The Walking Dead 8×12 Review: The Key

‘The Key’ was a wild ride of an episode, fulfilling my love of explosions, violence, betrayal, and fire. A treasure trove of conflict, of discovery, and, I’m hoping that this episode is the ‘Key’ to the show’s salvation.

After last week’s disastrous episode, spectacularly sober, I propped my feet up for ‘The Key’ and prepared for more trash fires. I didn’t expect much, but that’s the only way to watch The Walking Dead now. I thrive in the darkness and the salt mine now. To my eternal surprise, this episode wasn’t terrible which probably means next week will suck.

However, one kinda decent episode isn’t going to help. The show has begun its descent and nothing short of a miracle will rescue it. The ratings plummeted like Negan letting go of that landing and disappearing into the dark with only a dull fleshy thud. One episode isn’t enough to make people want to watch the show again. Honestly, most people have stopped watching by this point so they probably won’t care either way.

At one point, Nicotero promised the viewers that the second half of season 8 would feature the show’s first nude walker. At first, I was skeptical, then grossed out, and then annoyed because it’s not like there haven’t been naked zombies in moves before (Zombieland, Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, The Walking Deceased). But tonight was the night that the nude walker appeared and … I didn’t even see it. It was wandering around aimlessly in the background. Is this what they were so proud of?

Negan’s reaction when he discovers that Simon didn’t follow his orders, didn’t ‘save’ the Garbage Pail Kids like he was supposed to, was that of genuine surprise and anger. I don’t think he believes Dwight’s tall tale at all so it’ll be interesting to see where the Dwight-Simon-Negan triangle goes.

Rick t-bones Negan’s car in a high-speed Fast & Furious: Alexandria Safe Zone style predicament and then literally flips the car, and chases Negan into a nearby building. The taunting and the cat-and-mouse game was honestly the best thing this season. Rick lights Lucille on fire and proceeds to beat the shit out of Negan with his own bat. Also, might I add, Rick is out of bullets and he is finally reduced to bare-knuckle punching the walkers to death in order to get out alive.

the key

I will say that Georgie & Co are weird as hell and although the way the show introduced them was stupid (are they part of The Commonwealth?), they provided me with a feel-good moment to end the episode on. They traded phonographs (as long as they’re not spoken word, thankyouverymuch) for a manual of instructions to construct windmills and irrigation techniques used in the Middle Ages called ‘The Key’ and gave Maggie and the Hilltop some of their food. I can’t wait to find out whether or not her intentions are or even if she’s coming back to the show. ‘The Key’ might be the beginning of another group. Honestly, I thought the note was Jadis.

the-walking-dead-the-key-dwightsimonAnother sub plot that I’m loving is that of Simon quietly questioning Negan’s leadership. He doesn’t like the way things are run, doesn’t think that killing one person for the good of the many will suffice anymore. Simon is out for floor and he’s determined to overthrow Negan and possibly drag Dwight along with him.

The Jadis reveal at the end as Negan comes through was great. He starts to speak and she pistol whips him into unconsciousness.

If the episodes continue with more meat and more conflict (rather than more dumb up-close face shots), I think there’s a chance that I might be able to enjoy the rest of the season, but the chances are slim to none because I don’t know how shows that have sunk this low can come back from those horrific ratings.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Who does Georgie belong with? Where’s Jadis taking Negan?

Don’t forget that March 26 at 8 PM, Geekiary writers Tara and Farid will join me with a special guest!

Author: Bekah

Bekah has a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Anderson University and is the Executive Assistant at Saga Event Planning. She is a frequent convention attendee and cosplayer and co-hosts The Geekiary webcast “The Bitching Dead”.

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