The Walking Dead Review: Knots Untie

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.

That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.

“Your world’s about to get a whole lot bigger.”

Alexandria needs more Abraham war stories – to lighten the mood and everything. Those stories also offer up relatively awkward transitions in conversation, as it seems Abraham’s eye is turning towards Sasha romantically. Of course, that’s slightly problematic because “Knots Untie” finally decided to remind viewers that Abraham and Rosita are a thing. That relationship has been ever-present since the two characters were introduced, but clearly nobody in the settlement knew that Rick and Michonne were a thing.

Both relationships served as an undercurrent for Abraham to question the common sense behind propagating in a new world under such dire circumstances. It’s not exactly an existential question per se, but it’s somewhat interesting to see a character like Abraham having such a crisis of conscience. Abraham already went through a similar crisis when it turned out that Eugene was lying about knowing of a cure. Where Abraham takes it remains to be seen, but him leaving behind the necklace Rosita made for him is a pretty telling sign.

Jesus’ introduction brought with it a lot more information about him and his backstory. The Walking Dead has always lived in isolation in the sense that the characters are forced to contend with the notion that it’s every survivor for themselves. Yet Jesus’ proclamation that there are other settlements looking to assist others is a shot in the arm for the survivors and it gives the show a new direction to go in. The survivors establishing trade routes with other settlements would clearly be a boon to the fortunes of Alexandria, but many of the big players so willing to go along with Jesus felt a little strange.

Rick and his group thrive on essentially trusting no one. And many of them fell for the trap at Terminus thinking it was a safe place. True, they did demonstrate some semblance of mistrust when entering Alexandria, but for all of them to pile into an RV and follow Jesus blindly to his “settlement” without deliberating further is a little rushed. On the flipside, it was welcome that the show decided to get straight to it, instead of having a couple of episode where the characters hem and haw in regards to whether or not they should go in the first place.

When they did arrive, what unfolded in front of them was essentially a new run at the lifestyle of colonial Williamsburg. The settlement is run by Gregory, who is essentially a creep who thinks he’s bigger than he actually is. Jesus brought the survivors to Hilltop under the assumption that trade lines could be established, only Gregory clearly wanted nothing to do with the notion. As opposed to some of the other leaders The Walking Dead has offered, Gregory is content to hide behind his walls and offer up half of all supplies to Negan and the Saviors.

That’s right – “Knots Untie” just revealed the big bad for the remainder of the season in Negan. To this point, Negan has essentially been a name whispered out of fear, but his operation boils down to what is basically a protection racket. The arrival of a message for Gregory left him stabbed and Daryl ready to take on and take out Negan in an effort to secure more supplies for Alexandria. And that’s where things take a slightly dark turn, in that Maggie bills the settlers of Alexandria as a replacement for Negan by asking for half of all the Hilltop’s supplies. It’s a rather impossible situation for Gregory to be in, as he’s trading the devil he knows for the devil he doesn’t.

The Walking Dead has always intimated that Rick and his group have gradually accepted the fact that there are no rules in this world. Their deal with Hilltop makes them a villain in their own right and really calls into question the underlying principles of survival. Rick’s group have always fought under the guise that they’re the good guys, but Maggie’s deal makes them another set of bullies on the block. Sure, they’re aiming to take out Negan (who could potentially be a threat to them), but the terms on which they’re doing so could haunt both Alexandria and Hilltop down the road.

Rick dealt with the perception that he was “evil” when he first arrived at Alexandria. It’s a reputation that dogged him for most of his time there, before many of the original colonists were killed off. Now that it’s him and his crew running the show, most (if not all) of them will readily fall in line with Rick and his decision-making. That’s made abundantly clear by the fact that Maggie is the one who made the terms of the deal so harsh, as she’s looking to protect her future. All the players are fighting a fight of self-preservation and how their paths intertwine with one another will be fascinating to watch.

Four Stars


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