Knots Untie Plot Summary:
Jesus (Tom Payne) escapes his bonds, and informs Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang of his community — Hilltop. His job at Hilltop is to scout for settlements in order to initiate trade talks. Low on food and supplies, Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steve Yuen), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and Abraham (Michael Cuddlitz) take an RV to Hilltop to meet with Jesus’ boss, Gregory (Xander Berkeley).
Last week on The Walking Dead we had a few major bombshells that would seemingly impact this half-season — Rick and Michonne hooking up, and the introduction of Jesus.
The “Richonne” romance took us by surprise — but should it have? Rick, Michonne, and Carl (and Judith, too) have existed as a quasi-family unit for some time now, and it’s always been really honest and genuine. The weird thing is that the series spent a lot of time establishing Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) as Rick’s love interest. They built that story and character for the past year, so it was a little unexpected to have Rick have a new lady in his life so soon. The question does arise — are Michonne’s days numbered? No lady really lasts around Rick on this series — just ask Lori or Jessie. Honestly, I can’t see them killing Michonne off any time soon as she’s become a cornerstone of the series. Despite all this hub bub of the hook-up, nothing came of this episode except we find out that Carl (Chandler Riggs) is cool with them knocking boots.
Well, thank God for that.
The second bombshell — the introduction of Jesus has changed the entire course of the series. He is literally shepherding (pun intended) for our heroes, and the audience into the next phase of The Walking Dead — Hilltop, and Negan.
The actor portraying Jesus, Tom Payne, does a great job of making us forget the character’s rather laughable introduction. We all saw the fan-made Benny Hill montages featuring Jesus, Rick, and Daryl. It was probably one of the more lame aspects of the series. This week easily made up for the ‘meh’ introduction of this pivotal character. In fact, the character became pretty damn likable fairly quickly. Tom Payne does an excellent job of imbuing this character with a natural honest, down-home charm. Also, Jesus’ facial hair looks exceedingly less fake than last week.
The introduction to Hilltop played out just like every other time the gang is introduced to a new community — it’s awkward, hostile, and tense. However, seeing this is the third or fourth community we’ve been introduced to on the show, the tension isn’t as strong as say when they rolled in Alexandria or even Herschel’s farm. The introduction had a bit of a recycled feel to it. The construction of Hilltop also felt a bit recycled — as if they built the community from discarded set pieces from AMC’s Into the Badlands. Even Xander Berkeley’s Gregory felt like he was borrowing heavily Marton Csokas’ character from Badlands.
However, the second “introduction” to Negan, was great. Without even seeing him, we’re already fearing/hating this character. That’s the way you build up a good villain — and with the rich amount of comic book material the series can draw on, this should be a great villain.
The heavy handedness of the introduction was actually outmatched by the heavy handedness of Abraham Ford’s situation. Abraham is seemingly have a conflict of crisis, falling for Sasha (Sonequa Green-Martin) even though he’s with Rosita (Christian Serratos). That seems a bit forced. How is he in love with Sasha now? Yes, they did bond on that insane car ride last season, and Abraham did talk some sense into her about not throwing her life away, but this newfound crush? A bit hamfisted.
However, this situation actually comes off much more like the series is telling us Abraham is going to die this season. In fact, they’re not even telling us, they’re hitting us over the heads with a mallet with this information. Of course, this could all be a red herring, and all of Abraham’s paranoia about getting Rosita pregnant, is actually hinting at the eventual demise of Glenn.
‘Knots Untie’ is a fairly good episode. It obviously pales in comparison to the premiere, but it fits nicely with last week’s table-setting. Now, the issue that’s going to arise is next week where we have another ‘we’re going to war episode.’ The Walking Dead has to make sure they ramp up the tension and drama because if they keep stringing all these set-up episodes in a row, audiences are going to get bored.
Rating: 7 out of 10