Plot Lines of The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 12 “The Key”

By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)

WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.

A Plot: Rick vs. Negan

For the second time this season, Rick and Negan came face-to-face and fought each other to a draw (although, Negan is now in a precarious position). This seems to be the writers’ way of building up to a final confrontation between these two and I’m actually loving it. For what seems to be the first time in the history of this show, Rick has met an enemy that we’re not sure he can beat and the writers aren’t wasting the opportunity to milk that for all it’s worth. It’s an opportunity they haven’t done a good job of taking advantage of in the past. Rick met the Governor once in season 3 and it was a sit-down meeting. The series didn’t really have another main villain until the very end of season six when Negan showed up, just a series of minor characters that came and went in a few episodes. With Negan, Rick has found someone who is his equal, if not someone who is even a little tougher than he is. That presents plenty of opportunities to show us that Rick isn’t simply going to be able to walk up to Negan and kill him like he has with so many others.

From Negan’s point-of-view, I’m beginning to wonder if he knows he bit off more than he can chew. He’s killed so many of Rick’s people and destroyed their home yet they keep fighting, and tonight Rick was willing to be surrounded and attacked by walkers as long as Negan was also killed. At this point, Negan has to realize he picked the wrong community to try to manipulate.

Finally, now that Jadis has Negan we’re left to wonder what she’s going to do with him. Personally, I think she’ll try to trade him to Rick in exchange for letting her join his group. Her people are all dead, she has nowhere to go, and Rick is not the one responsible for those things.

B Plot: Maggie’s One Bad Day

For years I’ve been writing about how Rick is just one bad day away from becoming the villain of this series; now it seems like Maggie has arrived at that point. I understand that she has people she’s responsible for and those people need to eat, but this whole arc seems a little too on the nose for my taste. Carl died just a few episodes ago while giving a message of hope for the future. Now in response to that, the writers are starting to have other characters get drawn towards the other direction. That would be fine, except it doesn’t make much sense that Maggie would be the character to go dark. Even if she didn’t want to build that kind of world for Carl, she would certainly want to do it for Glenn, her husband who also believed in seeing the good in people and not killing unless it was absolutely necessary. It really speaks to the way the writers mishandle so many characters on the show. So many times, the characterizations are changed to fit whatever narrative the writers want to tell. That would be fine except it seems to make otherwise good characters suddenly become annoying. It was the case with Rosita when the writers decided she needed to be the worst decisionmaker in the world and it’s happening again with Maggie now that the writers have decided that she needs to suddenly be on the cusp of being bad.

C Plot: Simon’s Powerplay

I want to renew my endorsement of the theory that Simon was the original leader of the Saviors before he was usurped by Negan. Obviously, the confrontation between these two is coming to a head. Simon doesn’t agree with any of the orders Negan is giving and Negan now knows that Simon took it upon himself to kill all of the Garbage People except Jadis. I give Simon two more episodes before he has a face-to-face discussion with Lucille.

Misc Thought: Who is Georgie and What is She Up To?

I’m not going to read too much into this. I think Georgie is genuinely good and is really trying to go around helping people. She was seemingly written into the show specifically to show Maggie that there are still good people in the world. If this lady turns out to be bad then I’m taking Enid’s side and am never trusting anyone ever again.

Thanks for reading!