The Walking Dead: Knots Untie

"Brave new world."

There is a change in tone this season, isn't there? Our survivors are starting to think about having an actual future, about living instead of just surviving.

Much of this interesting little visit to Hilltop was seen through this new lens of hope, and from Abraham's changing point of view. (Note the Lost-like close-ups of Abraham's baby blues.) Like the rest of our survivors, Abraham has lost everyone from his former life, and he's still thinking of the present as an extended battle. He is also thinking about Sasha while sleeping with Rosita. The idea of creating a baby on purpose seemed wrong to him, hence those marvelous pancake batter and galoshes metaphors.

Yet, the episode ended so hopefully, with our group in the RV passing around Maggie's ultrasound. Come on, guys. The time will never be right. If they all wait until their lives are safe and normal to have kids in this new world, it will never happen. Glenn and Maggie planned their baby, and Abraham is seeing his relationship with Rosita and his feelings for Sasha in a new way now. This week's Most Obvious Symbolism, and wow, how obvious could it be, was the necklace that Rosita made for Abraham out of the shard of a brake light. A brake light, get it? Get it? Yes, Walking Dead writers, we got it. After his near death experience at Hilltop, Abraham left Rosita's brake light necklace behind in the dust.

Since we're talking about "galoshes", are Rick and Michonne even thinking about birth control? Should Carl and Judith start looking forward to a baby brother or sister? I loved that everyone knew about Rick and Michonne pretty much immediately, and if they hadn't, there was Rick pointedly leaning over and rubbing Michonne's knee in front of everyone in the RV. Rick's brief talk with Carl was also adorable, although Rick really needs to address the "messed up face" situation. Maybe Enid could help, since she certainly doesn't seem to be repulsed by Carl's face.

Anyway, Hilltop has just a bit of an old Southern plantation vibe, minus those unpleasant slavery associations. They have a mansion, a bunch of FEMA trailers, a big fence and a lot of food, but no fighters, no ammo. They also have an absolute jerk of an asshole for a leader. Would they bring Xander Berkeley in for anything else?

Gregory seems to think that the mansion and its contents are his due. Telling his guests to go wash before he talked to them was not only undiplomatic, it was the height of rudeness. He was such a prick with Maggie, calling her "Natalie" and honey and coming on to her. She was a tough, smart, no nonsense negotiator. She got them an incredible deal. I think.

I doubt that Gregory wanted Rick and the Alexandrian contingent to know about Negan and the Saviors, who are getting half of Hilltop's food in exchange for nothing but threats. The Saviors enforced their protection racket by beating someone to death -- in Hilltop's case, it was a sixteen-year-old boy named Rory, which immediately made me think of Carl. Since it's been mentioned twice now, I'm sure someone in our little band of survivors is going to get beaten to death, and yes, I know which character it was in the graphic novels because it's hard to avoid that information out there in TV fandom land. They don't always follow the graphic novels, of course.

Rick was right that all they have to trade for food is their extensive experience as major league bad asses. (I loved the way Rick, completely drenched in arterial blood, glanced around at everyone looking shocked and said, "What?") But it was immediately obvious to us, the viewers, that Rick might have bitten off more than he can chew. Everything goes wrong on this show. It's practically their motto. How many soldiers does Negan have? What sort of resources? Maggie said this decision would cost them, and I'm sure it will.

Of course, they could just send in Carol alone with a poncho and some weapons. So much for Negan.

Bits and pieces:

-- This is the second episode in a row with very few walkers cluttering up the landscape. Of course, we had thousands of walkers in "No Way Out" and earlier in the season, but I'm still wondering if this is a trend.

-- Jesus, who looked much better without that hat, must be Hilltop's greatest asset. Was Jesus actually thinking about recruiting our guys as mercenaries? He certainly noticed everything that was going on in Alexandria, and may have drawn certain conclusions.

-- When Abraham was near death, he heard Sasha's voice saying, "Maybe that's why. Because of the way things go."

-- How many are still living in Alexandria? More than 54, or were our guys exaggerating in order to sound like their community was bigger and stronger?

