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Spoilers from this week's The Walking Dead episode will obviously be found below, so here's your chance to lurch away like a zombie.
For those unfamiliar with The Walking Dead, this week's episode, “Look at the Flowers,” would be an out-of-context trip, even for anyone already familiar with zombie movies and television shows. Hell, what's going on now would probably sound bizarre to fans of The Walking Dead who bailed after season seven.
Consider what has gone on the last season and a half: A messed-up cult of nameless wanderers who call themselves The Whisperers wear the skin of zombies over their own faces so that they can blend in and roam with other hordes of zombies, which they use as their own mindless, unkillable armies. A man named Negan — best known for bashing in the heads of two characters with a baseball bat wrapped in barbwire he named after his dead wife — ends up joining The Whisperers to take them down from the inside. This requires that he have sex with a bald woman who goes by the name of Alpha while she is wearing a skin mask, which is a turn-on for Negan because she reminds him of his late wife, who died of cancer.AMC
Negan cuts off the head of the bald woman, though he gets tearful about it because again the mass murderer in the skin masks reminds him of his late wife. Negan, by the way, used to be a high-school gym teacher. Negan subsequently takes Alpha's head and plants it on a pike, where it is discovered by Beta, a former world-famous country singer turned Whisperer. WHAT? He removes Alpha's zombified head from the spike, throws it in a bag, and then distills meaning and direction from the hisses of the decapitated zombie head.
Alpha's hissing leads Beta to an old dive-bar, where he listens to an old record of his, and psyches himself up to lead another horde of zombies into battle, but not before he removes the skin from Alpha's face and plants it over half of his own face. The other half of his face is covered by the older, leathered skin of his dead friend from rehab. Now he looks like Zombie Phantom of the Opera.AMC
If disturbing content is what viewers are looking for, there's plenty of is in this season of The Walking Dead, and with Beta and The Whisperers marching toward Alexandria like they're in a “Thriller” video, I expect there will be more, if not in next week's episode, then in the season finale whenever that airs.
The April 12 premiere of “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” is creeping closer and AMC has unveiled a new video teaser of its upcoming horror drama.
The latest video for “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” promises that despite the young new faces, the upcoming series will feature plenty of the violence and horror that has made “The Walking Dead” franchise one of the most successful television series in the last decade.
Per AMC, “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” will delve into a new mythology and story that follows the first generation raised in a surviving civilization of the post-walker world. Two sisters, along with two friends, leave a place of safety and comfort to brave dangers — known and unknown, living and undead — on an important quest. Pursued by those who wish to protect them and those who wish to harm them, a tale of growing up and transformation unfurls across dangerous terrain, challenging everything they know about the world, themselves and each other. Some will become heroes. Some will become villains. But all of them will find the truths they seek.
To go along with the video sneak peek, AMC also released a disarmingly colorful poster of the upcoming series, which is co-created by Scott M. Gimple and showrunner Matt Negrete. The new art features series stars Nico Tortorella and Annet Mahendru, who play Felix and Huck, respectively, on the series. The duo will be joined by series stars Aliyah Royale, Alexa Mansour, Nicolas Cantu, Hal Cumpston, and Julia Ormond.
“The Walking Dead: World Beyond” is produced and distributed by AMC Studios and executive produced by Gimple, Negrete, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Brian Bockrath. The show will mark the third installment in “The Walking Dead” franchise; “Fear the Walking Dead” premiered in 2015 and is gearing up for a sixth season.
While the first two “The Walking Dead” series are still ongoing, AMC is billing the upcoming series as a two-season “limited event.” Each season of “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” will consist of 10 episodes.
Check out the new video for “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” below:
There’s a moment in “Look at the Flowers” where Negan and Daryl — having come to an understanding that Negan didn’t really switch sides — are sitting together, waiting for a woman that won’t show up, and Negan admits that yes, he did enjoy his time with the Whisperers. It’s not just the freedom, although that was obviously a big part of it: He just liked feeling like he mattered again. But Alpha killed people who didn’t need killing, including wanting to murder her own daughter, and that was too much for him. Daryl growls that he still doesn’t like him, but some sort of accord has been reached.
The Negan redemption the show has been building towards for some time has always been a dicey proposition, not just because of his myriad crimes including his harem that nobody likes to talk about, but because his lifetime imprisonment was the last major act of the sainted Rick Grimes, and Negan can’t be a symbol of a new society if he’s not locked up. But you can’t pay Jeffrey Dean Morgan to spend an indefinite number of seasons moping in a prison cell, so his release was inevitable, and it was up to the writers to do their best to justify it. While it will probably never make sense from a moral standpoint, if this week’s scenes between Negan and Daryl are any indication, Negan being free will give the show a much-needed boost in satisfying character interplay.
Daryl and Negan, as two tough-guy loners, would probably be at odds even without their bloody history, and their mini-“Midnight Run” adventure this week, with Daryl taking Negan prisoner because he thinks he betrayed them, is a welcome change of pace. The scene where some Whisperers get the drop on them only to fall on their knees before their new Alpha, Negan, is genuinely funny, as is Negan’s milking of the situation once he has Daryl at a disadvantage. The idea of Negan rejoining Alexandria as a free man is an exciting one, because he has so many characters to play off of now that the dynamic has changed, provided the show doesn’t just quickly smooth it all out like it tends to. But for now, let’s be optimistic. Any significant shift in the status quo for a show as long in the tooth as this one is welcome.
Unfortunately, those Daryl/Negan scenes are the highlight of what’s mostly a perfunctory “let’s get from A to B” episode. The plot centers on Carol, who considers suicide but decides against it. That description sounds flippant, but the show manifests her self-doubt in the form of a taunting Alpha, and the story can never transcend this extremely hoary cliché. It’s nice to see Samantha Morton chewing the scenery one more time...