Back to IndieWire

‘The Walking Dead’ Review: ‘The King, The Widow, And Rick’ Just Sits There

Season 8, Episode 6 is a "Walking Dead" episode.

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Whose Episode Is It?

It’s an all-hands-on-deck installment, since a number of plotlines need to make incremental progress without anything too exciting happening quite yet. There are a couple of decent scenes, but it’s mostly people saying stuff you already knew or doing stuff they’ve already done in previous episodes. Nothing’s really terrible, but nothing really makes much of an impression, either, so it’s difficult to get worked up one way or the other. The purpose of “The King, the Widow, and Rick” is to get us from point A to point B as painlessly and perfunctorily as possible. It is the “Justice League” of “Walking Dead” episodes.

Obligatory Zombie Action

Most of the zombie stuff this season has been tied to the war, so we haven’t really had a truly “we’re just killing time here” walker sequence like this episode delivers. Carl finds the Muslim guy Rick scared off in the premiere (his name is Siddiq, for the record), and invites him back to Alexandria. On the way they’re beset by some roaming zombies, they fight, Siddiq tells Carl to run, Carl doesn’t, and they prevail. Siddiq wants to know why Carl came looking for him, and Carl says to heck with his dad, he’s going to help people even though Rick doesn’t want him to. This is all well and good as far as it goes, but it still feel like Carl’s reacting to current politics rather than making an organic character change. Still, let’s hear it for more people on this show not being bloodthirsty monsters.

Man Is The True Monster

Michonne and Rosita have gone stir-crazy after a whopping 36 hours of recovering from their injuries in Alexandria, so they head to Sanctuary just to “take a look,” because there’s no better time to take a road trip than in the middle of a war. It’s not a Denise-level stupid decision, but it’s in the ballpark.

They’re waylaid en route by their discovery of “the fat lady” – the Saviors’ zombie herding instrument – basically a truck with a butt-ton to speakers tied to it, so that walkers will follow the sound. There are only two guards, but Rosita still gets spotted (because Rosita’s main character trait is “choke artist”), and a dull action scene ensues. Rosita blows up one of the guards with a rocket launcher, which would be cooler/funnier if Daryl hadn’t done the same thing to a whole group of Saviors back in Season 6.

Kerry Cahill as Dianne, Joshua Mikel as Jared - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The other guard gets away with the fat lady, only to be t-boned by Daryl and Tara in a garbage truck. And yes, that’s the second last-minute truck interception by Rick’s team in the last three episodes. Everything’s been going so well for Team Rick this season that the war is threatening to lose any dramatic tension whatsoever. Even Ezekiel’s team was successful in their mission, despite being nearly wiped out.

Oh, and Daryl and Tara were heading to Sanctuary because they’ve made a pact to murder Dwight together, despite his help in taking the Saviors down. It’s not clear how they plan to do this with Sanctuary still under siege, but now they’ve got Michonne and Rosita along for the ride.

A Shred of Humanity

Maggie makes some executive decisions this episode: the Savior prisoners get to live in a makeshift paddock inside Hilltop, and Gregory gets to join them in detention. (Gregory’s hysterical meltdown at the news is, as always, a joy.) Jesus seems pretty satisfied until Maggie reveals that she’s only keeping the Saviors alive for leverage, and if she can’t use them during the war, they will be killed. It’s a disappointment that Maggie’s on Team Execution, but it makes sense in the face of her loss, and the philosophical rift that’s growing within the Ricketeer’s ranks will hopefully pay interesting dividends down the line.

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The best-acted scene is of course between Carol and Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s still in his funk, repeating all his laments for any viewers that missed “Some Guy” — that he’s a fraud, that he can’t lead, that his arrogance cost his people their lives. Carol asks why Ezekiel came to visit her all those times last season, and he admits that she made him feel real. She says he is real — to her, and all the people of the Kingdom. She essentially advises him to fake it ’til he makes it, which was his entire philosophy in the first place, but he says that he can’t. Well, at least Carol tried. Bummer Ezekiel is no fun, and a broken record, to boot. Much like this episode.

The Remains

  • Rick goes to Jadis and asks her to switch sides again, she says no, and tosses Rick into a shipping crate. Heart-pounding stuff. Rick’s naked in the crate, if you’re into that.
  • Jesus, arguing about a post-Savior world: “We have to make sure what’s left is worth what we lost.” I wish more people on this show gave specifics about the world they want to build.
  • Aaron leaves Hilltop, claiming he’s going to make sure they win. Enid goes with him. Not sure what’s happening here, but “to be paid off later” is a big theme for this episode.
  • When Gregory thinks Maggie is heeding his advice, he slips into a chair in front of her desk, but manages to knock into another chair while doing so. Even on the offensive, Gregory is a fool.

Grade: C+

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox