‘ The Walking Dead ’ Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, ‘The New World’
‘ The Walking Dead ’ Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, ‘The New World’
There’s a new power couple in Alexandria.
“The New World,” this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” was so different tonally from its predecessor, “No Way Out,” you could be forgiven if you thought you were watching a completely different zombie show. While last week was a grim, dark, epic fight for survival, “The New World” is almost a post-apocalyptic version of “Leave It to Beaver.” Not that it was worse because of that. Just, different. Like, very different.
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“Carl, don’t bounce that ball in the house.”
“Doctor says its for PT.”
“Oh, yes, because you had your eye blown out during the zombie rampage by the son of the guy I killed whose wife and brother got eaten alive in front of him.” Just like Ward and the Beaver used to do it, right?
It’s a jolt, no doubt. The cold open portrays domestic bliss in the Alexandria Safe Zone. Rick is smiling. Smiling, a happy guy notching a new hole in his belt (what, is he losing more weight?) while a radio somewhere plays the old Boston classic “More Than a Feeling.” Michonne’s just out of the shower and asking for toothpaste. Carl’s playing with a ball. Judith is being a baby. This is, apparently, the new world, the one that Rick promised Carl. It seems like a dream, like Rick is going to wake up in the middle of a dark, wracked countryside surrounded by the undead, or something similarly desperate. But no. The scene never dissolves. It’s real.
Of course, that’s nothing compared to the surprise at the close, but let’s hold off on that for now. There’s only so much the system can absorb at one time.
Weeks have passed since the great Battle of Alexandria, and the town has regained a modicum of normalcy. This is, indeed, the new world, and it might be as stable as Alexandria has been since even before the Grimes clan arrived. The corpses of the undead have been cleared away, the fire put out, the streets cleaned. The wall has been repaired, and expanded (the Bible-Glock church is now inside the walls). It almost seems like an entirely different town in an entirely different show.
Related: Star Danai Gurira Dissects Michonne and Rick’s Relationship
Part of that is the time element. The first nine episodes this season covered a period of only a few days. During some stretches, in fact, the whole thing seemed to occurring in real time. It resulted in the kind of engrossing, intense story that pulled the viewer out of their seat. “The New World” is a complete departure, and whether or not this is just to lull the viewer into a false sense of security until the next ultra-violent baddie appears, it’s here now. The apocalypse is just another day at the office.
Curiously, this leap forward glosses over the reunion of Glenn and Maggie. After making that such a large part of the story, it’s odd to not see Glaggie reunited. We haven’t, in fact, seem them together at all. Is that part of the new world, too?
For Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon, a day at the office means taking a pretty well maintained Chrysler out into the deserted countryside for a supply run. They’re mainly looking for medical supplies and food. Eugene advises them to seek out the “criminally underrated grain” sorghum. Denise wants some pop for Tara, who talks about it in her sleep. They haven’t seen anybody in weeks; Daryl thinks maybe they won’t see anybody.
(The song Rick loves and Daryl hates is an old rockabilly tune, “Action Packed,” the Ronnie Dee Dawson version. “When I take a ride in my car, I let ‘er roll; hear me, I said I let ‘er roll.”)
Right there, in fact, would be a good time to tell Rick about Negan. Does Rick know about the incident in the road with the goons? In all the excitement, did Abraham, Sasha, and Daryl forget about that one? You’d think it’d be a notable detail, given this group’s history with psychotic killers, that some guy named Negan has his bikers staking out the roads outside Alexandria, robbing and shooting people. But the topic is not mentioned once.
Now, in fact, is not a bad time to take stock of what’s really out there, and we’re not talking about untouched sorghum supplies. First off, there is of course the half of that herd of walkers that wasn’t drawn off by the Wolves’ horn. Then, of course, there are the Wolves themselves. Did they all die? Didn’t a few get away? Are there others? Lastly, there is some guy named Negan, stationing his creepy but engaging little goons on the road like Medieval highway robbers.
Oh, and there’s some guy who calls himself Jesus.
Rick and Daryl find a sorghum farm, and a truck absolutely filled with supplies. It’s a good get. “The law of averages,” Rick says. They leave the car and take the truck. They stop at a gas station, and find a knocked-over vending machine. Now, Daryl’s got “pop” on his list from Denise, so they spend way too much time trying to flip the machine. Which is when Rick finds Jesus. Or rather, Jesus finds Rick.
