Slowly but surely, the tension is heating up on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Sure, the war between The Saviors and Rick Grimes has been a long drawn out ordeal, but when is war really over quickly? In the last few weeks since Season 8 re-launched following a long midseason break, we have seen Carl Grimes pass on, The Scavengers be wiped out, and Negan’s leadership inadvertently dwindle. Now the team behind The Walking Dead look to interject a new group to the already crowded mix in the latest episode The Key.
Initially airing on Sunday, March 18, 2018, The Key is a sort of mixed episode. On one hand we see Negan lead his group out to bring The Hilltop a message of infected zombie blood and guts, looking to frighten them to stand down. During this time, Rick, who is more focused than ever to end Negan’s reign, scopes out the line of vehicles making the road trip out to The Hilltop. Low and behold, what does he see? He sees Negan right in the middle of the pack, so rather than stick to whatever plans he had, he aims toward knocking Negan off the road and handling him on his own.
Meanwhile, Negan’s defiant officer, Simon, looks to have a heart-to-heart with the returning Dwight about his real feelings toward Negan’s plan of attack. Dwight, long since checked out of wanting to be a Savior, listens quietly to Simon, who in enough words is saying he is done following Negan and wants to simply eradicate the problem, aka snuff out all of Rick’s people and then some. An interesting turn of events, the betrayal of Negan was easy to see coming after Simon carelessly ordered all of Jadis’ people to be slaughtered.
This in mind, Negan is all but on his own after Rick knocked him off the road. Fighting one on one, Negan offers Rick a new deal, but Rick completely untrusting, brings up the genocide of The Scavengers, all news to Negan. Their fight is filled with plenty of action, Negan’s beloved Lucille turned into a flaming weapon, and plenty of wrestling, but of course, to Rick’s frustration, Negan escapes.
Now on to the head-scratching portion of The Key. This comes in the form of yet another group of people being tossed into an already overcrowded room. These people’s welcome wagon consists of a woman named Georgie (Jayne Atkinson: Free Willy 1993, The Village 2004) and her aides Hilda (Kim Ormiston: The Loft 2014, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 2015) and Midge (Misty Ormiston: The Loft 2014, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 2015). Georgie, looking more like the CEO of a big corporation, talks to Maggie, Michonne, Rosita, and Enid about a deal for some food, and yes, vinyl – no spoken word please. A puzzling turn of events, Georgie offers Michonne and company plans for the future in exchange for the goods. So, what does this all mean? Who are these people and why are they being brought into the story now?
It is difficult to tell which way the story is going with The Walking Dead, but one thing is for sure, it does seem like the confrontation between Rick and The Saviors is coming to a head. Which leads to curiosity, will this new group brought into the picture be part of the next chapter of the series, or are they just merely a footnote to throw off viewers? Either way, The Key was an action-packed episode where fans get to see Rick and Negan go toe-to-toe for really only the second time ever. During their few face-to-face fights, we can really see the more human side of Negan. Afterall, Negan has turned from a fearful monster when first introduced to a much more vulnerable character as time goes on.
There is so much left to discover, and only time will tell what direction The Walking Dead goes from here. The drama picks up again on Sunday, March 25th with the new episode Do Not Send Us Astray. Until then, CrypticRock gives The Key 4 out of 5 stars.