After last week’s long winded mid-season return, it was great to see The Walking Dead embrace some weird and wonderful zombie fun, bring some real emotion and introduce us to group that was very different and strange in more ways than one. “New Best Friends” felt more like the episode we should have had last week and a good launching pad to get the second half of season seven rolling.
This mysterious little group, led by a woman named Jadus, seems almost cult-like in their total obedience and lack of emotion. Who are these people? What is their real story, because the one Jadus spun is full of so many holes it would make a sieve jealous. Still, they have a lot of people and Rick knows immediately that they could turn the tide if they joined their fight against the Saviors.
However, Jadus needs some convincing that Rick and his group are the real deal so he is pushed in a pit to show off his survival skills against something that left me grinning from ear to ear. Ridiculous? Well, sure. But this campy scene was very much needed for a show that far too often gets bogged down in serious story lines. I know a zombie apocalypse is no laughing matter but things get so heavy on this show that it begins to depress me enough to lose interest. This was a great shot in the arm, as was this mysterious new group.
We also find out what happened with Gabriel, what he was up to and it adds to the mystery of his character as well. It seems just when you have this guy figured out he goes and does something totally opposite or unexpected which makes him not matter he what he says and does at the moment, an interesting wildcard as the show moves forward.
The eventual reunion between Daryl and Carol finally happened and it was a wonderful and emotional scene. As a viewer I believed every second of it, as built up tensions and fears let go as they met face to face for the first time in a while. What I found more interesting was the timing of this and what was said, or in this case not said, between the two. I’m glad when they finally parted ways things were left in a way that will add some heated moments as the season progresses.
The tensions are building between the Saviors and certain members of the different groups, as the march to inevitable war continues. Although it’s a given that a bloody confrontation is coming, it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds and if all the people with us now are still around when that time comes. There are some people with itchy trigger fingers and they could set off a Saviors first strike if they’re not careful.
I am very interested to see what becomes of this new group and if and when they join up to take on the Saviors, how effective they will be. They are hiding something and that could be the interesting twist that decides many lives before this season comes to an end. The Walking Dead showed us this week that it remembered some of its roots, where it came from in terms of spinning new ideas and having a sense of humor. Let’s hope they build on this in some way, shape or form because things are going to get ugly soon and they’ll need that humor to get them and us, the viewer, all on the same page.
Four stars out of five
- The pit fight was great, campy fun
- Reunion between Daryl and Carol was very well done
- Building tension slowly, in interesting ways
- Pit fight was over too soon
- For Christ's sake Morgan, put on your big boy pants!