The Walking Dead aired the twelfth episode of its eighth season on Sunday night, possibly releasing the best episode of its current batch.
Episode 8x12 is titled, "The Key," and it might actually be the key to The Walking Dead's future. Not only did Rick and Negan going head to head in a car chase and flaming Lucille baseball bat fight but a new character offered the AMC show an opportunity for a massive expansion.
The Greg Nicotero episode is certainly in the conversation as being the best episode of The Walking Dead Season Eight, so let's take a look at the good and the bad of the zombie drama's latest hour in a weekly review...
Perhaps the best thing to happen to The Walking Dead in years, Jayne Atkinson came into the series as a well-dressed, clean, and interesting new character by the name of Georgie.
All potential connections to The Walking Dead comics aside, Georgie opens the door for an exciting and expansive chapter for the AMC show. The well-spoken, impressively-mannered character introduced herself to Maggie and others from the Hilltop community while wearing a suit and bringing only two guards with her.
It is the first time since the Center for Disease Control episode back in Season One which has truly spoken about the larger world within the Dead universe. Georgie (assuming that's her real name) spoke of other communities and locations which she has been observing since the fall. No, none claim to be as impressive as the Hilltop, but they are out there. It's a rare moment for The Walking Dead to acknowledge there might actually be a larger world outside of Rick's.
Whether or not we will see Georgie again and what type of impressive, luxurious community she comes from will inevitably be addressed. For now, the mystery is exciting for two main reasons. One: The Walking Dead seems to be playing a longer game with its overarching narrative. Two: Intriguing moments and teases of expansion keep fans coming back hoping to learn more.
The episode was directed by The Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero. Nicotero also happens to run the show when it comes to special effects and walker make-up. With Episode 8x12, he had a little extra fun.
First of all, Nicotero put a fully nude walker on display. Featured in an important moment where Simon and Dwight decided the Saviors' future, a walker covered in head to toe prosthetics approached the scene. The crew has never pulled such a stunt in the past.
Furthermore, the show went the extra mile for a car chase between Rick and Negan. While the end of the chase wasn't seen (Negan's car was ultimately shown flipped over and Rick's truck crashed into a pole), the lead-up was intense, relying on the true hatred between the two characters. The car crash would have been the icing on the cake but, for some unknown reason, was left off screen.
Topping it all off was a flaming Lucille battle between Rick and Negan. Perhaps this was a trade-off for not seeing the cars crash but the show's two heavy-hitters going at it with a fiery baseball bat was enough to keep audiences on the edge of their seat, even if the plot armor is obviously thick enough for both to at least survive until the Season Eight finale.
The Walking Dead will often glaze over important and meaningful conversations between characters. Such a fact has allowed key characters to fade into more mild supporting roles and prevented some newcomers from emerging and fulfilling their untapped potential among the cast.
Episode 8x12, however, brought several important moments to light through conversation. Instead of leaving audiences yelling at their TV screens wishing a character would say exactly what they should say, the words were actually shared aloud.
First, Daryl apologized to Rick for freeing the Saviors from their confinement by walker herd and deviating from Rick's plan.
Then, Georgie came along and actually answered questions about other communities instead of completely dodging them as some would expect when a writer wants to preserve a mystery.
Don't forget the moment where Rosita and Maggie shared an acknowledgement of each other's pain, having lost Abraham and Glenn and never being the same again. Nor should Michonne's pleads for humanity in the wake of Carl's death be overlooked.
Next, Rick told Negan that the people at the trash heap were all dead, which was not Negan's orders for Simon and will certainly start an internal feud at the Sanctuary.
Finally, the conversations between Simon and Dwight was surprisingly human. Simon, a maniac eager to seek revenge and get his way, pulled on Dwight's disdain for Negan. Dwight, of course, obliged.
The dialogue was well-written and important to The Walking Dead's narrative.
Speaking of internal conflict with the Saviors, not only do they have a problem on their hands but Dwight is coming to the forefront with a problem of his own.
The burnt-faced Savior has a pivotal choice ahead of him. After choosing to rule Negan dead and take over the Saviors with Simon, Dwight will be a part of the group marching on the Hilltop community. Dwight certainly does not wish to be any part of the Savior regime but he is also unwelcome among the Alexandrian survivors. Having killed Denise, it's unlikely he will ever have a place among them.
With Dwight's inner conflict being pitted against the Saviors potentially tearing themselves apart, the stage has been set for Rick's group to actually win this thing once and for all. The show's ability to take a truly hated character and transform him into one which some fans might be able to get behind is quite impressive.
The concluding moments of The Walking Dead Episode 8x12 saw Negan being held at gunpoint by Jadis in a car. There was no other information regarding his capture provided. In fact, he was last seen running through a window, having recently reunited with his precious Lucille bat.
Given the style of storytelling The Walking Dead has implemented throughout its eighth season, it's possible Jadis will be seen prior to capturing Negan in Episode 8x13 and the entire thing will be explained. Then again, it's possible this moment will never be revealed and audiences will have to fill in the blanks as they did with Negan and Rick's car crash.
While it's exciting to see Jadis (a recently broken down and interesting character) taking Negan hostage, no one expects it to lead to the villain's death. If anything, he will almost certainly get the upper hand on her or negotiate a new deal in which he ends up getting away. If so, this means the entire plot with these two characters will be nothing more than a side story preventing All Out War's conclusion from being realized next week.3comments
The Episode 8x12 cliffhanger was exciting in the moment but we will have to wait and see how it pays off to make a true decision on it.