Beware of Spoilers! Proceed with caution, survivors. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched tonight’s episode, “Knots Untie”, we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
Well, the relative peacefulness of “The Next World” sure didn’t last very long, did it? After taking a week to catch its breath in the wake of the Battle of Alexandria, The Walking Dead gets back on its feet and into its comfort zone of madness with an episode that sees our survivors meet yet another group that owes its existence to an extremely questionable agreement. In this case, Jesus — who’s revealed as a scout looking for new communities with which to trade — takes Rick and co. to meet his “Hilltop” people, whose leader Gregory has agreed to surrender half of their crops to Negan and his “Saviors” under penalty of death. It’s the same setup as Seven Samurai (or The Magnificent Seven or A Bug’s Life, if you’re so inclined), with Rick, Michonne, Daryl, et al selling their services as protectors in exchange for sustenance. Maggie, taking another step towards replacing Deanna as Alexandria’s top diplomat, brokers the deal. And while it’s nice to see the former farmer’s daughter being further groomed for leadership, I can’t help but think her strengthening is designed to prepare her and us for a massive tragedy on the horizon. (One familiar to Walking Dead comics fans.) Especially, when we’re treated to long, lingering shots of her and Glenn looking at their baby’s heart beating on an ultrasound monitor; and showing friends’ their first baby picture. Maggie’s grim “It’s gonna cost us something” is as much a warning to viewers as it is to Rick.
“Knots Untie” is told largely through the perspective of Abraham, who’s falling harder for Sasha with each passing day. He tries to reason around his feelings by arguing with Glenn over the pointlessness of trying to lay down roots in their world of constant horror. But I’m still not entirely sure Sasha has the same feelings for Abe. In any case, it seems likely someone’s heart will be broken, and soon. The omen we’re given here is Rosita’s necklace, left in the dirt after Abe almost dies at the hands of Jesus’ fearful comrades. But Abraham’s relationship with Rosita is primarily about power and reassurace, as opposed to the kind of uncertain love that can only exist between equals. As the ginger giant said not long ago — “I like the way you call bullshit, Sasha.”
As for Rick and Michonne’s blossoming relationship… Contrary to what some of us were expecting, Carl seems to be completely fine with it, even after it’s revealed to him via Jesus, who tells the kid that he’s waiting for his “mom and dad to get dressed.” I was worried we’d be in for at least three episodes of Carl grappling with the fact that his father has finally found a partner to replace Lori, one with whom the boy had already formed his own bond. There’s not much in the way of afterglow in “Knots Untie.” But based on the way Rick and Michonne are holding hands, it’s doubtful their coupling will turn out to be a mere one-night stand. Sure, those of us who’ve long followed the comics (and spent the better part of a decade viewing the two as brother and sister), may have some mixed feelings about all this. But Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira are strong enough actors to sell their newfound feelings with little more than a few knowing looks.
To their credit, I’m already worried about their future together. Power couple or not, they’re about to be tested like never before by the deadliest madman they’ve yet faced, and, appropriately enough, the most charismatic.
— The “Peace out” Abraham and Sasha give each other when their guard duty shifts are over is all kinds of adorable.
— But then — *choke* — so is the fact that Rosita made a necklace for Abe out of a cracked tail light from a fuel truck!
— Again with the sorghum.
— I like how Rick doesn’t even bother contradicting Carl when he describes himself as “the kid with the messed-up face.”
— “When you were pouring Bisquick were you trying to make pancakes?” If Eugene’s not careful, Abraham’s gonna replace him as the group’s metaphor mastermind.
— “Don’t.” God help the idiot who threatens Michonne’s man.
— Did anyone else laugh out loud when Rick, his face caked in the blood emptied out of his would-be killer’s artery, stood up, looked around, and bellowed, “What?!”
What do you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Image Credit: AMC