The Walking Dead Review: The Next World

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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.

 

“Law of averages has to catch up.”

 

After last week’s exceedingly frenetic episode, it’s understandable the opening to “The Next World” was jarring to say the least. The opening boasted “More Than a Feeling” blasting through Rick’s house with Judith playing on the floor, Michonne in a bathrobe looking to borrow toothpaste, and Carl up and about with a bandage over his eye. Daryl acknowledges that it’s been “a few weeks,” but it looks as if the creative team is content to fast-forward past all the boring rebuilding they’ve visited all too often. Rick and Daryl are contributing to that general malaise as they peruse the countryside for supplies that haven’t been tapped yet. That allows them to cross paths with Jesus.

 

Jesus (aka Paul Monroe) is a fast-talking survivor who piques Rick’s interest. It’s natural for both Daryl and Rick especially to be weary of new encounters and Rick eventually got around to offering up his test to Jesus until he made off with Rick’s keys and the truck full of supplies. It’s pretty telling that Daryl and Rick got taken considering all they’ve been through, but more than anything it establishes Jesus as something more. Many of the other encounters with strangers in The Walking Dead start and/or end in violence and for Jesus to essentially talk his way around Rick and Daryl is pretty powerful.

 

Rick and Daryl have proved they’re nothing if not persistent and “The New World” puts Daryl’s tracking skills to use in their quest for Jesus. At first, they seek him out mostly out of necessity, in that they want to get the truck back for its supplies. What follows is Rick and Daryl starting to lose their cool as Jesus continues to get the best of them. Jesus has proven himself to be quite the capable of survivor who’s intent on generally causing as much mayhem as possible. He clearly doesn’t really have any animosity per se as he chose to kill a Walker as opposed to Daryl, but what he’s doing in the world and who (if anyone) he’s aligned with remains to be seen.

 

Spencer’s walk in the woods is buoyed by Michonne, who continues to admit to him her affinity for his mother. Spencer was one of the few Alexandria residents who seemed to want to help, yet suffered from the same general naivety that everyone else there suffered from. Having him face his mother as a Walker was more or less a rite of passage for him, convincing him that he does have what it takes to survive. And Michonne knows better than just about anyone else the value of finding a new family, making her presence with Spencer even more enlightening for him. For Michonne, the incident gave her more insight into her relationship with Carl, essentially reinforcing it.

 

“The New World” basically defines the direction for the show after everything that occurred in “No Way Out.” Rick and Daryl’s return isn’t nearly as bountiful as it could have been. They did end up bringing Jesus back with him who—as far new characters go—appears to be more exciting than most of the other new characters introduced to the show. Things have calmed down rather significantly and “The New World” approaches a day in the life as just that—a day in a life. That sense is best captured by Rick and Michonne sitting together on the couch and trading stories about their day.

 

The Walking Dead typically tries to make the abnormal normal in as many ways possible. “The Next World” is probably one of the better examples of that, providing the characters with events that blend together some sense of normalcy bridging their pre- and post-apocalyptic worlds. And the episode finally, officially acknowledged the budding romance between Rick and Michonne. Jesus, though, is the greater shot in the arm for the show, as he’s providing a rambunctious approach to guiding the story in a new direction. Jesus’ introduction is by far the most fascinating—and possibly important—result of “The Next World” and the character promises to be a rapscallion of sorts who may or may not get everyone killed.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


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