TV Insider – So the All Out War is officially underway, fans of The Walking Dead.
We now know that Rick and the gang made themselves a pretty fine and explosive plan that stretched all the way from Alexandria to the Sanctuary (we’re not sure how far that actually is, but oh well).
We know that Negan is in a pickle, trapped in a trailer with Father Gabriel and surrounded by a herd of walkers the likes of which we haven’t seen since Atlanta was still a thing. And with the Sanctuary swiss-cheesed by the “Piss Patrol” assault, his numbers might be endangered, too.
With so many questions unanswered—Where’s Jadis? What happened to the lady village Tara found a while back? Who’s in those graves? Who’s gas station man? Why’s Rick limping? Why Weird Al? What happens next?—here’s our off-the-cuff wish list as the new season unfolds.
Give Maggie a baby bump already. “Bump watch” is our least favorite phrase ever, but we’re ready for at least a hint of a physical reminder of all that Maggie has to lose. And AHK, too, since hers is the only new person in the making—unless the Sanctuary is has some babies in the making. Yes, she’s fit and we know that battle-buffed tummy muscles can contain a bump for a while (thanks so much, Fit Mom). But this future for which we are fighting—and the battle itself—would take on a lot more immediate meaning if, right now, it didn’t look like an unshaven Rick, a festival owl and a coffee-lovin’ Michonne. Speaking of which …
Get Michonne back in the game. Now. Right now. Yes, Rick’s family unit makes up most vertebrae in the moral dilemma, wrath-versus-mercy backbone of the All Out War storyline. Yes, we know that someone has to help protect Alexandria, too. But leaving her home while Enid and a passel of untested Hilltop and Kingdom fighters are armed and facing Negan is just … weird. ‘Chonne used to be the smartest, savviest fighter in the bunch. She has Sasha to avenge. She still looks like a warrior, dammit. For God’s—and our—sake, unfetter the katana and let her be one again.
Start fleshing out Negan now. When we spoke with him before the Season 8 premiere, showrunner Scott Gimple said that, while it would certainly happen, Negan’s backstory will be a slow-burn tale. That’s fine. But the time has come to give the bat-wielding, bobbin’-and-weavin’ bad guy a few more dimensions. Don’t get us wrong. While we, too, were grossed out by Glenn and Abe’s death, that is what the guy is about, so we’re OK with the idea that Lucille shall be loosed, in addition to his killer one-liners. But the glimpses we got of him with Sherry and the other wives, with how the inner workings of the Sanctuary roll, how he reacted to Eugene’s defection were interesting. We’re ready to see Negan the strategist, the man … not just the bat-wielding comic character come to life.v
Make the king a thing. Remember how much we all loved the lovely, earnest chat between Carol and Ezekiel when no one was looking? What a solid negotiator he proved to be during the Sanctuary supply drops? What a badass fighter he was in the Season 7 finale? It’s time for that king to reign. The “hey he’s got a tiger” deal has worn off. The Kingdom dwellers know the stakes are dire. Khary Payton is fun to watch. So give him stuff to do. And while we’re at it, give Gregory less stuff to do. The guy has lasted long past his expiration date, and last night was just … dumb.
Keep the WTF to a minimum. At least for a while. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a single, united group fighting for a single, united goal, against a single, terrifying enemy, which helped make the first few seasons such compelling TV. Having our primary heroes scattered all over hell and tarnation and overrun by new character after new character was frustrating and diluted their impact, the story and our ability (and willingness) to care about them. It turned a lot of folks away from the show. Gimple and Co. have launched some good stuff here—the gang is united, the enemy is interesting, the battle is mighty, the walkers matter once again and the special effects are awesome. Let’s keep it in the now (you, beardy Rick), focus on those that matter and make TWD everyone’s must-watch again.