This Week on ‘The Walking Dead:’ ‘No Way Out’

Photo released by AMC
Sgt. Abraham Ford and Sasha mow down the herd from above.

Bloodbath. Sunday’s return of The Walking Dead featured the death of three major characters, but beneath the nonstop action and tears were hidden some extremely important plot points.

The opening scene featured Abraham and Sasha facing execution by a group of heavily armed bikers who claimed their property in the name of someone named Negan. After a few moments of suspense, Daryl utilized Abraham’s RPG to blast the baddies to dust. It was brilliantly suspenseful and hilarious at the same time, but the seemingly random encounter is actually one of the most critical plot points of the entire series, as is the encounter with that blonde man who stole Daryl’s crossbow. Fans of the comic have waited anxiously, and vocally, for multiple years to see the arrival of “Negan” to the silver screen, and Sunday’s opening scene sent the internet ablaze with talk of the encroaching plot shift. Frankly, to call this a plot shift is an understatement, the mention of “Negan” signifies an entirely new era of The Walking Dead, but we’ll get into that later on.

In a gruesome and terrifying scene, Rick watches his girlfriend, Jessie, get eaten alive along with her youngest son. Rick even hacks off his lovely’s hand, which would not let go of Carl. To make matters worse, the moody teenaged boy band wanna-be, otherwise known as Jessie’s son Ron, holds Carl at gun point and accidently blasts a bullet into Carl’s face as Michonne sticks a katana through his achy breaky heart.

As Denise attempts to save Carl’s life, a crazed and distraught Rick rushes into the mob of walkers and goes Rambo. This acts as a rally to war for the Alexandrians hiding in their homes, and soon the entire town joins in with Rick. As the cast reunites, the resident of Alexandria are inspired by Rick to take an all out stand against the horde of undead, and even Eugene and Gabriel step up to the challenge. They emerge victorious as a community, and reclaim their home.

This victory is the first indication of a whole knew chapter of The Walking Dead saga. We saw our groups of cops, rednecks, lawyers, and teachers rally together and risk the ultimate sacrifice for the place they call home. We saw survivors overcome a challenge unlike that they have ever faced. They have proved that the world is left to the strong, and together, the undead are not nearly the threat they once were. Rick sees this. He sees that that the vision Deanna had is achievable. Rick sees a world not of survival, but of rebuilding, and this revelation will be taking us in a new and novel direction of the story. After all the horror’s our characters have faced, this riveting and heartbreaking episode left us with a promising sense of optimism. As Rick says to his unconscious son, “We can expand the walls. We can rebuild. Let me show you the new world, Carl.”

One question remains, however, despite a season of foreshadowing. As our favorite ginger Abraham would ask, “Who’s Negan?”