Despite the fact that yes, this episode of The Walking Dead – “The Next World” – had a few flaws, I personally couldn’t help but love it.
The main thing that bothered me is that without watching The Talking Dead, we had no way of knowing how much time passed between last week’s midseason premiere and “The Next World”. Thankfully Danai Gurira cleared that up right away by saying that it had been two months since Carl was shot…well, okay, no wonder he’s up and about and even going outside the walls with Enid again.
But the best thing is that for the entire episode I was both hopeful and worried that my current TWD dream ship would finally become A Real Thing – and it did, it did! Richonne is officially canon (of course, this is The Walking Dead, so I feel like I should throw in a “at least for now” caveat).
Forgive me for kind of skipping ahead to what happened at the end of this episode, but seriously, I was legitimately bouncing up and down on my couch and flailing when they finally held hands, and then kissed. Even if they hadn’t ended up in bed together (which was totally awesome, of course), to see them actually take that next step in their relationship.
Of course, “The Next World” was a bit heavy-handed in the relationship department, with Carl and Enid spending time together being a minor thing compared to the fact that Denise and Tara are living together and that I spent several rough moments wondering if Michonne was actually expressing interest in Spencer. It was only when she finally talked about him loving his family and how he was a part of the Alexandria family that I was able to see the look on Danai Gurira’s face and think “Oh yes, oh yes please, she has to be talking about Rick and Carl and Judith!”
But also that moment where we realize that Denise and Tara are living together because Denise asks Daryl to grab some soda if he finds some, and admits that it’s because Tara talks about it in her sleep, was really lovely. And of course Daryl being Daryl, he went out of his way to find Denise that soda. It’s just too bad that Jesus got in the way.
That’s right – we finally met Jesus! And while he doesn’t look quite like what I pictured based on the comics, so far the acting and writing for his character seem pretty spot-on. And good thing, too, because that whole situation with the truck was the other heavy-handed part of this episode. I mean, of course there’s something more than what we’re seeing – who leaves a truck full of supplies sitting in an unlocked, unguarded storage barn? Even one in the middle of nowhere? And obviously Jesus wasn’t there by accident. When Rick and Daryl lost the truck and got it back only to lose it again, it was impossible to do anything but shrug over the whole situation, because it really was that predictable.
Additionally, the fact that Daryl and Rick both did a complete 180 in terms of whether or not they think they should be searching for new people to bring back to Alexandria was a bit much. I understand why each of them would change their mind, but for it to lead to them STILL being on opposite sides of the argument just didn’t sit well with me.
However, “The Next World” was also full of moments that were in turns touching and just plain sad, and even though one of them – Maggie searching out Enid and wanting to connect with her – seemed a bit out of place at first, in the end I wonder if maybe it being part of this episode is a hint toward Maggie and Glenn essentially “adopting” Enid in the future. Additionally, the aforementioned conversation and moment of understanding between Daryl and Denise was just a nice addition for several different reasons.
On the other end of the spectrum, the plot line with Spencer having seen his mother as a walker and going out searching for her was both amazing and one of the sadder things I’ve seen on this show in a very long time. I’ve never been fond of the idea of them showing us decent characters who have been turned walkers, but to be honest it’s one of the things they do fairly well.
Unfortunately Rick and Michonne barely got a minute to bask in the glory of what I hope turns out to be as great of a relationship as it could be…not that it was surprising that Jesus got loose, though it was more than a little bit rude of him to walk right into someone’s bedroom like that. Okay, okay, I’m partially kidding – to be honest this was another unsurprising event from “The Next World”.
But again, this is probably my favorite episode of the season so far. The good moments were oh so good, Rick and Michonne finally got together, and let’s not forget that we finally met Jesus.
Did you enjoy “The Next World”? How do you feel about Richonne being A Real Thing (at least for now, sigh)? Let us know in the comments!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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