me. I mean, talk about your suspension of belief …
All right. That’s off my chest. We can move it along …
At the front and back ends of the episode, Daryl and Morgan’s two exchanges were interesting. Their discussion of current events plus the overall demeanor of The Kingdom (not to mention the welfare and mindset of Carol), complete with their differences of opinion, were both valid and enlightening depending on what side of the fence you were on. I especially enjoyed Daryl giving Morgan what for about not only The Saviors but his state of mind – it lent for some nice back and forth between the two.
And while Daryl had to see for himself what Carol’s deal was (post chats with Morgan and Richard), it was satisfying to see everything wrapped up in a nice, tidy bow at the end of his quest, deciding to deflect her queries toward the positive. And simply out of concern for her peace of mind.
But choosing to hide the truth about certain members of the group (Glenn, Abraham), the natural question you have to ask is will that decision come back to bite him in the ass later? Probably. But the safe bet is Carol will understand his reasoning for having done so. Granted, maybe not right away. She’ll probably be all kinds of pissed off at Daryl (and Morgan) when she discovers the fate of those two. Plus, there are the circumstances surrounding Olivia and Spencer she doesn’t know about either. (Though neither Morgan nor Daryl are privy to those events. Though, truth be told, I don’t think there will be much love lost over Spencer’s demise where Carol is concerned. Was there really any interaction between the two?)
Then there’s the reunion of Daryl and Carol – bittersweet, longed for and satisfying in its own way. Even comical at moments. Carol may be cold and calculating but we know her to get choked up here and there … and this was one of those moments. Same goes for Daryl.
As different as the two might appear to be in their methodologies, their emotional states can be intriguingly compatible. They mesh and conjoin at the most interesting of times. And that’s what makes scenes between the two gratifying.
With regard to the episode itself, did you notice the wandering, sometimes off-the-mark shots that cropped up throughout? That lingering focus on Rick’s watch when he climbed out of the arena after disposing of Winslow? The final too long hold before cutting to commercial of Richard after Daryl took off? Rick and those horizon backgrounds at the dump? Weren’t those awkward? Goofy? They were to me. I didn’t understand those in the least.
Additionally, the rather jaunty score in the installment was kind of head cocking, wasn’t it? It worked in a funky sort of way but it wasn’t indicative of the usual TWD background strains. Not that it was a bad thing; it was a nice little diversion, not unlike Rick uncharacteristically breaking out into smiles.
And how about Jerry, Ezekiel’s right hand man? Is the guy a big goofy fluffy puppy of a dude with all his dappy ditzyness? He’s The Kingdom’s comic relief as it were.
But stranger still are the new characters, Jadis and her crew. With their seemingly laissez-faire hand signals, Mad Max haute couture and slicked-back hair, this brood definitely marches to its own drummer. Curiously, they parallel The Kingdom’s residents, though on an entirely different plane of “reality.” And that’s to imply there will be conflict down the line between various groups. Evidence of such raised its head in the back and forth between Jadis and Rick while they were negotiating each others’ “takes” once The Saviors are disposed of.
Lastly, Ezekiel’s position with Negan. We plainly saw how The Saviors have begun to “mix things up” during their supply pick ups with The Kingdom, giving a “kill two birds with one stone” quality to Daryl’s earlier call out with Morgan: “Whatever you’re holding onto? You need to let it go, it’s gone.” In other words, whatever seemingly concrete footholds Ezekiel’s Kingdom has with The Saviors seems to be showing cracks in its foundation.
And that means Ezekiel is going to be forced to make choices he hasn’t had to make previously.
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below. We want to hear from you!