-- Daryl reminds Denise of someone she used to know, so she's giving him oat cakes.

-- Carol is still making cookies. Poor Sam.

Notes from Talking Dead:

Guests were Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Tom Payne (Jesus), and Kid Cudi. Chris Hardwick was wearing a tux, I assume because it was Oscar night. There was a clip of the work they did to create Hilltop from the ground up, based on how it looked in the graphic novels. The winner of the ultimate fan contest was announced; it was an English teacher named Greg.

Payne said he got the role of Jesus and was on set so quickly that he didn't have time to do enough research, and the beard and hair weren't real at the time. They're real now. Abraham's Bisquick comment generated so much double entendre discussion that Lauren Cohan covered her eyes and said, "Just have an omelet". There was much appreciation for Michael Cudlitz and how he delivers Abraham's lines.

Quotes, including many of Abraham's lines:

Sasha: "Camels don't eat keys."
Abraham: "They do. It did. And it shit it out. (pause) I shit you not."

Jesus: "Knots untie and locks get picked. Entropy comes from order, right?"

Jesus: "Your world's about to get a whole lot bigger."

Abraham: "When you were pouring the Bisquick, were you trying to make pancakes?"
Glenn: "Yes... okay, um. It's something that we talked about, yeah."

Best Abraham quote ever. I had to think about that one before I got it. Apparently, Glenn had to think about it, too. His face was priceless. Do you guys outside of the states have Bisquick? If you don't, here's the mighty Wikipedia to explain what it is.

Abraham: "For the record, I see rain coming, I'm wearing galoshes. I double up."

Abraham: "Good gracious, Ignatius."

Abraham: "How long you think Rick and Michonne been uggin' bumplies?"
Daryl: "I don't know."
Abraham: "You ever think about it? Settling down?"
Daryl: "You think shit's settled?"
Will we ever get a love interest for Daryl?

Daryl: "If we go get your man back, kill Negan, take out his boys, will you hook us up? We want food, medicine, one of them cows."
Rick: "Confrontation's never been something we've had trouble with."

I'm getting such a charge out of The Walking Dead this season. Are they having a good one, or is it just me? Three out of four metaphorical galoshes,

Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.


Anonymous said...

"about living instead of just surviving" - Only the sheltered part of society could ever consider the two separate. I shit you not.
It's not just you, this season is definitely an upward trajectory. Hope they can maintain it.

Patryk said...

When it was revealed that Negan is extorting them all I could think about is Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven in a zombie apocalypse. :P

Docnaz said...

Patrick, you beat me to it. Seven Samuri/ Magnificent Seven /Ants. Exactly what I was thinking. It has become an archetype now, I believe.

Billie Doux said...

I've never seen Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven, but I know what it's about and I think you guys are right. Thanks.

Nick said...

On the other hand, seeing them being so happy these few episodes, makes me feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I read the comics, so I know what's coming, but I really hope that's not what's happening. (said person is my favourite character)

Tim said...

We don't have Bisquick in the UK, Billie. I'd not heard of it before, however now I guess I'm going to forever associate it with, er, not making pancakes ...

Great review. Thanks.

Marianna said...

"Of course, they could just send in Carol alone with a poncho and some weapons. So much for Negan." LOL!!! BRILLIANT!!!

Gregory "coming on to" Maggie is quite the understatement. He told her to prostitute herself. After he said that I said to my husband, "I think Rick should have been the one to talk to him!" (To be clear, that's because I think Gregory deserves a punch in the face, not because Maggie is anything but capable.) I'm wondering how much Maggie told the others, especially Glenn, about the conversation.

Abraham has known he has feelings for Sasha for months now, but he's still with Rosita? He needs to man up and break her the news. By the way, if I'm understanding the galoshes metaphor correctly doubling up is a bad idea. :P

No, I don't think we'll ever get a love interest for Daryl. Unfortunately I think, based on comments Norman Reedus has made, that as a result of his childhood trauma Daryl is not capable of having that kind of relationship.