Title: The Walking Dead “The New World”
Air Date: February 21, 2016
Genre: Serial Drama, Horror
Since the beginning of Season 6, we’ve been thrown into the fray of different conflicts and multiple group separations. It seemed that the group would never get back together and as chaos ensued, more characters we love would perish. With the resolution we were gifted in last weeks episode, “The Next World” is our first breath of fresh air in The Walking Dead since the walkers overran Alexandria. Usually, it is boring to watch “filler” episodes and even more frustrating when they are back-to-back (Morgan and Daryl’s episodes…), but “The Next World” is exactly what I wanted to see. I liked that for the first time in half a season we get to see relaxed character interaction. This week we got to meet a new character introduced to The Walking Dead story as well as strong character development – “very” strong character development (SPOILER ALERT).
This episode’s opening scene felt like the most domestic scene all season. Rick is cleaned up from his walker slaughter and enjoys morning conversation with Michonne who is walking around the house in only a bathrobe. I was somewhat shocked to see what has become a bit of a home life for Rick, Michonne, and Carl. To be honest, I had completely forgotten that Michonne was even living at the Grimes residence (and you probably did too). In a parental way, Rick and Michonne call for Carl to come into the living room, furthering the feeling of a civilian and typical family living at the Grimes’ house. This is also the first scene we see Carl up and walking around since his eye’s introduction with a bullet. It did feel a bit abrupt to jump from all of the Anderson family dying and Carl losing his eye to Michonne and Rick playing house and discussing remembering to grab toothpaste when they go into town. However, I felt an official transition was made when we get a shot of the wall with the names of the deceased written on it. The Walking Dead is moving into a new storyline.
We also see Denise and Tara living together already. In the words of Ron Burgundy, “That escalated quickly.” It is nice to see Tara as one of the last survivors from The Governor’s town of Woodbury become close with Denise. Both are characters who were once sheltered suburbanites and are now forced to adapt to the real world. They have more in common than many other characters.
Beyond all of the tedious civilian issues, the major conflict of this episode takes place with Rick and Daryl while they are out searching for supplies. Daryl brings up to Rick that they shouldn’t be bringing in any more people. I recall that this is what Rick’s viewpoint was at the beginning of the season while Daryl, at the time, was actively searching for more people with Aaron. It is ironic that the two have completely traded viewpoints since the events at Alexandria. It’s also not a coincidence that while they were out they ran into a smooth-talking man by the name of Paul Rovia, who insists that his friends call him “Jesus.” The name is fitting because he does have somewhat of a Messiah look about him with his long hair and meticulously trimmed beard. Jesus isn’t just a wanderer (as he introduces himself to be), and as the viewer, we can tell that instantly. He is taken care of and from the outside looking in, he is doing just fine as a survivor a few years into the apocalypse. Contrary to Jesus’ good name, Paul Rovia distracts Rick and Paul and steals the truck they found loaded with food and supplies. Rick and Daryl end up getting their stuff back and take Jesus hostage. I am eager to see where the writers go with Jesus’ character and if he is the initiator of the next major story arc. Judging by next week’s teaser, he just might be.
Enid’s character has grown frustrating beyond belief. I am weary of her clichéd angsty-youth demeanor. She has had a generous amount of on-screen time (something not easily done with high death rates) with little progression or maturation. I’m ready to see her killed off and for Carl not to care. As impressive as it is that she survived on her own before finding Alexandria, she doesn’t value her own life or the people who gave their lives for hers.
It was a bit cheesy that Deanna reappears as a walker in this episode. Spencer is found by Michonne wandering the woods searching for his mother’s wandering cadaver. I don’t have a problem with this scene as long as it leads to Spencer maturing as a character and becoming a stronger member of the group. The most important aspect of this scene, however, is when Michonne reminds Spencer that he still has a family and home waiting for him at Alexandria. The reason her reminder is so important is because it prophesies the closing scene of the episode.
In the final scene of this week’s The Walking Dead, we have a conversation between Michonne and Carl that would be the last wrecking ball against the emotional wall Michonne has displayed for multiple seasons. It was touching to see a strong character like Michonne become teary-eyed at Carl’s gesture of calling her “family.” With Michonne’s emotional walls breached, we get a perfect-storm scenario for her and Rick to finally express feelings beyond friendship. I know… I didn’t see it coming either. Apparently many fans have though, and I myself was out of the loop in the fan demand for “Richonne” to become a thing. My immediate reaction was shock and confusion. However, at second glance, this pairing began to make more sense. After all, they have been playing house for some time now. I am interested to see the follow-up interaction in next week’s episode.
Are you a fan of “Rishonne”? Where do you think Jesus will take The Walking Dead next? Let us know and comment below!
- Acting/Characters: It was most refreshing and fun to see Rick and Daryl interacting in a casual setting. Enid is more annoying than ever. Rick and Michonne are unexpected.
- Story: Story reaches its first breath of fresh air in a while. A nice calm before what is sure to be another storm.
- Cinematography: The lighting throughout the episode corresponds to the time of day – morning in the beginning and night at the ending. This helps supplement the feeling of this episode being a long and exhausting single day.
- Organization: With Alexandria residents back together, most of the shots are with all of the characters close by to one another. The whole episode takes place in a single day’s time which makes for a nice beginning and end to the episode.
- Slower Pace
- Beginning of New Story Arc
- Brief Moment of Peace
- New Character, "Jesus"
- Few Walkers
- Enid's Character