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The Walking Dead - Who Are You Now? - Review

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The Walking Dead “Who Are You Now?” picks up six years after Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) apparent death. I have a major problem with such a huge time jump – especially now that we know Rick didn’t die. I can see him struggling to get back to his family – but unless he’s died on the way back, shouldn’t he have found a way to get back by now? The episode was written by Eddie Guzelian and was directed by Larry Teng. There were very few developments in this episode that I liked. So far, of the new characters, the only one who really impressed me was Dan Fogler as Luke. I did really appreciate and like the introduction of Lauren Ridloff as Connie and Angel Theory as Kelly for the much needed diversity that they add to the show. Nadia Hilker as Magna did not deliver a performance to impress. Let’s dive into the episode though to further examine all the changes…

As the episode opens, we see that even years on, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are still struggling with the loss of Rick. We get close ups of both their eyes – as we used to Rick’s. While Michonne hasn’t gone completely off the rails – she still has Judith (Cailey Fleming) and Rick Jr – RJ (Antony Azor) to care for, but it does seem that she’s given up trying to be a leader or really craft a system of laws. She has become nomadic again – riding out scouting and for supplies as head of security for Alexandria. She is dead set against letting new people in – and how is that honoring Carl’s wishes? And Daryl? He’s turned into a hermit? Turning his back on all the rest of his family? What happened to supporting Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Hershel?

At the Kingdom, Michonne’s voice over underscores that Carol (Melissa McBride) has found a place to belong – and is clearly in a very happy relationship with Ezekiel (Khary Payton). However, I really, really don’t like what they’ve done with her hair – or Michonne’s (and I don’t believe that this is a look from the comics). Michonne finds comfort in “talking” to Rick – which is really a clunky means of exposition. She tells Rick – and thus us – that the road ahead has become murkier and darker for her. She feels alone and desperate for something to show her a way forward.

I did love her finding the little Sheriff figure – a tiny beacon of light, calling to her. And did that camper look like the one that Heath went missing in? Daryl watching a bird take a worm out of a walker and then feed it to its babies – cycle of life, anyone? – was also a bit heavy handed for my taste. I just don’t see Daryl retreating and keeping himself alive – and not helping the others. Carol finding a tiny flower growing out of a crack in the pavement – was a bit disturbing given the Lizzy history. But perhaps we can take that as an indication that Carol has finally healed and is able to move on. Michonne maintains that she hasn’t given up and she never will – but then we move to a shot of the bridge – Rick’s dream to unite the communities – and it hasn’t been repaired. So do we trust Michonne’s words or what we see?

Judith was not out in the woods by herself – but in true Carl fashion – has wandered off from the hunting party she was with. We see Rosita (Christian Serratos), Laura (Lindsley Register), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) all searching frantically for her. We also see that Aaron seems to have a bionic hand – can’t wait for the explanation on that! – and Eugene is carrying the deer they’ve killed.

Judith introduces them to the people she’s just saved. Rosita tells Judith they can’t help – and Judith should know that. Luke offers to whip the deer up into a nice Osso Buco, but Eugene insists they make stew – “more mileage for the masses” – and then Eugene is annoyed with himself because that tips them off that there are more of them. I really get the vibe that Luke and Eugene will either become friends – or hate each other!

One of my favorite moments in this entire episode is that when the walkers inevitably follow the newcomers, Eugene goes right to the front and is a killing-machine! Also? I AM digging his new braid – it’s mullet to the max! In the end, Aaron relents and agrees to help them.

Back at the Kingdom, things are falling apart, but Jerry (Cooper Andrews) remains as unflaggingly optimistic as always. I loved Jerry calling Carol “My Queen” and Carol using the “Jerry” on him! Jerry fills us in – she’s going to have to accept it at some point because she is married to the King and mother to the Prince!

When one of the pipes burst, Jerry and Carol rush to help Henry (now played by Matt Lintz) to fix it. Ezekiel arrives and praises Henry for fixing it, but Henry is adamant that they need better tools – and someone trained to use them. It’s clearly part of an on-going argument – that Henry wants to go and train with the Blacksmith at Hilltop. In this instance, Ezekiel is the consummate father – he praises Henry’s passion and honesty – but tells him to watch his tone. Henry apologizes – and not sullenly either.

