The Walking Dead: 610 “The Next World” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
After a tense experience last week, it was time for things to calm down this week on The Walking Dead. Rick and Daryl actually got some screen time together but, unfortunately, the episode itself wasn’t anything spectacular and their double-act was short-lived.
With what happened in the mid-season premier it was understandable that this week’s episode would be quieter. Not a lot of action happened at all and the overall plot was just above average. There were a few neat scenes here and there but overall the narrative was slow and a bit boring.
Regardless, I still enjoyed the episode. We can’t have a tense, action-packed, bloodbath every week. The episode did spend a little bit of time expanding some characters. The scenes between Michonne and Spencer were interesting. It appeared at first that Spencer may have been losing it, what with travelling alone in the woods with a shovel. As it turned out, with Michonne’s help, he was searching for his mother, Deanna, who was killed in the mid-season finale last year. Spencer confronted her undead corpse and made the finishing blow.
This part of the episode continued to show the Alexandria characters grow into more well-rounded characters. They aren’t sheltered anymore and are willing to fight back against the apocalypse now having come to terms with it.
Carl’s development was hard to follow as I was unsure where he stood in his new predicament. Having been through a lot already in the series, Carl now faces the reality of now having only one eye after having it shot out by Ron in the previous episode. As child characters go, he’s certainly been through hell. Looking back at him in Season 1 is scary simply because of how young and innocent he looks. Now he is practically a young man who is entrusted with protecting his baby sister, father, and friends from flesh eating zombies. Here’s hoping his character isn’t affected too much by his lack of sight.
Obviously the main focus of the episode was Rick and Daryl searching for supplies outside the walls of Alexandria. This part of the narrative was in some ways the best and worst of the narrative. The best because it had the most action, but worst because of the annoying situations involved. I’m surprised this episode wasn’t called ‘The Unfortunate Events of Rick and Daryl’.
I already mentioned in last week’s review that I was concerned about Rick’s change of heart. Things never go right when he becomes too passionate. Rick operates better when he’s calculative and ruthless. It’s been demonstrated time and time again how he’s allowed his enemies to walk all over him when he’s passive; i.e. Shane in Season 2 and the Governor in Season 4. Both of these examples left his group at the mercy of psychopaths, with the latter resulting in several causalities and the loss of their haven.
With Negan around the corner, things aren’t looking good. Rick’s careless attitude left himself wide open to attacks. There were moments where he appeared ruthless and willing to pull the trigger whilst other scenes contradicted this with his care-free passive nature, wishing for a brighter future. I suppose his ruthless side can still get people killed, especially when he doesn’t think straight, but at least he’s more focused and ready.
Even Daryl is getting worse and losing his edge. Time and time again they allowed their found food and water to fall into enemy hands, which was eventually lost to them. This eventually made the entire narrative appear redundant as their supply trip was wasted. All this because Rick and Daryl were careless. It almost turned certain scenes into a comedy due to the hilarity over who possessed the van.
The major interest in ‘The Next World’ was the introduction of Paul “Jesus” Rovia. His character does seem quite cool. He has a certain attitude and appearance about him that makes him instantly likable. My fear was he was going to be a wasted character due to being killed off fairly quickly. Luckily he seems to be supporting a new arc for Season 6, as shown in teasers for the next episode.
Finally, we had Rick and Michonne hooking up. This to me seemed completely out of the blue. Although it’s fair to say the signs were there growing throughout Season 5, especially once Rick and Michonne became deputies. Their friendship has certainly come a long way and their trust in each other has shown that. Plus she has a good relationship with Carl, almost sealing the deal. But with Rick more recently concentrating his attentions on Jessie, now dead, it really did seem forced to see him getting with Michonne so soon.
At least the scene felt reasonable with all the signs indicating that they would be having sex before the credits rolled. Again, it still felt a little bit forced even though I can agree that they have become close over the development of the series and that the two of them are right for one other. Either way, it’s still a nice piece of development which will take the show in yet a new direction. But part of me feels that this may have sealed Michonne’s fate as so far Rick’s lovers haven’t favoured well in this zombie ridden world.
‘The Next World’ was an above average episode. It was by no means the worst episode of the show but it definitely wasn’t the best, but still better than average due to its developing character arcs. It has some good scenes throughout but mostly it was a drawn out filler episode, supported only by clear developments for the next story. Without a doubt the episode did irritate me due to Rick and Daryl’s incompetence and I just hope that Rick realises his flaws before it’s too late. I can’t go without mentioning the hilarious end scene. Talk about killing the mood.