Review: The Walking Dead 812 – The Key

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 12 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead 812 – The Key

There’s an old adage that goes something like this, don’t look at how they make the sausage or you’ll never want to eat any ever again. Negan’s walker haggis infesta-fest is perhaps one of the nastiest plots hatched on the show. While the potential gross factor in The Key would most likely pale in comparison to the corned beef demise of the Scavengers a few weeks ago it’s the moral dilemmas faced by several characters that are the most harrowing.

Dwight’s plight has him caught between two rocks and a hard place. He’s got his allegience to Rick and the crew but also has to play nice with Negan and act as Simon’s sounding board. Simon has been growing increasingly restless with the circular nature of the war as it’s currently being waged. At the moment a nuclear option is Simon’s best friend and he’s just one of many who seem to have no love for plans or the long game.

Bats and bullets dominate the majority of the first half of The Key but soon after reaching that point a curious shift in tone is introduced. A new set of players, led by the mysterious Georgie complicates matters for Maggie and the Hilltop’s leadership group. Offering knowledge and food as the key to survival instead of fear and domination Georgie’s offer throws a suspicious Maggie off balance somewhat.

Leadership has its challenges particularly when uncertainty clouds one’s judgement. Another shot across the bow of those in charge is the threat from dissastified subordinates and it seems like no one is capable of following orders in a post apocalyptic world. Perhaps that’s what adds to the chaos but there are a few head scratching, but not totally unexpected, decisions over the course of the episode that could potentially reverberate throughout the rest of the season.

Part of the head scratching comes about when it becomes clearer each week that some of Negan’s views start to make more sense than Rick’s. However, Rick does deliver a revelation that enlightens Negan to the point that there may be some truth to Carl’s utopic vision of the future. The events that lead up to Rick and Negan’s confrontation are a tad sketchy, but their showdown does deliver some cool visuals, sets up a neat final scene and the return of a woefully underused character.

The Key is an improvement from last week’s episode and introduces an interesting new character. The major gripe is that All Out War is shifting in such a way that it’s almost as though the show (aside from Rick) has forgotten who was the mastermind behind the events of the Season 7 premiere. It’s that character’s actions that have brought the show to where it is now, but after all this time it seems like an afterthought.

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