Carol and Ezekiel watch Henry training. Carol points out that Henry isn’t wrong – both he and the Kingdom are getting older – and they do need someone to train with Earl. There is mention of a “fair” – and Ezekiel maintains that he needs Henry for that. Carol points out that he’ll always find a reason not to let Henry go. I love the relationship between these two. She tells him that sometimes you have to let the cracks happen to let the light in – which is painted on their bedroom wall, and I suspect it was painted by Ezekiel as he chuckles when she says it.

Eugene reminds them all that they are in breach of the current security protocols. They’ve blindfolded the newcomers so they don’t know where Alexandria is. It’s clear that they have had bad experiences at other communities – Cold Port – which was a fossilized city of shit. Judith promises them that they’ll be safe in Alexandria – and takes Magna’s hand. We finally get a view of the new Alexandria – which looks even more like a western town. They’ve built a windmill and rebuilt the church. I also did love Gracie (Anabelle Holloway) running out to say hi to her Daddy – Aaron.

Michonne arrives home just after Siddiq (Avi Nash) has Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) taken to the infirmary. DJ (Matt Mangum), who we also see has survived the bridge fight and joined Alexandria like Laura, prevents Magna from going with Yumiko. Interestingly, Michonne’s instincts are still good, and Magna is the only one she frisks. Eugene assures her that they were all frisked and gave up their weapons willingly. Aaron steps in and says he decided to bring them. Michonne tells him it wasn’t his call to make – and Judith steps in and says that she decided. God save me from precocious children. She needs to fade into the background of the story as soon as possible…

Aaron suggests that the newcomers’ fate should be a decision made by all of them. Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) suggests that they are brought before the council first thing in the morning. Michonne agrees and has them put in holding. Judith finds the Sheriff figurine on the ground and picks it up.

At the Kingdom, it seems that Ezekiel has given in and is letting Henry go. I loved his hugging the boy – and shaking the hand of the man. He then gives Henry some words of wisdom – that his father gave him – be respectful, be responsible, be kind and be safe. Henry assures his Dad that he will be. I didn’t like the ominous feeling of foreshadowing when Henry said “it’s not like you’ll never see me again” – because who would say that in that universe??? And then there’s the stuff from the comics…

Ezekiel tells Carol he’d feel better if he or Jerry went too. Carol insists that it’s important for him to tend to things there as the fair is important. Ezekiel is hopeful it will bring the communities back together again. Ezekiel worries that Henry is too much of a dreamer – and Carol teases him about where Henry might have gotten that trait.

The Council meeting is chaired – surprisingly by Gabriel. Also on the Council are Aaron, Michonne, Siddiq, Laura, Nora (Tamara Austin), and someone I didn’t recognize. Gabriel tells them that their community is fair – but not soft. Gabriel asks who their leader is, and Magna is not a friendly witness – asking what makes them think they have one in a truly sullen tone. Luke is much more forthcoming when asked if the group has always been together. Luke also breaks down a bit when talking about Bernie – the one they lost yesterday.

Aaron asks what they were before. Luke was a music teacher, Magna lies and says she was a waitress at a truck stop. Connie modestly says she was a journalist, but Kelly says she was more than that, exposing sleazy politicians – and Kelly was just a high school student, stressing about stupid things.

Gabriel asks who are they now, and Magna isn’t sulky as she says “a fighter.” Connie says she’s Kelly’s guardian angel, but Kelly says it’s the other way around. Luke says he’s still a music teacher because education never ends. Gabriel asks what they did to survive – Magna says anything she had to to survive. Connie says she never gave up, and Kelly says she grew up. Luke says he doesn’t think he did anything special – he feels like he was just lucky. In the right place, at the right time. He muses that if anyone had seen them “before” eating together at a restaurant, they would have assumed that they worked together because they don’t seem to have anything in common – except breathing, But that’s a lot these days. Aaron nods and is ready to vote.

