Six years after Rick: how is ‘The Walking Dead’ doing?

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Nadia Hilker as Magna, Dan Folger as Luke, Lauren Ridloff as Connie, Angel Theory as Kelly - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Nadia Hilker as Magna, Dan Folger as Luke, Lauren Ridloff as Connie, Angel Theory as Kelly - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Originally posted Sunday, November 11, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Six years is a long time to jump forward on any show but “The Walking Dead” decided to go there.

On the show, the zombie apocalypse happened in 2010. By the time Rick was ferried away in a helicopter last week, it was around 2014. Now we jump forward six years so instead of being “behind,” the show is now in effect “ahead” to 2020.

Based on the episode Sunday night, here are a few things we learn:

Cailey Fleming as Judith Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Cailey Fleming as Judith Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The new generation: Judith - the progeny of Lori and RIck (or more likely, Shane) - is now nine years old or so. She wears Rick's hat or some facsimile thereof. She is now a true a** kicker, taught by Michonne, whose hair looks longer and better now. She also has a heart. After saving their lives from walkers, she takes in five strangers (one injured) and tries to keep them around. Michonne doesn't belief they should do so and pushes them out. But in a compromise, she escorts them to the Hilltop next week.

Judith has a half brother! Rick impregnated Michonne right before they left so he's around five years old.

Grieving still: Michonne is super sad without Rick and talks to him regularly. While Judith is losing memory of the voices of Carl and Rick, Michonne certainly doesn't. Michonee finds a figurine while scavenging that looks like Rick so he is in absentia for the episode.

Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Rosita and Gabriel are an item! Now that's an unlikely combo. Of course, Eugene still has the hots for Rosita and almost tells her after a trip to place radio equipment on top of a water towers goes awry and they almost get over-run by a herd. Instead, they covered themselves in mud by a river and were able to skirt the walkers. (I didn't realize that was a thing!)

Eugene, by the way, can now kill walkers with ease. And his hair is now in some sort of nasty ponytail.

The Whisperers arrive! During that aforementioned herd scene, we here them for the first time. "Where are they? and "They must be close. Don't let them get away." Hmm... that was that about?

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The new "Queen": Carol - with new flowing locks - is now married to King Ezekiel and they are raising Henry, who is now a teenager. Henry is noting how the Kingdom infrastructure is falling apart and pipes are being held together by tape. He wants to apprentice with the blacksmith at Hilltop. So Carol takes him. But he hears someone screaming and goes to "save" her. Carol immediately knows this is trouble and she's right: it's a bunch of former Saviors. Fortunately, the leader Jed recalls Carol sparing them years ago so he spares her. He just wants most of their supplies. When Jed asks for her engagement ring, Henry gets angry and tries to fight back but Carol knocks him down and relents. Henry is a little miffed she would do that but she said she needs to protect him first. Later, she wreaks revenge by lighting the Saviors on fire. Cold! (Or flaming hot!)

Maggie? Where is she? The actress is now on a new ABC show 'Whiskey Cavalier." The show would like her back at some point. We saw none of Hilltop this episode.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

On his own: Not surprisingly, Darryl is living as an independent wilderness dude - until Carol meets up with him at the end of the episode.

Are the newbies trustworthy? For the first time, the show features a deaf character Connie, a former journalist played by an actual deaf actress Lauren Ridloff. Angel Theory as Kelly knows sign language and translated for her. Most of this new crew seem very nice. But Magna is the potential problem. She was formerly imprisoned and has all sorts of hidden weapons. She goes to Michonne's home to perhaps fight her but when she sees Michonne with her five year old, she changes her mind and relinquishes one of her little knives.

Guess who's still imprisoned? Negan is kickin' but stuck in that same cage. He helps Judith with her math homework. In this episode, he tells an endearing tale about how he loved taking in stray dogs until one killed off all the others. But any advice he provided to Judith about the newcomers was ignored. (How often does Negan get to go outside? Ever? Where does he go to the bathroom? Do they always have someone around to watch him?)

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