By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
The Hilltop and Rick’s People
Things are moving fast in this second-half of season six. We took another big step towards confrontation with Negan as the Hilltop Colony was introduced. As we can see, the Hilltop isn’t much to look at. It’s a small area, the people have no guns or ammo, and they don’t look like they’ve been through the grinder like Rick’s group. The contrast between these two groups of survivors is pretty amazing. One thing that sets them apart from other groups we’ve met in the past is the lack of threatening vibes I got from them. As the group walked through the colony, I got the sense that if they really wanted to, Rick and his people could have taken over this place in five minutes. It’s a wonder Negan even wasted his time with taking only half of their supplies.
But that’s not what Rick and his group are about. The Hilltop arc will serve as a bit of a reclamation for Rick. From season two on, Rick has been on a downward spiral in terms of his humanity. It started when he had to kill Shane and the Ricktatorship began. It rebounded a bit at the end of season three when he took in the newly refugee’d people of Woodbury and tried to be a farmer. That didn’t work out for him. He regressed more after the fight with the people of Terminus. We then saw how reluctantly he took to Alexandria. Rick is on the rebound again and the Hilltop will serve as the catalyst for him doing something good for other people.
We got to meet another character from the comic tonight. I think we’re supposed to look at Gregory and see a bit of the Governor. He’s slick-talking and slightly creepy. As Jesus said, he’s a bit of a prick (was it just me or did he try to get Maggie to be the colony prostitute?). Xander Berkeley was cast perfectly in this role because he’s exceedingly talented at playing those prick characters. However, that’s where the comparison with the Governor needs to end. As we will see, Gregory is an ineffectual leader, and the writers wasted no time making that point when Jesus said Gregory is not the leader he would have chosen for the colony. It may have looked like the seeds of a minor conflict were planted tonight, but Gregory is no match for Rick.
I mentioned that the Hilltop will be the catalyst for a reclamation arc for Rick and his group and that started tonight when Jesus told Rick he was a good man. It feels like forever since someone said that about Rick and we believed it. But we can believe it now because who can be a better judge of character than Jesus?
I liked the scene in the study when Jesus and Rick talked about the Saviors. Negan is a really bad guy and we’re going to get to see plenty of that later. For now, I love that the writers are setting him up with these word-of-mouth stories and not actual 0n-screen action. As Daryl said, these are boogie man stories, but we know what’s coming and we know this isn’t just smoke and mirrors that Negan is employing.
Thanks for reading!