As they’re standing over it, somebody runs right into Rick. He’s a pretty able-looking guy, who says his name is Paul Rovia, though his friends used to call him Jesus (everything I could find lists this character as Paul Monroe, his name in the comics; but the actor playing him, Tom Payne, clearly says something that sounds like Rovia). He’s a odd looking savior, that’s for sure, in his long black leather overcoat and knit hat. Must be the hair and the beard. He tells them he’s just running from walkers, and he seems pretty on the level. Rick even starts to ask the three questions before the guy takes off.
They hear a noise behind the building, and go investigate. Turns out to be just firecrackers in a barrel. Which means… “He swiped your keys, didn’t he?” Yes, he did. Jesus picked Rick’s pocket, and took the truck. Through the remainder of this episode, one thing will become clear: Jesus has myriad survivor skills.
They follow him, on foot, and manage to catch up to him (tire blew out on the truck). There’s a fight, and Jesus is a surprisingly capable combatant. They tie him up and take off (Jesus can change a flat tire, too). When they go off road onto a farm, they hear a rattling on the roof. Jesus somehow managed to get up there. Rick stops short, he goes tumbling off, and there’s a long chase and fight in the field. Jesus is knocked cold, the truck is sent tumbling to the bottom of the lake, and they commandeer another car to get back to Alexandria. Jesus is brought to the holding cell.
Austin Nichols as Spencer Monroe on ‘The Walking Dead.’ AMC
The “B” story involves Spencer Monroe, the last living member of his family, who for some mysterious reason has taken to wandering the woods, with a shovel, outside the wall. Michonne notices this, and follows him. Meanwhile, Carl and Enid are also taking long walks in the woods. They have a little hideout of sorts where they sit around, read comics, and eat candy (the comic Carl is reading, “Invincible,” is another of Robert Kirkman’s titles.) A walker stumbles upon them, and though we don’t see it, Carl clearly recognizes the roamer, and refused to kill it. This turns out to be Deanna Monroe, in what it quite possibly the oddest cameo of all time. Still, even under that zombie goo, it’s welcome to see Tovah Feldshuh one last time.
How she made from the bedroom to the woods isn’t exactly clear, but Spencer saw her, and wants to put her to rest. A noble endeavor, surely. But the whole story really is just a set-up for the scene that follows with Carl and Michonne. She’s chastising young master Grimes for not putting unDeanna down, for allowing a dangerous biter to keep walking. Emotionally, he explains that he couldn’t. That it should be done by family. “I’d do it for you,” he says to her.
It’s been clear for some time now that Michonne has become something of a mother to Carl, ever since he broke into that restaurant in their hometown to retrieve the family picture on the wall (season three’s excellent “Clear”). It’s been plainly obvious for a long time that she’s had a special connection with the Grimes family. Rick and Michonne (or should we just go ahead and start calling them Richonne, or is it Michick?) plop down on the couch at the end of the day, watching Judith on a baby monitor, and the tone of the conversation is every bit as mundane and domestic as anything the Cleavers ever exchanged, even if the subject matter isn’t. It’s endearing, and there is a high level of intimacy between them, even before Rick puts that pack of spearmint mints in her hands. We’ve been shipping for Richonne for a while. Fan service or not, it makes sense, these two.
This may seem like a new Michonne, but she’s been heading this way for a long time. The first time she appeared, she was something out of a dream, or nightmare, standing in the woods, under that hood with the katana and those armless walkers. Then there was that scene in the prison when Beth hands Michonne Judith, when you realize that Michonne had — and lost — her own child, that she’s not something out of a dream, but simply a mother who’s somehow survived this plague on humanity. It’s an incredibly powerful scene, and it perfectly illustrates what this show is at its best, a tale about completely ordinary people undergoing an unimaginable catastrophe. Now, in a way, she’s back where she was before all this started.
Rick and Michonne lie tangled in bed, naked, their weapons at their sides. “Rick, wake up,” somebody says. This isn’t a dream, either. The two warrior-lovers both jump out of bed. He grabs his Colt Python, she grabs her katana. Jesus stands at the foot of the bed; the holding cell was no match for him.
“We should talk,” he says.