Every week for the sixth season of AMC’s post-apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, Lenika Cruz and David Sims will discuss the latest threat—human, zombie, or otherwise—to the show’s increasingly hardened band of survivors.
Lenika Cruz: I’m certain it’s no coincidence that a character by the name of Jesus appeared and suddenly The Walking Dead was saved. If “The Next World” tentatively renewed my faith in the rest of season six, “Knots Untie” has forced me to join the camp of the show’s true believers again. Jesus isn’t just a cool new character—he’s also a narrative windfall (or land mine, depending on how much you want to dwell on all the tragedies that undoubtably lie ahead). Learning of the existence of Jesus’s Hilltop colony, and of Negan’s group, the Saviors, may be the biggest world-building development since the introduction of the Wolves. The show was starting to languish in the stale, claustrophobic Alexandria, so I sensed a cure-all coming when Jesus told Rick, Michonne, Maggie, and the rest, “Your world’s about to get a whole lot bigger.”
“Cure-all” is maybe a touch hyperbolic and premature, but judging by this episode, a bigger world has already led to a more promising story. Rick, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, and Daryl hopped in the RV and followed Jesus to his community in hope that they could strike up a trade deal and refill their dwindling food supply. Of course, Jesus’s line that “things aren’t as simple as they may seem” may as well be the disclaimer for every new community the group discovers. (No hospital is just a hospital; no genteel governor is just a genteel governor.) In this case, Hilltop may have livestock and crops and a fancy mansion, but its lack of fighters and ammo forced the colony to make a deal with Negan and his Saviors to keep them from murdering everyone. So, naturally, Rick and the gang proposed to go take on these bloodthirsty monsters in exchange for food and supplies. Naturally. What could go wrong?