Michonne, however, has a question. She says that as a community they want to be kind and charitable, but the decisions like the one they are about to make can come with a heavy price. Michonne asks to see Magna’s left hand – which is covered by a partial glove. Magna tells her to go to Hell. When Aaron asks what it is, Michonne tells him that it’s a prison tattoo – for hard time. Michonne challenges her, and Magna says she has nothing to hide – and Michonne tells her to take off the knife that she has hidden in her belt. Michonne tells the others that she remembers – she clearly blames the attempt at bringing the communities together – and the Saviors’ treachery for Rick’s death. She tells them to take the vote – she seconds the motion for the vote. When Magna wants to ask Michonne a question, Michonne tells her no as she walks out of the church.

Gabriel is continuing to try to honor Rick’s vision. He’s still wondering what’s out there and tinkering with the shortwave radios – did he scavenge these from the junkyard? Another pleasant surprise? That Rosita and Gabriel are an item!! Gabriel is sure that Michonne is wrong about the newcomers – he thinks they’re good people, and even Rosita is willing to give Magna a chance. She suggests that Michonne just riled the crowd up on purpose – prison isn’t a story in and of itself.

Gabriel wants to set up a remote relay. Rosita points out it’s a security breach, but she then offers to go and set it up with Eugene.

Judith stumbles on Michonne talking out loud to Rick. It’s clear that she’s apologizing for doing what she thinks she has to to keep everyone safe – even if it isn’t exactly what they’d planned. She hears Judith in the hall and reminds her it’s almost time for her lesson.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Carol has another stop planned before she and Henry go to Hilltop. Henry stupidly runs into a trap set my Regina (Traci Dinwoodie) and some of the other Saviors – including Jed (Rhys Corio). Jed tells Carol that he’ll spare her life because she spared his in the past – he’ll even let them keep the wagon, the horses, and Henry’s stick. When Jed wants Ezekiel’s ring, Henry attacks him – and Jed beats him up. Carol protects Henry and tells Jed to take the ring.

Eugene takes Rosita’s willingness to break the rules for Gabriel as a sign of how much she cares for him – and his breaking the rules for Rosita is exactly the same! Rosita doesn’t want to talk to him about it. Eugene has really come a long way as he awkwardly – and obliquely – tries to argue his case. He tells her that she has other options, other fish in the seas as it were. He compares Gabriel as a man of fable with the other vague “men of science” who might be available… Rosita pushes for whether he had someone specific in mind. They come across the tracks of a herd, but they seem to be going in the opposite direction as they are.

Siddiq tells Magna that Yumiko could be back on her feet as early as the next day. Magna is clearly worried about her. She looks out the window at Michonne training Judith with her baby katana. Luke asks Siddiq if he was there from the start. Siddiq admits that he was a stranger that they took in – but it was different then. Luke asks if there’s a reason things changed, and Siddiq points out that there is always a reason.

Judith moves on from sword lessons to math problems with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Negan has cleaned himself up – short hair and trimmed beard. It’s clear that Negan is pumping Judith for information about what’s happening – this is clearly his biggest amusement – and a clear and present danger to the community. Judith tells him about the strangers. In turn, Negan tells her about bringing home stray dogs when he was a kid until one day, he brought home the wrong dog. It killed all the other dogs – and he never brought home another dog after that as the mean one seemed as friendly and grateful as the others.

      Judith gets the last zinger in as she tells him – “look how great things turned out for you!” She’s also smart enough not to take his advice – she only wants his help with her math because the numbers don’t care if you’re good or bad on the inside.

Eugene gets the relay installed and it isn’t until he’s ready to come down that he notices the herd coming. Naturally, the horses freak out and take off. Eugene is way up a tower – and it takes time to get down. When the final part of the ladder falls over – the new and improved Eugene bravely – and stupidly – jumps! He wrenches his knee and Rosita gets him something to use a crutch.

