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Well, “Knots Untie” did what it was supposed to do: introduce us to a new location, some new (potentially important) characters, and set our heroes down the path to a confrontation with Negan. But man, was this a boring episode of The Walking Dead.
Now, as I have discussed here previously, I love it when Walking Dead opts for strong character pieces over mindless walker-fests. But that doesn’t mean an episode needs to be completely devoid of any suspense. Did anyone really think that the team of Rick, Michonne, and Daryl could be stopped by a small gang holding knives? Nope.
While the action may have left a lot to be desired, the episode did a good job introducing some interesting new players to the game board. The most prominent new face (and one I suspect we will be seeing off and on for a while) was Gregory, the slimy coward who runs the Hilltop Colony. One of the more interesting recurring arcs within The Walking Dead has been watching the different types of leaders that have emerged during the aftermath of the apocalypse. We’ve seen some slimy people, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone like Gregory- a man who controls those he governs, but who is all too willing to fold in the face of conflict. In fact, I’m amazed Hilltop has survived for as long as it has considering his leadership. One has to assume they only ran into Negan and the Saviors recently, or else they would be in much dire straits.
The introduction of Gregory did have one great byproduct: Maggie finally got to do something besides talk about Glenn. I had legitimately forgotten what a smart and badass lady Maggie was. The writers have done such a great disservice to both the characters of Glenn and Maggie by making them so co-dependent that it was an absolute shock to see one without the other (and to have Maggie only mention her husband in passing, rather than constantly prattle on about him per usual). Lauren Cohan was excellent throughout the episode. I hope we get to see more of this version of Maggie and less of the other.
While Maggie had a great episode, good old Abraham did not. I’m really not on board with this whole Rosita-Abraham-Sasha triangle. First of all, it makes Abraham seem like a complete jerk rather than a sympathetic lead. He’s with Rosita, who, despite almost never getting a storyline or even a chance to speak, is smart, capable, and clearly has feelings for him. Why in the world would he even think of looking at someone else? And, even if he’s not that into Rosita anymore, just break it off, man! Let Rosita get out there and find someone new. I thought Abraham was better than that.
But let’s touch on the most disappointing part of “Knots Untie”: Rick’s new stupid plan. The Walking Dead has made it pretty clear over the years that Rick rarely has good plans. Most of his plans end in bloody defeat or horrible death(s). And I cannot imagine the “Attack Negan” plan is going to fare much better. We know that Negan is not a nice guy. He came to Hilltop, picked out a sixteen year old kid, and beat him to death in front of the group. He has since stolen another member of the colony as ransom for unpaid debts. That guy’s brother was so worried for his brother’s safety that he willingly tried to kill Gregory. Negan is not a good guy.
And Negan has a large gang. More than twenty fighters. And they are armed. Sure, Daryl managed to kill a number of them during the street encounter. But that was because he can best someone one-on-one pretty easily, Negan’s people underestimated Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha, and, oh yeah, they had a RPG launcher. When you have an RPG launcher you almost always win against dudes on motorcycles with hand guns.
But attacking Negan? Yeah, that is not going to go over well. Not at all. And I expect it will cost the life of at least one person we care about. Because, while Walking Dead clearly has an aversion to killing its central characters, Negan is a very important villain. He’s being hyped in a way no one on the series has ever been hyped before. Heads are going to roll when he arrives on the scene. And I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the heads belonged to someone we love.
— I love the tentative friendship between Doctor Denise and Daryl.
— I also loved how protective Daryl was of Carol- telling Jesus that the maker of the cookies wasn’t around with enough venom to signify that Jesus should stop talking about her. Which begs the question- where exactly was Carol?
— Rick’s awkward confession about him and Michonne to Carl was hilarious. I also liked how Carl just rolled with it when Jesus referred to them as Carl’s Mom and Dad (which, let’s face it, is pretty much accurate).
— A minor housekeeping note: I’ll be out of the country for next weekend’s episode, so there likely won’t be a review next week.