Episode Title: The Next World
Original Airdate: 2-21-16
A very different kind of episode this week picks up two months after the mid-season premiere (according to Danai Gurira on The Talking Dead), as Alexandria has picked itself back up and continues to move forward. Rick and Daryl head out on a supply run, because food and other essentials are becoming scarce. They find a truck already loaded with lots of goodies, but it is soon stolen by Jesus. That’s right, Jesus literally takes the wheel here (thanks, Twitter!).
“Jesus” is just the nickname of the lone survivor who non-threateningly picks Rick’s pocket and makes off with the truck. So of course, Rick and Daryl track the truck and get it back, leaving Jesus tied up on the side of the road, but he escapes and ends up on the truck’s roof, which causes Rick to slam on the breaks, throwing Jesus off the truck, only to be chased by an angry Daryl in an open field, with a few Walkers nearby. Rick backs the truck to what he thinks is a safe spot, so he can take out the Walkers to allow Daryl to play a safe game of tag, but during a scuffle of Jesus trying to take the truck again, he knocks it into reverse and all the lovely, life-saving supplies end up at the bottom of a lake. Jesus ends up knocked out, and Rick and Daryl take him back to Alexandria, because he did end up saving Daryl from a Walker. After Denise looks him over, Rick and Daryl deposit Jesus in what passes for a holding cell in that town, which is really just an unfinished basement of a brownstone.
Other big couplings of the day include Carl and Enid just hanging out in the woods, being kind of emo teens, until they spot a Walker, but not just any random Walker. Enid heads back to town, but Carl baits the special Walker into the direction of Spencer and Michonne, who had passed by earlier. He doesn’t do it to be cruel, but because the special Walker is Deanna, and he knows that Spencer would be the one that would want to put her to rest, which Spencer does, because that was why he, with Michonne following, was wandering the woods with a shovel in the first place.
And that’s about it. Nothing else terribly excit-
I’m remembering something else…
Oh right, THIS HAPPENED!
WHICH LED TO THIS!!!
AND THEN THIS!!!!!
BUT SOMEHOW ENDED WITH…THIS!?
Sorry(notsorry) for the photo overload, but DUDES, THIS IS HUGE! Now, I’m not one to “ship” much, if ever, and certainly not during a zombie apocalypse, mainly because I’m not 12 years old, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy seeing RICHONNE come together. Sure everyone is surviving day-to-day, but they’re still people, and people need sex, dammit! This coupling feels completely natural, like it’s been coming on for a long time. Since the fall of the Prison, I’ve felt that Rick, Michonne and Carl (then Judith when they got her back) were their own little family, even getting a house together in Alexandria. So seeing the parental figures of said family finally being intimate just makes sense. You know, so YAY!
This episode will certainly stand out, not only for the satisfying ending, but also because it feels different than any other episode before (and probably after) it. From the opening moments, when Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” started playing, I knew something was up. I don’t recall the show ever playing unscored music within an episode other than when Beth use to randomly burst into song or one brief moment at the beginning of Season 4 when Rick had headphones whilst farming, but I couldn’t tell you those songs.
After the carnage of last week, this episode was a nice, lighthearted change. Half of it was practically a Rick/Daryl buddy roadtrip comedy with almost zero threat. Seriously, if you didn’t laugh as Daryl chased Jesus around the field, there is no hope for you. All of that followed by a the genuine blossoming of romance between two of my favorite characters, and I can’t think of the last time I enjoyed an episode this much that didn’t contain a big bang or loads of death. It had some annoying moments (thanks Enid) and some improbable elements (Deanna in one piece? Doubt it.) but it was still an amazing follow-up to last week’s mind-blowing return.
Sometimes it’s nice to not hold your breath for an hour straight, feel your heart rate spike ten times but still have a big smile on your face at the end. It doesn’t happen very often in this t.v. world, but this episode will hold up as a rare exception.