Carol sets up camp for the night – with cans as an alert system. Henry is disappointed that Carol didn’t even try – and Carol, very disappointingly, says there was no point. Henry tells her that she taught him to fight for what’s right – and wants to know what changed. She tells him “you” – and that one day he’ll understand. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed at this point that Carol had gone soft.

But Carol hasn’t gone soft. She sneaks back into the Saviors camp. She dumps all their gasoline around the sleeping members – and to add insult to inflagration, she takes the gigantic match out of Jed’s mouth. She tells him she could have given up the ring, but they had armor in their wagon from people she cared about who went out and never came back. She points out that they also hurt her son. He swears that she’ll never see them again, and she says “I know.” Because she sets them on fire! I loved the look on her face as she walked away – Carol has found where she belongs – but she has not gone soft!

Magna doesn’t want to take responsibility for her actions, saying Michonne set her up. The others thinks she should have ditched the knife. And she hasn’t changed – she took Yumiko’s necklace from the infirmary because it also had a hidden knife. Magna is sure they will die if they have to leave, but Luke insists they’ll manage as they always have. Connie tells Magna not to be an asshole – and I liked her even more – and then she tells Magna not to fight Michonne. Connie is clearly insightful – she sees that something bad has happened here too. Connie is sure it is a lost cause. Luke is concerned about the little kids. He’s fine to fight debate style – but he’s not endangering kids.

Magna finally gives up the necklace but is clearly not happy. She goes to Michonne’s – and she’s taken a knife from the necklace. She’s about to go into Michonne’s house when RJ suddenly comes running down the hallway. Instead, she knocks on the front door and tells Michonne that she missed one – and hands her the knife. Michonne thanks her, and Magna tells her that she’s right about her. She has done things, terrible things – and if she had “all this” she would trust her either. Michonne tells her that they’ve all done thing – terrible things – or they wouldn’t be there. Magna points out that it’s better than losing everything.

Michonne closes the door to find Judith with Rick’s gun! She’s protecting her family. Michonne insists that that’s her job. Judith asks if that’s why she’s kicking them out. She insists that Rick would have wanted her to have brought them. Michonne smiles and says that both Rick and Carl would have been proud. Judith asks why she won’t help them then, and Michonne tells her that she’ll understand some day – in a nicely parallel scene to Carol with Henry. Judith, somewhat heartbreakingly, says that she’s starting not to be able to remember Rick and Carl’s voices – she hopes that Michonne still can – and tells her that she knows she sometimes talks to them. It lays at Michonne’s feet the responsibility to keep not only the sound of their voices alive for Judith but also what they were saying and trying to do – though clearly, having brought the new people in, Judith remembers better than Michonne.

Henry and Carol continue on, and Henry apologizes and thanks Carol. He also notices that she’s got her ring back. As it turns out, Carol is going to see an old friend – Daryl. I love the two of them smiling at each other.

Michonne still has all of Rick’s clothes, and as she puts on one of his shirts, we see that she has a new scar – a giant X on her back. What can that mean?

Yumiko apologizes for not being hurt worse so they’d have to stay longer – jokingly. Luke thanks Siddiq and Gabriel for their help and hospitality – and he thanks Judith too. Before they can leave, Michonne shows up again – in Rick’s shirt – and tells them there’s a change of plan. Michonne suggests that she and Siddiq take them to Hilltop to see if Maggie will take them in.

Eugene can’t keep going and is ready to sacrifice himself to give Rosita a chance to escape. Eugene is ready to finally bare his heart to Rosita, but she tells him not to make it weird and forces him to keep going. The slide down by the river and bury themselves in mud. As the episode ends and the herd passes, we see a lot of suspicious looking walkers with full heads of lovely, clean black hair and hear “Don’t let them get away” – yep. The Whisperers are officially here.

In the end, my main objections are the big time jump, Michonne and Daryl acting out of character (unless something else happened that is explained by that X marking the spot on Michonne’s back), and Matsuura and Hilker really underwhelming me. I’d also like to see some of the characters who haven’t had a decent storyline get more to do before spreading the story even thinner with new characters. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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