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'The Walking Dead' Returns With 'A New Beginning' (And Brett Butler from 'Grace Under Fire')

By Brian Richards | The Walking Dead | October 8, 2018 |

By Brian Richards | The Walking Dead | October 8, 2018 |


Previously on The Walking Dead: The All-Out War between Rick and company and Negan and the Saviors went on all season long, resulting in way too many bullets being fired from both sides; Jadis and the Not-Junkyard Gang betraying Rick yet again before Jadis watches all her people end up being slaughtered by the Saviors thanks to Simon a.k.a. Boyd Crowder’s Evil Twin; communities such as Not-Themyscira being asked and convinced to stand up against Negan; the show itself treating its viewers like idiots more so than usual with its “Let’s have Negan and the Saviors cover all of their weapons in Walker blood to infect everyone and turn them into Walkers despite the fact that we long ago made it clear that everyone is infected and will become Walkers whether they’re bitten or not”; Gabriel getting sick and losing much of his eyesight after being infected with Walker guts, despite the fact that this has never happened to any other character who has covered themselves in Walker guts in order to avoid detection; Dwight turning against Negan and working with Rick and company; Carl being bitten by a Walker and losing his life as a result of doing the right thing and helping someone else whose life was in danger; Robert Kirkman treating the viewers like idiots in interviews and expecting us to believe that Carl could possibly survive his bite and stay alive; Rick and Michonne having to cope with that unimaginable loss; and the All-Out War finally coming to an end with Rick slitting Negan’s throat but then saving his life and keeping him alive to honor Carl and his hopes that everyone would come together and rebuild, which Maggie wasn’t at all happy with due to the fact that Negan, you know, murdered her husband and the father of their child. Which then led to Maggie and Daryl (and Jesus, for some fucking reason that I can’t put my finger on) plotting together against Rick and Michonne to kill Negan, who is being held in captivity by them.

Oh, and Chris Hardwick got his job back as host of Talking Dead, because when it comes to men, especially White men, having their careers be affected or destroyed as a result of how they use and abuse women, they’ll be fine. They’ll be just fine.

That one person in the comments (you know who you are): “Why did you have to include race when talking about men and what they do to women? Why not just say that it applies to all men?”

Me: I said what I said.gif

THE STORY SO FAR: Eighteen months after the events of the All-Out War, all of the communities (including Rick and company, Maggie and the Hilltop, and the formerly-known-as-the Saviors at the Sanctuary) are living and working together peacefully as they rebuild their respective communities and work on creating their own resources while searching for additional ones, such as gasoline and seeds for growing crops. Despite all of this, they are all still dealing with issues, both new and old, in the form of Walkers; dwindling resources and supplies that are becoming more and more difficult to find and replace; a few people who would rather run things the way Negan used to do and yearn for his leadership; and Maggie’s own leadership being questioned and challenged, especially after she loses one of her people to a horde of Walkers during a supply run, leading to Maggie making it very clear to everyone that she ain’t nothing to fuck with.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: The entire scene at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., as Rick and company take a brief moment to absorb the sights of where they are before going back to getting the supplies they need, including a plow for melting down and making more horseshoes and a wagon to hitch to the horses for transport.

Everyone working together to get the wagon downstairs without having it completely break the glass floor where an entire horde of Walkers are seen below, only for the glass floor to collapse and Ezekiel struggling to climb to safety before the Walkers turn him into a four-course meal.

Me doing a double-take upon realizing that the actress playing Tammy, the woman whose son, Ken, is the one killed by Walkers during the supply run is none other than Brett Butler of Grace Under Fire fame.

Daryl and Carol giving hope to the Daryl/Carol shippers out there by keeping each other company and giving each other shit.

Rick and Michonne being affectionate with one another while discussing what can be done to keep things running smoothly between all of the communities.

Gregory being his usual shifty and manipulative self as he keeps telling Earl exactly what he needs to hear to avenge his son’s death (while getting him drunk, despite the fact that Earl is a recovering alcoholic), which of course involves him going after Maggie and attempting to kill her. All that’s missing from Gregory during these scenes is him wearing a poorly-tailored suit with a red necktie.

