TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 8, Episode 6

Season 8, Episode 6: The King, the Widow, and Rick

PLOT: Michonne and Carl disregard Rick's wishes while Maggie decides what to do with the captive Saviors.

REVIEW: The title of this episode of The Walking Dead is a paraphrase of a line spoken by Negan, head of the villainous Saviors community, in the previous episode (Negan's exact wording had been "Rick, the widow, and King Assface"), and it refers to the leaders of the three communities that have been waging war against the Saviors since this began: Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), head of the Alexandria community; Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan), the widow of Glenn and the head of the Hilltop community, having taken it over from the weaselly Gregory (Xander Berkeley); and King "Not Assface" Ezekiel (Khary Payton), ruler of the Kingdom. As the title implies, the episode makes sure to check in on all of the major characters on the hero side of the war, but it's not really the most fitting title because the King and Rick didn't do all that much during its 45 minutes.

Rick's part of the story is bookended with nudity, and begins with the return of characters I would have been fine with never seeing again. I only welcome them back because they're a loose end that needs to be tied off. Those characters are the Garbage Pail Kids - excuse me, the Scavengers, the junkyard dwellers who are led by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and are so lazy that they can't even be bothered to speak in complete sentences. I can't stand this bunch, and I'm hoping that Rick's visit to the junkyard, which doesn't appear to go that well for him (but I have no idea what Rick was expecting, so I can't say for sure that he didn't anticipate being stripped and locked in a shipping container), is just the lead in to them being massacred in a future episode.

So that's just setting up something that will get paid off down the line. There's not much substance there. The King's part in the story is the worst, because it's an utter waste of time. All our visit with him does is confirm that he's still moping around about being a fraud and a failure, and not even a motivational speech from Carol (Melissa McBride) is enough to pull him out of his funk. So that went nowhere. Maybe the King is an assface after all.

Thankfully, "the widow" Maggie brought something more to the table, as she wrestles with an issue that was debated before, long ago, in her family home back in her debut season, season 2. The question of what should be done with sketchy prisoners in this zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world. This is a problem on a much larger scale now, though. If Maggie decides that the Saviors captured by Jesus (Tom Payne) need to be executed, she'll be ordering the deaths of a bunch of people. Sure, some of the people they have locked up - like that douche Jared (Joshua Mikel) - should be taken out of the equation because they're always going to be trouble... but are all of these people really a threat? It's quite a dilemma that Jesus has brought to the Hilltop, with weighty arguments to be made on both sides. Despite the fact that there are more lives hanging in the balance, the debate isn't as intense as it was back in season 2.

The King, the Widow, and Rick gave more characters than just the titular ones things to do, and most of the other characters are making choices that are ill-advised. Like the grieving Aaron (Ross Marquand) heading out into the war zone with young Enid (‎Katelyn Nacon); Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) deciding to turn against Dwight (Austin Amelio), their man inside the Saviors compound, before the battle is even over; and both Rick's son Carl (Chandler Riggs) and girlfriend Michonne (Danai Gurira) going against his wishes.

It's really no surprise that Carl has decided to venture out into the countryside in the midst of a war. Carl's going to Carl. He's on a quest to find Siddiq (Avi Nash), a character who was briefly introduced back in this season's premiere episode. Carl wants to bring Siddiq into Alexandria, and as it turns out this is one of the better choices made, because Siddiq seems like he could be a nice addition to the cast, if he sticks around for a while. He's a very experienced zombie killer and seems to be a good guy.

Seeing Michonne back in action was one of the better aspects of the episode for me, as I've been missing her while she's been sidelined so far this season. Along with Rosita (Christian Serratos), she heads into the battleground for what's supposed to be a quick trip out to take a look at things and instead lands them in some violent trouble. When that trouble involves the effective firing of an RPG and the heroic use of a garbage truck, I can't complain.

The King, the Widow, and Rick provided some good drama, action, and sets up some intriguing situations for the upcoming episodes to deal with, so I was left feeling mostly satisfied despite some wasted moments here and there. 

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Siddiq and Carl take on a group of walkers while making their way through the woods.

GORY GLORY: I wish the guy who got shot with the RPG would have exploded in a wave of blood and guts rather than a cartoony fireball. The moment that did deliver a good glimpse of gore is when Siddiq rams a zombie's head into a tree.

FAVORITE SCENE: Michonne, Rosita, and Daryl (with Tara riding shotgun) team up to stop some Saviors from luring zombies away from their home base.


Extra Tidbit: What did you think of The King, the Widow, and Rick?



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