By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Typing on The Dead, Bleeding Cool’s Walking Dead recap column. So after last month’s action packed slugfest we’re back to a bit of a slower pace with Kirkman setting up the board for things to come. While not as kinetic as previous months, we’re brought up to speed on some of the other group’ statuses and learn a thing or two about some personal lives in Alexandria and the Hilltop. Questions are answered, connections are made, and coffee is had. As always, *SPOILER WARNING* for the remainder of the article.
The Walking Dead #133 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard
In stark contrast to last month’s cliffhanger of zombie-faced sleeper agents, we pick up with a peaceful morning at the Hilltop. Carl, fresh off his first night in his new home, wakes up and makes his way to the bathroom, which is unfortunately occupied at the moment. Someone in the bathroom lets Carl know they’re going to be a while and suggests the downstairs facilities. Carl mopes around for a bit and ends up pulling out the letter he was given by Anna before leaving Alexandria out of his pack.
Carl, (and readers) get a look at the letter, in which Anna confesses she has feelings for Carl. She tells Carl how special she thinks he is, and reinforces the fact that Carl and his dad are the rock stars of the community. She goes on about how handsome she thinks Carl is and tells him she feels stupid for flashing a group of the boys, and it was really only meant for him. The crux of the letter was she’s heartbroken by Carl leaving and hopes he’ll come and see her, punctuating the letter with, “Love Anna”. The young man puts on a big smile and places the letter in a drawer.
Back in Alexandria, Andrea and Magna’s group of survivors have been talking throughout the night about a variety of topics.
Andrea explains some of the finer points of her family life including Carl’s dramatic surgery and her complicated family relationship with Rick, exclaiming that, “I’ve washed his underwear…a teenager’s underwear…that makes us family.” She goes on to explain a bit more about Negan being jailed and makes a statement about life being more like it was before the outbreak and how it helped Rick finally accept his role as the community’s leader. In a bit of an anticlimactic reveal, we also find out that Dwight has taken over the Saviors and they’ve become one of the partner communities, trading with them, and protecting the roads. Andrea offers to make coffee, but is interrupted by our old friend bushido Jesus. Jesus is concerned about the sit-down meeting being held and quietly reaches for his sword. Andrea tells him she’s fine and gives Jesus some attitude when he tries to break out a safe word he and Rick came up with for emergencies. Satisfied that nothing’s wrong, Jesus tells her he’ll be back to check on her tomorrow.
Staying in Alexandria, we move to Eugene whose apparently been sleeping on the couch. Rosita asks him if he slept any, he replies, “Some”. Rosita fumbles around her words awkwardly and apologizes. For what, you ask?
Rosita admits to having had a one night stand and tells Eugene how stupid she was. Eugene asks if the other man knows if she’s pregnant, and Rosita says “No”. When asked if she’s going to tell the other man, she keeps quiet, and Eugene replies that he can never know, that they’ll forget it ever happened, telling her he’ll raise the baby as his own. Rosita throws her arms around Eugene who looks off into the distance, hurt.
At the Hilltop, Rick is preparing to depart back to Alexandria. He tells Carl he’ll see him at the fair, but Carl assures him he’ll be fine, handing his father a letter to deliver. Rick agrees to deliver it as long as he tells him what’s in it, to which Carl metaphorically shoves his father out the door, getting him on the wagon home. The two say their goodbyes and each tells the other they love them, and Rick starts on his way with a glance back at the Hilltop and leaving Carl’s childhood behind.
In a far less heartfelt moment, we pick up with Dante at gunpoint from one of the pseudo-zombies. Dante pleads not to be shot as he and his men didn’t know the attacking zombies were living people, promising that they’re not psychopaths who just go around killing. The zombie-suited man tells him he’s going to ask some questions and Dante better answer, “Nicely”. Dante seems a bit confused by the response, but there’s a reason.
Dante asks how many of them are out wandering around, and the man simply responds, “many”. He tells Dante that he’s both killed and trespassed on “his kind’s” lands and now not only will they explore his lands and learn about his people, “You will know us.”
We meet back up with Jesus, who’s out on patrol with a group of men. He meets up with one of the northern guards who tells Jesus things are quiet. Jesus and the guard talk about the territory, including the size of the area and the zombie sightings. The two banter for a bit and end up talking about one guard in particular named Nathaniel. Apparently he’s been tearing through is food rations. Jesus offers to have a talk with him at their station but finds out he hasn’t checked in. Jesus is distressed that Nathaniel hasn’t checked in and offers to accompany the northern guard to find him.