Maggie named her son ‘Hershel’ after her late father. A very nice touch.

Maggie also letting Rick know that even though she’s willing to help and contribute resources, that she won’t be answering to him any longer and that she’ll be expected to follow her lead from this point on. It’s pretty much her version of the ‘Ricktatorship’ speech from the end of Season 2.

Maggie confronting Gregory and making it clear that she knows he’s responsible for Earl trying to kill her, and instead of killing him right then and there, she holds a public execution and lets Gregory know that she’s not at all ashamed of what she’s doing before leaving him to hang from the neck as punishment.

And the new opening-credits sequence is pretty damn impressive.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Honestly and surprisingly, I can’t really think of anything to add here.


MICHONNE?: She certainly is, and every time that Michonne (and the actress who plays her by the name of Danai Gurira) laughs and flashes that gorgeous smile of hers, it’s hard not to get weak in the knees like SWV.

CARL?: Still dead, so no.

JUDITH?: Yes, as she’s grown slightly older and is more than happy to show off her paintings of her dad and his very big belly

MORGAN?: He’s now over on Fear The Walking Dead, and if you want to know what he’s been up to, you’d have to ask Dustin, since he actually watches that show and cares about what happens on it.

JADIS/ANNE?: Yes, and thanks to the fact that she’s a former schoolteacher, she leads Rick and company to the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. in order to get the seeds they could all use to grow plenty of crops.

DWIGHT?: Considering that Daryl let him go in the Season 8 finale and told him that if he ever saw Dwight again, he’d kill him, it doesn’t look like they’ll be crossing paths any time soon.

IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: Yes, he’s still alive, and he’s not entirely happy with the way things are now. Not with him being designated as leader of the formerly-known-as-the Saviors at the Sanctuary. Not with the fact that things aren’t the way they were back in the first two seasons, when it was just him, Rick, and everyone else in their small group able to do their own thing and not have to worry about the well-being of dozens of others. Not even with the fact that Carol and Ezekiel are boo’d up and together (with Ezekiel even asking Carol to marry him), if only because he and Carol don’t get to see each other as much as they used to.

ARE MAGGIE AND DARYL AND JESUS STILL PLOTTING AGAINST RICK AND MICHONNE TO KILL NEGAN?: If they are, we get no hint whatsoever of their plans, since they are never touched upon or discussed in this episode.



TO SUM IT ALL UP: Whenever The Walking Dead feels the need to do a ninety-minute-long episode, I usually respond like this…


…because the episodes that receive such treatment rarely ever prove that they need to be ninety minutes long and they really don’t do anything plot-wise that proves extra screen time was needed. (I know that Westworld is the new kid on the block that’s cool to pick on and talk shit about, even when it’s not always merited, but if any show is guilty of manspreading with its extra-long episodes and deserves to be called out for it, it’s The Walking Dead.) But in this particular case, and with this particular episode, I didn’t really mind it. Like most season premieres for genre shows, this episode dealt with a lot of set-up regarding what has happened and what is likely to happen during the rest of the season, and in showing us what all of these characters have been up to since the All-Out War ended, we were given reasons to care and actually be interested in what happens for when everything eventually turns pear-shaped and goes to shit. And this is The Walking Dead after all, so it’s not like it will take very long for that to happen.

For now, I’m both curious and interested as to what the rest of the season will bring, and I can only hope that new showrunner Angela Kang maintains this momentum and level of interest over the next fifteen episodes.

It was announced this past weekend that character actor Scott Wilson, who played Hershel on The Walking Dead for several seasons, died at the age of 76 due to cancer. Wilson, and his portrayal as Hershel, was one of the very best things about the series (and one of the very best things about the many other films and television shows he was a part of) whenever he appeared onscreen, and his presence will be greatly missed.

And this tribute card for Wilson appeared at the end of the episode:


This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by the late and legendary Aretha Franklin:

Header Image Source: AMC