The Walking Dead 902 – The Bridge
Optimism reigns – at least according to Rick – as he chats with an unseen person during The Bridge’s pre-credits scene. Seeing Carol and Ezekiel being all domestic with little Henry does add legitimacy to Rick’s words but this being The Walking Dead and with the challenge of rebuilding the bridge ahead of them the sense of optimism seems misplaced. A fuel shortage, unrest during the bridge’s construction, some dissent amongst the Saviors and deepening fissures between Rick and Daryl foreshadow dark times ahead.
Making things worse is what happened in the aftermath of the attack on Maggie. The decision to hang Gregory and imprison Tammy’s husband, Earl has everyone on edge. Consensus seems to be the biggest victim of the new alliances. Having everyone agree on the best course of action moving forward proves to be difficult. Rick and Maggie’s decisions, past and present, continue to be controversial and if nothing else proves just how difficult and messy building a society can be.
The Bridge is a metaphor for the efforts Maggie, Rick and the others have put forth to unite the disparate survivors into a collective unit. Building bridges is hard work and doubt, missing Saviors and a hoard of walkers only add to the dangers facing everyone. Michone’s trip to the Hilltop to convince Maggie to adopt a common set of laws between the communities is an attempt to provide some consistency and security for everyone. Humans are tribal in nature and coalitions are hard to forge particularly if those involved aren’t equally invested in a common outcome. A mishap and Aaron’s gruesome injury during the redirection of the hoard is the turning point for Daryl and a line in the sand is drawn.
The strains of leadership are evident on Rick and Maggie. They say that heavy is the head that wears the crown but it’s magnified even more when the crown is adorned with thorns. Trying to do what’s right rarely pleases the masses and the growing unrest within the fragile coalition of communities puts the trials associated with leadership in a new light. Rick’s tete-a-tete with Negan exposes some raw wounds and unpleasant truths. Sometimes noble intentions are actually the path to ruin and Rick’s attempts, while noble may actually end up causing more harm than good.
The Bridge is a solid episode that does a good job of examining the difficulties associated with rebuilding society. It also reveals new and surprising relationships and a growing danger lurking in the darkness. How these developments play out over the course of the season remains to be seen but there is an upheaval coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.