Back at the Hilltop, Carl is diligently working at the blacksmith’s, hammering away at something. Turns out Carl’s made his first spearhead and gets a compliment from Earl about the quality.
Meanwhile Jesus and his men haven’t run into Nathaniel in his area and end up on the outskirts of his patrol territory in an abandon suburb. Nathaniel’s partner doesn’t want to get him in trouble, but lets the men know that he’d been scavenging for trinkets in houses as a hobby between shifts. The men keep going but have been followed by a roamers, some with stitches in the back of their heads.
Swapping scenes again, Carl is dirty and sweaty from his first day of work and gets a pat on the back from Earl again. The young man’s beaming from the compliment and gets caught off guard by Sophia who gently comments on the quality of his odor. Sophia invites Carl to join her for the Hilltops famous communal dinners to which Carl agrees, but tells her he needs to clean up first.
Wouldn’t you know it, the kid cleans up nice! Sophia tells Carl if he wasn’t too busy getting pretty she could’ve eaten by now. The sight of the two doesn’t go unnoticed as Brianna comments to Maggie about how a Grimes/Greene power couple would get people talking.
Back on the road with Jesus and pals, he’s had enough searching and arrived on a sketchy piece of highway. He decides it’s time to circle back, figuring that Nathaniel will be at the station when they return. No sooner does Jesus finish telling the men his plan of action, than a stitched zombie attacks Nathaniel’s partner, stabbing him in the side. Jesus is caught off guard and immediately calls out the use of weapons. He tells the men to run, but he’s too late.
The issue ends with stitched zombies stabbing his men and another approaching Jesus with a knife telling him, “You die now.”
Well first things first, that was a weirdly paced issue. The jumps from Carl’s first day, interspersed with Dante and Jesus in danger, didn’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a big advocate of showing the little life moments, but by the time one scene got going we were back to Carl. Sorry Carl, I’m far more interested in this new threat than your first day of work.
But since we’re on Carl, let’s talk about him for a bit. Kirkman’s done a fantastic job aging up the young man, giving him more of a personality and real life teenage problems. In all of the attempted returns to normalcy in the world of the Walking Dead, none feel more realized then the life of the young people. Joke if you want about Walking Dead: The New Class, or Walking Dead: Degrassi, but it’s been things like Anna’s letter that felt as they were legitimate moments teenagers would have, apocalypse or not. Rick leaving Carl on his own was also a big moment for the proud dad. Carl was really the last link he had to his old life, and his glance back felt to me as Rick leaving his sons childhood behind as the end of an era for the once quiet, doting little boy.
As far as relationships go, we can also say that Rosita and Eugene aren’t doing great. We know Eugene was preoccupied with something but Rosita being pregnant with another man’s child is a legitimate thing to be upset with. The once quiet liar went from supporting fodder to a certified bad ass during the war, earning the respect and admiration of the people around him. Rosita’s been a bit of a spitfire during the series and it’s a bit ironic that she cheated on Eugene knowing how she felt when Abraham cheated on her. Eugene’s resolve to keep them together may be misguided as even though he forgave her, something is clearly wrong. It also brings up the question: Who did Rosita sleep with? I’d bet money it’s an established character, but who? Wouldn’t it be crazy if it was Negan?
Magna’s group gets a little time in the spotlight, but it’s slightly anticlimactic. Andrea really has nothing to hide, it’s not like they took Alexandria by force, and what started as a bit of an interrogation turned into a friendly chat and recap of the survivors adventures. If that’s all it took to placate Magna, it leaves the question what’s next for them? No hostile takeover, no rebellion? Negan is already overreached trying to get released so this leaves them in a weird place.
Of course, the star of the show were our zombie-faced sleeper agents. The man who had Dante at gunpoint mentioned, “Our land” and “Our kind”. I could sit here and dissect that for hours. “Our kind” is this some sort of cult, have people taken to this faux -undead façade as survival and guerrilla tactics or is there more to it? The one question that left me most curious was the question of being quiet. Did the fake zombie mean more of his people, or actual zombies? The zombies on panel standing around indicate they were all human, why else would they stay at bay? It’s a mystery I’m looking forward to finding out! As far as the people behind the masks telling Dante they’ll be infiltrating their lands, I’d expect that sooner than later with the spread out nature of Rick’s patrols it’s not hard to imagine they’ll be coming in larger numbers soon.
That’s all for this month, but stay tuned next month for another dissection of the Dead! Also check out my weekly review of the week’s video game releases every Tuesday night with Sweet Release!
Jared Cornelius is some guy from the Jersey coast who thinks it’s the coast with the most. If you’d like to trade snappy repartee, contact him on Twitter @John_Laryngitis