The Walking Dead, Season 6 Episode 11 – “Knots Untied”: From a non-TWD Comic reader, with love.

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Posted March 1, 2016 by Henry Wong in Nerdy Bits

Following last week’s shocker of a cliff hanger (Its not like there have been any Richonne, plus Carl, centric episodes in the past three seasons…), we were introduced to the next level of The Walking Dead’s universe, level “Civilization”. Throughout the series, Rick’s group grows and grows, starting from a small nomadic survivor group to an established group looking to assimilate new members. And each time they overcame the big obstacle in their way, they “evolved” their group to the next level of group organization. Watching the TV show reminded me of playing “Spore”, that defunct evolution simulation game where you grow from a single celled organism to an intergalactic civilization. But as formulaic as that growth curve seems, I am still excited to see what and when Rick and his fellows will do next to put their mark on the world. Which leads me to this week’s episode.

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This week, we find out that there are other settlements. That there have been for some time. It was a really nice twist to what some viewers were used to in the TWD world. And most of all, it seemed realistic. Humans are a pretty hardy species and banding together to rebuild has been a central theme in the TWD TV show. But to me, it just seems like Rick’s group has been one of the most unfortunate groups of survivors in this zombie apocalypse. They never seem to be able to find that peace and quiet for long before something comes to disrupt it. The Hilltop community didn’t get along all those years unscathed though. We learned more about what Negan’s people are capable of when Jesus retells the story of how Negan’s emissary asked for resources and ended up beating a 16 year old kid to death in front of the Hilltop community. This story does a great job feeding into the growing ominous storm cloud that is Negan. But still. What has Rick’s group been doing wrong? Perhaps what they did in this week’s episode is just that wrong that has been plaguing them since season 1.

We were treated to a wonderfully written and acted negotiation between Gregory, the misogynistic ass of a leader, and Maggie, the new Deanna of Alexandria. They ended up agreeing to giving half of Hilltop’s resources to Alexandria in exchange for Rick’s group’s help in dealing with Negan. In the scene when Rick finally settled on offering to deal with Negan, Maggie left us with a rather cryptic line, “this is going to cost us something.” After watching that scene, I have to admit, I am rather scared for our protagonists as the show has a history of killing off characters suddenly, R.I.P Beth. As an aside, the exchanges between the both of them really helped their characters come out. Gregory, who just happened to have had the luck to barely help his community survive, is clearly a brash, but craven leader with a personality opposite of Rick. And Maggie, who at first seemed inexperienced in professional wheeling and dealing, proved that she was capable of being that leader that Deanna saw in her.

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Perhaps the Hilltop community’s entrance to the already packed story line this half of season 16 is setting us viewers up for a crazy finale that will top the mid-season finale. We know that Negan’s people are vicious, we know that the Hilltop community has the resources for people to fight over and die for, and we know that Rick’s group needs those resources and are crazy enough to fight with vicious people (The Cannibals?), so all that remains is what happens when they get all mashed up.

Other Things

– The episode was full of tension. It was palpable in the air, although I didn’t know why until the end. And the end didn’t dissipate any of that tension. If anything, it added to it. Even as our heroes happily drove off with all the supplies they might need and stared at a picture of Maggie and Glenn’s baby.

– I really liked the set up of the Hilltop community. It looked like a feudal town, complete with a palisade wall, blacksmith, wandering livestock and a central fort where the important people live. The only thing missing was a bunch of armour plated knights walking around. But I was also wondering why nobody was trying to craft some bows and arrows?

– Abraham’s conflict over which woman he really loved was an unnecessary side plot to this episode. Although he bonded with Sasha in the first half of the season, I don’t know if it is necessarily a good idea to write in lovers’ drama into the second half of the season. It just doesn’t fit the tempo that the mid-season premiere set. I did, however, like how interested Abraham was with Glenn and Maggie’s decision to have a baby. It was short and it really helped show a few sides of the very real discussion of life after a zombie apocalypse.

– Jesus is such a clever name to give to a character. Anybody else laugh when Gregory said, “Jesus, you’re back!”?


About the Author

Henry Wong