The Walking Dead: The King, the Widow and Rick Review
AMC‘s The Walking Dead, season 8, episodes 6, ‘The King, the Widow and Rick,’ could be considered the official aftermath to All Out War’s Round One win (?), for Rick (Andrew Lincoln) & the Commune Collective. It could also have been a formal break in the arc’s momentum, as various characters found their priorities drawn to areas outside The Plan Rick has been going on about.
A morning-after-mayhem montage summarized Round One through a series of written correspondence, which, beyond the Ken Burns feel of voice-over readings, was mostly singular POV optimism. In the meantime, we got privy to more of Rick’s The Plan. The next step in The Plan: He Went to Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). If I didn’t find Jadis refreshing enough, already, her quip about Rick seemed to speak for a lot of viewers, regarding the show’s penchant for speeches. That, and her response to Rick’s attempted re-negotiation ensuring that she stays on the dark side of the opposing forces. This is good – the ‘good guys’ already have a Carol (Melissa McBride).
Meanwhile, the Monster-in-progress march rolled on, back in Alexandria, as no-bitch-seat Daryl (Norman Reedus) & Tara (Alanna Masterson) discussed the limits to Dwight’s redeeming actions. I suppose, for all their hawkishness, their post-Plan plans suggests a belief that Rick’s grand plan was working, and the Commune Collective was winning. Well, I think we’ve all seen shows like this drag on, for as long as Showrunners think they can get away with it; so that just couldn’t be the case (for long, anyway).
For some reason, Michonne (Danai Gurira) was the only one who understood this – though she wasn’t clear on the particulars. Easing her mind didn’t come easy, either – Rosita (Christian Serratos) insisted on going along, for the see-for-myself ride. Plot-timing allowed them to overhear a Savior sonic scheme-in-progress – though the blaring loudspeakers likely helped – then catch pertinent parts of of its runners’ conversation. Side-adventure achievement: unlocked.
Since nothing says suspense-builder/ tension-breaker like carelessness, we got the first real fight of the episode (in case anyone feared a between-round lull).
Anyone else find that Savior whistle counter-productive, during a stalk-and-kill where you don’t know what your threat is, or where? Anyone else found the coolness factor of man going RPG-poof wasted, when the obvious intent of the Savior siren rig was obvious?
There was also the matter of bringing a steel pipe to a Kitana sword lady-boss fight (before realizing there was a handicap in your favor); but the take-away from this side-adventure looked to be that, after Rick’s Round One win, carelessness is how the war will keep going.
… Not here, though! Monsters-in-progress put a frog in our steel swinging siren’s throat. Ridiculous, but satisfying.
While the Dreads & the Scar went about their siren sidelining, the Hat had his own little side adventure. You’d never know there was a war on, with all this downtime wandering & adventuring; but Carl (Chandler Riggs) had unfinished business with proverb proffering urchin, Siddiq (Avi Nash). Carl didn’t figure that asking Siddiq the Questions was honoring Rick, but it let the rest of us know where this was supposed to go. Somehow, taking it upon himself to invite Siddiq back wasn’t enough, and the pair decided to mark the occasion with a mass Walker ‘release’ action (in honor of Siddiq’s mom, of course). It was a case of “kids finding their own way” that was needlessly stupid; but that’s how kids typically roll, so a time of post-apocalyptic war & Walkers wouldn’t make a difference, obviously.
On the other hand, I’m thinking Carl would’ve been otherwise occupied, had Enid (Katelyn Nacon) not gone off to understudy with Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Take a needless messiah complex risk for a lone stranger, or stay home & chew ice? Alexandrian ice is expensive, I imagine….
Even though he deserves much worse, there was something satisfying about Gregory (Xander Berkeley) being handled like someone somewhere between impudent child, and demented crazy uncle. The cause for his timeout, this time around, was the ongoing issue of Jesus (Tom Payne) saves. Even after the Geneva Convention accord, the taking of POWs has remained a matter of convenience. To Maggie’s point, the Hilltop couldn’t afford them as a matter of resources & security; to Jesus’ point, it would be nice to restore a World where the Geneva Convention still mattered. To Gregory’s point, however – as an application to serve as Maggie’s veteran Executive Counsel – describing the captive Saviors as wolves among the sheep should’ve only reminded Maggie that having a hyena in her ear would be worse.
This was what should’ve occurred to Gregory, anyway; but it didn’t, so he was actually surprised by the outcome. Poor, childishly demented, crazy uncle Gregory. This still wasn’t the comeuppance he deserves – but there was still Jared (Joshua Mikel), to remind us that there’s worse, and Jesus’ new talkative inmate friend, to remind us that there’s better. Not terribly subtle; but we’re not at such a point, right now.
Speaking of Jared, the depleted Kingdom seemed ready to replace his victim. With Ezekiel (Khary Payton) taking a protracted moment, Carol had to consider carrying on the fight as a free-agent. Only, the Showrunners seem to need this Lone Wolf to be saddled with at least one Cub, for reasons.
I’m not sure which bothered me more: the fact that Jerry (Cooper Andrews) has an ax stash, or the fact that Carol keeps attracting sacrificial lambs.
Well, the Kingdom sub-plot had one more “yet I smile” dialogue to get through (albeit, ironic); but at least Jerry made a point of there not being anymore needless shooting. Use your home ec training, Carol – the results of your talk-down attempt didn’t warrant the damage you had in mind. Still, Carol vocalizing the multi-faced aspect of her skill-set made this vestige of the King & I sub-plot a useful effort (Carol’s been kinda absent as a character, this season).
The big take-away, to ‘The King, the Widow and Rick,’ was that the end of Round One may mean a return to fragmented sub-plotting (even Enid called shot-gun, for a bit of on-the-road side-adventuring). How bearable that may be depends on how unlike this episode’s examples those turn out.
We got Michonne getting caught up in some kind of Roadie Revenger Society rogue action-in-progress. There’s Carl’s new recruit. Carol managing a deflated man, and a puffed up kid. Maggie playing Warden, and bad cop, to Jesus’ good cop. On top of all that, we also got Rick getting an ‘A’ for effort, from Jadis… but in a way that says Terminus more than academic excellence.
Some of these can pan out great; but I’m not all that keen on there being a spread. There was enough material to work with to keep the changing tides of war going – even without overt violence – but Round One has definitively ended in a holding action. Between Negan, The Revengers, and Jared, this can change within a single episode; but too many characters have staked out their own respective corners.
All Out War has taken a breather.
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