Starting with a song like Boston’s More Than a Feeling, you can tell we are in for the change in tone and pace Walking Dead fans need this week following the shock we experienced. Cashing in while we are on the bright side of things we are treated to several one-liners, an introduction to a new character, Benny Hill style antics, and finally we get both a bromance and a new romance in this single episode. Before I spill the juicy details be warned spoilers follow for both the AMC produced show and black and white on-going publication from Image Comics. Turn back now if this concerns you.
We have fewer characters taking center stage this week and a time jump of about two months. We see Carl has started to recover via an adorable photo of him holding his little sister, who is going to be conning survivors with the shell game in no time. The family seems to be coping and adjusting to recent events rather well. With smiles and hygiene we get our first comedic moments of the night in an ‘aww’ worthy scene featuring Michonne being extremely comfortable in a bathrobe in front of the Grimes men.
As Rick is obviously preparing to head outside Alexandria, we cut to see Daryl shall be his wingman for this trip. Daryl tracks down Denise to get a clarification on an item she requests of the run. Keeping the love going Merritt Wever wonderfully delivers an awkward explanation as to why she needs the pop, not soda because she is from Ohio, for Tara. Merritt proves she is worthy of her awards and to continue to be a part of this fantastic cast. Eugene, in the first of several single scene cameos from some of the group members, provides another list and exposition as to what they are after before shutting the gate behind them. As they pull away we are treated to one of very few comic style shots. I always find it impressive how well they translate it into a living comic panel.
Rick and Daryl drive away to the A story while we stay behind at Alexandria and the surrounding area to follow up on the B story. I don’t use A and B story lightly here. Maggie appears for about 60 seconds trying to figure out where Enid has been taking off to while everyone else is trying to repair and recover. We are shown that Enid and Carl have been sneaking out and acting like kids by doing what they are not supposed to. After a bit of foreshadowing by a note tied to a balloon they sit around eating meat snacks and reading comics. Once Enid expresses her desire to no longer be out there they pack up and come across Walker Deanna. Carl showing what could be maturity or stupidity refuses to kill her saying it should be family that handles it.
Speaking of Deanna’s family, Michonne spots Spencer walking around outside the wall with a shovel and goes to inspect. This is where I had an issue with the episode. Michonne and Spencer’s walk allows us to see they are both struggling with something. While Spencer find’s his mother and gets his resolution on a major internal struggle it seems less impactful than it should because it only leads to Michonne realizing how to resolve her own problem, which I will cover a bit later.
Back at the A story Rick annoys Daryl with music as they search for their saving grace. It felt like it took several seasons for music to be introduced in a more significant way than just building tension. The choice of music I feel was a great one, at times the score made me feel like I was back on Pandora while playing Borderlands.
Upon reaching their destination they found what I can only assume is Hilltop’s share that goes to the Saviors, or whatever they shall be called in the show, and take it. This of course leads to a hilarious cat and mouse like series of events in which Paul Rovia, or Jesus as he will come to be called I hope, is introduced. He picks a pocket, gives a great distraction and steals the truck. He does all this without pulling a weapon or being violent. After a bit of back and forth and Jesus being more like Houdini we get our Benny Hill chase scene in an open field. I found this particular sequence hilarious. I always liked the character in the comics because he is rather resourceful and yet another badass to join the mix, but he is represented in the show better than I ever expected. I didn’t think they would cheapen the character but Tom Payne, yet another Brit to join the show, nailed this character. He is quickly going to become a fan favorite.
After losing the truck they had back home empty handed save for an unconscious Jesus. Rick uses his limp body to annoy Daryl again or he knows this is an extraordinary person and doesn’t believe he is out, I honestly couldn’t tell. Patching Jesus up, they lock him in the same room Alpha Wolf was held captive and Rick leaves a note that is difficult to read depending on resolution and screen size. It was also most likely written by a woman as I don’t think Rick would have such great hand writing. I’d be interested to see if Andrew Lincoln wrote the note himself. The note itself reads:
“You were hurt. We brought you here. You’re safe. Talk soon. –Rick”
Poor Rick has no idea how soon ‘soon’ will be.
As the A and B story come together Michonne and Rick plop onto the couch to share a moment of relaxation and unwind from the day they have both had. Michonne’s toothpaste of course sits at the bottom of a lake and Rick offers up a consolation prize of breath mints. Despite what is most like some stank breath, you can see the sparks and maybe even a cupid fly off in the background as they lean in to embrace each other in a kiss. We see now that Michonne wanted Rick all along. The brief make-out session was made genuine with the awkward smiles and laughter as they can’t believe they are about to do what they do. I have seen this coupling referred to a Richonne, which is not a term I will continue to use, but if Rick and Michonne makes Richonne does Rick and Daryl make Riryl or Dick? Of course the first to know they are an item is Jesus, who once again pulled a magic act and escaped his prison only to seek out Rick and wake him up from the edge of the bed he is sharing with Michonne, so they can talk.
While I fully believed Michonne was going to be the love interest that replaced Andrea from the comics I did not expect it so soon. Once again this week the show proves it can surprise me in some way even without taking an eye. This episode is quite a shift from last week’s but is by no means a bad one. Besides Spencer being more of a plot device to advance this new but expected romance which really bothered me, this was yet another top notch episode to add to an already great season. The reveal of Hilltop next week may not be as strong as it was in the comics due to recent events and of course knowing it is there, I am still very much looking forward to seeing how Rick reacts to being caught naked with his new lover and learning he should never have touched that truck for it will cost him, his family and his new home dearly.